etape du tour

While the riders of the Tour de France enjoy a rest day in Tignes - a rare chance to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and catch up with family and friends - 8,000 cyclo-sportive riders will today be experiencing a taste of the pain and suffering they usually endure.

It's the 15th Etape du Tour and this year's route will take them from Foix - Cassoulet capital of France - to Loudenvielle, which was last visited by the Tour in 2003, when Gilberto Simon won the stage.

Among the starters will be 1,319 Brits - including hundreds of Cycling Weekly readers. British Cycling supremo David Brailsford and a group of his fellow coaches will be among them

The 196km route will take them over five cols - the Col de Port, Portet d'Aspet, Col de Mente, Port de Bales and Col de Peyresourde.

It's a course every bit as tough as last year's from Gap to Alpe d'Huez.

Also on the start list are three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond - one of 163 Americans who have entered, plus for world champion Abraham Olano of Spain. Last year's 'winner', Frenchman Blaise Sonnery - now a professional with Ag2r - is also riding.

Simon Richardson
Simon Richardson

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. In that time he has written product reviews, features and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. Once an aspiring bike racer himself, he can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer.