When that famous Euro-mental music explodes from the speakers atop Pic Blanc at a breath-taking 3,300m, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride! Welcome to the rite of passage for MTBers the world over, the Megavalanche.
Alpe d’Huez resort is not only famous for its epic Tour de France climbing but is also integral part of the history of mountain biking with the Megavalanche.
“More than 45 nations converge every summer in the heart of Oisans area to spend a few days in the “Mega spirit”
This race, considered as the biggest mountain bike downhill in the world will take place from the 5th to the 9th of July and celebrate its 23rd anniversary.
Nearly 2000 riders representing more than 45 nations converge every summer in the heart of Oisans area to spend a few days in the “Mega spirit”.
The Megavalanche Week offers a wide range of activities and hotels also propose very attractive offers so that lots of competitors come with friends and family to make the most of their stay and specially to enjoy the large network of MTB downhill tracks served by very comfortable and efficient ski lifts.
The international success of the Megavalanche can be attributed to its Marathon Downhill formula that appeals to all the specific registers and the versatile spirit of mountain biking discipline: skilfulness, temerity, riding, strength and endurance.
Not only the participants must be powerfull but also their bike. The manufacturers have been inspired and are still inspired by the performances of their best riders. They also learn a lot from amateur who ride every year in another way and thanks to all these experiences, they are able to perfect their equipment and make it more and more reliable while being light and particularly versatile: telescopic seatpost, resistant tires, single control derailleur, etc …
All these brands are totally part of the success of the Exhibition and Tec area situated around the Palais des Congrès in Alpe d’Huez. Among these, we should mention Chain Reaction, the European leader online bikestore, Camelbak the world leader in hydration systems, Vibram, Nukeproof, Suntour, Continental, Bluegrass…
The race program itself will start on Wednesday 5th, with the Enduro d’Oz-en-Oisans, only for the privileged 200 riders who have already applied.
The race is based on three different “timing sections” which take place on selected tracks in the area of Oz-en-Oisans This resort have been very related to the Megavalanche since the beginning of its history.
These “timing stages” will each have their own character:
– The first stage will be in the spirit of hiking trail and mountain single track.
– The second will make the happiness of DH riders as it will use a part of the technical DH track of Oz where many French national cup have been organized.
– The third section will have a more off-piste connotation and leave to the riders to choose their best trajectory.
This day will constitute a beautiful setting time before the great Megavalanche. All the participants will be invited to meet in the center of the resort around a wonderful BBQ after the race.
Thursday the 6th is devoted to trainings either on the qualification track or the Megavalanche race track. It is indeed very important in this concept of competition to know in advance all the curves, the obstacles, the traps, but also to know how to use or save your strength and endurance as well as the mechanical management of the bike.
The Qualifications happening on Friday are decisive for top-riders performance as they will only be 300 to race the international Megavalanche on sunday.
All competitors will start from Dôme des Rousses by waves of 150 riders, and according to their ranking, they will get the position on the lines and their group of level:
– Mega Challenger
– Mega Amateurs
– or Mega Affinity
These 12 races will bring a lot of animations and a good atmosphere in Alpe d’Huez and in the Expo Village, where the finish line is, near to the Palais des Congrès. The “Ladie”s category is particularly contested, with lots of British and German riders. Cécile Ravanel, who won in 2015, will have to fight other girls from the Enduro World Series circuit such as the New Zealand’s Raewyn Morrison or Israeli Noga Korem 3rd on the Madeira stage this year.
Remember also the new generation of 7-14-year-old who will take part to the Mega Kid on 2/3 of the qualifying course and there is no doubt that all these young riders will express themselves to make their parents very proud.
Another category will enjoy a brand new racing formula : the Ebikes. All the competitors will start Saturday morning from the Pic Blanc at 3500 m to go down to Allemont, official arrival of the Megavalanche, and to highlight the possibilities of this new generation bikes, the competitors will leave again in reverse direction (uphill), in “Pursuit” mode up to Alpe d’Huez.
Once all participants have their starting position according to their performance in qualifying races, time will come to fight : Saturday is dedicated for Ladies, Mega Challenger and Mega Affinity whereas Sunday to the International Megavalanche and Mega Amateurs.
All DH and Enduro MTB lovers know that Megavalanche give them the opportunity to fight and have an indication of their performance in an eventful context that confers a great added value, whether it is high level for the top riders, or in a more personal challenging way for the amateurs.
For this 23rd edition, lots of top riders have confirmed their participation. Even though the French participants seem to be favorite, many other countries can provide a winner:
Remy ABSALON : 12 times Mégavalanche winner, 5 victories in Alpe d’Huez and 7 on Reunion Island.
– Damien OTON, 2nd in l’Alpe d’Huez 2016, he also won the Maxiavalanche in Vallnord – Andorra 2017
– Thomas LAPEYRIE will try it on to be on the podium after his 2nd place in 2015
– The finnish rider, Matti LEHIKOINEN one of the DH stars,
– Martin MAES 3rd on the last Enduro World Series in Ireland,
– Josh BRYCELAND World cup winner 2014 and 2nd of the World Championships 2014 and 3rd in 2015, 2015.
– Sam HILL 2nd of the Enduro World series ranking and 4 times DH World Champion
– François BAILLY-MAITRE winner of Megavalanche Reunion Island 2013 and 3rd in Alpe d’Huez en 2016
– The famous Cédric GRACIA.
Many other riders can also make a surprise :
– Yoann BARELLI, 3rd in Alpe d’Huez in 2015
– Nicolas QUERE, winner of Maxiavalanche Vallnord 2016 and very often in the first riders on the Glacier
– Theo GALY
– The Spanish Iago GARAY
– Or the Swiss Gustav WILDHABER 4th in 2016
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