The Etape du Tour Mondovélo has changed its format for next year. Tour de France race organiser, ASO, announced on Wednesday that not only one, but two stages of the 2011 event will be open to the famous cyclosportive, and that a new ride on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix was also in the works.
"It became very difficult to refuse riders because of our 10,000 entry limit. In organising two races, we would like to offer all riders the possibility to ride the champions' routes on the historic Tour de France stages," ASO published on the official L'Etape du Tour website.
The first amateur challenge will be taking place on July 11 on the route of stage 19 from Modane to Alpe-d'Huez (109km including the Télégraphe, Galibier and Alpe d'Huez climbs), the shortest-ever L'Etape ride but certainly not the easiest. Starting from Modane Valfréjus, there will only be a few clicks to warm up the legs before the first ascents of the Télégraphe and Galibier (at 1,646m) featuring seven per cent average gradient on 33km. After the long descent of the Galibier and Lautaret, riders will arrive in Bourg d'Oisans and start the mythic Alpe d'Huez climb and its 21 historic hairpins.
The second event, a little less challenging but twice as long, will be organised on July 17 on the route of stage nine from Issoire to Saint-Flour (208km). From Issoire, riders will follow the Gorges de l'Alagnon rive valley before climbing the Monts du Cantal: the Puy Mary and Plomb du Cantal. At the end of this difficult route, including views of the Chateau d'Alleuze and Viaduc de Garabit, the final climb in Saint-Flour will be the last hurdle.
Each event may be entered separately, but there is also a cumulate ranking for those riders who choose to take on the double challenge. Registration for the 2011 Etape du Tour will open online on November 16, with the number of entries limited to 6000 for each race.
Moreover, ASO has now opened the Paris-Roubaix route for a new cyclosportive event, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge. It is planned to take place on Saturday, April 9, 2011 - on the eve of the pro race - and start in Saint-Quentin to finish after 135 kilometres and 30 kilometres of cobblestone sections. The finish will be located at the Carrefour de l'Arbre 17 kilometres away from the pro race finish, but riders will be allowed to continue to the famed Roubaix velodrome as part of the event.
Specialized travel agencies are able to provide guaranteed entries and offer quality packages (transfers, accommodation, services etc.), as well as VIP packages. A list of agencies can be found on the official website www.letapedutour.com.