I’ve zero experience of this sort of thing … but that looks a bit soft for an etape doesn’t it? Or have i just been desensitised by watching too much of the pro race over the past few years? 3.5k of climbing in 180km doesn’t seem that big a deal? Or is it more about the fact you’re riding on a stage of the tour as opposed to being a savage event in itself?
There was definitely an element of it being a pretty cool experience to have some of the razzmatazz that goes with “the Tour”, and the closed road descents were a lot of fun.
But in general, I’d agree. I finished this year’s saying it was the hardest thing I’d done. Way harder than IM (altho that may well be down to relative preparation for the two). However, the 2020 one looks like I could probably do it tomorrow if I took my time.
Nice is nice though. And if timing had been better, I may have considered it just as a fun trip and a good training day. You just can’t get those kind of climbs in this country, and I don’t think I’d ever be as confident on the descents as you can be when you know it’s 100% closed roads, so a diy training weekend isn’t entirely the same.
when I did it in 07, Fois to Loudenvielle, 127m, 5 mountains, 30odd degrees, tarmac melting down inclines, many getting off and pushing or hiding in the shade. Mentally, toughest event I have ever done. Even tho 10odd hours was never going to get me a podium, it was a nice event and achievement, esp not pushing bike or getting off and chlling in the shade.
The blocked off to traffic 127 miles were fun as well, especially passing the all of the ambulances down the moutains!!
That resonates with my experience this year. Except it was “only” 135k and 3 mountains (but totalling nearly 65k of climbing). And the temps hit 40 on my Garmin mid way up the final climb. As you say, the amount of people hugging the cliff face up to Val Thorens was pretty remarkable. It was as if people had become vampires!
Mentally toughest event sums up my thoughts exactly!
I now see it’s only stage 2 of the race. Makes a bit more sense as to why it isn’t a beast now.
I have to say, that sounds pretty thrilling!
I did this on the Friday before the Etape, but went up the Courcheval side and down the Meribel route. It was savage enough the way we did it. Everyone we met at the top who had done it the other way was saying how much harder it was from the other side. Just riding down, there were a couple of points I felt close to falling over the handlebars! The Courcheval side had only opened a couple of months before, and the Meribel side only a couple of weeks. So it doesnt surprise me they don’t even have a stage profile for that one yet! It’s going to be cozy at the top … there’s not much space for more than the finish line. There is a fairly flat expanse a short way down the Courcheval side, near one of the main ski lifts, so that might be where all the podiums etc will be.
Interesting to see they’ve stuck the Cormet de Roseland in the route again. That was the bit they had to cut on the final Saturday this year, that we did as the first climb on the Etape. Although looks from the stage profile like they are doing it in reverse. Maybe Beaufort etc, had paid a fair bit of money last year and ASO needed to keep them sweet!
It used to be the queen stage of the tour but in recent years I think they have kowtowed to all the mamils who don’t have time to train and lose weight (if needed) but want to do it. So it is often a ‘mid level’ stage.
In 2012, which was the hardest of the etapes I’ve done, I think about 1/3rd of the field finished after the cut off.
Definitely not the case last year. Was apparently one of the hardest one’s they’ve done.
I think logistics play a large part. For example, the Col de la Loze stage would be impossible to host the Etape due to the lack of any space at the finish whatsoever (hence my surprise it’s hosting a summit finish even for the main race). So each year, they only have so many mountain stages to choose from that can deal with the masses of riders that the Etape brings