Sportive riders who want to pit themselves against a stage of the Tour de France can now make the first step on that road, with entries for the 2015 edition of the Etape du Tour open.
With the route for next year’s edition of the Tour de France unveiled late last month, the Etape du Tour will be held on Sunday July 19 over stage 19 of the race in the French Alps. The stage itself will be held five days later on Friday July 24.
What the 142km ride lacks in distance against previous editions of the Etape, it makes up for in ascent, with the route effectively climbing or descending from the off, except for a rolling 28.5km section early in the route.
The stage starts in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and immediately climbs to 1,533m on the Col du Chaussy. The descent is followed by that short section of rolling road where riders will be well advised to save their legs before three successive ascents: the mighty Col de la Croix de Fer (2,067m), the Col du Mollard (1,638m) and a summit finish on La Toussuire (1,705m) – the climb where Chris Froome launched his short but infamous attack on Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Tour de France. All that makes for 4,609m of ascent.
The ride is capped to 13,000 entries. Individual entry costs 100 euros through the ASO Challenges website, though many tour operators offer packages which include entry and accommodation.
Want to know what you’re letting yourself in for? You can read about RoadCyclingUK’s experience of riding the 2013 Etape du Tour here.