Isle of Man Centurion Tony Mackintosh produced a good qualifying time at the Bourges 24 hour race early March and was handed his invitation on the spot to participate in the 2017 Paris Alsace Ribeauville.
How it works
For the last few years, the Paris-Colmar/Alsace has developed into a stage race with a prologue then a transfer to vehicles and drive to the start of the next stage.
Apart from the prologue and final stage - the race for men and ladies are two distinct separate races, but the route merges at Vitry le Francois on Thursday. The 2017 race sees the usual prologue and then both races restart the next stage later in the evening at Chateau Thierry.
Each competitor must have an official vehicle (inspected by the organisers) decorated with the competitor's name, sponsor banners and flashing lights.
Along the route are control points with a closing time; just to complicate matters, the start of stage 2 and 3 are done in order of classification ie the lead man and woman go first and the rest follow depending how many minutes they completed the previous stage behind the winner.....sometimes it was difficult to find the results of the previous stage - so a lot of hanging around. Of course, it also meant that the slower walkers had less time to complete that section....
More than one walker, especially in the men's race, had to race very hard to meet the cut-off times. Sadly, a few didn't make it.
Timing, and a good sat nav, is of the essence!
Neuilly sur Marne to St Thibault des Vignes: 14.6km
transfer to vehicles
Stage 2 (men)
Chateau Thierry to Epinal: 352.8 km (with compulsory 2 hour rest stop at Bar le Duc)