L'Étape du Tour
L'Étape du Tour (French for 'stage of the Tour') is an organised mass participation cyclosportive event that allows amateur cyclists to race over the same route as a Tour de France stage. First held in 1993, and now organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), in conjunction with Vélo Magazine, it takes place each July, normally on a Tour rest day.
L'Étape du Tour is normally held over mountain roads in either the Pyrenees or French Alps, up climbs such as the Col du Galibier, Col d'Aubisque, Mont Ventoux or the Col du Tourmalet. Around 8,500 riders participate - many travelling from other countries to compete - and the event takes place on roads closed by the police to other traffic, with refreshment stops and medical support provided along the route.
Recent Étapes du tour
Greg LeMond rode this Etape along with his son, after being inspired by his son riding it previously. LeMond said "I had the time of my life", despite getting "650th place" and being "impressed that I even finished". "I decided that day that nobody's going to keep me from cycling, not Trek, not Armstrong, not Verbuggen, not anybody.". 
In 2008, the 167 km stage 10 from Pau to Hautacam, including a passage over the 2114 m./6935 ft. Col du Tourmalet was selected for L'Étape du Tour with Laurent Four coming home in the fastest time of 5 hours 38 minutes. Unfortunately, the weather on the day was very poor and visibility at the summit of the Tourmalet was down to 10m.
The 2009 edition started in Montélimar (Drôme) and covered 172 km and four smaller climbs (côte de Citelle, col d'Ey, col de Fontaube, col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles) before finishing at the summit of Mont Ventoux: it was won by the French road race champion, Dimitri Champion.
The 2010 event started in Pau and finished at the Col du Tourmalet on 18 July 2010. Nearly 7000 cyclists completed the event, thanks to weather far better than the pros had several days later.
For 2011, ASO organised two "Etapes". The first, on 11 July, on the Modane - Alpe d'Huez stage covering 109km, was the shortest in history. This is the same stage the pros rode in Stage 19 on 22 July. The second Etape for 2011, on 17 July, was actually the longest in history, covering 208km, from Issoire to Saint Flour in the massif central (south of Clermont Ferrand). The pros rode this stage on 10 July in Stage 9 of the 2011 TdF.
In 2012 there were two events. The first event was from Albertville to La Toussuire on 8 July, following the 140km route of stage 11 of the Tour de France and including the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer, finishing at La Toussuire, part of the Les Sybelles ski area. The second event held on 14 July followed the route of stage 16 from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, crossing the Col d'Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin, and Col de Peyresourde for a total distance of 197km. Only about 60% of entrants finished either event within the official cut-off times.
ASO have reverted to a single event for 2013 partly because the 2012 event lost money due to logistics associated with deploying buses and trucks to recover riders who were unable to finish. On 7 July, the Etape recreated stage 20 of the 2013 Tour de France, starting in the town of Annecy and finishing at the ski station of Annecy-Semnoz at an altitude of 1,655m. The 130 km route included the climb of the 1,142m des Prés and the 1,463m Mont Revard. The men's race was won by the French amateur cyclist Nicolas Roux.
The 2014 event on the 20th July 2014 followed a similar route to the 2008 event, beginning in Pau and finishing at Hautacam.
The 2015 route begins in the Savoie town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, and covers a 140km course, climbing the Col de Chaussy, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Mollard, with a summit finish at La Toussuire.
- Greg LeMond - 'Cycling is dying through Drugs' at Play the Game Conference, 25:00, Play the Game Conference, Coventry University, 2009 Jun 12, retr 2012 10 14
- Greg LeMond - ‘Cycling is dying through drugs’, 25:00, Coventry University, Play the Game Conference, 2009 Jun 12. retr 2012 10 14
- "Albertville – La Toussuire - Les Sybelles". L'Etape du Tour. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- "Albertville – La Pau - Bagnères-de-Luchon". L'Etape du Tour. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- "Annecy - Annecy Semnoz: The 100th Edition of the Tour Version Cyclo!". Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "L'Etape du Tour results". L'Etape du Tour. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Official l'Étape du Tour site
- Velo Magazine Étape du Tour site
- L'Etape analysis & reconnaissance DVDs on Cycle Film website
- Sunday Times article about riding and suffering during the 2007 Etape
- atomicecho.com/etape A blog about training for and riding the Etape du Tour
- Very detailed article on 2007 Étape
- L'Etape du Tour for Charity The charity which helps raise funds for children and young adults to enter the paralympics
- Preview videos and trailers on Vimeo Channel
- VeloNomad.com - a site about planning a trip to L'Etape, France and Le Tour and training for Etape
- 2011 Etape Alps report with photos
- 2010 Etape Pyrenees report on the epic stage to the Tourmalet