The Roc d’Azur was born in 1984, when Stéphane Hauvette, future president of the French National Mountain Bike Commission, and six companions tackled a 60 km route between Ramatuelle and Saint-Tropez. Since those early days, it has grown to become one of the world’s biggest mountain biking events, spread over five days, and open to everyone regardless of age or ability.
Staged each year in October, the Roc d’Azur festival is based in the town of Frejus in the Var department of south-eastern France, with much of the racing taking place on the nearby tracks of Roquebrune-sur-Argens. In recent years, almost 20,000 participants have taken part in one of a huge variety of races on offer, including cyclo-cross, tandem racing and an 83 km marathon.
However, the highlight of the calendar is surely the closing race, the 56 km Roc d’Azur itself, which dates all the way back to that first seven-man event in 1984. The men’s race in 2013 was won by Frenchman Miguel Martinez, with 2011 champion Moritz Milatz from Germany coming in second. The women’s champion was Elisabeth Osl from Austria.
In addition to the sporting programme, each year the Roc hosts the biggest free mountain biking exhibition in Europe, open to all, as well as activities focused on various disciplines from the world of cycling including dirt, trial and BMX.