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The Mercan’Tour Granfondo Madone – Peille is the last of the four sportives in the Mercan’Tour series in the eponymous mountains, the highlight of this one being the Col de la Madone.

The Col de la Madone rose to prominence when Lance Armstrong made it the climb on which he would test his form ahead of the Tour de France, and in celebration of that Trek named their top of the line road bikes the Trek Madone. It’s a tough climb, 925m of height gain over 13km, from sea level in Menton, the last town in France before the Italian border. The coastal views on the way up are wonderful before the road strikes North to the Col.

The race starts in the ancient village of Peille, climbs up and over into the next valley past Berre-Les-Alpes, before the 18km climb of the Col St Roch from Contes via Coaraze. The descent brings us out in Menton on the coast, where we start the climb of the Madone. The race finishes atop the Madone, the short descent off which brings us back to Peille.