L’Etape du Tour Mondovélo unveiled

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

In a change with previous years the 2011 cyclosportive run by ASO on the route of a Tour de France stage will be a double-header with two rides.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an open ride where anyone can register to take part and ride the route of a Tour stage on closed roads. Those at the front will treat it as a race and often the fastest rider is an elite licence holder whilst those at the back are battling themselves in an endurance contest to complete the route before time runs out. There’s something for everyone.

For 2001 first up comes the 109km stage from Modane to Alpe d’Huez, via the Télégraphe to the Galiber and then Alpe d’Huez. Next comes the 208km stage from Issoire to St Flour, past the extinct volcanoes of the Massif Central.

Your chance to ride the route of the Tour de France looks a bit deflating, in the year that celebrates the Alps the amateurs are kept to the shortest stage. No doubt the Galibier is hard on any day but 109km is not going to earn many comparisons with the genuine Tour de France experience nor provide bragging rights to someone wanting to test themselves. Note too that the altitude on the profile of 2,556m above is the height of the tunnel, it appears the route will take a short cut and avoid the real pass at 2,645m. Applying a “broom wagon” pace of 15km/h, no rider should take more than seven or eight hours. A decent rider will do this in under four hours.

The ride in the Massif Central looks like a nice day out but again it won’t quite offer the deep association with the Tour de France, the longer 208km route is made easier but the presence of much less climbing. Even if the route is up and down all day again it’s not epic.

Why two rides?
ASO say they didn’t want to turn away too many riders and so this double-billing allows more riders to take part. People will be able to enter a single event or both if they like.

Summary
It all smells of compromise. Unable to offer a big Alpine stage because of logistics, ASO have put forward the shortest stage in the Alps and followed this up with a longer ride a week later that is a nice day out but hardly the epic challenge that most weekend warriors seek.

A shame that the stage from Pinerolo to the Galibier couldn’t be included, the route by the Col d’Agnel and the Izoard is stunning and the final climb up the Galibier is the stuff of legends.

As to the difficulties of organising part of the event in Italy, it’s not impossible and some local cyclosportives already do this, for example the Serre Chevalier and the Claudio Chiapucci have used both French and Italian roads.

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{ 8 comments }

Anonymous October 20, 2010 at 10:55 am

That looks lame. I'm from Germany and have travelled by driving to the Pyrenäen. But for 109km or unknown roads. No way!

Anonymous October 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

I am not excited because I like to feel like I am taking part in the big event. A short ride in the Alps is not good enough, especially given the Etape normally costs much more than anything else. There are other sportives which look like a better choice.

TheInnerRing October 20, 2010 at 11:17 am

German anonymous: the roads in the Massif Central are quite nice and there are some tough climbs. But it is a hard sell, there are lots of nice rides out there.

Second anonymous: you can do the Marmotte of course but the standard of organisation is not the same.

I suspect some people might not do it but the easier version might allow newcomers to take part.

JJP October 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I have agreement, this is not attractive. The Mondovélo should be the queen of the cyclo calendar but this is for children.

I must say also that I like your blog.

Anonymous October 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I really wanted to ride the Etape but now I will avoid it, it is too short for all the travel and money. There are better alternatives in France and Italy.

I'm sorry to say it but the Alpine ride will be full of dangerous riding. The normal distance tends to ensure a better standard of riding but this is too easy and we'll more than the usual level of idiocy.

TheInnerRing October 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Interesting point on the dangers anonymous. I suppose the near immediate start up the Galibier, via the Télégraphe, will allow things to slim down a bit.

Will October 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Sadly, the Alps Etape is slightly pointless given La Marmotte and mi-marmotte cyclosportives. They should have chosen Agnel.

TheInnerRing October 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I agree with you Will, the Agnel is a beautiful climb, and on both sides too.

All the more reason to do it outside of a cyclosportive when you have a better means to appreciate the scenery.

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