France’s Tro Bro Leon takes place on the far end of Brittany, and is famous for its 25 sections of dirt track and gravel lanes.
This sportive doesn’t mess around. No sooner have you left the start town of Lannilis, than you drop down the hillside to bridge a broad estuary then climb the first rough sector high on the hillside above. It starts with broken tarmac between houses then quickly turns to dirt roads. Like Flandrian cobbles, the best way to handle this stuff is to hammer it.
After a couple of hard, draggy kilometres on smoother tarmac you then descend again to breathtaking stretches of beautifully rugged coastline. If only we could have seen them through the murk.
While the longer ride later looped off for more of this around the most westerly tip of France, my ride turned back towards Lannilis and the remaining ribinoù immediately after the second sector – a well sheltered, gravelly lane with a mohican of grass growing down the middle.
The Tro Bro Leon is nicely connected for British cyclists thanks to the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry connection. To make a weekend of it, take a night crossing on Friday and return late on Sunday.
Missed this? Try this…
The Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic race is the British equivalent of Tro Bro Leon. While the race took place last weekend, the sportive is not until June 16: www.eastmidlandsciclechallenge.co.uk
Kilometres of rough stuff: 5.5km/12.3km
Terrain: Rugged coast and agricultural farmland
Best: Picking the best line across the ribinoù
Worst: Exposure to the elements in the French ‘Land’s End’
This article was first published in the April 25 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!