Held since 2006, the Long Course version of the race (there’s also a ‘Short’ edition and duathlon on offer) swiftly became a bucket list triathlon to rank alongside Escape from Alcatraz, the Norseman and Challenge Roth.
It commences with a 2.2km swim in Lac du Vernay, the EDF-owned lake that’s opened once a year to swimmers for the event. The race then sends long-course athletes off on a 118km venture along roads etched in Tour de France history, taking athletes via smooth French roads over three steep mountain passes, before the pièce de résistance, the 21 hairpin bends on the ascent up the Alpe d’Huez.
The 20km run leg is a three-lap affair at high altitude, which takes place on a mixture of mountain paths and asphalted roads within the majestic setting of the resort of Alpe d’Huez.
The 2018 race was won by the 2013 Ironman world champion, Belguim’s Frederik Van Lierde, in 5:59:52, with Switzerland’s Emma Bilham taking the women’s title.
Alpe veteran and Goal Specific Coaching’s Fran Bungay is penning the seven page report for issue 356 of the magazine (out on 6 September) and described it as the “slowest and hardest Alpe d’Huez Tri ever, with crazy hot 35C temperatures and over 300 DNFs illustrating just how tough it was.”