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Experience the Lesser Known Swiss Classics at Haute Route Crans-Montana

Conquer the highest Swiss summits and discover breath-taking panoramas of 4000m+ peaks of Valais region. The toughest 3-day event on the 2021 Haute Route calendar, this epic cycling race brings together the very best of Switzerland this June 11-13th

Crans-Montana is located high above the Rhone valley in the mountainous Valais canton of Switzerland. Situated at 1,500m above sea level it is surrounded by famous mountain peaks including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.

From cascading terraced vineyards, through quaint villages, to high alpine wonderlands carved by ancient glaciers, Haute Route Crans-Montana will take you on a very special tour over three days and visit Sierre, Hermerence, the Grand Dixence Dam, Col du Sanetsch, Ovronnaz, Anzère and Saint-Martin, challenging you on lesser known Classic Swiss climbs and secret routes that only local knowledge can appreciate.

The course features a total of 220km and 8,300m of climbing over three days, meaning you earn extra kudos some of the steepest and highest passes that the Swiss Alps have to offer. To put this into context, that’s just shy of Everesting (8,848m) in 3 days. Registration takes place on Thursday June 10th at the event village in Crans-Montana from 2pm onwards with a welcome briefing starting at 7pm and a pasta party starting at 8pm.

Stage 1 – Friday June 11th

Starting at the event village, stage 1 is a 96km route with 3,500m of climbing, taking in the climbs of the 1,539m high Anzere and the 1,365m high Ovronnaz climbs before starting the ascent of the jewel in the crown of Swiss cycling, the Col du Sanetsch.

Experience the Lesser Known Swiss Classics at Haute Route Crans-Montana

Photo above: The Col du Sanetsch

On paper the Col du Sanetsch is nothing special, it sits in just another side valley of the beautiful Swiss canton of Valais. And unlike the more famous Grimsel, Furka, Nufenen, Saint Gottard and Grand Saint-Bernard passes, it is a dead end, no traffic. But it is arguably one of the best climbs in Switzerland if not the world. It's the Swiss version of the famous Passo Stelvio, without the endless flow of camper vans, cars and motorbikes around you.

After crossing the finish line at the summit, the timing will stop, and riders can catch their breath and take in the beautiful views. From here, riders will then point for home and enjoy the 47km transition towards Sierre. Here you will then board a cable car back to the event village. Enjoy this moment, as your next trip from Sierre to Crans-Montana will be much harder, making up part of the Stage 3 time trial.

Stage 2 – Saturday June 12th

Stage 2 is 112 km and packs in over 3,350m of climbing. Heading out of Crans-Montana, you can enjoy some faster miles before climbing up the Côte de Saint Martin. Then prepare to climb the incredible unheard of climb of the Barrage de la Grande Dixence - the biggest dam in Europe and the tallest dam in the world!

With some steep hairpins to match, this 13.7km climb has an average gradient of 7.7% but be warned, some of the hardest kilometres are saved until last, prepare for the road to ramp up - with double figures featuring right up to the dam wall.

At 2,110m+, the road stops at the bottom of the dam, with the huge wall towering in front of you. Make sure you factor in some time after the event to visit the lake (and the 700m zip-line) but for now, it is time to finish off this incredible stage as you follow the road back down the way you came. Enjoy the descent and a flatter section before taking on the 15km climb from Lens to Crans-Montana, with the added motivation that once you have completed this 1,000m elevation gain, you can look forward to a well-deserved massage and post-stage meal after an incredible day on the bike.

Photo below: Barrage de la Grande Dixence

Barrage de la Grande Dixence

Stage 3 – Sunday June 13th

On the last day, you will set off from the time trial ramp in Sierre, Switzerland's sunniest city, to face the ascent of the Col de Crans-Montana.

You should prepare to get sweaty you take on the 15-kilometre uphill time trial, enjoying the beautiful Chateau Mercier leaving the city, you’ll head towards a road off the beaten track, surrounded by vineyards.

This climb offers little respite, so make sure you pace your effort whilst hunting down the riders in front and racing against the clock. You will reach the hardest kilometre (10.4% average gradient) before Aminona but after this you can look forward to leaving the forest and taking in the panoramic views of the peaks of the Valais. This is a fitting backdrop and a breath-taking end to your Swiss cycling experience, as you grind over the final few kilometres before crossing the line as a finisher of Haute Route Crans-Montana.

Click here to download the Ultimate Guide to the 2021 Crans-Montana Route.

On the last day, you will set off from the time trial ramp to face the ascent of the Col de Crans-Montana

VIDEO: Haute Route Crans-Montana Preview

Getting There

Switzerland further relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions in early April and outdoor sporting events are now allowed to take place.

The nearest airports are Geneva Airport (GVA), Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Zurich (ZRH). You can Book the official airport shuttle between Geneva Airport and the Haute Route Village. Return shuttle also available.

Or you can drive from home or rent a car from your arrival airport or take the train to Sierre then the funicular to Crans-Montana.

Depending on the type of travel (plane, train or by road) you might have to fill out a form as an incoming traveller, provide proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours from countries considered as low risk of infection (UK, USA for example).

Health and Safety Protocol

The Swiss government announced in early April that they will be further easing restrictions allowing outdoor sporting events. Haute Route have been working hard behind the scenes to update their health protocol, so you can just focus on the riding.

Based on two different scenarios covering the uncertainty linked to the health context, it aims to be flexible and reactive to the health situation and respects all local and national regulations in order to ensure the cyclists remain in the best possible health and safety conditions. The Haute Route events do not target large pelotons, preferring to focus instead on offering a high standard of professional service which is guaranteed to help the cyclists reach new heights. In fact, the participation caps are much lower than those of most cycle races, making it easier to enforce the protocol, which requires a minimum of 2 metres distance between participants at all times. There will also be directions, masks, sanitiser, and individually packaged food supplies provided by the organisation.

Haute Route have a safe cancellation policy that you can find here, to help people to register with confidence: https://www.hauteroute.org/news/view/register-with-confidence-with-our-flexible-cancellation-policy

Entry Fee and Accommodation Packages

The entry fee is €799 / $939.

You can optionally choose additional transportation, accommodation, bike rental, extra massages and cancellation and individual accident insurance during registration.

Haute Route offers you 2 different accommodation packages:

Standard Package

Ideally situated for nature lovers surrounded by forest and the lake, choose the best comfortably furnished en-suite bedrooms in our Event hotel.
Hotel name will be confirmed shortly.
5-10 minutes walking from the Haute Route Village
Standard Single, Shared & Double rooms from 379€ / $442

Premium Package

Thanks to our hotel spa and superior rooms, enjoy the soothing experience in one of our event hotels.
5-10 minutes walking from the Haute Route Village
Premium Single, Shared & Double rooms from 549€ / $642

For more information, please visit: https://www.hauteroute.org/events/overview/crans-montana-2021-en

About the Haute Route

Featuring challenging 3-, 5- and 7-day events in iconic cycling destinations worldwide, the Haute Route is the world’s first global series of prestigious multi-day cycling events for amateur riders. The Haute Route’s objective is to deliver an unparalleled 'professional' experience for amateur cyclists. This means not only delivering first class hospitality and event management, but all the key ingredients that make up the culture and experience of professional road racing. The Haute Route has grown since 2011 to encompass this year’s 7events, including the 10th Anniversary of the first of its events, the Haute Route Alps.

For more information, please visit: https://www.hauteroute.org