Kicking off in 1984 with a slight field of seven competitors, Roc d’Azur has grown into one of the world’s largest mountain bike events, with over 25 races, 150,000 visitors over five days, a Eurobike-style test camp, a sprawling expo of bike brands from around the globe, and a host of other events.
With torrential rains prior to the event, this year’s Roc D’Azur was a wet one throughout. The first of four packed days of racing was canceled due to flooding. Spectators and racers alike made the best of the unexpected storms by ensuring the restaurants and bars of downtown Fréjus stayed lively.
The weather didn’t keep Roc promoters from creating some fun competition. Here a pair of mechanics try their hands at a tube-changing race on the main stage.
The international representation of cycling companies at Roc d’Azur mirrors that of any industry expo, but this one was entirely open to the public.
The U23 start on Sunday resembled an elite World Cup holeshot for position through the first corner. Departing from the expo center every morning, the races head off into the coastal mountains that overlook this Mediterranean seaside city.
The main focus of the event is a four-day long cross-country stage-race, often contested by some of the greatest XC riders in the world. Race officials didn’t mess about, with crack-of-dawn start times.
There are tandem races, an enduro, a gravel race, several races for kids, and e-bike specific events.
The rain gave way to beautifully clear skies, but a number of riders had trouble navigating the thick mud left behind.
A group of flawlessly talented trials riders was part of the extensive entertainment pool at the Roc expo. The annual event is held at a former French military base and this watchtower in the background is one of many relics from the location’s former life.
When in France, there will be parkour.
Name that trick!
The French Riviera makes for a delightful backdrop to the event, and a solid spot to swim off the mud from a hard day of racing.