Skip to main content

We notice you're blocking ads.

We carefully manage all our local “ads”, to be relevant to Meribel and your trip here. We fund our site by featuring these offers, many of which you might like. Please "whitelist" us - thank you for supporting our work!

Insider's guide to L'Etape du Tour 2019

135km cycling race from Albertville to Val Thorens

Featured in:

| Ana Hernández, Meribel Editor | Published

Share

Insider's guide to L'Etape du Tour 2019

L'Etape du Tour is one of the most popular cycling races in the Alps in which amateurs are able to tackle one of the Tour de France's mountain stages. This year, it takes place on July 21st from Albertville to Val Thorens, going through Bourg Saint Maurice, La Plagne, Saint-Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens.

Following the exact same route that the pros will cycle on July 27th 2019 for stage number 20 of the Tour de France, this race is not for the faint-hearted. A total of 135 kilometres and 4,563 metres of climbing await those keen to follow on the footsteps of the peloton. It will all take place on Sunday, July 21st, and the mountain resorts that will host it are already preparing for the event. Here are some of the things you should know if you're taking part in the race, or just want to watch.

How to get there

The first riders will leave Albertville at around 07:00 and there will be road closures all the way to Val Thorens until 19:00. The entire route will be closed to traffic 30 minutes before the first rider arrives. The course goes through roads D925, D902, D1090, D220 (closed between Bourg Saint Maurice, Les Arcs and Landry from 08:15 to 13:25), D88, N90 (closed between Moutiers and Centron from 09:00 to 15:00), D96 and D117, which goes from Moutiers to Val Thorens and will only reopen at 19:00 to descend from Val Thorens.

The only road open from Albertville to Val Thorens will be the N90 – you'll need to take exit 40 and then the D117 to Val Thorens. However, bear in mind that the route takes around 1h15 and you need to go through Les Frenes before 09:30, so good planning is definitely needed. There will be shuttles taking participants from Val Thorens to Albertville in the morning and the evening of the race. These must be booked in advance.

At the start

The race starts in the centre of Albertville, around Avenue Joseph Fontanet and the Parc Olympique. Your specific starting area will depend on your bib number, assembled in groups of 1000 people according to their level of fitness – click here for a map of the starting area. The first cyclists will depart at 07:00 (please be there before 06:30), while the last ones will leave Albertville at around 08:50 (recommended time of arrival no late than 08:15).

There will be an exhibitor's village at the Parc Olympique Henry Dujol, by the start line – you can find a map here. This is where you'll collect your bib number and goodie bag, upon presentation of your registration confirmation, proof of identity and medical certificate. They will be given out on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th from 10:00 to 20:00. You'll also be able to watch the Tour de France, enjoy live music, eat, browse the latest cycling gear and replenish your energy at the breakfast spot right before the race.

Massage Me will also be offering warm-up massages at the Albertville village to get your muscles in top form before tackling the climb. Head over to the registration tent on pitch C25 (in front of the big screen showing the Tour de France) on Friday or Saturday for a 30min, 45min, 60min or 90min massage and loosen up those knots ready for the big ride. Booking in advance is recommended.

En route

There are two main summits en route to Val Thorens: the Cornet de Roselend (1970m at km 41.4) and the Cote de Longefoy (1189m at km 80.8). The last 35km or so are a steady climb from Moutiers to Val Thorens, which is at 2365m altitude. There will be food on offer at five different spots during the race, at Beaufort, the Cormet de Roselend, Bourg Saint Maurice, Moutiers and Saint Martin the Belleville. Local cheese and cured meats will be available, as well as potatoes, bread, olives, cereal bars, cakes, nuts, fruit and drinks (this year you'll have to provide your own bottle). Technical and medical assistance will also be available throughout the route while 20 road captains will motivate and help competitors during the race.

At the finish line

As you cross the finish line, you'll be given a medal which you can personalise for €9. You can then retrieve any belongings that you've left at the left-luggage service at the starting line (open on Sunday from 06:00 to 08:15) in Val Thorens with your bib number. There will be a secure bike parking area so that you can enjoy the pasta party and finisher's beer without having to carry it around. Take a look at the finish area map to see where you can meet your loved ones.

Massage Me will also be offering rubdowns to all those finishers in need of a relief for their sore muscles. As well as their standard 30min to 90min massages, there will be shorter 10min and 20min sessions at discounted prices. Again, booking in advance is advised.

Where to watch

In Les Arcs
The race will go through Bourg Saint Maurice, the town at the bottom of Les Arcs. The 15,000-people peloton will cross the village centre on road D1090 from the roundabout right before the train station. There, by the gare, a pit stop will be located at the car park. The route will then follow along Avenue Maréchal Leclerc until the crossing with road D220, which will take them to Landry and La Plagne.

In La Plagne
The route will also follow the road along the bottom of the La Plagne Valley, through Landry, Macot and Longefoy, on road D88. The ascent to the Cote de Longefoy (1190m) from Macot will be part of the Best Climber challenge.

In Val Thorens
The climb from Moutiers to Val Thorens will undoubtedly be the highlight of the race so, if you can secure yourself a spot on the side of the D117 road, you'll be in for a treat. The route goes through Saint Martin de Belleville and Les Menuires, where there will be activities and entertainment for spectators and riders alike, as well as another pit stop in the centre of St Martin. The finish line will be located near the Moraine lift in Val Thorens, with the pasta party taking place at Les Chalets du Thorens and the legendary 360 Bar.