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Better views, New landscapes... 2024 Andorra Epic Route Reveal

By Andorra Epic, 04/10/24, 11:00PM HST


The 2024 Andorra Epic Pyrenees thrills and challenges with a 200 km route, which features 7 600 m of exhilarating descending and 6 460 arduous meters of elevation gain.

The 2024 Andorra Epic Pyrenees thrills and challenges with a 200 kilometre route, which features 7 600 metres of exhilarating descending and 6 460 arduous meters of elevation gain. From the race village in La Massana the four-day Epic Series Legend status event explores Andorra’s iconic bike park trails and ventures far from the beaten track to ride natural singletracks carved high into the Pyrenean mountain side. To facilitate the adventure, every stage ends in La Massana but three begin in remote locations – Pal/Arinsal, Canillo and Naturland. What an adventure the fourth edition’s route holds in store…
Stage 1: Smuggler’s Singletracks
Wednesday, 3 July 2024
La Massana to La Massana
Distance: 42km
Climbing: 1 550m
Descending: 1 550m
Departing from the first start line of the Andorra Epic Pyrenees the course out of La Massana heads due west towards Pal and climbs from the off. A substantial 800 metres of elevation gain provides a clear indication of what to expect, in order to have fun on the descents teams will need to climb. A mix of asphalt, dual track and singletracks ensure that the ascent is not just a grind to the first aid station at Pla de la Cot, 13.9 kilometres into the race. In fact, the route climbs through the Pal/Arinsal bike park en route to Collada de Muntaner, at 2 120 metres above sea level. Within moments of leaving the water point teams will summit the opening climb of the race and begin their Andorran adventure, in earnest. A mix of dual track and singletrack drops into the valley, shedding an exhilarating 600 metres of elevation in just over 5 kilometres. The second of the day’s climbs follows the Smugglers’ Pass, which received its nickname for its popularity with the traffickers of contraband in the 1980s. Its relative youth does not detract from the magnificent scenery however, or the difficulty – which is accentuated by a 300 metre long compulsory portage – on the climb to the Coll de la Botella. At the second summit Aid Station 2 awaits, 29.25 kilometres into the stage, and marks the beginning of an awe-inspiring descent. 1 000 metres of rewarding descending, through the Pal/Arinsal bike park, back to La Massana caps the Stage 1 action. The highlight of the day features prominently in that descent, the Commencal DH flow trail.
Stage 2: Ruta del Ferro
Thursday, 4 July 2024
Pal/Arinsal to La Massana
Distance: 45km
Climbing: 1 340m
Descending: 1 960m
Stage 2 features a remote start from the Pal/Arinsal ski station, to the north of La Massana. As on the opening day it is uphill from the gun on day two, with an ascent to the trail head of the World Cup cross country trail through the Seturia Valley. Then its onwards and upwards, once more, towards the Coll de la Botella. Near the summit of the Coll, 19.8 kilometres into the course, the first aid station awaits, whereafter the route follows a contour path to Collada de Montaner, to the south. From those lofty heights the teams will fly down the Sispony Valley, through Camí ral to l'Aldosa and onto the climb to the Coll d'Ordino. Before starting the final climb, Water Point 2 – at the 34.9 kilometre mark, provides refreshments and fuel for the task at hand. Ascending the Ruta del Ferro, or Iron Route, through Ordino to La Cortinada there are quaint villages, mountain vistas and memorials to Andorra’s rich history of ironmongery distract from aching legs. The final stretch, home from La Cortinada to La Massana is blissfully downhill, mixing dual tracks and tarmac for an easy run in to the finish.
Stage 3: The Hors Categorie Stage
Friday, 5 July
Canillo to La Massana
Distance: 61km
Climbing: 2 290m
Descending: 2 440m
Canillo, to the east of La Massana, is the starting point for Stage 3. As the Queen Stage of the race it is not only the longest, at 61 kilometres, but is also the day with the most metres of accumulated elevation gain, 2 290 metres. The day begins benignly enough, in terms of surfaces if not in terms of climbing, with an ascent along the asphalt road up the Incles Valley. From the first summit the Obac path leads down to Soldeu, through the Grandvalira ski resort, and along the golf course’ cart paths. At the 18.75 kilometre mark, in the El Tarter golf course, teams will pass Water Point 1. Nearly 10 uphill kilometres later, at the Funicamp viewpoint, a second aid station – stocked with 226ers gels and sports drinks – provides a much-needed boost for the dual tracks to Zona del Mont Màgic. Spectacular singletrack descents lead from the ski slopes back into Canillo, where a full refreshment station awaits. With 23 kilometres remaining in the stage there is some climbing to be done, but once again the ascent of Coll d'Ordino is made easier by smooth surfaces between sections of dual track and singletrack. At the summit of Coll d'Ordino, after 49.1 kilometres, the final aid station is followed by an opportunity to refill bottles from the crystal-clear water of Font del Mallol before sweeping down to La Massana on a series of forestry roads and singletracks.
Stage 3: Naturland
Saturday, 6 July 2024
Naturland to La Massana
Distance: 51km
Climbing: 1 280m
Descending: 1 650m
Starting to the south, in the Naturland Park the final day is point-to-point affair with a hearty helping of climbing. As is the Andorra Epic Pyrenees way the opening kilometres are uphill. Initially on tarmac, then on singletrack, followed by mountain dual track, teams will climb to the very top of the park’s Nordic ski slopes. In total the first climb ascends 640 metres to the highest point of the stage, at 2 240 metres above sea level. Sunken into the slope, maintaining a strategic stronghold, are a collection of bunkers dating back to the Spanish Civil War. There will be no time to reflect on the history of Andorra’s neighbour to the south however as a high-speed descent, along the Naturland bike park trails soon begins. At Cota 2 000, after 16.94 kilometres, Aid Station 1 allows riders to take aboard refreshments and continue their flowing descent towards Font del Comabella. Then its onwards to Sant Julià de Lòria en route back to La Massana. Skirting Andorra la Vella, the capital city, the route dips on and off asphalt, mixing bike paths with dual tracks. The route north then links up with an irrigation cannel which in turn flows from the Valira d'Orient, which the course follows past a series of beautiful Romanesque bridges and wooden walkways. A final bike park play segment ensures everyone finishes on a high and receives a hero’s welcome on the final finish line.