SPORTIVES
Cyclosportives, usually called Sportives, are long distance, organised, mass-participation cycling events typically held annually. Sportives are the cycling cousin of running's marathon: as with the 42 kilometer (26 mile) event, rather than racing other participants, sportives see many cyclists use the event to challenge themselves in a personal battle against the distance and then ultimately, the clock.

Also like the marathon, the top placed riders in a Cyclosportive ride the event like a race and there are prizes awarded and considerable prestige for top place finishers in events like the Marmotte, Etape du Tour and the Ardechoise (which was won in the past by a young Alexander Vinokourov).

A cyclosportive falls between a traditional road race and a non-competitive randonnée or Audax event. Riders normally carry a number and the time they take to complete the course is recorded. There is usually an upper time limit within which the course must be completed (unlike many randonnée events, there is no lower limit preventing riders from completing the course quickly). The already lengthy course will traditionally include climbs and difficult riding conditions, adding to the merit of the event (e.g. the cobblestones of the Paris-Roubaix).

The routes will usually be well sign-posted and/or marshalled (some cyclosportives take place on roads which have been closed to motor traffic for the duration of the event), riders will be able to use feeding stations positioned at intervals along the route to replenish their food and drink supplies and mechanical and medical support may also be provided. Some attract thousands of participants - since 2000 l'Etape du Tour has offered places to 8,500 riders each year.

Old Ports members often plan to ride UK Sportives and, occaisionally European, events.


Some UK Sportives