Megavalanche is a mass-start downhill marathon-style event mixing gravity-assisted excitement with enduro levels of fitness. It was first staged in 1995, starting from the French Alps town of Alpe D’Huez on the snowy summit of the Pic Blanc and descending 2,000 metres to the lush meadows of the valley bottom at Allemont.
That first edition was won by two French riders, François Dola and Sabine Delmas. Since then, Megavalanche Alpe D’Huez has become increasingly popular with riders from all around the world, including British stars – Helen Gaskell finished second in 2006, Meggie Bichard third in 2010 and 2011, Dan Atherton third in 2012 and 2013, and Tracy Moseley second in 2012. Current champions are Jerome Clementz and Anne-Caroline Chausson.
A second Megavalanche race is now also staged on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, starting at the top of the Le Maido volcano and descending over a course of 20.8 km to the coastal city of St Paul. The latest edition of the race, staged in November 2013, was won by the relatively unknown French BMC rider Francois Bailly-Maitre and Canyon’s Ines Thoma.
From 2005 to 2009, a third Megavalanche race was staged in Peru – many of the world’s top riders took part including Fabien Barel, Cedric Gracia, Rene Wildhaber, Gee Atherton, Claire Buchar, Katrina Strand, Markolf Berchtold, Rene Martinez, Tomas Miser, Remy Absalon, Steve Peat, Brian Lopes, Frank Parolin, and Filip Polc.