The 2018 Ride and Race are physically just as hard as they’ve always been but much easier logistically.
Importantly both events start and finish in Jindabyne. All the social, logistical and administrative activities will be in the L’Étape Australia Village, at Banjo Patterson Park in Jindabyne, including overnight secure bike parking.
The Race, which is 170km with 3,000m worth of climbing, reminds me of Stage 17 of the 2017 Tour de France.
L’Étape Australia 2018 – The Race
Tour de France 2017 – Stage 17
That stage took in the highest point of the Tour, the Col du Galibier, and L’Étape Australia climbs Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia.
And just like that Tour de France stage, L’Étape Australia finishes with a descent, back into Jindabyne.
This really challenges your skills and concentration.
Psychologically it’s easier to empty the tank when the finish line is at the top. This course means you’ll need to pay a little more attention to your eating and drinking, while climbing Kosciuszko, and really focus on the descent.
At the 2017 Tour, former ski jump junior world champion, Primoz Roglic survived from the breakaway, flew down the mountain and held off a select group of five, featuring Rigoberto Uran, Chris Froome, Romain Bardet, Warren Barguil and Mikel Landa.
It was a great stage.
Mathew Hayman, who’ll be riding L’Étape this year, finished last on that stage, 33:41 behind Roglic.
Hayman adopted his Roubaix motto of “never stop riding”. He survived the mountains and made it to Paris.
This is your chance to experience a similar stage on fully closed roads.
Just like Stage 11 of this year’s Tour de France, The Ride is a hilly 108km.
Admittedly that Tour stage will be in the high mountains but The Ride, from Jindabyne, out through Berridale and up the Col de Beloka, is a seriously challenging day. There’s 1600m worth of climbing squeezed into just 108km.
With the red lead vehicles, neutral service and closed roads, this course is the ideal introduction to a day in the life of a Tour rider, albeit at your own pace rather than the tempo set by Team BMC.
L’Étape Australia – The Ride
Tour de France 2018 – Stage 11
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.