Along with yesterday’s announcement of the route of the Tour de France came the unveiling of the route for the 2007 Etape du Tour, the world’s most prestigious cyclo-sportif ride. The 2007 edition will take place on July 16 and will follow the route of stage 15 of the Tour de France, 196km from Foix to Loudenvielle in the Hautes Pyrenees.
Traditionally, l’Etape follows the route of one of the Tour’s hardest stages, and this year is no exception. The route includes the Col de Port (11.4 km at 5.3 percent grade), Col de Portet d’Aspet (5.7 km, 6.9 percent), Col de Menté (7 km, 8.1 percent), Port de Balès (19.5 km, 6.2 percent) and Col de Peyresourde (9.7 km, 7.8 percent).
The official entry form will be published in French cycling magazine Vélo, but organiser ASO says it’s unlikely that anyone outside France will be able to buy the magazine and get their entry in quickly enough, as registration usually fills up within four or five days. Instead, l’Etape hopefuls should enter through one of the official travel agents that work with the event, listed at www.letapedutour.com.
Recognising the success of l’Etape du Tour, ASO yesterday announced a complementary event, l’Etape de Legende, which will follow the route of a famous Tour stage of the past. The first edition will take place on 23 September and follows the route of stage 8 of the 1967 Tour between Strasbourg and the Ballon d'Alsace summit.
This was the stage where Raymond Poulidor fell and effectively lost that year’s race; 1966 Tour winner Lucien Aimar won the stage – his only Tour stage win – and Roger Pingeon eventually took the overall victory.
For more information on l’Etape de Legende, see http://www.letapedutour.com/2006/us/index_2007.htm