L’Étape du Tour 2023: What Is L’Étape, And How Do You Take Part?

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Welcome to the 31st edition of L’Étape du Tour 2023!

This prestigious annual cycling event is set to take place on July 9th, 2023, and it promises to be a thrilling experience for participants and spectators alike.

L’Étape du Tour de France offers amateur cyclists the opportunity to take on the same challenging routes as the professionals in the Tour de France.

The 97.5 mi (157 km) route between Annemasse and Morzine features over 13,450 feet (4,100 meters) of elevation gain, including renowned climbs that will test the mettle of even the most experienced riders.

Organized by ASO, L’Étape du Tour welcomes around 16,000 participants to experience closed roads, police outriders, support cars, and feed zones. It’s a chance to feel like a pro and push your limits in a safe and controlled environment.

In this article, we’ll delve into the event’s origins and how to participate, as well as explore accommodation options, training tips, the competitive aspect, and the exciting details of the 2023 route, covering:

  • What is L’Étape du Tour?
  • The Origins of l’Étape du Tour
  • How to Take Part in l’Étape du Tour?
  • Where to Stay?
  • How to Prepare for l’Étape du Tour 2023?
  • How Competitive It Is?
  • Route of 2023

Let’s dive in!

L'Etape du Tour 2023: Title Image
© A.S.O./Benjamin Becker. Edited from the original.

What is L’Étape du Tour?

L’Étape du Tour is an annual cycling event that offers amateur cyclists the unique opportunity to ride a stage of the Tour de France on closed roads, just a few days before the professional riders take on the same route.

It is considered the most famous sportive in the world and is organized by ASO, the same organization responsible for the Tour de France.

Each year, around 16,000 participants get the chance to experience the thrill of riding the same route as the pro cyclists, complete with support cars, police outriders, and feed zones. 

Typically taking place on one of the rest days of the Tour de France, the organizers prefer to select one of the shorter but mountainous stages for the amateur cyclists.

The 2023 edition of L’Étape du Tour is highly anticipated as it follows the most challenging mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France.

This edition will provide amateur cyclists with an even more authentic experience, closely resembling the challenges and conditions faced by the professional riders during the Tour de France.

Cyclists approaching the finish line of the 2022 L'Etape du Tour.
© A.S.O./Benjamin Becker

The Origins of l’Étape du Tour

L’Étape du Tour is a thrilling cyclosportive event that enables amateur cyclists to ride on the same routes and in the same conditions as professional cyclists in the Tour de France. 

Established in 1993, this race gives cycling enthusiasts a unique opportunity to challenge themselves, live the Tour de France legend, and experience the same race conditions as the professionals.

Participants get to ride through the same stage towns, routes, and iconic climbs as the professionals, on completely traffic-free roads. This is made possible through partnerships with local organizations, the police, and local authorities.

With 30 editions so far, L’Étape du Tour has grown in popularity and has become Europe’s benchmark cyclosportive event, attracting thousands of registered competitors.

It’s not just a sporting challenge, but also an incredible tourist adventure, showcasing some of the most beautiful regions of France, from the stunning Alpine valleys to the towering Pyrenean peak, the Tourmalet.

As the love of cycling and L’Étape du Tour’s popularity have grown, several similar races around the world have been created under the L’Étape Series brand.

These events offer participants a chance to enjoy breathtaking landscapes and experience racing conditions similar to those of the Tour de France.

Writing on the road in the Alps at L'Etape du Tour.

How to Take Part in l’Étape du Tour

If you’re interested in taking part in L’Étape du Tour 2023, you’ll need to register online several months before the event.

The registration for the 2023 event opened on 2 November 2022 at 10am EST, but due to the high demand, entries sold out within hours of opening, and the event is now completely sold out.

However, don’t worry! You still have a chance to participate by registering through the official tour operator partners of ASO. These partners offer different options, including entry-only or packages that may come with private feed stops, transfer to the start, massages, and mechanic services.

Keep in mind that these options tend to be more expensive than the early bird fares.

Morzine in the French Alps.

Where to Stay?

If you’re participating in L’Étape du Tour 2023, you have several options for accommodation in both the starting point of Annemasse and the finishing town of Morzine.


Annemasse is a lively city with a diverse culture, offering an array of services, sports, and cultural events. It is located in the Geneva basin, making it easy to access both the lake and the mountains.

You can find a variety of lodging options in Annemasse, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rental apartments, many of which are located near the city center. The pedestrian zone in the city center features restaurants, shops, and a farmers’ market.

For more information on lodging and local attractions, check out the Monts de Genève Tourism Office.


Morzine is a charming village resort situated at an altitude of 3,281 feet (1,000 meters) in the heart of the Alps in the Haute-Savoie department. The Morzine-Avoriaz tourist area also includes the Avoriaz resort at 5,905 feet (1,800 meters).

Morzine offers high-quality tourist facilities, including ski lifts, a water park, ice rinks, a golf course, and an equestrian center. The village is renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere, having received the “Famille Plus” label for its facilities and ski and play areas specifically designed for children.

Morzine provides a range of accommodation options, including hotels, chalets, apartments, and bed and breakfasts.

For more information on lodging and activities in Morzine, check out the Morzine-Avoriaz Tourism Office.

By exploring the tourism office websites for both cities, you can find various accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budgets, ensuring a comfortable stay during L’Étape du Tour.

Sign at the summit of the Col de Joux Plane.

How to Prepare for l’Étape du Tour 2023?

Preparing for L’Étape du Tour is essential to ensure participants can safely and successfully complete the challenging race.

As completion times vary from 5 to over 10 hours, proper training, equipment, nutrition, and hydration are essential to overcome the obstacles of L’Étape du Tour de France.

The key to achieving your goal is thorough preparation. The French Cycling Federation’s National Technical Management (Direction Technique Nationale de la FFC) has developed a practical guide that offers a 14-week training plan divided into three periods:

  1. The first month focuses on speed.
  2. The second month concentrates on strength.
  3. The third month emphasizes power.

Each week comprises three sessions: a basic training session, a long intensity session, and a session dedicated to elevation gains. Following this structured plan will help participants build the necessary skills and endurance for the race.

To start your training for L’Étape du Tour, access the comprehensive 3-month training plan.

By diligently following the training plan and preparing yourself physically and mentally, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable experience at L’Étape du Tour.

A group of cyclists pedal post in soft focus.

How Competitive It Is?

L’Étape du Tour is an exciting event that welcomes thousands of cyclists every year.

The level of difficulty is dependent on how each participant approaches the race, making it a unique challenge. The race is timed, but the main competition comes from the route, rather than competing against other cyclists.

Similar to a marathon, the primary competition is with oneself.

To ensure a smooth experience for all participants, starting areas are used to organize the race according to fitness levels. This approach reduces the risk of bottlenecks and overtaking, especially when approaching the first difficulties on the route.

The starting area number is determined by your experience, ability, and past performance in L’Étape du Tour or other cycling events. The lower the starting area number, the earlier you will start the race. The criteria used to allocate the starting areas are as follows:

  1. Your ranking in L’Étape du Tour de France in 2022, 2019, 2018 and 2017.
  2. In case you possess a 2023 FFC (French Cycling Federation) license, your FFC cyclosport ranking will be considered as well. You can find additional details concerning this ranking here.
  3. The target time you have in mind for the 2023 Étape du Tour de France.
  4. If you have participated in a leading cycling event, this data will also be considered when determining your final starting area number.

L’Étape du Tour 2023 is a competitive and challenging event that can be tailored to your skill level. The event is designed to accommodate cyclists of all levels, ensuring a unique and enjoyable experience for all participants.

Route of L’Étape du Tour 2023

L'Étape du Tour 2023: What Is L'Étape, And How Do You Take Part? 1
© A.S.O.

The 2023 L’Étape du Tour route is a challenging course that showcases some new and familiar climbs from previous editions.

The route begins with a 62 mi (100 km) stretch featuring new climbs, followed by two familiar climbs from the 2016 edition: Col de la Ramaz and Col de Joux Plane.

The first part of the route covers an opening 62 mi (100 km) section with new climbs to challenge the participants.

Elevation profile of the Col de la Ramaz.
© A.S.O.

After this section, riders will face the challenging Col de la Ramaz, with a 3,327 ft (1,014 m) ascent over 9.6 mi (15.5 km) and an average slope of 6.1%. Participants will then enjoy a 9.9 mi (16 km) descent to Taninges, followed by a 8.1 mi (13 km) drag to Samoëns.

The final major climb of the day is the notoriously tough Col de Joux Plane, which is 7.2 mi (11.6 km) long with an average slope of 8.5% and south-facing slopes.

Elevation profile of the Col de Joux Plane.
© A.S.O.

After conquering this grueling climb, riders will encounter a short descent to a lake, followed by a 229 ft (70 m) ascent to Col de Ranfolly.

The last challenge of the day is the 6.8 mi (11 km) descent from Col de Ranfolly to Morzine, with an average slope of 6.5% and a maximum slope of 11.1%. Participants should be cautious on this technical descent, as they will be tired after a long day of riding.

The route concludes with a small ascent into the center of Morzine, where participants can finally relax and celebrate their achievements.

Overall, the 2023 L’Étape du Tour route is a challenging and rewarding experience for cyclists who are ready to take on the climb.

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Quentin's background in bike racing runs deep. In his youth, he won the prestigious junior Roc d'Azur MTB race before representing Belgium at the U17 European Championships in Graz, Austria. Shifting to road racing, he then competed in some of the biggest races on the junior calendar, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before stepping up to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix as an U23. With a breakthrough into the cut-throat environment of professional racing just out of reach, Quentin decided to shift his focus to embrace bike racing as a passion rather than a career. Now writing for BikeTips, Quentin's experience provides invaluable insight into performance cycling - though he's always ready to embrace the fun side of the sport he loves too and share his passion with others.

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