Is it your first time riding the Etape du Tour?
16000 riders have entered the Etape 2022 from Briancon to Alpe D’Huez. SIXTEEN THOUSHAND!!!!!
If you are lucky enough to be one of the 16000 riders then you will now be well into your training with just over one month to go. You’ve done your base training through the Winter and Spring and know that you can go the 170km distance. You’ve also done long hours in the saddle to ensure you are tuned to riding for double digit hours. You will be putting the finishing touches to your climbing abilities to ensure you are in top shape to tackle the 4700M of climbing and taking care of your diet so that when you line up on the early morning of the 10th July you will be ‘en forme’ (in shape) and ready for the event.
Remember - for the majority of the peleton it is a challenge and not a race.
Are you ready?
If you are not quite there its still not too late to push on with fitness in this final month and here’s some tips for this final month to help you conquer the Etape.
· Test yourself at least 2 weeks before the event. Duplicate your longest training ride and when you get home jump on Zwift and ride the Alpe du Zwift – it is very realistic and will give you a feel for the day.
· Make sure you have done a ride with at least 3500M of climbing. If this isn’t possible in your environment then its time to take to Zwift again
· Ride for double digit hours
· Save that beer for the finish line and loose that last few kgs
· Ensure you have a tried and tested nutrition regime for the day. July 10th is not the the day to try those freebie new gels you get in the Etape du Tour welcome pack. Same goes with energy drinks
· Is your bike and kit ready?
· Finally – don’t forget to take a spare rear derailleur hanger with you. If you are flying in, or even if you are a local, this is the one spare that will be difficult to source and the first thing to get bent.
On the day
· Bring an old jumper or old jacket, or even a bin bag! It can be very chilly in the early morning Alps, it could be raining and you might be hanging around a while before the start so bring some clothing you can leave behind when the flag drops
· Consider sending some goodies and spare clothes ahead to the finish – the Organiser usually have this well planned.
· Arrive in your start pen area with plenty of time. The layout is usually pretty clear however with 16000 riders, that’s a lot of people and bikes to find the correct pen
· Don’t upset the locals – use the toilet facilities provided
· Don’t get caught up in the sprint from the line – this Etape has the profile to burn your chips in the first couple of hours riding
· If you are having an off day, then seriously consider bailing out at the Col du Lauteret as the summit of the Galibier is effectively the point of no return. If you do bail at the Lauteret summit you can roll down the north side to Bourg D’Oisans and the foot of Alpe D’Huez. If you run into trouble on the Croix de Fer then you could be waiting a long long time to be picked up by the sag wagon
· Be aware and prepared for course danger points. There are many uploads on YouTube covering the danger points (including on our channel)
· Make sure you know where the feed stations are. With 16000 riders you should also ensure some degree of self sufficiency
· Do your home work on unofficial water stops – there are plenty along the way and as long as its marked Eau Potable then its fine to drink
· Be aware of the sun. You will be riding at altitude throughout the day and the July sun can be brutal
· Be aware of the cold!!! It can be zero at the top of the Galibier and 35 degrees in the Valley – ensure you check the weather forecast closely
· Be prepared for the time limit. Its set at 11 hours 19 minutes.
· You will not want to hear this but there is a very strong chance that many riders will be outside this time limit There is no doubt that the ascent of Alpe D’Huez late in the afternoon will be carnage as riders struggle with the final climb. There is nothing worse that trying to walk in cycling shoes and we’ve seen many riders walking in their socks in previous Etape’s. It may sound a bit dramatic now however you might want to consider strapping a light pair of trainers under your saddle. (how many riders will read this and wonder on July 11th why they didn’t take notice?)
· Make sure you continue to hydrate after the Alpe D’Huez finish. Get something to eat and celebrate
Good luck to all of you riding the event and if you have any questions please drop in the comments below.