Located high in the Pyrenees Mountains, Andorra boasts unrivalled natural beauty and a landscape perfect for mountain biking. The principality is set to thrill participants in the inaugural Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees, in 2021. But that’s far from all the nation has to offer in Andorra Multisport Festival…
The Catalan principality of Andorra is the sixteenth smallest country in the world, but what it lacks in landmass it makes up for in landscape. It’s the classic example of quality over quantity, boasting 92% undeveloped countryside. A rich terroir for mountain biking; high mountain passes, twisting singletracks and breath-taking vistas. The perfect destination for the newest addition to the Epic Series calendar, the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees.
Hosted in La Massana – to the north of the capital, Andorra la Vella – the event is a 4-day mountain bike stage race and forms part of the Andorra Multisport Festival. The team-format stage race includes a prologue and three marathon distance stages, taking in a total of 153-kilometres of riding and 5 060-metres of climbing. Highlights include the Vallnord Bike Park, the Commençal DH flow trail, the Mont Magic adventure park and the Romanesque bridges over the Gran Valira river.
While it’s mountain biking which is attracting you to Andorra the mountainous nation has far more to offer than just exceptional off-road cycling. In recent years it has become a hot-spot for road cyclists too, with a growing number of the UCI World Tour and Pro Continental pelotons calling the country home. Given that it has an average elevation of 1 996 metres above sea level and that the mountains are peppered with passes or ‘ports’ in the local Catalan language, Andorra is a road cyclist’s dream too.
Alongside the off-road Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees the Andorra 21 Ports launches this summer. Taking place from the 24th to the 26th of June the inaugural event takes in 9 of the 21 iconic passes. The Port d’Envalira, Port dels Cortals d’Encamp and Alt de la Comella set the scene on the opening stage, with the Coll d’Ordino, Coll de la Peguera and Coll de la Gallina greeting riders on Stage 2. Stage 3 features Collada de Beixalís, Alt de la Coma d’Arcalís and Alt de Cabú. Only the fittest and most committed cyclists will be able to double up on the road and mountain bike events in Andorra, however, as there are only 3 days off between the two.
Trail runners will also delight in the attractions of Andorra. Hiking and running for fun, while visiting the country is highly recommended; but for competitive runners the Trail 100 Andorra-Pyrenees is a must do event. It features four distances, from the ultra-trail 125-kilometre race down to the fun 7.5-kilometre run. The ultra-distance starts on the 25th of June and includes a whopping 8 810-metres of elevation gain. It is an Ultra-Trail Mont-Blanc qualifier event and circumnavigates Andorra, tagging massive peaks, including the 2 942-metre Pic de Coma Pedrosa.
Andorra is also home to IRONMAN 70.3 Andorra. The swim, in Engolasters Lake, takes place at the highest altitude of any European IRONMAN event; while the bike course includes two summits of Coll d’Ordino, which tops out at nearly 2 000 metres above sea level. Mercifully the run route is fairly flat as it follows the Valira River up and downstream for three 7-kilometre laps. The race offers 50 qualifying slots for the 2021 RONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah.
For more information on the inaugural Andorra Multisport Festival and the Epic Series’ new addition, the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees, visit www.multisportfestivalandorra.com.