Last staged in 1988, Bordeaux-Paris is one of cycling’s ‘lost classics’. Its status as the toughest one-day race in France was something of a misnomer, given a significant part of the race dubbed the ‘Derby of the Road’ took place during the night, making the near-600km parcours all the more gruelling. The spectacle of the world’s finest riders heading into the darkness in the early hours – the race traditionally started at 2am – was once a highlight of the racing calendar. This year marks two anniversaries in this once great race’s history. Not only is it 25 years since the race was last run, but it is also 50 years since the legendary Tom Simpson became the last Briton to win the race, reaching the finish line at the Parc des Princes velodrome in 14 hours.
Can you help raise £250,000 for charity?
To commemorate his achievement, in 2013 Rapha will be recreating this great race as the Bordeaux-Paris 2013 Challenge, a team cycling event run over the famous Bordeaux-Paris route and, crucially, ridden through the night. The aim of the ride is to raise £250,000 for Ambitious about Autism, a charity very close to the heart of Rapha CEO and founder Simon Mottram, whose eldest son, Oscar, has autism.
Relay and team tactics
The Challenge is open to a maximum of 25 teams, each consisting of four riders. In contrast to Simpson’s day, teams on this year’s Bordeaux-Paris Challenge will have 24 hours to complete the distance. And because the emphasis will be as much on enjoyment as endurance, the Challenge has been designed as a relay, with the overall distance broken down into seven segments. To complete the Challenge successfully, each team member must ride a minimum of four segments, with a minimum of two riders on the road at any one time. Team tactics thereafter will be up to you.
The Rapha Bordeaux-Paris 2013 Challenge will take place from the 12th to 15th of September and each participating rider will receive an exclusive Bordeaux-Paris bundle, including a Rapha Bordeaux-Paris Jersey, Bordeaux-Paris Gilet and event roundel. The jersey and its complimentary gilet have both been designed for maximum visibility when riding through the night en route to the French capital, a feature of the Rapha Bordeaux-Paris Challenge that is sure to make the event one of the rides of a lifetime.
Registration and fundraising
The Challenge has been organised by Rapha and Ambitious about Autism, in partnership with specialist cycle event management company, Alpe. In order to reach our target, each rider in your team of four will need to raise £2,500.
An invitation from Simon
My son, Oscar, has autism and has been helped enormously by his school, TreeHouse, which is run by the charity Ambitious About Autism. Please consider joining me next September to ride a lost classic, the Bordeaux-Paris race, and raise much needed funds for the charity.
Founder and CEO