Video: Top ten sportives - but which are your favourites?

Global Cycling Network pick theirs, let's hear yours...

by Dave Atkinson   March 23, 2013  

Blenheim Sportive 2

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Nothing starts a discussion among cyclists quite like a debate on helm... erm, hi-v.... ahem. Which sportives are the best. That was it. We've all got our favourites. Global Cycling Network have put together the following video showcasing their top ten from around the world. They range from the states via Europe to the Antipodes. Have a look and you'll probably see some you'd put in your top ten too; maybe of sportives you've done, or maybe they're the ones on your wish list...

Anyway, that got us to thinking. Which are your favourites? Everyone's got rides that are special to them. Comment below and tell us what your best sportive expriences have been. We might even put a list together and do some kind of a poll. Maybe even give an award or two out, who knows? The Dragon Ride is the only UK sportive that makes it into the top ten but there are so many more good ones all round the country. Let us know what your sportive season highlights are. Which are the rides you most look forward to?

9 user comments

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In no particular order:

Mad March Hare
Black Rat Bristol/Mendips
Tour of Wessex
Maratona D'Les Dolomites
La Marmotte
GF Pinerello
Forest of Dean
Paris -Roubaix
HONC (does that count as a Sportive)
Cotswold Spring Classic

Utter waste of money/time

Magnificat (IMHO, obviously)

mooseman's picture

posted by mooseman [60 posts]
23rd March 2013 - 19:35

2 Likes

Try this in glorious Radnorshire - http://www.cyclosportives.co.uk/epicHome.htm
You have never heard of Radnorshire? Well, do this and you will see most of Wales' most central county

posted by maxburgoyne [24 posts]
23rd March 2013 - 22:36

1 Like

Speaking of helmets.... Wink

Sadly, many sportives have rules requiring the wearing of helmets. Often they say it is because of insurance rules.

Some of those sportives are covered under British Cycling insurance - so that's a blatant lie, as BC non-competitive event insurance has no such requirement. The one sportive I contacted about this admitted that it had nothing to do with insurance, but with the opinion of the organisers.

Other sportives that I've contacted to ask for a copy of the text of the clauses in their insurance that require this, and gotten a response from, have similarly not been able to point me at any actual text, but also ended up justifying their rule with their opinion.

I've gone off sportives myself. The prices have gotten quite high. It's really hard to justify spending £20, £30+ to cycle around on public roads, usually open. It's a lot of money to pay for the handful of bananas, cakes and gels (if the event organisers were actually organised and you're not last) you get at the stops. Be cheaper stopping for expensive pub grub along the way!

Sorry to be so negative Smile

posted by Paul J [653 posts]
24th March 2013 - 9:51

1 Like

What's the difference between a sportive and an Audax? About thirty quid.

posted by andyp [1009 posts]
24th March 2013 - 13:33

2 Likes

Agree about Sportives becoming a rip-off. They are becoming cash makers for the organisers. Evans charge £15 for the ones they do which is just about right but some of the charges are extreme. They should put the money into fixing the roads that they are on. Yes I know that "road tax" should do that.

posted by joebee9870 [57 posts]
24th March 2013 - 15:44

0 Likes

Exmoor Beast is tough, made tougher by being in late autumn.

Paris-Roubaix is brilliant fun if you're up for some pavé action.

posted by Mat Brett [1919 posts]
24th March 2013 - 20:09

1 Like

fully agree that a lot of sportives are now poor value for money, and poorly organized. One in the Chilterns I went to charged £25 and not even a multi-tool available at the feedstop which was the boot of a car with some basic food stuffs laid out on the ground!

Evans Cycles sportives are imo the best value - they only charge what they need to to cover their costs apparently.

Nevertheless there seems to be an insatiable demand out there as so many sportives sell out months in advance with 1000s of people taking part. Not my idea of a quiet ride in a beautiful area...

posted by Metjas [302 posts]
24th March 2013 - 20:09

1 Like

Try Fausto Coppi Gran Fondo the only easy bit is getting a place...the pain of the etape with only 2,000 entrants and not 10,000....beautiful scenary and super killer climbs....13,000ft of climbing in total. Really well organised with closed roads and support...epic is an understatement !!!!

ianj's picture

posted by ianj [15 posts]
25th March 2013 - 9:52

1 Like

An underrated cyclo, as far as I can tell, is the Trois Ballons in the French Vosges area near the German border. Well organised (and supported by the enthusiastic locals!) and beautiful climbs. Don't underestimate this beast, though, as some do since it's not the Alps. 4,500 altitude meters and 220km says it all.

Debarrio

Debarrio's picture

posted by Debarrio [78 posts]
18th November 2013 - 14:39

1 Like