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L’Étape Is Just 10 Days Away: Are You Ready?

By Martin Atanasov

It’s that time of the year. Our hearts are beating like a death metal drum solo, trying to cope with the excitement that always comes hand-in-hand with the L’Etape du Tour de France.


That’s the only word that can even come close to describing this (literally) breathtaking event that takes place once a year on a Tour de France stage. It’s a chance for us mere mortals to get a taste of what the professionals must endure to take the yellow jersey home. So, let’s get into this exceptional mood right away.

What you need to know about L’Étape 2024

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of L’Étape du Tour de France, it lets non-professional cyclists live the Tour de France experience – closed streets, fans all around, and all the commotion surrounding a Tour de France stage. It gathers more than 16,000 participants and creates an atmosphere worthy of the grandest of all stages. Unfortunately, if you haven’t reserved your spot yet, the event has been sold out for months. So, better luck next year. It usually sells out in a few hours.

However, if you managed to secure a starting bib, you’re in for a treat.

Škoda Team
Škoda Team at the 2023 L’Étape

The Route

Nice is the lucky city that will host this year’s L’Étape. The route will mimic the penultimate stage from the Mediterranean city to Col de la Couillole. Initially, the start was scheduled for July 7th, but due to the unforeseen premature elections in France, it will start a day earlier.

On July 6th, over 16,000 riders will try to conquer the 138-km route in under 10 hours. Now, this may sound like a piece of cake, but don’t forget that this is actually a mountain stage for the Tour de France. The riders will have to climb 4591m during the 138 km.

The first climb of the day is the 10.4km Col de Braus, the only cat. 2 climb of the day with an average gradient of 6.6%. It will be an excellent warmup for the following 20.7km long Col de Turini. While its gradient averages 5.7%, the first 8 km are relatively flat, so the second 12 km is where you will start sweating profusely.

The third climb of the day, Col de la Colmiane, will test your will at a 7.1% average gradient. Luckily, this is a relatively short climb, just over 7.5km long.

Finally, you will have to beat the true monster of the day – Col de la Couillole – a 15.7 km long climb with a 7.1% average gradient. As usual, there will be feeding stations along the way and many places to get some water. Still, it’s worth being prepared.

How you will get back

Now, this is a bit tricky. If you haven’t reserved a shuttle back to Nice, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are a bit late. They are all sold out.

Most people ask someone to come and pick them up from the finishing point. This is not a small favour, as about 10,000 cars pass through a tiny mountain road into the little ski village of Beuil just below the finish line. If you’re not lucky enough to get a ride, you will have to descend about 20 km to Touet-sur-Var and take one of the trains.

Ultimately, if all else fails, you will have to ride the 80km back to Nice on your own and on open roads. Still, it’s predominantly downhill and flat, so you will be able to do it in about 2 to 3 hours.

The Village

Now, this is the main event. The Village will offer 12,000 square meters of pure entertainment. Hundreds of exhibitors will be there to offer you the best deals on their products. You will be able to try and test various cycling products, join some races, enjoy a lot of music, and, of course, get some food and beer. The Village will open its doors on the 4th of July at 10 a.m.

This is where you will get your number. To collect your race number, you will have to show your confirmation of registration with a QR code, your ID card, and your medical certificate (if you haven’t uploaded it into your Time to account). Still, it’s best to have your medical certificate with you just in case.

Are you ready?

Well, you better be. The L’Étape is no joke. Usually, about 30% of participants don’t finish. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, though. Just taking part in this event is a huge win. You will experience the magic that is the Tour de France, with all the fans gathering along the road, cheering you on as if you are the real deal, the yellow jersey holder. It’s one event that you will never forget.

See you there!