As my sister in Kapuskasing posts weather graphics of -39C, in the south of France a part of the professional peloton is getting ready to rumble in short pants. First up is the GP La Marseillaise, a one-day race that used to be part of the stage race that follows. The parcours takes in the sunkissed backcountry of France’s 2nd largest city, often finishing in a bunch sprint on fast, straight and wide Boulevard Michelet.
GP La Marseillaise: January 30
Three days after the Marseillaise is the first stage race of the season in France, l’Etoile de Bessèges. This one’s our local race – if you’ve ever ridden with us near Nimes there’s a high probability that you’ll have been on some of the parcours. This race has been attracting some bigger non-French teams lately and we’ll see Ineos, Trek-Segafredo, Israel Start-up Nation and UAE Emirates this year. 2022 will see a finish on mighty Mt. Bouquet again – the steepest little monster we have around here (sections of 20%+).
I’m very happy that road racing is returning because, although I’ve been trying really hard, watching cyclocross races just isn’t doing it for me. Maybe it’s because two riders win nearly every race.
l’Etoile de Bessèges: February 2-6