On the opening day of the Fiets en Wandelbeurs in Jaarbeurs Utrecht, La Dolce Via in France was declared Bicycle Route of the Year 2020.
In the final stage of the selection process, the jury had a choice of four nominated routes. Sydkustleden (Sweden), EuroVelo 3 (Belgium) and La Vallée du Loir à Vélo (France) were also in the running for the honour of the title.
The trajectory (120 km) of La Dolce Via runs over a network of former railway tracks in the Ardèche region of France and loops its way around rivers that have cut their way through the rugged rocks of this mountainous landscape. Deep gorges or gullies, bridged by old railway viaducts are a regular feature of the trail.
According to the jury, La Dolce Via meets the criteria for the Bicycle Route of the Year in every aspect. “A wonderful route through magnificent landscape with unique panoramic views,” according to the jury. “The route is practically completely automobile free and cyclists enjoy the peace and space. Utilities such as benches and picnic tables are inviting to cyclists wishing to take a break.” According to jury foreman Bert Sitters, investments in the route have clearly been made with a love for cycling. “The Dolce Via is an example for other routes in development.”
La Dolce Via is the successor to the N8 Baltic route in Denmark, the Bicycle Route of the Year 2019.
The competition to find the Bicycle Route of the Year is an initiative of ‘Hicle/Fiets en Wandelbeurs’ with the aim of stimulating the laying-out of qualitatively good cycle routes at home and abroad. The jury for this year consisted of Bert Sitters, Jessica de Korte and Luc Oteman.