This year’s L’Étape du Tour will be held on Sunday, July 10 2016 It’s a break day for the Tour and it’s not for the faint of heart. You will need nerves of steel and buckets of energy to overcome the challenge. Nerves of steel to climb the first three mountain passes of the day at your own pace. Buckets of energy to crown the Joux-Plane, an hors catégorie summit that stands as the final obstacle before plunging to Morzine, where you will get some well-deserved recognition.
The original idea behind the L’Étape du Tour was to allow amateur cyclists to experience the breathtaking beauty and muscle-burning rigor of the Tour de France mountain stages. And with up to 11,000 riders participating in the event, the concept has not changed in the two decades since the first race. The race features closed roads, support cars, feeding stations and a broom wagon to pick up the stragglers.
Participants are mostly men in their 40s, geared up in all the latest kit, with a handful of women and some lean and wiry old-timers on old-school steel-framed bikes filling out the ranks. The race usually starts quite early, with participants distributed according to their ability levels: the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back. Many riders don’t finish the race at all. The peloton quickly stretches out, creating a constant flow of cyclists on the route. The last riders usually need more than 10 hours to cross the finish line, though historically there have always been many who don’t finish the race at all and end up taking a bus or lorry back.
Notable moments in the history of the L’Étape du Tour include famed cyclist and three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond racing with his son in 2007. After the race he was quoted as saying, “I had the time of my life, despite getting 650th place. I was impressed that I even finished.”
Registration for the L’Étape du Tour 2016 is already closed, but if you think you can tackle the backbreaking climbs and keep up with the peloton, we’ll be giving away 7 spots in the starting line plus accommodation. Contest winners will be part of the Škoda WeLoveCycling Team and wear WeLoveCycling jerseys.Sign up for the contest now!