Start in the lovely town of Annecy in the French Alps. Annecy is a charming town with a historical old town centre and numerous canals that gave it the nickname of 'Venice of the Alps'. The lake adds to its charm and being surrounded by the stunning mountains make it a great spot for all outdoors activities. We will be staying in a very good 2 star hotel, ideally located near the old town centre with it's many restaurants and shops. In the afternoon there will be a welcome meeting and the opportunity to build your bike or collect your local hire bike.
There should also be time for a short ride around the lovely lake.
After breakfast we will head off on a warm up ride around the beautiful Bauges region where this years Etape route takes place. The pace will be steady and relaxed providing plenty of opportunity to enjoy the fabulous scenery as well as to spin the legs. There will also be the opportunity to climb the Col de Leschaux (944m) as well as the summit of Semnoz (1655m), the final climb during the race. This will make a big difference on race day as you will then be familiar with the main challenges of the race itself.
Ride approximately 70km.
This morning there'll be a gentle two hour ride around the lake to loosen up the legs, before signing on at the Etape race registration. This in itself is a fun part of the trip as there is a large Expo area with plenty of bikes and cycling related merchandise. You will also pick up a free commemorative Etape du Tour T-shirt. The rest of the day will be spent resting and preparing for the big day tomorrow.
Ride approximately 40km.
Ride the Etape du Tour 2013, which follows the exact route of stage 20 of the 2013 Tour de France. After an early start you will ride to the start area and join up to 10,000 other riders. Starting from Annecy, the route follows the lake south toward Albertville, then starts the first of today's six climbs, the Cote Puget (796m - 5.4 km at 5.8% average gradient). Next up is the Col de Leschaux (944m - 3.6 km at 6.2%), followed by the two smaller climbs of the Cote de Aillons le Vieux (926m) and Col des Pres (1142m). You will then start the climb to Mont Revard which has featured three times on the Tour de France menu, it is a long climb of 16km at 5.4% with a summit at 1463m. After some downhill respite, you will climb from Quintal to the Cret de Chatillon, also called the Semnoz (1655m), the final climb of the race. Although it is a relatively short climb of only 10.7km, it is quite intense at this stage in the ride. The road ascends for 922m at an average of 8.5% gradient, there are a number of stretches of 10% and a particularly tough 700m section at 11.5%. After the finish and enjoying your fantastic achievement, we will ride downhill to Annecy town to relax, recover and head out for a celebratory group meal.
Free day to recover and enjoy a relaxing walk along the charming streets and canals of Annecy. The Palais de l'Isle, the castle, the cathedral and the lake are all worth a visit. If you still have any energy left, you can try kayaking on the lake. If anyone can still face their bike today, there are lots of excellent optional recovery rides that your leader can recommend.
After breakfast, the trip ends in Annecy.