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L'Etape du Tour - Completed

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:25 pm
by bobhill
Five Ythanites travelled to Annecy in the French Alps to take part in the Etape Sportive on 7 July. This was stage 20 of Le Tour, covering five classified climbs in 128km and 3,600 metres of climbing - the penultimate stage of the tour which was won by Nairo Quintana.

Mike Giles, Mike Harper, John Dougan, Iain Masson and myself (Bob Hill) travelled out on the friday with Sports Tours on their three night package staying in a hotel just outside of Annecy. On the saturday we cycled along the lakeside to the registration tented village in the town to collect our numbers and goody bag including Tee Shirt and Backpack. Annecy is very scenic, extremely busy and was very hot around 32C.

A total of about 12,000 riders were entered and we were started in waves of nearly 1000 each. Mike H and myself were off in the last group with the others on an earlier start for some unknown reason. First start was at 07.30. I crossed the start line at 08.45 with the temperature about 20c at that time, it quickly got up to 32 or so. There was only 9km flattish before the first climb, it was busy so a bit slow in getting past riders but I was Ok with that as I wanted to try to avoid getting cramp if possible. The first three climbs went well, although some tricky descents with a few riders crashing and some blowouts. Halfway up the second last climb of Mont Revard I did get the dreaded cramp in both legs, excruiciating!

I had more food/drink stops than I anticipated mainly due to the heat and was pouring water over my head on the last two climbs.

The final hors categorie climb up Mount Semnoz was a slow procession of tired riders. It was 1km long at an average of 8.5% but was mostly 10% with some bits up to 14%. Very happy to get finished that one!!

First of our lot to finish was John Dougan in 6:18, Iain in 6:24, Mike G in 6:27, Mike H in 6:40 and myself in 7:11.
Each of the climbs were also timed and added up to give a 'Grimpeur' time for total ascent. We were all within two minutes of four hours for this and I was quickest up the final climb of Semnoz (not bad for a 65 year old).

There were 10,600 finishers, John was in position 3181, Iain 3467, Mike G 3634, and I was 5911 (not sure of position for Mike H). I was happy with my ride, I started at number 12,800 and finished at 5911, so got to be happy with that.

We stayed out for the rest of the week cycling many of the climbs in the area and on part of the Etape course again (it felt much harder to do it on our own).

This Etape was not nearly as hard as the previous two I have done but it was certainly hard enough when you were doing it - there is no 'easy' stage of the tour. Bob

Re: L'Etape du Tour - Completed

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:58 am
by Geo
Well done Bob and the rest of the team. Really enjoy reading about your various summer climbs each year in France. Keep it up

George