The 26th edition of the Roc d'Azur is happening in Fréjus, Roquebrune-sur-Argens and Sainte-Maxime in France from October 7-11. Though the first event attracted just seven riders, in 2005, there were 14,000 participants, and even more are expected this year. The Roc D'Azur features long mountain bike rides and competitions and caters to amateurs and professionals. There is also an exhibition with over 200 vendors also features.
The Roc D'Azur brings the European mountain biking season to a close. It'll be the last time we see many of our favorite elite racers for several months.
The two main events for the top riders are an 83km marathon on Friday, October 9 and cross country races for various categories on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11.
Two-time Roc d'Azur winner Christoph Sauser will be returning to compete. He'll be joined by World Cup champion Julien Absalon, Ralf Naef, Andreas Kugler, Jochen Kaess, Emil Lindgren, Oli Beckingsale, Marc Trayter, James McClusky, Marti Gispert, Rudi van Houts, Thomas Dietsch and Marc Colom just to name a few riders.
Past winner Bart Brentjens will be absent; he is competing instead in the Bart Brentjens Challenge, and Jose Antonio Hermida will also not be there; he'll be racing some Spanish Cup cyclo-cross.
On the women's side, four crosser Anneke Beerten will race will World Cup cross country star Lene Byberg, Elena Gaddoni, Sue Clarke and two-time former winner Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå.
There is no word yet on whether defending champions Roel Paulissen and Elisabeth Osl will attend.
Roc d'Azur 2009
Wednesday, October 7
Génération Roc (Free event for schoolboys and students from the Académie de Nice)
Thursday, October 8
Enduro Roc, start at the Col de Valdingarde / finish Gaillarde
Rando Subaru ROC Challenge
Friday, October 9
Roc Marathon 83
Subaru Pro Roc
Rando Roc Odyssey
Roc Ruelles in Fréjus (70 teams of 2)
Saturday, October 10
Roc d'Azur Women and Junior Women
Rando Roc Noire
Roc Ruelles of Roc Brunes (70 teams of 2)
Rando Roc rouge, first start
Sunday, October 11
Roc d'Azur 15-16-yr-olds
Roc d'Azur Junior women
Roc d'Azur Junior men
Roc d'Azur Elite and Under 23 men
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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