For its 29th edition, on 21st July, the Étape du Tour de France will take over the route of the 20th stage on the Tour de France. For the occasion, this leading cyclo-sportive race has decided to hit the heights, travelling from Albertville to Val Thorens, taking in 135km and 4,563m of positive gradient.
Before reaching the summit, the participants, like their professional counterparts, will have to work hard to tame a technical and demanding route.
- 16,000 amateurs will be in attendance to participate in this year’s Étape.
- The figures are dizzying: 135km, 4,563m of gradient, three passes including one HC pass, and a finish at an altitude of 2,365m, the highest in the event’s history.
- New to the Tour de France, the dizzying Notre-Dame-du-Pré descent will be tricky, boasting slopes with a downhill gradient of up to 9%
Soon after the start in Albertville, the route will climb out of Beaufort to the Col de Méraillet, a 11.8km climb with an uphill gradient of 7.31%. Once it has been ascended, the riders will have 2.5km of valley with an view of Roselend Lake before reaching the Cormet de Roselend and its 5.5km slope with a gradient of 5.9%.
Following this first category 1 obstacle, a long 19km descent will allow the riders to recharge their batteries slightly. However, due to several tight turns and a downhill gradient of 6%, more speed but less haste will be the order of the day.
When they reach the half-way point, there still remains a second significant obstacle: the Côte de Longefoy and its 6.7km with an average gradient of 6.8% (a timed section), followed by a further effort over 4km to reach the Col du Tra, the highest point of this second category climb (1,311m), before passing through Notre-Dame-du-Pré.
The event organisers note that the next portion of the route is unprecedented… ‘Whilst the scenery leading up to Moutiers is breath-taking, the riders will have to remain wary of the winding segments on the descent, because there is a downhill gradient of up to 9% on a portion that includes several hairpin bends.’
With Moutiers behind them and following 4km in the valley, the participants will be able to set their minds on the final challenge: the climb up to Val Thorens. They will have to battle with tiredness to shine on the 33.5km ride up this HC pass with its average gradient of 5.5%, via the balcony-like road through Saint-Laurent-de-la-Côte, then Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, a breeding ground for many Olympic champions.
All that remains is the finish, where participants will have to brave the thinning air and dropping temperatures as they climb the last 7km with its 7.5% gradient.
‘The finishing line will then be in touching distance and the finishers will be invited to savour the moment with a well-deserved snack as they reflect on how they have worthily preceded the professional riders on what will be one of the decisive stages of the 106th edition of the Tour de France.’
There were two price bands for the now sold-out event:
- €115 per race number for the quickest to register, up to a total entry limit of 15,000 race numbers.
- €135 for registrations after 5th November 2018 and up to a total limit of 15,000 race numbers.
Alongside the leading event that brings a huge amount of riders to the roads of Le Tour in France, race organiser A.S.O adds that there is also a world tour to meet cycling enthusiasts on all the world’s continents.
In 2019, 15 different L’Étape by Le Tour de France events will take place in 10 countries: Mexico, China, United Kingdom, Colombia, USA, Brazil, Thailand, Morocco, Australia and France.