It’s shaping up to be a stunning summer. Like last year, I’ll be spending early July in France, but this time rather than running over the Alps, I’ll be riding up it. On July 7, I’ll be among 100 women that performance cycling roadwear brand Rapha will be sending to Annecy to ride the l’Etape du Tour, the amateur cyclist’s chance to ride a major mountain stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.
This year the 21st edition of the event will take place on the 125km-long Stage 20 of Le Tour (which the pros will ride on July 20). It begins in Annecy, a town of 52,000 people, and finishes in Annecy-Semnoz at 1,699m elevation. Le Tour general director Christian Prudhomme describes the course on the official Le Tour website: “Anything could still happen during this penultimate stage, where only the first part of the race, around Lake Annecy, will be on the flat. After this, a group of climbs, to include Mont Revard, should see a number of attacks. The unprecedented finish in Semnoz involves climbs which are sharp enough to cause a last minute upset…”
But you don’t have to be in Annecy to be part of the event. Rapha has created the Rapha Women’s 100, a global event where thousands of women will take to the road on Sunday, July 7, wherever in the world they are, to complete a 100km journey. It’s not a race; there are no egos involved. It’s really about gathering a global community of women to take part in a shared adventure.
If you’re in Hong Kong, you can be a part of it too. I will be organising a series of group rides – men are more than welcome too – in the lead up to the l’Etape. This morning, with Rapha’s Asia business development guy Adam Horler in town, we did our first ride. There were four women and three guys on the ride – not bad for a cold overcast weekday morning. There were a few other women who couldn’t make it, so I expect the cosy group to grow!