As the name suggests, this sportive starts and finishes in Vence, a pretty town to the northwest of Nice.

This sportive has to be one of the most beautiful around, exploring the Esteron region with high plateaux, coastal views, narrow gorges, high cliffs, plunging ravines – it has it all!

A pre-sportive warm-up is necessary as the route starts with the 600m climb of the Col de Vence, a cracking climb up onto a plateau with wonderful views back down over the Med. From there, the route tracks North and then West, with a lovely descent down to St Pons in the next valley, and continuing down into the Gorges du Loup.

The second climb is long but steady, up to the village perchée Gourdon and on up to the Col de l’Ecre. Another plateau, then a big clockwise loop including the climb of the Col de Castellaras, quickly followed by the Col de Bleine, at 1439m the high point of the day, and roughly the halfway mark.

The rest of the route is more rolling than anything, through some stunning scenery, working its way back to the Col de Vence from where you retrace your morning tracks with a magnificent descent back to the finish in Vence.

At 150km and with 2800m of height gain, this is a challenging sportive and a tough day in the saddle, but one that fits nicely with a number of days riding in the Côte d’Azur.

There is a 105km option for those looking for an easier day.

It’s an 08:00 start; you have the option of 06:00 start on the Saturday to arrive around 07:00 in time to sign on and pick up your number and timing chip, or we can arrive the previous day and explore the beautiful Esteron region, and stay locally overnight.

Combine this event with an exploration of the fantastic cycling the Côte d’Azur has to offer, based in beautiful Beaulieu-sur-mer just down the coast near Nice…make it a long weekend to remember or extend to a full week of early-season training which will pay dividends for the rest of the year.