If you want to tackle some of the steepest and loftiest heights that the Swiss Alps has to offer, then Haute Route Crans-Montana is the event for you. This event may pack in a lot of elevation over three days, but your hard work will be more than rewarded thanks to panoramic views and scenery guaranteed to take your breath away.
HAUTE ROUTE CRANS-MONTANA : JUNE 11-13 2021
Haute Route Crans-Montana gives you the chance to see Switzerland like never before, promising to be an unforgettable experience both on and off the bike.
Find out where the 2021 course ventures below and discover the best of the Swiss Alps in 2021.
STAGE ONE : 96km | 3,500m+ (+47km transition)
Heading out of Crans-Montana, Stage One begins with a descent – giving riders little time to test out the legs before reaching the first climb of the day and the seven-kilometre ascent up to Anzère. Eager to tackle the first climb and knowing there is a 24-kilometre descent afterwards to recover, riders may push up and over this climb a little hastily, but should remember that the following two climbs certainly pack a punch.
The climb to the spa village of Ovronnaz has been featured in the Tour de Suisse but be warned, the professionals make it look much easier than it is. With an average gradient of 9.9%, the roads follow the Salentse river through pine forests and pastures. Enjoy the view over Rhône Valley and Grand Muveran before reaching the feed station at the top. Riders should take time to re-fuel here before pushing on to tackle the last col of the day and one of the finest Switzerland has to offer.
At they pass through Conthey, riders will quickly realise they have started the climb to Col du Sanetsch and that this climb means business, with the first kilometre ramping up to an average gradient of 10.9%. The road winds through beautiful terraced vineyards towards the village of Erde. Here riders can look forward to catching their breath over five kilometres before the road rises up again to an average between 7-10%. A series of steep switchbacks leads out of the forest and into vast open pastures above the tree line. A short stretch of gravel (approximately 200m) and a dramatic tunnel leads to beautiful glacial views will take your breath away as you continue on upwards to the summit finish at 2,252m. Bringing together the quaint terraced villages, ancient forests and stark alpine landscapes, Sanetsch is one of the Switzerland's greatest climbs.
After crossing the finish line at the summit, the timing will stop, and riders can catch their breath and take in the beautiful views. From here, riders will then point for home and enjoy the 47km transition towards Sierre. Here you will then board a cable car back to the event village. Enjoy this moment, as your next trip from Sierre to Crans-Montana will be much harder, making up part of the Stage 3 time trial.
STAGE TWO : 112km | 3,350m+
As the peloton head out of Crans-Montana, they can enjoy ticking off some faster miles before reaching Bramois and turning off left to make their way up the Côte de Saint Martin. This steady climb giving riders the chance to test out the climbing legs after yesterday's effort, whilst taking in the panoramic views, traditional villages and vineyards that surround them. After heading downhill towards Euseigne, riders will then prepare to climb to Barrage de la Grande Dixence - the biggest dam in Europe and the tallest gravity dam in the world, with some steep hairpins to match. This 13.7km climb has an average gradient of 7.7% but be warned, some of the hardest kilometres are saved until last and upon reaching Pralong, prepare for the road to ramp up - with double figures featuring right up to the dam wall.
At 2,110m+, the road stops at the bottom of the dam, with the huge wall towering in front of you. Make sure you factor in some time after the event to visit the lake (and the 700m zip-line) but for now, it is time to finish off this incredible stage as you follow the road back down the way you came. Enjoy the descent and a flatter section before taking on the 15km climb from Lens to Crans-Montana, with the added motivation that once you have completed this 1,000m elevation gain, you can look forward to a well-deserved massage and post-stage meal after an incredible day on the bike.
STAGE THREE : 15km | 1250m+
Leaving Sierre, riders should prepare to get sweaty as they leave the sunniest city in Switzerland and take on the 15-kilometre time trial up to Col de Crans-Montana. Enjoying the beautiful Chateau Mercier leaving the city, riders head towards a road off the beaten track, surrounded by vineyards.
This climb offers little respite, so make sure you pace your effort whilst hunting down the riders in front and racing against the clock. You will reach the hardest kilometre (10.4% average gradient) before Aminona but after this you can look forward to leaving the forest and taking in the panoramic views of the peaks of the Valais. This is a fitting backdrop and a breathtaking end to your Swiss cycling experience, as you grind over the final few kilometres before crossing the line as a finisher of Haute Route Crans-Montana.
Find more course details and maps at the event page.