I’m still buzzing after the weekend! Anyone else!?

You can’t wipe the smile off my face when I think about L’Étape Australia this year and I won’t apologise for being caught smiling in every single photo taken on the bike during the event. I absolutely loved meeting so many of you in the village, on the road and everywhere in between. I might have my own stories to tell but I love hearing yours and I heard so many inspiring stories throughout the weekend that I will remember for a long time.

There are no doubts that it was a BIG day on the bike for everyone. It was a challenging day – just like any stage of the Tour de France should be.  Whether you did the Race or the Ride I saw so many people pushing themselves to their absolute limit… and beyond. I lost count of how many people I spoke to who told me they only ride once or twice a week yet managed to smash through the 170kms Race and get to the finish with plenty of time to spare. Some people tell me I make it look easy, but I can assure you my legs were screaming too. Call me crazy but I like to suffer so working on my poker face has become an integral part of my training over the past years.

The highlight for me this year? Seeing the camaraderie between all the riders on the road, whether clubmates or riding together for the first time. It really is amazing what you can achieve when you’re surrounded by others willing to experience it with you. I saw so many examples on Saturday. I know so many people suffered with cramps and I had a mate who stopped no fewer than 30 times up Perisher but this ‘never give up’ attitude just adds so much value to the atmosphere of L’Étape Australia.

Speaking of atmosphere, the village in Jindabyne created such a special feeling this year – Let’s now take a moment to thank the weather gods.  The way the community and volunteers get behind this event is honestly like nothing I have experienced before in Australia. As I walked towards the village on Saturday the smell of the sausages on the barbie wafted towards me. The Kosciusko Pale Ale tent was packed and rumour has it that Chuck Hahn himself was pulling beer for 2.5hours non-stop!

Sausages on the barbie, beer to wash it down and 3,000 or so Aussie cyclists toughing it out together in the glorious sunshine… what better  way to have a Tour de France experience in Australia?

Vive L’Etape!

Always a team player, it is common to see Amanda sacrificing herself for her teammates.

The 2012 and 2016 Australian road race champion is known for her big heart and big engine. Amanda recorded her first European victory at the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol in 2015 and has taken a big step up as a leader in the outfit following the retirement on Loes Gunnewijk.