ARGUABLY the toughest cyclist test you can take with the exception of the Tour de France is to ride one of its toughest stages in the French Alps – the Granfondo – and beat the target time of 8hrs, 15mins.
Stratford Cycling Club’s Tony Owen proved up to the challenge as he recorded a time of 7hrs, 39mins to receive a gold medal for his efforts.
This one-day event racing across the Alps covers 174km and sees 7,500 riders climb 5,400m, finishing at the summit of the legendary Alpe d’Huez.
The ride runs through Isere, Savoie and the Alps, climbing over mythical passes such as the Glandon (1,918m), the Telegraphe (1,570m), du Galibier (2,642m), du Lautaret (2,057m) and the famous 21 hairpins of the Alpe d’Huez (1,880m) to the finish.
Owen said: “My finishing time was not bad for a 48-year-old. A lift home though? No chance, because the roads are closed to cars so I had to cycle another 18km over that ‘small pass’ to get my lift home.”