Date: from 24 sept to 2 oct 2011.
Location: From Gap (France) to Monaco.
Kind of event: race, MTB OverMountain.
Level of the event: International.
"Always interested by new experience and new challenge, I accepted to take part of my first 7 days race between Gap and Monaco.
With me, 57 other riders, coming from 14 different countries were riding their bikes up and down the Alps. The level was really high with top rider like Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra), Fabien Barel (Fra) multi downhill world champion, Andreas Hestler (Can), Olympic cross country racer, Mark Beaumont (Gbr) Downhill world cup winner and also my teammate from Cannondale Mark Weir (Usa), Downhill multiple winner and Ben Cruz (Usa), the new talent from North America. And also a lot of riders who were here to enjoy the ride and discover a part of the country.
Every day started by a shuttle, to drop us at the top of the road and then we had to ride more than 40km with 3 or 4 times stages, mainly in downhill every day. The riding were really exciting, the beautiful scenery was awesome all week. We discover a lot of quiet and gorgeous place up in the mountain.
This was not just a race but mainly a nice experience, sharing our passion, taking photos, riding together in the liaison, living as a group in the campsite and helping each other.
After 1 week and 26 stages, were I’d to battle really hard I managed to take the win in front of Nicolas Vouilloz and Fabien Barel. Mark Weir finished in 4th place after a puncture on day 5. Unfortunately we lost Ben Cruz on day 3 after he brokes his ankle in a high speed crash.
To reach the finish line I’d to be really careful to avoid big crashes, mechanical problem, not take the wrong way and to stay strong for 7days of riding with more than 5 hours on the bike every day. All the riders managed to reach the finish line in the Larvotto beach in Monaco where we really enjoyed an afternoon on the beach and in the sea, before a good ending party.
This was my first stage day races and I’d to find the good pace to stay fit for 1 week. It’s a different approach of All mountain but we had some much fun and we were able to ride on so many different amazing trails, that now I’ve only one wish: To be as soon as possible at the start of the next one."
Photos by Greg Germain, www.g2vision.fr
Text by Jérôme Clementz.
More information: http://trans-provence.com (official website)