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Not so easy rider!

Amateur cyclists can test themselves on a gruelling Tour de France stage during a special event in the mountains. Travel editor Frank Baldwin reports.

The 110th Tour de France (1 – 23 July 2023) is expected to attract a massive worldwide audience this year, but British amateur riders are among those invited to apply to take part in the in the Etape du Tour event. This gives 16,000 cyclists the opportunity to ride an exact same stage as the professionals.

This year the Tour de France, won last year by Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard, returns to Morzine, better known in the UK for its skiing and snowboarding.

Morzine, in the Portes deu Soleil, is hosting the excitement of a Tour de France stage finish on 15 July 2023. Six days prior to this on the 9 July, the amateur riders can test themselves on the gruelling route from Annamasse taking in the same stage towns, the same roads, the same mythical climbs, under the same conditions as the Tour (the roads are closed to traffic).

The 152km route includes 4,100m of climbing during five ascents and the cyclists will ride through five mountain passes, namely the Col de Saxel, Col de Cou, Col de Feu, Col de la Ramaz and Col de Joux Plane. After reaching a summit at 1,691m, a long descent will lead the riders down to Morzine where they can collect their finisher’s medals and celebrate at a pasta party.

This is the 31st time the Etape du Tour has been staged and Morzine last hosted it in 2016. Georges Coquillard, Président de l’Office de Tourisme, said: “It’s very unusual to host the Tour de France two years in a row, so we’re incredibly proud that it’s returning to Morzine again in 2023, and this time with the Etape du Tour as well.”

Fabian Trombert, Maire de Morzine, added: “What a joy to discover Morzine on the route of the 110th edition of the Tour. We have the privilege to welcome it for the second year in the row, making it the 22nd time the riders are in our village. A unique history in the Haute-Savoie showing the strong links between the Tour de France and Morzine.”

• For more information please go to: letapedutourdefrance.com/en, and for more information about Morzine, visit morzine-avoriaz.com.

Tour de France 2023 route
The Tour de France Grand Départ on 1 July will take place in the Spanish city of Bilbao and this will be followed by three stages on the western side of the Pyrenees. The rest of the Tour will take place in France. It will visit six regions and 23 departments.

There will be 21 stages (and two rest days) which will include: eight flat stages; four hilly stages; eight mountain stages with four summit finishes (Cauterets-Cambasque, Puy de Dôme, Grand Colombier and Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc); one individual time trial.

Tour de France 2023 route map

Twelve new stage towns and other locations will appear on the 2023 tour map. These are Bilbao (start and finish of stage 1); Amorebieta-Etxano (start of stage 2); Nogaro (finish of stage 4); Vulcania (start of stage 10); Moulins (finish of stage 11); Belleville-en-Beaujolais (finish of stage 12); Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne (start of stage 13); Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil (start of stage 15); Passy (start of stage 16); Combloux (finish of stage 16); Poligny (finish of stage 19); Le Markstein Fellering (finish of stage 20).

There are three new climbs: the Côte de Vivero (Basque Country); the Col de la Croix Rosier (Massif Central); and the Col du Feu (Alps).

The Puy de Dôme, which hasn’t appeared on the Tour route since 1988, will be making a return after a 35-year absence. The Col de la Loze (2,304m) will be the ‘roof’ of the Tour de France 2023 time trial. There will be just a single individual test and this will be held in the Alps, at altitude and in steep terrain, on the Passy Combloux 16th stage, and over a distance of 22km.

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