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L’Étape Australia by le Tour de France is a unique road cycle event that provides an experience as close to riding in the Tour de France as it is possible for an amateur to get.
Staged in the Australian NSW Snowy Mountains on 160km of fully closed roads and run under professional Tour de France Race conditions, the route includes a 350m Sprint section and two challenging King of the Mountain sections.
Of the riders in the inaugural event in 2016, 96% said the event was good or very good and 95% said they would recommend the event to their family and friends.
The course is described by Tour de France Director General Christian Prudhomme as ‘providing a very similar experience for riders to a mountainous stage of the Tour de France; traversing through a multitude of stunning landscapes and topographies and truly challenging climbs.
There are two distances; The Race of 157km and the Ride of 126km. The ride includes the Sprint section in Berridale and the infamous first King of the Mountain section Col de Beloka, but excludes the final push up Col Kosciuszko to Perisher.
The local communities have truly embraced the Tour de France coming to the Snowy Mountains. The entire route is decorated with cycling paraphernalia, some exquisite works of art. The towns and villages have adopted the colours of the Tour de France: yellow (Jindabyne), green (Berridale) and polka dot (Dalgety). Last year thousands of locals lined the route with their cow bells, flags and encouragement; the welcome from the local community was extraordinary and created a wonderful ambience throughout the day.
Photo Credit www.fullcirclejindabyne.com
Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome rode L’Étape Australia – providing some clinics on Friday and then riding from the back of the pack to the front on Saturday. While many have watched Chris Froome from the sidelines or on TV, few have had the opportunity to ride with him.
The legendary voice of cycling Phil Liggett called in the riders at the finish line with Matt Keenan.
The route began at the Skitube Terminal at Bullocks Flat, Crackenback, winds its way with undulating hills through Jindabyne and Rocky Plains before reaching the Sprint section in Berridale. From there the route took us to Dalgety before the King of the Mountain section tackling the daunting Col de Beloka, known locally as The Wall. The route finished back in Jindabyne.
Individual riders vie for Tour de France jerseys, the genuine articles presented at the Champs-Elysées; Yellow for the overall male and female Race winner, Green for the fastest male and female in the Race in the Sprint section, Polka Dot for the fastest male and female in the Race on the King of the Mountain section and white for the fastest male and female rider under 25 years of age.
Riders were able to enter as individuals, teams of nine (in which only the top three rider’s results are counted) or groups of 10 or more (in which only the top three rider’s results are counted).
There were enhancements and improvements in 2017:
- Free secure overnight bike parking will be provided at the Start/ Village in Bullocks Flat on Friday;
- Shuttles were available for booking in advance online from October;
- There was a free BBQ at the L’Étape Australia Village powered by Snowy Hydro;
- Riders who rode in 2016 and register again for 2017 received a range of benefits as ‘Foundation Riders’ such as early access to booking the shuttles and clinics;
- Additional facilities, shuttles, traffic control at the Start and facilities at the Finishes were in place in 2017.
A MESSAGE FROM CHRISTIAN PRUDHOMME
By joining the L’Étape by le Tour de France series, you will discover the unique atmosphere of the biggest cycling race in the world. Indeed, because of the great human and sporting challenge you will face, you will meet the same conditions, habits, and emotions the professional peloton and its legendary riders have experienced since 1903 on the French roads.
We offer you the opportunity to follow their steps and feel what makes Le Tour de France a monument of sport. All around the world, participate to this mythical event, this epic race and popular celebration – and contribute to its international outreach.
Enjoy the experience!
Tour de France Director