Swiss bike fanatic Philippe Armbruster has written himself into history by becoming the first person to complete all six World Association of Cycling Events (WACE) in one year.
Starting with the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March, the 47-year-old from Zurich went on to complete New York’s TD Five Boro Bike Tour, Sweden’s iconic Vatternrundan, the Etape du Tour, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and, finally, the Granfondo Campagnolo Roma.
“I had no idea it had not been done before,” said Armbruster (pictured left). “So it’s fantastic to be the first person and I would recommend it to anyone if you can fit it into your calendar. Each of the rides has its own unique feel and atmosphere and are great events. I find it a great way to discover the world and that is why I like the concept of doing the six WACE events so much.”
Ironically, given he was born and brought up in Switzerland, a country blessed with glorious cycling terrain, it wasn’t until Armbruster moved to London that he really became hooked on the sport.
“I used to cycle to work or to university, but did nothing organised before moving to London,” said Armbruster who works for a software company in Zurich. “When I moved to London, I met a colleague at work who was a road cyclist and she convinced me to join her. It went from there.”
Armbruster, who lived in London for 14 years, is a member of two cycling clubs in the British capital: Team De Ver and Serpentine. He is also a member of the Cycology Riding Club in Lagos, Nigeria.
“I’ve never actually been to Nigeria,” he explained. “But I have a friend who moved there and joined them. Then they came over to London to ride and I went on a week’s training camp with them before the Cape Town Cycle Tour.”
Armbruster describes the South African 109km ride, which is the largest timed event in the world, as an amazing experience, “particularly for a European coming out of our winter to go to a wonderful part of the world with the most amazing atmosphere and views.”
The next stop, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, gave him the opportunity to get to know the real New York. “It’s a fantastic, relaxed event and you see the city in a very different way to the usual tourist,” said Armbruster.
Up next was the Etape du Tour – without doubt the hardest of the six.
“Not only was it the hardest of the six, it was also one of the hardest rides I have ever done,” said Armbruster of the 146km ride from Megeve to Morzine which featured four major mountain climbs. “And I think next year’s is going to be even tougher.”
Vatternrundan in Sweden was special for Phililipe. “Where else can you see sunset and sunrise during the same ride?” July’s Prudential RideLondon felt like coming home.
“I do still feel like a Londoner and I love the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100,” he said. “I have done it every year and it’s fantastic. When else can you get the chance to ride through the streets of central London without any other traffic around? It is special.”
The final ride of the year was another one which he knows extremely well.
“I have done the Granfondo Campagnolo Roma five times now and it is fantastic,” he said. “It combines history, views and atmosphere in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”
Now Armbruster has completed all six events on the WACE calendar, you might think he would be taking it easy in 2017. But that is certainly not the case.
“I’m planning to do at least three of them again next year,” he said. “I’m not sure I could manage all six though!”
To find out more about WACE, visit the website www.wacebike.com