The start of the prologue of this first edition of the AlpsEpic took place today Sunday, July 3 rd under the magnificent Vauban fortifications of the city of Briancon (Hautes Alpes). Gathered under a glorious blue sky in the superb surrounds of the Parc de laSchape, the 62 racers in this first edition set off in teams of two, 1 team every thrity seconds to take on this first stage of 12.3km.
With 450m of climbing, this prologue took the racers through the steep and narrow alleyways of Briancon before taking in some of the classic local historic sites such as the Fort Dauphin, the Fort des Trois Tetes and the Pont d’Asfeld. With short, sharp climbs and tight, technical descents the route of this prologue gave riders a brief taste of what is in store for them in the following 5 stages which will take them from Briancon to Gap, where the Alps Epic will finish next Friday.
The favourites, the Franco-German duo of Rémi Laffont and Steffen Thum (Rose-Vaujany) have shown they mean business in achieving the fastest time of this prologue. They finished 53 seconds ahead of the French pair Gwenaël Morra and Joseph De Poortere; ahead of the local pair Benoît Vaxelaire and Yoann Sert. In the mixed pairs, it was the duo of Fanny and Rémy Bourdon (Annecy Cyclisme Compétition) in front of René Vallée et Laurence Champavier and the Canadians Jean-Sébastien Lareau and Cathy Zeglinski. Finally in the female category it’s the pair Alice Guyon/Morvane Verguet who take the leader’s jersey.
On Monday the racers will go straight into a first marathon stage of 64km with 2100m of climbing around Briancon. After a neutralised start until they reach Serre-Chevalier the racers will begin a long climb up to the col du Lautaret before taking the awesome ‘sentier du Roy’ to the col du Glandon before descending down some epic trails into Briancon.