Culminating in the world famous gran fondo event, the official Etape du Tour, this trip takes you over the mythical mountains of the Tour de France in the Alps.
The Etape du Tour is a key touchstone of European Gran Fondo events with close to 10,000 cyclists riding every year. The Etape replicates one of the key stages of the Tour de France. The 2018 event follows stage 10 and will start in Annecy and finish on Le Grand Bornand.
Our trip runs the week before the Gran Fondo and will take you through the Alps on a tour of the mythical climbs of the Tour de France. We’ve designed the route to ensure you reach your final objective of the Etape du Tour in optimum condition.TEAM IN TRAINING provides the opportunity to link your cycling experience to fundraising in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). In addition to comprehensive training delivered by Sixcycle (our exclusive app) and an exclusive Team In Training kit, we provide travel incentives as you fundraise to cover a portion of your travel expenses. **$1000 back for every $6000 you fundraise (max. $5000 reimbursement for raising $30,000 or more).**
Welcome to France!
Our staff will meet you at Lyon St Exupery Airport. From the airport we have a short transfer to our hotel in Alpe d’Huez. After checking into the hotel we’ll have our Orientation Meeting followed by lunch, then our mechanics will be on hand to help you get the bikes ready for the first ride.
Our warm-up ride takes us high into the mountains above Alpe d’Huez. First up is the climb to the Col de Sarenne at just under 2000m. From the Sarenne we head back to Alpe d’Huez then we’ll take the little-known road over the Col du Poutran to Lac Besson which sits at almost 2100m.
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 8:30am - either at Lyon St Exupéry Airport or at the Hotel NH Lyon Airport
Today is your opportunity to test yourself on the most famous of all climbs - the 21 switchbacks that lead to Alpe d’Huez! Our hotel is located at the top of this famous mountain so we’ll start the day with the descent to Bourg d’Oisans before climbing back up the famous switchbacks.
We’ll then take the spectacular ridge road through Vilard-Reculas and up to the climb to Vaujany where we’ll double-back and climb back up to Alpe d’Huez, this time via the Pas de la Confession climb.
With a total elevation of just over 4000m, identical to Sunday’s Etape du Tour, today’s ride can be your practice run for the Etape!
We’ll begin the day with a transfer to La Chambre where we’ll start the ride. First up is the incredible climb up the Lacets de Montvernier switchbacks - a huge success in the 2015 Tour de France and included in Stage 12 of this years Tour. A short ride along the valley takes us to the start of the Col du Telegraphe followed by the climb to the famous Galibier.
At 2645m (8678ft), the Galibier is the highest point of our trip and is one of the most spectacular and majestic climbs in Europe.
From the Galibier, enjoy the long descent to the Lac de Chambon where we start our final climb of the day to the Col de Sarenne.
Croix de Fer & Madeleine
Tow legendary HC climbs are on the agenda today - the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col de la Madeleine. See how the legs feel after yesterday’s big ride and maybe choose to ride just one of them - or if you’re feeling fine then go for both of these famous climbs.
From Alpe d’Huez we descend through Vilard-Reculas to Allemont where we start the the climb of the Col de la Croix de Fer. At the summit we’ll back-track for a couple of km then branch off to the right to climb the last 200m of the Col du Glandon.
The long descent from the Glandon takes us to La Chambre and the start of the 20km Col de la Madeleine.
At the end of the ride we’ll have a short transfer to our next hotel, the 15th Century Chateau des Comtes de Challes.
Bauges Natural Park
It’s now time to start tapering off for the big event on Sunday. Our hotel sits in the Bauges Natural Park and our ride today will take us into this beautiful region.
From the hotel, we’ll roll out over the Col des Pres then finish our 70km loop with with the climb and descent of the Col de Plainpalais.
Relax in the afternoon by the hotel pool and maybe it’s a good time to enjoy a massage to loosen up the legs before Sunday.
L'Etape du Tour
We have a short transfer in the morning to Annecy for the start of the Etape.
Battle your way up the Col de la Croix-Fry, where you will be rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view of the Aravis mountains.
Then its on to the 7 km climb to the Plateau des Glières at an average gradient of 11%. You’ll be confronted not only with the steep slope but also the dust on a 1.5 km portion of gravel road before you reach the plateau where members of the local resistance used to hide during the Second World War.
Then it’s up to the Col de Romme followed by the Col de la Colombière, the latter perched at 1,613 metres above sea level. The total elevation gain for the day is over 4,000 metres: the final downhill to Le Grand-Bornand is the well-earned reward for all your hard work.
Unfortunately, our trip must come to an end. Our shuttle will take you to Lyon St Exupéry Airport, arriving at approximately 9:00am.