3RIDES brings three delightful bike marathons to the border triangle

Aachen, January 26, 2022: 3RIDES, Europe's most diverse cycling event (May 12-14 at the CHIO in Aachen), today unveiled the scenic and athletically challenging routes of its cycling marathons. On May 14, participants in the second 3RIDES will have the choice of three versatile courses that bring together the cycling enthusiast regions in the border triangle in a novel way. Participation in the Gran Fondo (200 kilometers), Medio Fondo (170 kilometers) and Mini Fondo (142 kilometers) is now available for booking on the 3RIDES website. For all Fondo registrations until the end of January 29, the participation price is reduced by 5 euros (40 euros instead of 45 euros).

Professional coordination for three-country tour

"As a traditional organizer of cycling races and also cycling tourism events here in Wallonia, we are particularly pleased to be able to set up this new offer in our beautiful border region," says Fernand Lambert, president of the Liège cycling association "Royal Cyclist's Pesant Club Liégeois" (RCPCL), which is also responsible for the project on behalf of the "Fédération Cycliste Wallonie Bruxelles" (FCWB) in the province of Liège. Fernand Lambert is responsible, among other things, for the local organization of the spring classics Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallone as well as the associated cycling tours, which he organizes in cooperation with Tour de France organizer "Amaury Sport Organisation" (ASO). "In Belgium alone, there are high safety requirements for such Gran Fondos and the coordination effort with three countries involved is great," says 3RIDES CEO Björn Müller, "so we are particularly proud to be breaking new ground here." This requires close coordination with administrations at the municipal and provincial levels.

Challenging routes through the border triangle

Fernand Lambert and his project partners in Germany and the Netherlands have designed three routes that highlight the diverse characteristics in the border triangle. "It won't be as tough and mountainous as, say, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but definitely a challenging route," says organizer Fernand Lambert. The tourist aspect, however, is in the foreground for all three routes, not the competition. In the Netherlands Milan van Wersch is responsible for the coordination and organizes the part of the cycling tours in South Limburg and in the Belgian Voeren.

Kids Race and Family Program

"To combine our charming, hilly landscape in the south of the Netherlands in one route with the Belgian Ardennes is quite something," he says. Van Wersch emphasizes that the 3RIDES not only attracts road cyclists to the course, but also entire families to the grounds. "We think that's very important. It's an event where children will also have fun on the bike with the Kids Race, for example, and all the relatives will have a fun time together on the grounds," says Van Wersch. The head of the Limburg Cycling Association considers fun and access for children and young people to cycling to be particularly important in opening up new perspectives for the sport.

Development of competitive sports through Junior Tour 2024

These cycling marathons and the successful cooperation across national borders also mark the start of a collaboration that is also aimed at junior and competitive sports. "Starting next year, we want to establish a Junior Tour here in the border triangle that brings all three nations together," says Fernand Lambert. Starting in 2024, juniors will then compete for an overall ranking on two days on courses through all three countries. "For us, this is a very important goal because we want to develop the sport of cycling and we can also promote understanding across borders with the sport in particular," says Björn Müller.

Three days event in May

The 3RIDES event will run from May 12 to 14 at the CHIO grounds in Aachen and will feature a large cycling and adventure exhibition as well as a program focus on e-sports. Interested people get information about new bikes and everyday mobility. Music and art are just as much a part of the three-day program as racing bike marathons, in which participants explore the scenic and sporty surroundings of the Unesco World Cultural Heritage Aachen Cathedral.

The three routes at the 3RIDES Cycling Marathon: Gran Fondo, Medio Fondo, Mini Fondo

Mini Fondo, 140 kilometers, 2,000 meters of altitude: After the start, the route goes through the Würselen forest in the direction of Stolberg. Here the scenic route becomes hillier. Via the Jägerhausstraße, we head up into the North Eifel National Park, to the poisonous climb to Rollesbroich. Beautiful stretches with undulating profile and rapid descents lead via Hammer, Rohren and Kalterherberg to the Belgian border. In the High Fens, the highest climb in Belgium, Mont Rigi (about 700 meters above sea level), beckons. Here starts a 13-kilometer descent to Eupen, the seat of government of the German-speaking Community of Belgium. Past the Weserbachtalsperre, the route winds through eastern Belgium. After crossing the border at Hergenrath, the route leads on the German side past the architecturally outstanding University Hospital Aachen and back to the 3RIDES grounds (CHIO).

Medio Fondo, 170 kilometers, 2,400 meters of altitude: If you want to explore the border triangle by road bike, the Medio Fondo is the place to be. As with the Mini Fondo, the route first leads through the Würselen forest in the direction of Stolberg, the gateway to the northern Eifel. This is followed by the climb into the national park and the poisonous climb to Rollesbroich. With a dream view we continue towards the Rursee. The undulating profile follows via Hammer, Rohren and Kalterherberg to the Belgian border. Over Belgium's highest ascent, Mont Rigi, we start the descent to Eupen. Through the picturesque East Belgium and then in Sippenaeken, the route leads to the Dutch border. In Zuid-Limburg, the course winds along small paths and roads through the landscape familiar from the Amstel Gold Race. It goes to Vijlen, to the highest village of the Netherlands, to Bocholtz and Simpelveld. From Kerkrade the route leads back on German soil towards the finish.

Gran Fondo, 200 kilometers, 3,200 meters of altitude: Mountain bikers and climbing specialists can let off steam at the Gran Fondo, because the border triangle around Aachen, with the foothills of the Ardennes and the northern Eifel, is an ideal starting point for fantastically beautiful low mountain ranges. The initial phase is the same as for the other two routes. Across the Hautes Fagnes, we enter the Walloon part of the province of Liège. Here awaits an executioner, the Côte de la Ferme Libert, which has also been crossed in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling classic. Passing the car racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, the route goes uphill and downhill along small paths through Hockai, Solwaster and past the La Gileppe reservoir near Jalhay. Shortly before Eupen, the route passes through beautiful villages in the direction of Henry-Chapelle and Hombourg before entering the Dutch part of the route at Sippenaeken. In Zuid-Limburg, the route winds through the countryside on small paths and roads. It to the highest village in the Netherlands, Vijlen, and then to Bocholtz and Simpelveld. From Kerkrade, it's back on German soil towards the finish line.

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