Calves in shape? Is the challenge on? Visit the Herve plateau to start a 138km ride that takes you to the most legendary hills of the Ardennese Classics. Be warned, with more than 2,300 metres of elevation, it's tough on the legs! But you’ll be even stronger afterwards.
How do road cycling professionals prepare for the Ardennese Classics of which Ardennes-étape is a proud main sponsor? By training in the Ardennes with Ardennes-étape of course!
For one of these preparation rides, Christophe Preumont put together this trail which starts from Herve plateau to cycle to Stavelot before returning through Spa and Remouchamps.
Christophe doesn’t forget a thing: “this trail was designed to train on long and demanding hills.” During the 138km, cyclists who love the Ardennes will see a few well-known names such as Wanne, the Col du Rosier or Lorcé hill but will also discover lesser known roads that will strain the cyclists’ calf muscles.
“The trail starts with Trasenster hill. This is quite a smooth and linear hill. We then go to La Vecquée hill by Spa. We'll take the opposite route to the one the professionals cycle in the Doyenne des Classiques.
Then we head to Trois-Points where it starts to get serious with Hezalles hill. One kilometre at 12% on average and heart rates are likely to rise quite a bit. We’ll then find Wanne hill and its challenging descent to the heart of Stavelot.”
The Ardennese tip is to pay attention to the bends in the descent: your wheels face gravel and tight turns.
Stavelot, a well-deserved break
A little stop at the heart of Stavelot to admire the abbey and eat a welcome snack on one of the town centre’s terraces and we’re off to attack the Ardennes again!
“In Stavelot, I propose an alternative to the famous Haute Levée hill: Amermont hill. It's quite nice and narrow and takes us to the peak of Haute Levée,” explains Christophe. We can confirm this, because the Ardennes-étape offices are in Stavelot, and Haute Levée, although is of sporting interest, has little to offer tourists and is not the most pleasant hill to climb.
“We then descend to the Col du Rosier, which is a superb hill for practising,” continues the Bingoal-Sauce Pauwels WB coach. In the middle of the woods, over a great distance, the Col du Rosier delights all the cyclists who are discovering the Ardennes. Although the hill is quite regular, it’s still a hell of a challenge to climb.
At the peak, full throttle on the descent towards Lorcée hill, 15 km from the Rosier. “Although this hill is not often taken by cycling races, it’s ideal for training for events such as the Ardennese Classics,” explains Christophe who’s full of good ideas! This hill should therefore be taken on your preparation for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge where Ardennes-étape will welcome you at the start and finish line.
“After Lorcé hill, we descend to Remouchamps where we find the ‘Monde Sauvage’ or ‘Wild World’ hill, after the famous Ardennes zoo,” adds Christophe.
You’ve been on the road for 100 km. You just have to climb back up to Herve plateau through Prayon and Olne. One last hill on the menu: the Forêt hill which will take you to Olne and the plateau.
The Bingoal-Sauce Pauwels WB coach doesn’t hide it: “this ride is clearly demanding but it makes you stronger on hills and you can take on your next cycling challenges in the Ardennes with power and confidence.”
Discover the GPX file on our Strava club
The complete route is available on the Strava club of Ardennes-étape.
Combining sport and rest in one of our 2,000 holiday homes
With bikes, you can discover the multiple facets of the Ardennes over a day. The green Herve plateaus will take you to the steep forests of the High Fens through valleys where the rivers accompany you along the way.
And why not enjoy this excursion at a professional pace? Follow their tip by booking an Ardennes-étape holiday home from Monday evening to Friday morning for a midweek stay that offers all the advantages for those who love the Ardennes by bike: time for long outings, a place to recuperate in the evening in total peace and quiet and many Ardennes-étape partners who welcome you for a culinary, sports, cultural or adventurous occasions as couple or family.
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