The Ronde de l’isard climbs one more step

the essential
Five days of racing, more than 20 committed teams from all over the world, increasingly prestigious passes, the 44th edition of the Ronde de l’isard promises to be exceptional.

Like last year for the 43rd, the health crisis forced Guy Sans, director of the Ariège event, and the organizers to postpone the dates of the 44th edition of the Ronde de l’isard. The 2020 edition, already organized in September, was a great success. What to say about the one that is coming! “Our event, much in demand by many teams, climbs a step”. Guy Sans can put on a big smile. The international race reserved for runners under 23 has never been so popular. Given the enthusiasm that the event is arousing everywhere in Occitania, it was decided to take the event from 4 to 5 days. The opportunity, also, to venture into regions that La Ronde had little or not explored at all during its rich history. If Ariège, Haute-Garonne or Hautes-Pyrénées are departments used to seeing the future stars of the world peloton pass, Gers and, above all, Tarn-et-Garonne will take part in the celebration. Proof of the new dimension taken by the race, the start will be given from the Hôtel de Région Occitanie, in Toulouse, on Wednesday. 776.85 kilometers in total, the best prospects in the world will have something to face. “La Ronde de l’isard is a mountain event” like to remind the organizers every year. The international teams also come for that. They will be spoiled. The program of the last three stages is quite simply exceptional. Worthy of the Tour de France that these riders will compete, for sure, very soon. Friday, it will be necessary to put gear to swallow the slopes of La Hourquette d’Ancizan (10.30 km of ascent, at 7.82% average and maximum slopes of 11.2%) and the legendary col d ‘ Aspin (12 km ascent at 6.49% average and maximum slopes at 9.5%). On Saturday, the Plateau de Beille (15.8 km of ascent at 7.7.9% on average and maximum slopes of 11%) should allow the favorites to impose their power. The last “couserannaise” stage via the Port de Lers, the Col d’Agnes and the Col de Latrape promises, as often, an immense spectacle. Putting your name on the prize list has become the main objective of many runners. With a good number of reserve teams of formations entered in the World Tour, the 2021 edition is announced as a very great vintage. Faced with this armada, the French teams will try to find a place for themselves. As always, the Ronde de l’isard allows French runners to be able to calibrate themselves to the best. Last year, it was the Belgians who were the smartest (Xandres Vervloesem won ahead of Henri Vandenabeele) just ahead of Frenchman Alan Jousseaume. The succession is open. And whoever wins Sunday in Saint-Girons will be a sacred runner.

The stages.- Wednesday September 29: Toulouse Montauban. Thursday September 30: Faudouas-Lannemezan. Friday October 1: Pierrefitte-Nestalas-Bagnères-de-Bigorre Saturday October 2: Fonsorbes-Plateau de Beille Sunday October 3: Auterive-Saint-Girons.

Belgium (4): Basso Flandres team; Loto Soudal; Wallonia Brussels Development Team; Acrog-Tonmans.

France (11): Vendée U; Vélo-Club Pays Loudéac; Nantes Atlantique cycling union; SCO Dijon Team; CC Etupes; Groupama FDJ- La Conti; AG2R Citroën U 23 Team; AVC Aix; Occitanie Committee; New Aquitaine Committee; Bourg en Bresse Ain cycling.

Great Britain (1): Trinity Race Route.

Netherlands (2): SEG Racing Academy; Team Jumbo Visma development team.

Spain (2): Lizarte Kern Pharma; Aeolus comet.

Switzerland (1): Swiss Racing Academy.

Norway (1): Uno-X Dare Development Team.

Georgie Collins

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