L’ETAPE AUSTRALIA 2016 – THE WRAP
The first Tour de France event to be held in Australia was staged in the NSW Snowy Mountains on Saturday, setting the scene for a new era in Australian mass participation events.
The weekend began with Tour de France reigning champion Chris Froome holding sold-out clinics for amateur cyclists, sharing never told before stories of his Tour de France exploits and mentoring the riders on the best way to roll up to the Start line the best prepared mentally, physically and mechanically as can be.
The next morning 3,500 riders gathered at Bullocks Flat at Crackenback and raced into history:
- The first Tour de France event to be held in Australia;
- The first Australian amateur cycle event with 160km of fully closed roads;
- The first Australian amateur cycle event to be run under full professional Tour de France race conditions;
- The largest L’Étape event ever to be held outside France;
- The only Australian event with genuine Tour de France jerseys up for grabs.
Riders had the choice of the 126km Ride or the 157km Race; both held on the same route but with the Ride finishing before the final punishing push up to Perisher.
Chris Froome described the route as ‘tough, certainly equal to a challenging mountainous stage of the Tour de France’.
The support of the local community was a stand-out element. Throughout the entire 160km route locals lined the route and cheered the riders just as you see on TV during the Tour de France; and they dressed up their towns, villages and homesteads with Tour de France jersey themes, green for Berridale, polka dot for Dalgety and yellow for Jindabyne.
Froome rode from the back of the pack to the front and then spent time talking to riders at the numerous food zones before powering forward again. He completed the first King of the Mountain section ‘Col Beloka’ (called by locals ‘the wall’) in just eleven minutes.
At the prize giving in the Snowy Mountains L’Étape Australia Village, Chris Froome personally awarded prizes as followed:
The Yellow jersey for the fastest man Chris Miller 4h37:59
The Yellow jersey for the fastest woman Amanda Spratt 4h55:53
The Green Jersey for the fastest sprint (men) Ben Carman 21.169s
The Green Jersey for the fastest sprint (women) Amanda Spratt 24.700s
The Polka Dot jersey for the King of the Mountain climb (men) Chris Miller 1h09:19
The Polka Dot jersey for the King of the Mountain climb (women) Amanda Spratt 1h20:07
Fastest Rider (men) Stephen Humphries 4h06:59
Fastest Rider (women) Cassandra Hodkinson 4h40:52
Fastest Sprint (men) Matt Fussell 25.849s
Fastest Sprint (women) Min McDonald 26.984s
Fastest King of the Mountain (men) Ian Anderson 0h15:40
Fastest King of the Mountain (women) Julia Anderson 0h17:19
L’Étape Australia by le Tour de France will return to the Snowy Mountains on Saturday 2nd December 2017.
A ‘Super Early Bird’ registration will open for a limited time in the coming weeks, followed by Early Bird Registrations opening on May 2017.
Watch L’Étape Australia on SBS at 4pm on Saturday 24th December.