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Zwift becomes official training partner of L'Etape du Tour

Joe Robinson
29 Oct 2018

Virtual training app will provide tailored training plans and events for those attempting next year's ride

For all of those looking to tackle next year's mountainous L'Etape du Tour sportive, a training plan will be essential. The route between Albertville and Val Thorens will mimic Stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France, with 15,000 amateur riders taking on the 135km distance and 4,500m of vertical elevation that it entails – a difficult feat for even the most accomplished sportive rider.

To help entrants along the right path when it comes to training for this annual mirror image of one the Tour de France's mountain stages, online training app Zwift has announced its partnership with the annual sportive, offering bespoke training programmes and events tailored to completing the route.

The programme will be called the L'Etape du Tour Training Club and has been developed by Zwift coach Kevin Poulton, trainer of Paris-Roubaix champion Mathew Hayman. It will be open to the first 30,000 entrants and the programme will provide a space for riders sharing similar goals to discuss their training and motivate one another.

It will also allow all club members to track their progress and simultaneously unlock unique in-game items, which should help keep motivation high before reaching peak form in July.

Beyond the community, club members will also be able to join group workouts designed for those preparing for L'Etape, which sees riders of all abilities train together regardless of level, with the same goal in mind.

Prior to the event, Zwift will also be offering the chance to win L'Etape du Tour entries through exclusive in-game rides, while also offering challenges based around the sportive next year for those unable to make the actual event.

For Eric Min, CEO of Zwift, the chance to partner with this renowned event seemed obvious for the ever-growing training app.

'Is there an amateur cycling event quite as renowned as L’Etape du Tour? The chance to experience one of the most beautiful and challenging stages of the Tour de France is why this has always been such a popular event and why it’s such an incredible occasion for any cyclist. It’s a real challenge, but this is what makes it such a fantastic event to complete,' said Min.

'We, at Zwift, are really excited to be able to support entrants in their training. Zwift is a fantastically convenient way to train, making it possible to ride more often than ever before. We want to deliver entrants to that start line in the best shape, so they can enjoy the experience as much as possible.'

This year's L'Etape will follow the path of Stage 20 of the Tour, a punchy 131km run from Albertville to the summit of Val Thorens, a particularly daunting challenge when even tackled alone. 

Val Thorens climbs for 33.4km at an average of 5.5% finishing at 2,365m above sea level, accounting for almost a quarter of the day's riding. This will also come after the climbs of Cormet de Roseland and Cote de Longefoy earlier in the day.

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