After over 3000 miles of training, crashed bikes and an understanding wife, Stuart embarked on his second L’Etape du tour. Completing stage 18 of the Tour de France just a few days before the professional teams and Chris Froome in the yellow jersey was indeed going to be a challenge!
Around 15,000 participants representing 72 nationalities set off from Briançon for a superb edition of l’Étape du Tour, 181 km long interspersed by the climbs of the renowned Col de Vars and Col d’Izoard. Just like the professionals who will ride in the 18th stage of the Tour de France on 20th July, these thousands of cycling fans took part in the legend of the Big Loop and enjoyed an incredible experience.
Three climbs, with a total of 3,529 m of elevation gains, were on the schedule of this 2017 edition of l’Étape du Tour. After the Côtes des Demoiselles Coiffées, the Col de Vars, which reaches 2,109 m at its highest point, represented the first major difficulty of the day (9.3 km at an average gradient of 7.5%) then the Col d’Izoard, crossed 33 times by the Tour’s professional peloton, interspersed the route’s 181 km, taking the participants to 2,360 m after a 14-km climb (with an average gradient of 7.3%).
Stuart completed the event in just over 7hrs 40mins. Beautiful scenery and smooth roads made it a day he’ll remember for a long time!