For the second consecutive year, Team SD Worx is on an altitude training camp in Brides-les-Bains in preparation for the major grand tours Giro Donne and le Tour de France Femmes. Brides-les-Bains is now one of the partners of the best women’s cycling team in the world. The team is extremely successful this year, having already achieved 33 victories.
Brides-les-Bains is a lively and charming town in the French Alps known for its thermal baths and is an ideal base for an altitude training trip. For the second consecutive year, Demi Vollering is also attending this training camp, which is important for her. Vollering is currently number one in the UCI-ranking. This spring she scored victories in Strade Bianche, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold Race, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Fleche Wallonne and Itzulia Women.
“Brides-les-Bains has kind of become our home in terms of altitude stages,” said Vollering, who finished second in the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes last year and won the overall mountain classification. “Last year’s altitude training went very well. The big advantage of this place is that you can go in all directions and indeed find long climbs everywhere. Furthermore, there are plenty of traffic-free roads where you hardly encounter any cars. That always makes cycling a lot more pleasant.”
In addition to Demi Vollering, Niamh Fisher-Black, Blanka Vas and Femke Markus are now in Brides-les-Bains. Coach Anna van der Breggen, herself an Olympic champion in 2016, will join the group later.
Brides-les-Bains lies at the foot of the popular Les Trois Vallées area. It is known for its thermal waters, spa, health cures and healthy food. The Alpine village now also has a strong profile as a friendly cycling destination for men and women.
Brides-les-Bains is also called the Cycling Basecamp in Les Trois Vallées, as many climbs start from here. For example, this is where the climbs to Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens begin, and one can climb the Col de la Loze from two sides. The foot of the Col de la Madeleine and the climb to Valmorel are also just around the corner.
Brides-les-Bains is also the starting point (kilometre zero) of the already famous car-free Col de la Loze, which is once again included in the Tour de France this year on July 19. The Tour passes through Brides-les-Bains for the toughest stage of this tour with the ascent of the Col de la Loze. In the 2020 Tour, Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic fought a bitter duel on this climb with gradients as high as 24%.
The 2304-metre Col de la Loze (summit of the Tour de France 2023) is the spearhead of Brides-les-Bains’ renewed cycling strategy. On July 16, the Alpine town is organising a cyclosportive race, Gran Fondo Col de la Loze. This Gran Fondo is being organised for the fourth time and features a separate start for women. Several routes are proposed to climb the Col de la Loze. Brides-les-Bains therefore presents itself as an ideal base camp for all cycling enthusiasts. Its location and the surrounding mountains allow many cyclists to ride on well-maintained roads with beautiful views.
The town and its lodging providers do their best to welcome cyclists from all over the world. That is why Brides-les-Bains is in the process of obtaining the “accueil vélo” label, which guarantees cyclists that they will be welcomed in the best conditions with, among other things, adapted meals, bike rooms, repair kit in the establishments, a bike store nearby, etc.
In addition to their training sessions, the riders of Team SD Worx will visit the thermal baths of Brides-les-Bains and enjoy a special sports recovery massage. Brides-les-Bains has the largest thermal baths in the Alps (2700m²). After a day on the road, cyclists can recharge in the thermal baths or take a tour on a e-bike.
“Heading into the two most important tours of the year, the Giro Donne and the Tour de France Femmes, this is an important altitude training,” Anna van der Breggen said, looking ahead. “In Brides-les-Bains, we can take several long climbs above 2000 metres. This is ideal for us because we are staying here for three weeks and then the variety in the training routes is welcome. With the Col de la Loze, which is specially built for cyclists and where you don’t encounter any car traffic, we are at the foot of an ideal col for doing certain training sessions.”
Team SD Worx will stay in Brides-les-Bains until June 14th.