August 31, 2016

Remains of the Day: L’Etape du Tour

The French city of Annecy sits in an enviable position on the northern end of its eponymous lake, one of the most pristine in all of Europe. On most Sunday mornings, as the sun stretches above the craggy peaks of the Dents de Lanton and shines the day’s  first glisten across the crystal waters, the picturesque lakefront on Rue de Pacquier is often reserved for joggers, walkers, a few  shermen and some boaters getting an early start. the Crêt de Chatillon sits on top of the Semnoz Mountains to the west, staring down at the lake and the layered slopes dotted with alpine chalets, pristine vistas, narrow roads, and charming rural enclaves above the hustling lakeside road and tourist  filled streets. But this year, on the  first Sunday of July, the morning air was  filled with the hum of bicycles, loud speakers playing the Red Hot Chili Peppers and an enthusiastic, multi-lingual voice welcoming over 11,500 cyclists to the start line for l’Etape du Tour, perhaps the most popular cyclosportif in Europe, providing those fortunate enough to gain entry the opportunity to compete in a stage of the Tour de France. For the event’s 21st edition, the organizers selected the seemingly short, but challenging 129 kilometer Stage 20 that began in Annecy and ended atop the Semnoz. And while a sigh of relief was surely exhaled from many riders at the change of heart the organizers had this year in offering a shorter and logistically easier day, the route proved a major challenge and, as would manifest itself two weeks later for the Tour, an exciting and decisive day as the penultimate stage of the 100th Tour de France. Read More 



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