First held in 1993, L’Etape (as it is commonly known) gives riders the opportunity to ride a stage of the Tour de France, on 100% closed roads, and with roadside aid stations and mechanical assistance. The course follows exactly the same route as the Tour de France peloton. This is because L’Etape (or ‘The Stage’) always follows the route of a chosen stage from that year’s Tour de France!
The Etape usually takes place in June or July, each year. This means that Tour fanatics get to ride an authentic Tour de France stage route within weeks (and sometimes even before) the professional peloton. The Etape is usually held in the Pyrenees or French Alps, and is no stranger to some of the most famous peaks to ever appear on the tour, including the Col du Galibier, Col d’Aubisque, Mont Ventoux or the Col du Tourmalet. Around 15,000 riders, from countries all over the world, test themselves against the Etape du Tour each year. This, endlessly popular, event usually sells out in a matter of days. But, as an Official Tour Operator for the Etape du Tour, Sports Travel International can guarantee your place on the start-line, long after general sale entries run out.
See how you match up against the pros, in almost professional racing conditions. Compare your time over some of the most famous cols, and iconic climbs Tour de France history. Riding an Etape du Tour is about as close to the professional rider experience as it gets!
Rubbing Shoulders with the Giants…
The Etape du Tour has seen several winners who have gone on to have successful careers in the professional peloton. Christophe Rinero who won the first edition in 1993, went on finish 4th in the 1998 Tour de France. Frédéric Bessy, who won in 1996, was part of a victorious team time trail on stage five of the 2001 Tour de France, and won the 2004 GP Lugano in Switzerland. Blaise Sonnery, who won in 2006, went on to have a successful career with team Ag2r–La Mondiale, between 2007 and 2009.
Many former pros have also tested if they ‘still have it’ on the Etape do Tour. Greats to take on the challenge include; Miguel Indurain, Raymond Poulidor, Eric Boyer, Francois Lemarchand, and Jerome Simon. 3 time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond has completed the Etape on 2 occasions. The first time was in 2000 and, more recently, aged 46 in 2007, he rode the Etape alongside his son.
He said of the day,
“I had the time of my life”, despite getting “650th place” and being “impressed that I even finished”.
In 2021 the Etape du Tour will take place in the stunning Cote d’Azur city of Nice, and its surrounding countryside. The 2021 Etape du Tour will replicate stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France. It is a 177 km route with a total accumulated height gain of 3570 metres.
After starting in Nice, the first of the challenge will be the climb up to the Col de la Colmiane. 2020 was the first time this climb was used on the Tour de France, however, it is a local favourite and featured on both the 2017 and 2018 Paris – Nice. Soon after that, you will climb to the Col de Turini followed by the legendary Col d’Èze. Sean Kelly won the Col d’Èze time trial five times during the seven year peak of his career.
In the final 17-km loop, the hardest bit of climbing, will take riders up to the Col des Quatre Chemins. After that, there will only be only a few kilometres, all downhill, left, before they reach the finish in Nice.
Stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France (Recap) – A Home Victory, and a Frenchman in Yellow
It was French cycling hero, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step), who out sprinted Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), to take his first stage victory of the 2020 Tour de France. The stage saw the first ‘real’ climbing of the 2020 tour, with climbs of La Colmiane and the Col de Turini, as well as the iconic Col d’ Eze.
The 28 year old rider echoed his feats from the 2019 tour, with an exhilarating acceleration on the ascent of the Col des Quatre Chemins, to create a small breakaway, with just a shade over 13 km remaining. Although followed by Hirschi and Yates, Alaphilippe refused to back down. The chasing pack were rapidly drawing in when, with just 200 metres remaining, the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider rose from his saddle, and made one final titanic effort for the line.
The French rider was very emotional upon his stage win, which he dedicated to his recently departed father. Gracious in his victory, he also acknowledged the efforts of his team on the day.
“I gave it everything I could and collaborated with the other riders, and even with the wind on the run-in, we held on and we did it. It’s only stage 2. I’m in the yellow jersey and I’ll do my best [to keep the yellow jersey].” He said to Flobikes, after the stage.
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