I loved this sportive! Departing the Kallimarmaro stadium at dawn and riding out of Athens past the Parthenon is a wonderful start. Averaging 30kph as a moto-escorted peloton we reach the coast and head on smooth undulating highways 85km to Corinth. After a feed stop the peloton splits as we head past the ancient city of Mycenae and into the hills, each sizable group attracting a moto outrider. The climbs are smooth and not steep and the views well worth stopping for if scoring a good time isn’t high on the agenda. A fast swooping descent into Sparta completes the course which at 257kms and nearly 3000m of climbing is a challenge worth aiming at and being in October extends the European season by just a few more weeks. The police close the roads as they see the splintered groups arriving and there is a fine welcome at the finish, sited at the edge of the ancient city itself. Yes, This Is Sparta. At last!
Ably supported by Alex and George from Karma Tours, both experienced cyclists and charming hosts, all I had to do was enjoy the ride with all my needs met. After thanking my fellow riders I followed tradition and bent to kiss the shiny toe of the Leonidas statue which dominates the finish line. The inscription couldn’t be more apt: “Molon Labe” or “Come and Take”