L'Etape du Tour - Act 1


You did it!

Edito It was a huge mountain, like Mount Everest! You have reached the challenge with thousands of others. You took the risk of actually attempting this athletic endeavor on one of the most difficult terrains that one can imagine. You pushed back your limits and made it to the end of one of the most passionate interior journeys possible.

We would like to congratulate you all for your courage, your sense of organization, and your management of effort on the slopes of the Alps and the Pyrenees which were particularly surprising. Bravo to those who finished their effort within the required delays.

Whether it was your first or tenth year of participation, the Etape du Tour always reserves some surprises. This year, the sky and weather played a number of tricks. Between Albertville and La Toussuire, the rain that was present at the start quickly gave its place over to a brilliant sun. In consequence, the last climbs were complicated because of the heat. Between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon, it was the cold that bothered a number of racers, particularly during the long descents from Soulor and from Tourmalet.

There were many of you that put all your strength into the battle of the Etape du Tour without being able to make it to the finish line. For both Act 1 and Act 2, we recorded a number of withdrawals. A number of participants mentioned that their level of preparation as well as their logistical approach had been insufficient for this Etape du Tour, especially as far as clothing was concerned because of the weather conditions of this 2012 edition.

We encourage you to renew your experience next year, and to give yourself as much of a chance as possible with a regular and ambitious training program. The big biking family never leaves anyone on the side of the road. In 2013, you will make it to the end!

For many, it’s holiday time, or at least time for less pressure in your sports program. Take the time to recuperate. You deserve it! And take the time to relive your Etape du Tour, to better appreciate the immensity of your accomplishment.

Again, Bravo! We will see you again next year for some new adventures on the roads of “la Grande Boucle”…

The hour of truth!

Edito July 2012. For now and the next few days, there are you and the others. You are ready to attack effort with a capital E, and the others are getting ready to slip into the comfort of summer which is well on its way.

The “Grande Boucle” is a legend. In a few days, you will live the legend from the inside. We are offering you some logistical reminders on some of the more important points in this newsletter so that your race will take place in the best conditions possible.

Don’t hesitate to visit our website for more details, and don’t forget that we will be available to answer your questions at the Village when you come to pick up your number.

Albertville and Pau. La Toussuire-Les Sybelles and Bagnères-de-Luchon. The start and finish cities of the Etapes du Tour are ready to welcome you. Weeks of work have taken place prior to your arrival on the slopes of the Madeleine or the Tourmalet, the Glandon or the Peyresourde. Don’t forget that you will be the scouts for the Tour de France. The pros will hit the same slopes as you just a few days later…

Thousands of bikers of all levels visit the Alps and the Pyrenees every year. They often dream of the special ambiance that is so prevalent in the heart of France’s summer.

And here you are! It is now the hour of truth for all at their own level. In the end, everyone has some points in common. See the heights, let go of nothing, and live the vertical adventure to its end. We wish you a beautiful journey and happiness that fulfills your expectations. Have a great time!

The time of your life

Edito The preparation, bringing you up to the big day, has lasted for months. You are now ready to arrive at the base camp. What is waiting for you is huge. However, it’s not Mount Everest!

Your methodical and rigorous training will not melt away in the July heat. It’s unnecessary to panic just because you may spend a few days away from your bike (at least not on it) and that you may offer your body a little bit of needed rest before arriving at the start line.

You will be among almost one thousand athletes at the start line of the 2 steps of the Madone Challenge. 350km on some of the most legendary and demanding roads of the “Grande Boucle” that will test you over six days. To encourage you and congratulate you for your daring, Trek (partner to the Etapes du Tour) is offering a 30€ coupon that you may pick up at Trek’s stand at the Village before the race.

A reminder for this edition: this year, for the first time, the climbs will be timed. Therefore, the Challenge Grimpeur allows each participant to compare themselves to their friends, the best bikers, and even the pros…

We will remind you in an upcoming newsletter, which you will receive in the next few days, of some logistical points that will allow you to concentrate fully on your effort. One tip beforehand: don’t scatter yourself. Review your road check and necessary logistics to avoid too much stress. Each detail is important: transportation, lodging, picking up your number, outfit, and refreshments to carry.

Don’t neglect anything, not even after the race, a moment of great happiness and total abandon. It’s possible that you might not be completely lucid. Be organized in such a way that you will not need to make complicated decisions in terms of your effort. The big day is almost here. You will soon reach great heights, and the magnificent journey to the best of yourself.

Head to the mountains!

Edito Summer is on its way, and in summer, the roads are climbing. Head towards the height of the mountains, use no motors or outside help, use only the force of your legs. Maximal will-power will be necessary…

The Etapes du Tour 2012 takes place in the mountains. Acte 1 takes place in the Alps between Albertville and La Toussuire. Acte 2 takes place in the Pyrenees between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon. Each has 4 climbs. No small asphalted hills here, nothing but serious and intense ascent. Take out your calculators. Madeleine, Glandon, Mollard, and La Toussuire: 70km of at least 6% gradient average in the Alps. Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, and Peyresourde: 57km of at least 7% gradient average in the Pyrenees.

Would you like to find out what you are made of? Here is an opportunity! We have created the Challenge Grimpeur so that you can precisely measure the quality of your efforts. Chronometric rugs will be installed at the bottom and top of each climb, allowing you to compare your real mountain times with those of your friends and the highest level bikers who are participating in the race. A classification will be established to distinguish the best performance climbers.

Another challenge that will be launched during the 2012 Etapes du Tour 2012 is the Madone Challenge), which consists of linking two steps. There are already almost 800 participants with the ambition of climbing 8 of the most legendary mountain passes in the history of the Tour during the same week. .

An exceptional effort calling for preferential treatment! Each Madone Challenge participant will receive a 15 euro coupon from our partner Trek, valid for any purchase of Trek bike pieces, as well as the Bontrager line of accessories and pieces (wheels, tires, shoes, and clothing) at Trek/Bontrager sellers (date of validity until 10/30/2012).

July in France is calling. There are still a few weeks left for studious training before attacking the big adventure of the year. Take advantage of this preparation period to weigh your chances. Summer is almost here, and you are already a hero!

Make it to the top!

Edito A few weeks are left before hitting the roads that will bring you to greater heights! In the heart of the grandiose scenery of the Alps and the Pyrenees, France’s July will be convivial, joyful, and full of the souvenirs that make up the history of its Tour de France.

A few weeks are left before the two 2012 Etapes du Tour. You are, without a doubt, in great shape. Be careful now not to add useless miles to your training. You should focus on quality and recuperation. Be coherent with the mountain course that is waiting for you.

If you have decided to participate in Act 1 between Albertville and La Toussuire, we would like to remind you that the Savoie station offers a “pack cyclo” from 97€ per person. You can choose your lodging for July 7-12 and live the Etape du Tour Cyclo (8 July) and the Etape du Tour de France (July 12) on the inside. For information, contact the La Toussuire Tourist Office.

Six days after the Alps on July 14, Act 2 will take place in the heart of the Pyrenees mountain range from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon. The four mountain passes on the program will give you goose-bumps; Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, and Peyresourde! The ambiance will be very festive, without a doubt, because of the national holiday. Soak up these privileged moments of camaraderie, and take in the incredible energy of the riding group, even at the height of your effort.

A few more weeks before thousands of cyclists arrive from America, Asia, and other European countries to the heart of the French mountains. For those who hesitate to sign up, just remember that the magic of the “Tour” is something that should not be refused. Join us for the adventure!

Will you dare the double challenge?

Edito You only have a few months to get ready for the 2012 Etapes du Tour. Spring is the perfect time to take long rides often. It will be worth the trouble. Be enthusiastic and creative in your training. On July 8 and 14, the Alps and the Pyrenees will be yours, and it will then be too late to regret being unprepared!

For those that hesitate to take part in the adventure by registering for one or both sections, we remind you that nothing can replace the emotion felt by living the Tour de France on the inside.

Yes, Act 1 is difficult. Yes, Act 2 is maybe even more difficult, but the Tour is like that. It’s part of the July magic. In 2011, 318 of you triumphed in the Madone Challenge which consists in finishing the 2 acts. This year, we are convinced that there will be more of you. Better prepared and aware of your capabilities, you can achieve two remarkable athletic challenges in less than one week. Are you up to it?

So that you can focus your preparation on the most detailed logistical points, we have recently published precise course maps as well as information on the different refreshment areas. All details are now available on the website:
Act 1
Act 2

If you haven’t already reserved your lodging, we suggest that you contact the tourist offices of the “start” and “finish” cities. A number of different choices and formulas for accommodation are available.

Less than a hundred days left, it’s time to get serious. Participating in the Etapes du Tour is accepting to make some sacrifices, to put oneself on the line, to escape from routine, and to live the apotheosis of a biker’s life. July 8 and 14, the mountain passes of the Alps and the Pyrenees are yours, just for you. Go for it!

Test yourself on the Climbing Challenge

Edito During July, don’t lounge around by the pool when you can attack some mountain passes on a bike! Not little hills, but real steep mountains with high altitude summit offering mysterious emotion at the heat of effort.

This year for the first time, the “Etapes du Tour” will visit two of France’s mountain chains.
Act 1 takes place on July 8 in the Alps between Albertville and La Toussuire.
Act 2 takes place July 14 in the Pyrenees between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon.

The choice of villages and start zones has received particular attention. We have chosen Albertville, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games, to launch the race, at the same spot where the Olympic flame lit up the city in 1992. The bikers will ride for three kilometers in the center of Albertville before taking the direction of the Madeleine pass.

Each ascent will be timed allowing participants to appreciate their efforts.

Six days later in Pau, the Village will be installed in the Parc des Expositions, in the heart of this bubbling city. The start for this race in the Pyrenees will be unusual because all of the participants will be reunited at the Place de Verdun, using the 2008 format which created a convivial and relaxed ambiance.

The novelty of the Etapes du Tour 2012 is situated at altitude where a Climbing Challenge will be inaugurated. The four mountain pass climbs from bottom to top will be timed over Act 1 and Act 2, allowing each participant to compare his time with those of the pros, and certainly with those of friends present at the race.

For those who have the ambition to test themselves on the difficulties of the Alps and the Pyrenees, the next few months of training will be for the mountains. It’s the price of the exploit. In July, all French cyclists dream of the Tour. Frankly, would you exchange a place on your bicycle for a nap by the pool?

More information

Will you dare the double challenge?

Edito Mountain passes have memories and can tell epic stories of the heros that have climbed them. The Alps and the Pyrenees: this year the two Tour de France trials that we offer cyclists visit these two large French mountain ranges, two occasions to live the myth of the Tour from the inside and to test one's capacity to achieve these important endeavors during the same week.

Act 1 (July 8) will take place in its entirety on Savoie roads with a start in Albertville, 20 years after the olympic games. This alps trial promises to be very difficult (there are no real flat portions) with long stretches of ascent (26km for the Madeleine pass) and a finish by the selective climb to La Toussuire.

Act 2 (July 14) will be an equally magnificent challenge with 5 climbing passes between Pau and Bagnères-de-Luchon. Aubisque, Soulor, Tourmalet, Aspin, and Peyresourde: a real voyage in the heart of the most legendary difficulties of the Pyrenees which will welcome cyclists on Bastille Day.

For the competitors who participate in our three 2012 events (the two Etapes du Tour as well as the Paris-Roubaix Challenge) we will offer a waterproof jacket to salute their courage and encourage their desire to push themselves as far as possible on some of the most difficult French roads.

Thousands are already registered for the Etapes du Tour 2012. Those who attempt this double challenge will climb many of the of the most prestigious mountain passes of the Tour over a six day period. The gage is immense. To reach it, one must work hard training throughout the whole first semester, the price to pay to reach so closely the legend of the Tour de France.

More information on Act 1 : Albertville > La Toussuire

More information on Act 2 : Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon