Published by Andrew on 3 November 2016
It's France's most famous sportive – here’s everything you need to know about riding the 2017 Étape du Tour.
It’s the ultimate amateur cycling challenge – riding a stage of the Tour de France during the Tour de France and under race conditions. Yep, it's the one and only Étape du Tour.
When is the 2017 Étape du Tour?
The 2017 Étape will take place on Sunday, July 16, with dossards available for collection on the Friday and Saturday.
What Tour de France stage does the 2017 Étape du Tour use?
In 2017 it’ll use stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France route from Briançon to a mountain finish on Col d’ Izoard. This is a distance of 178km with 3529m of ascent over two major climbs, the Col de Vars (2109m) and Col d’Izoard (2360m), which are both in the last gruelling 80km. The Vars will be climbed from the Barcelonnette and the Izoard from Guillestre.
How do I enter?
Entry is via the ASO Challenges website. 2017 entry costs €100.
Registrations will stay open until all entries are taken – usually by around March. At the time of writing (November 1), 10,000 out of the 15,000 spots had already been taken, so don’t delay.
Everyone who enters needs to have a valid medical certificate (no more than one-year-old) to say they are fit. You’ll need to show the certificate when you pick up your number. If you’re a member of a French cycling federation, you may be exempt – the Étape website has details of what you need on the certificate (and even a medical certificate template). The certificate can be in English.
Where to stay?
Briançon is the highest city in France although it is fairly small, with a population of around 2000 people, which triples in winter during the ski season (Briançon is the main base town for the Serre Chevalier resort).
If you need a B&B or hotel consider staying somewhere bike-friendly within reach of the route – places owned and operated by cyclists are likely to offer support services, such as transfers. See the relevant stage on our Tour de France accommodation page for contacts.
For campers, there’s always an area set aside locally for campervans – see the official Étape du Tour page for info.
Should I bring my own bike or hire one?
It’s completely up to you. While most people prefer their own bike, it really depends on where you’re coming from, and how easy (and affordable) it is to bring your own bike. We have information on shipping your bike to France if you need to send your bike ahead.
If you need hire, remember that quality road bikes can be in short supply in the Alps during the Tour and this is especially the case around Étape time. Book well ahead if you need to hire a bike so that you get the size and the specs you want. If you need help, you can use our bike hire service.
Can you recommend any companies offering supported Étape packages?
These can make life a lot easier as they’ll take care of all your logistics, including accommodation and bike hire if you need it. They’ll also drop you at the start village and pick you up at the end, which means all you need to worry about is the riding.
Drop us a line via our bespoke tours service and we’ll match you up with a suitable local company.
What else do I need to know?
The official Étape du Tour website has practical info, plus a handy Q&A section.