Finishing a sportive is always a great feeling, but some have more memorable home straights than others. Here are our top 5 finishes in European sportives:
Sportive: Paris Roubaix
The most famous finish in cycling is the legendary velodrome at Roubaix. After sector after sector of punishing pave, the last 15km is flat and quick allowing some recovery from the cobbles and then the focusing the mind on the last few hundred metres round the velodrome.
As you enter the famous old venue, which has witnessed the finish of the Hell of the North since 1943, energy rushes back into the legs and finding another gear for a final sprint is easy. A unique finish to a unique sportive.
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Sportive: Nove Colli
Nove Colli packs in some tough climbs with a a few long hills and some very steep gradients. The finish though is rapid. For both the long and medium routes, the last 30km is one long descent from the hills to the coast. This is Italy’s most popular sportive and the locals know how to ride this last section. Grab onto a group as early as possible and hold on, average speeds can easily top 50km/h. The final 10km is snooker table flat as you approach the coast. As you enter Cesenatico the road turns hard left and all that separates you from glory is a 1km sprint with the ocean to your right and throngs of locals cheering you on. Very hard to resist the urge to overtake the friendly Italian on the line after he has towed you the last 15km.
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The Hors Catergorie Climb
Sportive: La Marmotte
You’ve ridden 160km and 4000m of climbing. At any other sportive you would now be in the pasta party congratulating yourself for finishing a very tough event. But this is La Marmotte and you are now at the bottom of the final climb – Alpe d’Huez and probably questioning some of your life choices. Even when fit and fresh, Alpe d’Huez is challenging. 21 hairpins, 13km averaging over 8%, the climb starts with 3 very steep sections and never lets off. There are so many great tour memories from the Alpe and great crowds to cheer you on to make this a memorable finish to the toughest sportive of them all.
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Sportive: Amstel Gold
The pro race is defined by one climb – The Cauberg. This used to be the finish of the race but in recent years the organisers have added a flat 3km to the line. Many sportives attract big crowds to cheer you on but Valkenburg and in particular the Cauberg is full and the atmosphere is fantastic. As you climb the steep slopes, DJs pump out Euro dance music while hundreds of Dutch fans support the race sponsor in the bars that spill onto the pavement. After the final sprint the beers are again flowing at the race village. This race weekend is one long Dutch party!
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The Hill Sprint
Sportive: Gran Fondo Saint Tropez
A stunning sportive in the hilly countryside around Saint Tropez. Several climbs here are long and relatively challenging, but the last 20km is quick with a long descent and flat section. This all leads to a perfect hill climb to finish the event. At just under 2km and averaging just under 6%, this is Box Hill with a southern French accent. The finish is so close to the top of the hill that all energy can be used up sprinting to Gassin around flat hairpins and on a great road surface. Your reward at the top – a stunning small village, amazing views over the Golfe de Saint Tropez and the glory of smashing it at a top European sportive.