• The complete Tour de France experience - including Didi the Devil! (ASO)Source: ASO
More than 12,000 amateur cyclists experienced just what it's like to ride a stage of the Tour de France yesterday on the annual L'Etape du Tour sportive.
By
Cycling Central

17 Jul 2017 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 19 Jul 2017 - 10:50 AM

The event, now in its 27th year, enables cyclists to ride a stage of the Tour de France under the same conditions as the race itself - including roads closed to traffic and prizes for the fastest competitors.

This year, riders took on Stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France - one of the race's hardest stages. The 181km route from Briancon to the summit of the vicious Col d'Isoard takes in three major Alpine climbs and will be raced by the pros on Thursday.

Find out more and sign up here.

Even so, many amateurs put on a performance worthy of the pro peloton, with Norwegian rider Jonas Abrahamsen claiming the men's race with a time of 5h15m26s (an average speed of 34.43 kmh).

 

The champion of the women’s race for the third consecutive year in a row was French rider Edwige Pitel, posting a time of 5h 42m14s and with an average speed of 31.73 km/h.

Indeed, a number of former pros joined the event, including Tour de France podium finishers Jean-Christophe Péraud and Fränk Schleck, and green jersey winner Thor Hushovd.

Regardless of their former pedigree, though, every single rider was able to feel like a member of the Tour peloton for a day: suffering on the slopes of the Col de Vars and the Izoard, feasting their eyes on the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Hautes-Alpes.

“It’s a fantastic idea which gives anyone the opportunity to feel like a pro for a day. I already took part in the event in California, and it was magical to ride in the Alps today”, said Stephan from Santa Monica.

Forty-three per cent of the L'Etape peloton hailed from abroad, representing 72 different countries.

“This is what makes L'Étape du Tour such a unique experience, we really get to ride under the same conditions as the pros. And all of this on a fantastic course steeped in history”, explains 34-year-old Luke from London.

Can't make it to France? Try L'Etape Australia instead

The French Alps a trip too far? You can still get your very own taste of the Tour at L'Etape Australia this December.

L’Étape Australia by le Tour de France is a unique road cycle event that provides an experience as close to riding in the Tour de France as it is possible for an amateur to get.

The event is staged in the Snowy Mountains on 160km of fully closed roads and run under professional Tour de France Race conditions, including a 350m timed Sprint section and two challenging King of the Mountain climbs - the Col de Beloka and the Col de Koscuiszko.

L’Etape Australia - a rider’s view
This weekend, thousands of cyclists lined up in the Snowy Mountains to take on the inaugural L’Etape Australia. Kevin Eddy was one of those riders.

There are two distances; The Race of 157km and the Ride of 126km. The ride includes the Sprint section in Berridale and the infamous first King of the Mountain section Col de Beloka, but excludes the final push up Col Kosciuszko to Perisher.

Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome is also confirmed to ride L’Étape Australia in 2017 – riding from the back of the pack to the front.