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The inaugural La Mercan’Tour takes place in June 2016, and with 180km of distance and 4600m of climbing including 3 HC climbs one of which is the highest road pass in Europe the Col de la Bonette, this sportive is sure to join the likes of La Marmotte in being one of the “must do” sportives around the world.
Starting in the valley in Guillaumes, the race climbs the valley and the first col of the day, the Col de Cayolle (a 15km climb at 7.1% from Entraunes). There is a beautiful descent to Barcelonnette, open views to begin with, narrowing as the road finishes its descent through a stunning gorge. The route climbs steadily East to Jausiers, from where the climb proper to the Cime de la Bonette starts: 24km averaging 6.7% to the rarefied atmosphere at 2802m. A 50km descent follows, just a couple of lumps and bumps before the final climb of the day from St Sauveur sur Tinée, the Col de la Couillole (17km at 7.3%). This is one of the most picturesque climbs in the Mercantour, and from the top, the road then undulates before the final kick up to the finish at Valberg.