This is now a page of its own. I’ll update it as things move along.
This has been stated to death, but it’s true. Cycling is really like no other pro sport. Not only can fans get up close and personal with the biggest and best just by standing on the side of a steep road someplace, but they can actually suffer just like them! All the pros have are bikes and roads and artificial stimulants – well, I’ve got a bike, I live in France, and Red Bull is available at any gas station these days…I’m set!
It must be this special aspect of pro racing that has made the Etape du Tour such a phenomenon. Every year 10,000 riders from all over the planet descend on France to ride one specially selected stage of that year’s Tour – yes, the exact same stage. From the videos I’ve seen it is quite something. The closed roads are lined with spectators (10,000 spouses probably), they have support cars, and even the motorcycle cameramen are there. Assuming you finish, it must be quite the feeling to know you’ve done what the Big Boys do.
So, I’ve registered my sagging gut and bum knee for this short, but stupidly vertical stage next July. This stage is smack dab in the middle of the Alps and has three legendary climbs; the Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez.
Departing from tradition, in an attempt to accommodate more riders, there will be two stages next year. Here’s the other one, in the Massif Central.
If anyone else out there has a similar death wish, registrations just went up today and I didn’t even get into the top 3000 (max 6000 for each stage) – cost = 95 euros.
- This is a free e-guide on next year’s Etape du Tour, put out by the guy who wrote the reviews below.
- Here is an amusing (and detailed) review of an Aussie’s attempt at l’Etape last year.
- And here is the same cyclist’s review of the year before…when he did well!