After a successful inaugural event in Avoriaz 1800, the Cyclo Thomas Voeckler by Matra is spreading its wings across the fabulous Portes du Soleil ski and MTB region this summer. Set to take place 24-25 August 2019, the cycling challenge allows participants to experience some of the world’s best biking terrain, with a range of trek and timed options on offer to suit a variety of abilities.
The brain child of the French former road racing cyclist Thomas Voeckler, this year’s event consists of four cycling routes, ranging from 40km to 120km, each taking in the speculator Alpine scenery of the Portes du Soleil. The timed races cater to serious cycling enthusiasts, while the less competitive trek options are more suited to causal riders and e-bikers, allowing everyone taking part to push their own personal limits. The ‘Grand Parcours’ is considered the most physically challenging route, taking in tough forest lined climbs and four mountain passes on both sides of the Swiss-French boarder. The strongest riders are encouraged to take part the event’s ‘2-day challenge’, a demanding 116km adventure that will allow riders to explore the region’s cycling offering in all its splendour.
Thomas Voeckler, who will be in attendance over the weekend, has personally curated the courses, which include roads that he trained on during his illustrious career. He is also behind a new road and e-bike fair that will take place alongside the racing in the Portes du Soleil resort of Morzine. The show will feature the best bikes and accessories from the biggest brands and will also give attendees the opportunity to try out the latest models as used by pro teams in the Tour de France.
The world’s oldest cross-border ski and MTB destination, the Portes du Soleil is located between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, covering the neighbouring Alpine regions of French Chablais and Swiss Valais, encompassing two countries and 12 resorts. Although the Portes du Soleil is less travelled outside of the ski season, it has just as much to offer in the summer, with events like the Cyclo Thomas Voeckler by Matra attracting British holidaymakers wanting to get active in the mountains.
With around 600km of marked mountain bike trails in the area with varying degrees of technical skill required, as well as countless mapped road cycling itineraries to explore, the Portes du Soleil is rightly regarded as the must visit European destination for anyone who loves riding. But summer holidaymakers here can also choose from a huge range of climbing, trekking and fishing excursions or an array of more transformative experiences, like horse-back rides in the mountains or taking to the skies over the Alps in a helicopter. What’s more, thrill-seekers are equally spoilt for choice in Portes du Soleil, with the region being a mecca for canyoning, paragliding and white water rafting.
More news from the Portes du Soleil
Offer: From 15 June – 8 September 2019, visitors to the area will be able to benefit from the Multi Pass Portes du Soleil scheme, which provides holidaymakers with unlimited access to more than 60 attractions across the region’s 12 resorts, as well as pedestrian access to all the lifts in the area. The spots include swimming pools, tennis courts, climbing centres, mini golf courses, cultural sites and more. The pass also provides holders with a substantial discount at a further 40 locations, with considerable savings to be made on bike rentals, paragliding, archery, clay pigeon shooting, spa treatments, yoga and countless other activities. Passes cost 9€ (£7.70) pp per day or just 2€ (£1.70) pp per day for guests staying at participating accommodation providers. For children under five, the Multi Pass Portes du Soleil is free.
Event: The Harley-Davidson Owners Group will descend on the Portes du Soleil for its long summer weekend of all things rock ‘n’ roll 11-14 July 2019. A rider’s paradise, approximately 3,000 bikes will arrive in the resort of Morzine with demonstrations, stunts, a Harley fashion show and an impressive line-up of free live music. This year’s Morzine-Avoriaz Harley Days Festival headliners will include Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Rockbox Symphonic Orchestra & Manu Lanvin and The Devil Blues. Entry to the event is free.
Event: Festival du Ciné sous les Étoiles, meaning the ‘cinema festival under the stars’, is a brand-new outdoor film event taking place across three evenings in the neighbouring Swiss villages of Val d’Illiez and Troistorrents, On the 14, 23 and 30 August 2019, open air screenings will take place in the resort centres, showcasing the best in French and international cinema, including animated movies. The festival will also bring together a number of local food artisans, with an exceptional range of local dishes and cuisine types expected to be on offer during the events.
Go to the Portes du Soleil
All 12 resorts in the Portes du Soleil can be easily accessed from Geneva Airport, which benefits from low cost, direct flight access from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds.
A seven-night stay in the Portes du Soleil at the four-star Chalet Ardoisieres in the resort of Morzine, arriving 20 August 2019, is priced from £776 pp based on two adults sharing a double room on a half-board basis. Return flights from Gatwick to Geneva, transfers and bike hire included.
Alpine Elements (020 3949 8353, www.alpineelements.co.uk).
Registration is now open for anyone wanting to take part in the Cyclo Thomas Voeckler by Matra 2019.
Entry costs from £21 pp with a range of options.