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Fancy riding your very own Tour de France stage?

L’Etape UK – the official Tour de France sportive – is coming to the Chiltern Hills this year, and you could be riding it

On Bastille Day, 14 July 2019, some 3,000 cyclists will flock to Penn House, Amersham to take part in L’Etape UK. Combining the natural beauty of the Chiltern Hills with the romance of The Tour de France, L’Etape UK is the only sportive to bring the passion of the Tour to the UK. You’ll find many hallmarks of the world’s most famous road race, including King and Queen of the Mountain closed road sections, feed stations and an atmosphere straight from the Champs-Élysées.

With Yorkshire hosting the upcoming 2019 UCI Road World Championships in September, this is a great opportunity to get involved in a huge year for British road cycling. And it’s not just the riders who can join in the fun, thanks to the Official Tour de France Fan Park.

Your TDF experience

L’Etape UK has three distances available to compete in – Long (161km), Medium (125km) and Short (52km), making it suitable for cyclists of different levels. And to make it a truly authentic Tour de France experience, there are plenty of little touches, such as official Tour signage and red Skodas. The famous L’Etape feed stations will be back including products from official nutrition partner Optimum Nutrition, as well as continued support from moto marshals.

Once over the finish line, riders will receive medals, rehydrate with a complementary Erdinger Alkoholfrei, celebrate at the Official Fan Park in true French style, and have the opportunity to grab a picture on the Tour de France podium.

Cyclists riding up a hill

The 5 toughest climbs

Want to launch a bid for King or Queen of the Mountain? Then you’ll need to take on some Tour-worthy climbs. Take a look at five of L’Etape’s toughest ascents.

1. Eskdale Hill

– Chesham

Despite the urban setting, this is the first real challenge of the day. This tricky climb can be found on both the Medium and Long routes.

Length: 640m
Height gain: 54m
Average gradient: 8.4%
Maximum gradient: 16.5%
Approx climb time: 2.5 mins

2. The Crong

– St Leonards

Even its name seems to promise exhilaration. This climb, also found on the Medium and Long routes, boasts an absolute doozy of a sharp left-hand turn that some have called the best corner in the Chilterns.

Length: 520m
Height gain: 53m
Average gradient: 10.2%
Maximum gradient: 25%
Approx climb time: 2.5 mins

3. Whiteleaf

– Princes Risborough

We have reached the daddy, the undisputed toughest climb of the day. You’ll have to approach it gently before kicking for dear life as you get to the 1:7 section.

Length: 1,420m
Height gain: 127m
Average gradient: 8.9%
Maximum gradient: 16%
Approx climb time: 7 mins

4. Wardrobes

– Princes Risborough

Unfortunately your reward for conquering the daddy is the mean older brother. With your legs still burning, this is the ultimate test of quick recovery. You’ll need to take this climb gently in a nice low gear.

Length: 1,060m
Height gain: 95m
Average gradient: 9%
Maximum gradient: 18%
Approx climb time: 5 mins

5. Kingston Hill

– Kingston Blount

If you’ve opted for the full monty race, this is the last big challenge. Although straightforward, it will feel all the tougher after what came before, so it’s time to grind it out.

Length: 1,165m
Height gain: 110m
Average gradient: 9.4%
Maximum gradient: 17%
Approx climb time: 5 mins

Map of the route

All the fun of the Fan Park

The Tour de France Fan Park is perfect for the whole family, offering an array of bike-based fun and games with a French festive feel for Bastille Day. Watch stage 9 of the Tour de France on the big screen while tucking into tasty bites from the French food market, featuring traditional crêpes and coffee, and French hot dogs from Petit Sausage. If you fancy something more substantial after completing the long route then the Barbarian Grill has you covered with gourmet French meats from the coals. Got a sweet tooth? Auberge Chocolat is serving premium French chocolate all day.

If you’re thirsty after the big ride, Mad Squirrel will be serving craft ales, while The Griffiths Borthers will be serving up their locally distilled gin in a variety of refreshing cocktails. There are also plenty of fun opportunities for kids to get on a bike, and the whole day culminates in the Amersham Classic. This 52km parade ride includes prizes for best bike, kit and Tour de France-inspired look. Combined with the Tour de France museum, it really brings cycling history to life.

L'Etape fan park