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Riding a Granfondo in France - what to expect on the day of the event

Many of us have dreamed about riding the Cols of the Tour de France in the French Alps and most years this is possible anytime between May and November. However take that experience up a notch and you may find yourself at the startline of a cyclosportive in the French Alps. Here's what to expect on the big day. There's one thing that is significantly different to riding a cyclosportive in France than in the UK, for example. The French events are a race.....plain and simple.....they are a race. There's none of this "we don't post results in General Classification order because its not a race", or...."We set you off in groups of 40 riders at a time between 07.30 and 08.30" If you are lucky enough to find yourself on a start line in the French Alps, about to launch yourself over several Cols, here's what to expect. Medical Certificate Before you arrive in France you will need a medical certificate or an international racing license. If you turn up at registration without either of these you will not be able to ride. The orgnising website will normally have the most up to date medical certificate to down load. If, for example, you do have a British Cycling Federation license, there is a UCI visa system for you to use your license abroad however this will need obtaining long before your trip. For example, with my French license I have ridden the Mallorca Vets 4 day in October and I need to apply through my club to the French Cycling Federation for their agreement for me to race. Registration Securing an entry for such major events like the Etape and the Marmotte will require planning months ahead however you will still need to register the day prior to the event with these larger events to obtain your race number etc. With the smaller more local events such as the Megeve Mont Blanc, Grand Bo, its usually possible both to enter and register on the day. Be sure to check the event website.

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