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Living the dream: How to ride cycling’s most iconic roads in 2022

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16 Feb 2022
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Through Destination Sport Experiences’ sportive packages, you can channel your heroes and tick off a host of bucket list rides

It’s practically a cliché at this point that cycling’s unique quality is that fans can follow in the footsteps – or tyre tracks – of their heroes, taking in the same scenery, the same climbs and the same pain.

What isn’t quite the same, however, is having to share the road with cars, buses and lorries and have to go through the stress of organising it all yourself so a sportive or gran fondo is an ideal way to test your legs on closed or traffic-managed roads.

Destination Sport Experiences puts together a selection of the very best events across Europe, events that take place on the same roads as some of the greatest and most spectacular races on the professional calendar. Bucket lists are ticked, and dreams fulfilled.

Read on for some of the iconic events you could be a part of in 2022...

• Book your place now with Destination Sport Experience for an extraordinary experience riding some of the biggest and best cycling events around the world

Gran Fondo Strade Bianche

There’s a reason people are calling for one of the sport’s youngest Classics to be officially named a Monument. Strade Bianche is maybe the most beautiful race in pro cycling, darting through Tuscany along the region’s spectacular white roads and finishing in the postcard-perfect medieval city of Siena – if you can make it up the punishing final climb of the 16% Via Santa Caterina.

With DSE, you can opt either for the Entry Only package starting at just £90, which means you can choose and organise the rest of your trip for yourself, or the Hotel and Support package from £599.

The latter includes three nights at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Siena, including breakfasts and evening meals, as well as airport transfers, guaranteed entry to the ride – alongside former Giro stage winner Andrea Ferrigato, access to a mechanic and a private feed stop and a detailed itinerary for the rest of your trip.

Be quick on this one, since the ride takes place on 6th March. That’s the day after the professional race, which you’ll be able to see first-hand.

• Find out more about DSE’s Gran Fondo Strade Bianche packages

Paris-Roubaix Challenge

Climbing not your bag? How about the most iconic race in cycling? On the same day the pro women’s peloton take on the Hell of the North you can join the Paris-Roubaix Challenge.

There is a choice between 70km, 140km or 170km distances, which will see you take on the cobbles of Carrefour de l’Arbre and Trouée d’Arenberg before finishing up at the famous Roubaix Velodrome.

DSE’s package starts from £299 per person and includes two or three nights at a hotel in Roubaix, access to local guides and a bike mechanic, breakfast and evening meals, guaranteed entry to the ride from £45 and the option for bike rental.

And after a night’s sleep to recover from your taste of the cobbles, you’ll get to watch the men take on the toughest day on the pro cycling calendar on the Sunday.

• Find out more about DSE’s Paris-Roubaix Challenge packages

Mallorca 312

Although the Mallorca 312 isn’t among the ranks of racing recreations like some of the other events here, Mallorca is the place for cycling holidays for pros and amateurs alike, with many an Ineos Grenadiers training camp held on the Spanish island.

The Mallorca 312 is one of the most popular sportives on the calendar, with 8,000 riders taking part each year, and even a few former racing stars such as Alberto Contador. It always sells out but Destination Sport Experiences guarantees you a place. 

Whichever of the three routes of 167km, 225km and the full 312km you choose, you’ll enjoy the best of the Balearic Islands’ views, weather and climbs.

This year, the event takes place on 30th April and entry costs £125, with packages starting from £279 for a choice of half-board hotels for three, four or five nights, and airport transfers, team support and mechanic, guided warm-up rides and private feed stations all included.

• Find out more about DSE’s Mallorca 312 packages

Marmotte Gran Fondo

Another French classic, and one of the oldest sportives around, La Marmotte is a 170km ride that takes in a host of Alpine climbs steeped in Tour de France folklore in the Col du Glandon, Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret and Alpe d’Huez. You’d better get on the turbo trainer to prepare for this one.

The 2022 Marmotte takes place on Sunday 3rd July and packages start from £289, which includes a day bag service and access to private feed stations, with the option of guaranteed event entry for £110.

With DSE you’ll have three or four nights at a choice of hotels, with all logistics covered and access to mechanics, masseurs and guides, plus there’s a party on the Sunday night.

If you choose the four-day option you can even take part in the Alpe d’Huez Time Trial on the Friday. Double d’Huez!  

• Find out more about DSE’s Marmotte Gran Fondo packages

Etape du Tour

Probably the most famous sportive in the world and for good reason, the Etape du Tour gives riders the chance to ride the exact route of one of the stages of that year’s Tour de France just days before the peloton arrive.

And in 2022, the Etape is all but unmissable as on Sunday 10th July, participants will set out from Briançon and finish up those famous 21 hairpins. That’s right, Alpe d’Huez is back on the Tour route this year and back for you to take on four days before Pogačar and pals.

With prices starting from £199, Destination Sport Experiences’ package lets you pick everything you need – and don’t need – to make it a memorable and stress-free experience, with logistical organisation, a guide, mechanic support and private feed stops.

And since you’re already in the area, why not stick around to watch the real thing a few days later? 

• Find out more about DSE’s Etape du Tour packages

Haute Route Alps

There are sportives and then there is the Haute Route. Over seven days it tackles some of the toughest climbs in cycling, with a total of 18 cols spread out over 806km of riding, and 27,750m of climbing including six peaks that top out at over 2,000m of altitude, the tallest of which is the mighty Col Agnel at an enormous 2,744m. It’s the closest you’ll get to riding an actual stage race.

This year, the Haute Route Alps runs from Saturday 20th August to Saturday 27th August. With Destination Sport Experiences, an official partner of the event, you can get guaranteed entry at £1,575 and a support package from £1,349 per person.

Included in that is airport, luggage and transfers, including for family and friends, ideally located hotels, daily team support with private feed stops and mechanics plus you can choose to add on extra nights before or after to extend the experience.

There are bucket list rides and then there’s Haute Route.

• Find out more about DSE’s Haute Route Alps packages