Mountain time trial to sort the groups out, then three tough mountain stages on closed roads

We've just received details of the route of this year's closed-road four-stage Alpine Challenge which takes place from 7-11 September this year. The event, now in its second year, will be based in Annecy and the four stages are spread over three days, taking in some big climbs to the south and east of the lake.

The Alpine challenge will start with a warm-up ride round Lake Annecy, and after that you're straight into the action with an 11.6km mountain time trial which will be used to seed the riders into ability groups for the following stages; each group will be professionally supported by neutral service vehicles, outriders and rolling road closures.

After the time trial it's straight into stage 1 which heads south over the Col de Plainpalais (1174m) and back via the Col de la Cluze (1184m). The next day the riders will head out east to tackle the Col de Bluffy (630m) and Col des Aravis - height (1487m), and the final day includes no less than five climbs: the Col de la Forclaz (1157m), Col de L'Epine (1012m), Col du Marais (843m), Col de la Croix Fry (1477m) and Col de Bluffy (630m). Each day there will be a timed ascent up one of the cols, and the aggregate times will determine who gets to wear the men's and women's leaders jerseys for the next stage.

Certainly it's a beautiful part of the world to be riding in, and the road closures and full support promise to give you as close an experience of high-level road racing as you'll experience anywhere. Will your legs be up to the gig? That's for you to decide.

Speaking about The Alpine Challenge, HotChillee director Sven Thiele said, "We are very proud of what we believe to be one of our best ever routes. We were overcome by the response to the inaugural event in 2010, and people genuinely felt that the challenging environment and the event logistics made the event feel very much like a Continental stage race.

"Annecy is a great hub for the event too, and is a beautiful part of the world to enjoy cycling and leisure time. With some great attractions and stunning places to stay we are encouraging participants to make this a family affair and bring their loved ones to enjoy this super Alpine environment. Overall we have a superb event planned for 2011, and feel that The Alpine Challenge will surpass people's expectations once again".

If you want to find out more about the event, head over to the website at www.thealpinechallenge.com

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.