GSA Partner the European Cycling Association (AEC) is behind a number of "cycling for all" events held across Europe each summer and in addition to promoting health, friendship and wellness, is encouraging eco-citizenship among the thousands of cycling enthusiasts that take part. The following report is from the Ardechoise, which attracted some 13,000 participants this year:
The Ardechoise has staked its place as one of Europe's finest sporting events. Exceeding its concept as a 'cycling for all' event, the festival weekend is a celebration of cycling, as thousands of enthusiasts make their way through the villages of Ardeche.
2000 impassioned cyclists set out on the 3-day, 550-km course on Thursday 21 June, followed by 3000 the next day on either a 420-km or 364-km route.
Day three saw an incredible 8000 cyclists set out with a choice of 1-day courses, ranging from a 'soft' 66-km up to marathon 268-km for those wishing to test their endurance.
Gerard Mistler got the Saturday event off to an early start, with some riders not making it back until late. However they were greeted and encouraged in the various villages with food, orchestras and entertainment.
The event attracted cyclist not only from across Europe, but also America, China and Japan. To ensure safety, 70 firemen, 20 ambulances, 20 aide stations, emergency helicopters, the police and 3500 volunteers were on hand, as well as representatives of the French Cycling Federation (FFC).
This year also saw the start of the Cyclo Patrol, consisting of voluntary cyclists that provide assistance and encourage all those involved to respect the environment and be good 'eco-citizens', in line with the 3 articles of the "Cyclo Eco Charter" that was presented at a press conference held on Friday 22 June.
Association Européenne de Cyclosport
13210 - Saint Remy de Provence
Phone/Fax: + 33 (0)4 90 92 44 04
Cell phone: + 33 (0)6 62 28 44 04