The Etape du Tour is probably the most famous sportive in the world. Every year around 10,000 lucky riders get the chance to ride a stage of the Tour de France and test their legs, five days before the professional riders cover the same route.Here Kerry from Revolution Cycling gives us a quick low down of the event:
Organised to coincide with one of the rest days of the Tour, the Etape is on closed roads and has the same support cars and police outriders as the actual Tour, making you feel like a true pro. This July’s classic Alpine stage will provide a stage fit to crown you a Queen of the Mountains.
The event, on Sunday 19 July, replicates Stage 19 of the Tour de France and consists of a challenging 142kms. Starting from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to a mountain finish in the ski resort of La Toussuire (Les Sybelles), the route takes in the Col du Glandon and the Col du Croix de Fer on the way. (NB. The finish at the top of La Toussuire was dramatically featured in the 2012 Tour de France when team-mate Chris Froome attacked and dropped Bradley Wiggins, the wearer of the yellow jersey, before being ordered to go back to help Wiggins.
Etape du Tour: The Route
The 2015 Etape du Tour (pic: ASO)
The 142km route is undulating to say the least! The first climb The Col du Chaussy is 15.4km in length with an average gradient of 6.3 per cent. Both the Col du Mollard and La Toussuire also boast average gradients of more than six per cent, with the final ascent covering 18 kilometres in total.
Etape du Tour: Registration
Registration for the 2015 Etape du Tour has now started. Usually there is a huge rush of registrations on the first day (around 6,500 in the first 24 hours is standard) but it is usually not until January that the full 11,000 places sell out.
Once you have entered, one of the hardest choices is to decide whether to go to the Etape as part of an organised group or whether to make your own arrangements. A good travel company may cost a bit more but it can make life an awful lot easier as they organise travel, race day logistics and often have their own feed stations along the route. However if you plan well in advance and are part of a group of riders, you will save money by making your own plans.
The Etape has become incredibly popular among British riders and in 2014 nearly half of all entrants were from the UK. However, of the 8,460 riders who completed the course in 2014, only 275 of those were women. Perhaps 2015 will see an increase in these figures, with female cyclists being inspired by the success of The Women’s Tour in the UK and the inaugral La Course in France.
So, you decide to enter…..what next? The 2015 Etape du Tour is a serious cyclo sportive requiring good technique, stamina and determination and it is important to do a lot of training in the months preceding the event. So, once you have entered, you must get yourself a good training plan and possibly seek the advice of a qualified cycling coach who can help you prepare for the challenge ahead.
The 2015 L'Etape du Tour takes place on Sunday 19th July 2015. Online entry opened on 6th November.
Kerry, the author of this article works for Revolution Cycling which is a uniquely conceived coaching company focused on female cyclists. Stirred by their own enthusiasm for cycling, motivated by increasing numbers of women cyclists and the boom in women’s sportives and road racing, they decided to design a bespoke coaching service dedicated to female cyclists.
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