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For many sportive riders the Marmotte is the ultimate European sportive. Around 7,500 riders take part each year on the first weekend in July, with the fastest riders completing in around 5 hours 45 minutes and the slowest taking anything up to 14 hours.
La Marmotte - now renamed as the Look Marmotte Granfondo Alpes - features three HC climbs over its 174km route and has a total of 5,180 metres of climbing, making it one of the toughest courses of any sportive in the world.
The Marmotte starts with a climb of the Col du Glandon, which weighs in at 27.5km with an average gradient of 4.5% to a height of 1924 metres. From there you drop down (on a route so steep that it is not included in your overall time to try and stop riders from dangerously speeding) to the start of the Col du Telegraph.
That leads to the Col du Galibier, one of the most famous climbs in worldwide cycling. The Telegraph/Galibier combination is 35km of almost continuous climbing at an average gradient of 5.48% to a height of 2642 metres. Towards the top of the Galibier the gradient gets up to 15% and on a windy or cold day it is brutal.
There then follows a rapid 47km descent to Bourg d'Oisans and the start of a final ascent of the 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d'Huez. For all but the elite riders this is usually a major struggle as the sun will be baking in the early afternoon - the 2013 Marmotte saw riders experience 44 degrees centigrade heat on this climb.
Entries sell out very quickly - last year they sold out in just under 11 hours. Sportive.com alerted our newsletter subscribers within 30 minutes of entries going on sale...so do sign up and keep yourself informed about the Marmotte, Etape and other legendary sportives and gran fondos.
We thoroughly recommend the Marmotte to anyone considering riding it. Organisers TopClub SportCommunication do a superb job of putting on the event on some of the most iconic climbs in worldwide cycling. This is a sportive that everyone should do at least once.
Check out the Sportive.com Marmotte training and information pages or read our reports on riding recent editions of the Marmotte: