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Despite scars left by this summer's forest fires in the south of France, the Roc d'Azur MTB festival will go ahead, promise organisers, who plan to plant a tree per race entrant. This year's event is the 20th. With 200 trade exhibitors and 100k visitors, the festival is one of the biggest bike expos in France.

Roc d’Azur MTB event will rise from the ashes

Since 1984, the towns of Fréjus and Roquebrune-sur-Agens, in the Var, have staged the Roc d’Azur MTB festival, now one of Europe’s key mountain bike events, a five day celebration of fat tyres.

However, at the end of July, 10,000 hectares of the Maures massif burnt to a cinder in less than 24 hours. Some of the race routes used by the Roc d’Azur event were wiped out. Some have been rescued but the 45km randonnée course is completely unusable.

“Ccompetitors will ride through routes partly in a green landscape and partly on burnt ground," said Alain Bianchi, director of the races and in charge of the routes for the town of Fréjus.

Havas Sports, the organising company, is donating one euro per competitor – the price of a young sapling – to help the reconstruction of the massif.

“The mountain bike fraternity wants to see the Roc d’Azur restored to its former state, and give back to nature all that it has brought them,” said Bianchi.

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