When the Tour comes to Australia

In the first in a series of weekly articles, Matt Keenan shares his thoughts on the Tour de France battles-to-come and embarks on providing some key training and riding tips, picked up from covering the world’s best cyclists, to help you prepare for the big event in December

When Chris Froome lined up at the first edition of L’Étape Australia, in December last year, it marked the beginning of his preparation for this year’s Tour de France.

The Tour’s coveted yellow jersey is like the sun that the rest of the cycling world revolves around.

The Spring Classics are barely in the rear view mirror and the Giro d’Italia is well underway yet the Tour de France remains cycling’s main focus.

Will Chris Froome win it for the fourth time? And can Richie Porte genuinely challenge for the win? (I think he can).

It is shaping up as a great battle between two good mates, along with a long list of other protagonists.

But what would it be like to ride the Tour de France?

Riding through beautiful little towns painted yellow (Jindabyne), green (Berridale) and polka dot (Dalgety).

Having police motorbikes rolling by ensuring the roads are closed to traffic and are just for the riders.

Being like Peter Sagan and sprinting for the green jersey.

Chasing points, up the Col de Beloka, in the battle for the polka dot jersey.

Supporting your riding buddies in pursuit of the team’s classification.

Since 1993 L’Étape du Tour has given every cyclist the chance to experience to Tour on the bike.

Last year L’Étape du Tour attracted more than 11,000 riders. This year they’ll tackle the course being used for Stage 18 of the Tour, the 178km trek from Briancon to the top of the Col d’Izoard, four days before the race arrives.

According to Chris Froome, the course for L’Étape Australia, through the NSW Snowy Mountains and finishing at the Perisher ski resort, is equal to a genuine Tour de France mountain stage.

As the build to the Tour is underway now is the perfect time to start training for L’Étape Australia.

Over the next few months, I’ll be covering some key training and riding tips, picked up from covering the world’s best cyclists, to help you prepare for the big event in December.

Whether it’s the Race of 157km or the Ride of 126km, L’Étape Australia lets you live the Tour de France dream for a day and tell the stories forever.

L’Étape Australia takes place on the first weekend of December on 160km of closed roads in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.

Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.