For the 2021 edition, there are 4 routes to choose from, starting with the e-Fondo, designed for the growing eBike market, with 1950m of climbing over just 34km, this route is only for eMTB or E-Gravel bikes, and features a number of steep gravelled climbs.
The MedioFondo is the 'easiest' of the road bike routes. It features 2850m of climbing in just 74km. We tested this route last year and despite it being the 'easiest' of the 3 road bike routes, it's still a real test of the legs. The route includes the climbs of the Col de Lein, Nendaz, and of course, the seemingly endless Col de Croix-de-Couer. A. climb of 12.4km averaging 7.1%, with max gradients of 19%. A summit finish in the ski resort of Verbier awaits.
Next up is the Marmotte Granfondo. In most other Sportives or Gran Fondos across Europe, this would surely be the headline event. 133km with 4700m of elevation. It's a serious test of the legs, which includes all the climbs from the Mediofondo, but then goes further into the region of Valais, and includes the climbs of Mayens de Vernamiège, which is 12.5km at over 8%, and also includes the climb of Thyon 2000; 19km's averaging 5%. Again, the route finishes at altitude in Verbier.
If you're reading this far, it means you're interested in the main event, the big one. The Ultrafondo. Put simply, we believe this is the toughest sportive in the world, and it's managed to make itself even harder for 2021.
The route for the Ultrafondo 2021 is now 242km with 8848m of elevation. Exactly the same elevation as Mount Everest, and that is no coincidence.
The route begins in the pretty Valais town of Le Chable. In order to complete this course, your day will begin around 6am. The fastest male finishers will take around 9 hours to complete the course, with Eva Lindskog, 3 time female winner taking just over 11 hours to finish. For many others, it will take much, much longer.
The route packs in 10 major climbs, some of them on gravel, many with gradients over 10% and some with gradients of 19%-20%. The early climb of Ovronnaz is particularly brutal. 10km at 8.5% with a 20% max gradient.
Eleven brilliantly managed feed stations on the route will help keep you hydrated and fuelled, and you'll need them for sure. Last year when we rode the course temperatures hit 35C in the valley. We needed all the water and electrolytes we could get.
Despite the pain, each course and the event as a whole is fantastically well organised. It's one of the best events we've taken part in anywhere in the world. Each of the routes offers a challenge and the scenery, climbs and feed stops are are excellent. The route may not cover the epic climbs of the Tour de France or Giro d'Italia, but that's a good thing, as it allows you to ride new climbs in an area which is packed with amazing riding.
We've teamed up with the organisers to offer our customers a gift voucher worth CHF 50. (£40 or 46€). The first 50 entrants who register for the Tour des Stations using the code 4BEICT will receive a gift voucher to spend on the Band of Climbers website.
On top of that, every rider in the Tour des Stations will receive a Band of Climbers cycling cap and frame sticker with the route, climbs and feed stations to keep you motivated on the ride. Those items will be given to you in the exhibitor zone the day before the race.
The Tour des Stations takes place in Valais, Switzerland on 7th August 2021. CLICK HERE to register or learn more about the event.