It’s six months until the biggest sportive of the year. Plenty of time to lose some weight, get in shape and make yourself a hero. If you are thinking about tackling the Etape, here is some key facts about the ride:
Distance – 146km | Elevation – 4250m | Start town – Megeve | Finish town – Morzine
Col des Aravis – 11.5km, 5% average gradient, 12% maximum gradient
Col de la Colombière – 11.7km, 5.9% avg, 9% max
Col de la Ramaz – 16km, 6.1% avg, 10.6% max
Col de Joux Plane – 11.6km, 8.5% avg, 12.5% max
Compared to previous Etapes:
vs 2015 – 5% longer. 13% less climbing
vs 2014 – 2% shorter, 6% less climbing
vs 2013 – 12% longer, 21% more climbing
vs 2012 (Alps) – 4% longer, 3% less climbing
Sumary – in keeping with the last few Etape’s, the 2016 route packs in a lot of climbing into a relatively short distance. If you have ridden previous editions, there is nothing to scare you about the 2016 route.
Compared to other European Sportives (long routes)
vs Nove Colli – 27% shorter, 11% more climbing
vs Tour of Flanders – 39% shorter, 100% more climbing
vs Liege Bastogne Liege – 47% shorter, 9% less climbing
vs La Marmotte – 16% shorter, 18% less climbing
Summary – The Etape is hard. The Marmotte is a monster.
Compared to the big UK Sportives (long routes)
vs Ride London – 9% shorter, 126% more climbing
vs Fred Whitton – 19% shorter, 4% more climbing
vs Velothon Wales – 4% longer, 190% more climbing
vs Dragon Ride (GF) – 34% shorter, 46% more climbing
Summary – while many of the tough UK events pack a lot of climbing into the route, this is done over a much longer distance so the first time Etape rider needs to be prepared for much longer climbs and less time between them.
So, if you have not ridden an Etape before this could be a great year for it. Make no mistake it will be a hard day in the saddle particularly if this is your first European sportive but this is not the hardest Etape of the last few years, the route is stunning and Morzine is a great town to celebrate your success.