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Les Veloistes Gentils: 2011 ride plans

August 2, 2010

Andy Hamsten rides the Gavia, 1988

Barely six weeks has passed since Les Veloistes Gentils swept into Avignon to complete the 2010 ride and already plans are well underway for next year’s little jaunt.

Discussing the options with the lads following the ride, the consensus was that as we’d been in the Pyrenees in 2009 and visited the Alps and climbed Mont Ventoux this year, the logical next step was to journey east towards the Dolomites. I wasn’t about to argue.

The sense of journey is important to the annual LVG ride: the idea that we’re travelling from one place to another with a good reason, taking in as much as we can on the way. We need to start and finish in places that are easy to get to and from out of the UK, and it’s also nice to finish in a location which is attractive for perhaps a few other halves to come to, see us finish and spend a couple of days visiting.

On that basis, and having perused the maps for a while, a route struck me for a number of reasons. In 2011 therefore, all things being equal and me getting it planned, Les Veloistes Gentils will be cycling from Zurich to Venice.

At first sketch the route is about 650km long with around 11,500m of climbing, so not dissimilar from this year’s totals (a little shorter in fact). We will be heading above 2,000m a little more though (and, indeed, 2,500m twice!). The profile looks like this:

I haven’t actually identified all of the peaks as yet, but I do know the route includes Italy’s highest mountain pass, the Passo dello Stelvio (with its 48 hairpins), the Passo Gavia and Monte Grappa, so it should be a worthy challenge. I must also say a massive thanks to Belinda at Condor Cycles (and her husband Adrian) for their help so far in route planning. Their local knowledge has been invaluable.

I’ve had quite a bit of additional interest in joining the ride in 2011. This year we had 22 riders which, to be honest, is about the limit that can be accommodated with a single support vehicle. So I need to decide whether to cap the ride numbers at this year’s level or try and find another Howie. But that ain’t gonna be easy, because he’s a legend. I’ll update on that decision soon I hope.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. moonbolt permalink
    August 2, 2010 6:14 pm

    Bring it on, big man!

    Have you included the extra Garmin kms we’ll have to travel?

  2. Sparrow permalink
    August 7, 2010 5:47 pm

    Wondered how we would ever match 2010’s ride. This profile looks like it might just do the trick. Love the sound of ‘Italy’s highest mountain pass’.

  3. Beev permalink
    September 27, 2010 12:18 pm

    A hypothermic Bob Roll (Bobke to his fans) finished the ’88 Gavia stage with a heart beat of only 15bpm! It is a stage of true legend. Youtube has some footage, but the images and stories of that day were burnt into my brain at the time it happened. The winner of that Giro, Andy Hampsten is now running bike Tours – trying to emulate our very own Pinny….

  4. November 3, 2011 6:14 pm

    Did you do the ride? We’re apparantly simmilar to your group. We did Geneva to Nice and raised 51000€ for kids with motoric problems. We would like to cross the Pyrinees or Zurich Venice in 4 days. Is it possible.

  5. Me permalink*
    November 3, 2011 6:22 pm

    Wow – that’s a great fundraising effort! Well done.

    We didn’t do the Zurich-Venice ride. I ran out of time a bit on the organisation so went for another logistically easier ride in the Alps, which was great.

    The route I’d mapped out from Zurich to Venice was planned as a five-day ride. It did take a bit of a diversion up Monte Grappa, so I think you could perhaps trim some distance off and make it a four-day adventure, but you’d want to get a few climbs in, like the Stelvio Pass and the Gavia.

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