The 37th edition of the Roc d’Azur off-road biking festival in France, which at 20,000 entrants is the claimed to be the biggest MTB event on Earth, will see the addition of three new rides in the Massif de l’Estérel in South East France.
Taking place this October, there are three new recreational rides in the Massif de l’Estérel (Saint-Raphaël) in which participants get to choose how far they want to ride. Longer intervals between start waves in the Roc d’Azur on Sunday will aim to ease congestion and bolster the experience for riders.
The organising team note that… ‘In line with the pioneering spirit that has characterised the Roc d’Azur since its launch in 1984, the 2020 edition will take participants on a journey of discovery through new landscapes. On Friday 9 October, three new rides held in the Massif de l’Estérel, overlooking Saint-Raphaël, will showcase the majestic beauty of the area, which boasts ochre rocks and jaw-dropping views of the Mediterranean.’
The Rando Roc Estérel, Rando Roc Électrique Estérel and Gravel Estérel will all start from Cap Estérel in Agay.
Another new feature of these rides, ‘which are designed so that even people with average bike handling skills have fun’, is that participants will be able to choose how far to go on the fly. The Rando Roc Estérel and Rando Roc Électrique Estérel will offer lengths of 22 km, 28.7 km and 38.3 km, while entrants in the Gravel Estérel can choose whether to call it a day after 46.8 km or keep pushing for 50.6 km or even 58.4 km.
‘A less congested and more equal Roc d’Azur’
The Roc d’Azur, the grand finale of the event, with over 4,000 competitors taking the start on Sunday 11 October, is also getting upgrades. The race will get going at 08:30 CET, allowing for longer intervals between one start wave and the next to ease congestion on the course.
Meanwhile, the Elite Women’s race will be stretched by 10 km to a total length of 50 km to ‘put the ladies on even footing with the men’. The organisers add, ‘Since the start and the distance will be the same, so will the prize money.’
The Roc d’Azur 2020 programme features 36 events in 6 categories (races, rando races, gravel, electric bikes, triathlon and kids).
The Massif des Maures and the François Léotard nature base, the traditional scene of most races and recreational rides, will remain at the heart of the event. The Tri Roc (Thursday), Canyon Roc Marathon (Friday), Roc Ruelles in Fréjus (Friday), Kid Roc (Saturday), Alltricks.com Rando Roc Noire (Saturday) and Rando Roc Famille (Saturday) offer a variety of riding opportunities.
The Roc Trophy, a series that lasts throughout the five days of the Roc d’Azur, will start on Wednesday with the Rallye Roc XC, an enduro race held on cross-country profiles. It will continue with a 33.5 km race in Roquebrune-sur-Argens on Thursday, the traditional Canyon Roc Marathon (84.5 km) on Friday, a 23 km course on Saturday and, finally, the Roc d’Azur on Sunday.
Fans of gravel riding can take advantage of a special package. This offers special rates on registration for the Gravel Estérel (Friday) and Mavic Gravel Roc (Saturday). Electric bikers can also get their hands on a package including the Rando Roc Électrique Estérel (Friday) and Rando Roc Électrique Noire (Saturday).