All About the Virtual L’Etape du Tour on Zwift

All About the Virtual L’Etape du Tour on Zwift

Each year, L’Etape du Tour de France provides cyclists with the opportunity to get a slice of the Tour de France experience through a mass participation cyclo-sportive held on one of the Tour de France mountain stages. Around 15,000 lucky riders take part each year – and you have to see it to believe it!

This year, for the first time ever, Zwift is hosting the Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France as part of the virtual TdF. (Zwift hosted a single l’Etape du Tour event in 2019, but there was no corresponding virtual pro race.) This year’s Zwift event series will allow participants to test themselves on the same (virtual) roads as the professionals, like the outdoor event, but across three stages instead of just one.

Ride New French Roads

There’s been a lot of chatter in the past few days about Zwift’s new France and Paris maps. Zwifters keep asking the same question: when can I ride the new roads?

Stage 2 of L’Tape du Tour is your first chance, so mark your calendar for July 11-12!

Stage Details

Three stages will be held over the first three weekends of July alongside the virtual TdF. The stages get progressively more difficult each weekend, culminating in the massive Mont Ventoux climb on stage 3.

16 different events will be spread over each weekend, so Zwifters should be able to find a time slot to fit their schedule. Here are the stage details:

Stage 1 (July 4-5): Watopia Mountain Route (Nice) 29.5km, 682m of ascent

Animated “Mountain Route” Route Details (Watopia) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks

Route Basics

Length: 29.5 km (18.3 miles)
Elevation:
682 m (2,238‘)
Lead-In: 0.5 km (0.3 miles)
Map: Watopia

Achievement Badge: 580 XP

Banners and Leaderboards

(in order of appearance)
Epic KOM Forward
Sprint Forward

BestBikeSplit Model
Estimate ride time, IF and TSS, plan your power, and more!

Route Description

Route profile by ZwiftHub – the place to plan and track your route achievements!

The Watopia “Mountain Route” is simply a loop up to the radio tower then back through the start/finish line.

This is an excellent addition to the game, since it allows group rides and races to include a major climb.

Stage 2 (July 11-12): Casse-Pattes 2x (South-West France) 45.8 km, 290m of ascent

Animated “Casse-Pattes” Route Details (France) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks

French cyclists use the term “casse-pattes” (literally “leg-breaking”) to refer to particularly difficult parts of a ride, or roads that awkwardly change gradient and break a cyclist’s rhythm.

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the Casse-Pattes route covers the large outer loop of the map in a clockwise direction. The first 12km is pan-flat with two timed sprint segments, but then that rhythm is broken up in the back half by two timed KOM climbs.

 

French cyclists use the term “casse-pattes” (literally “leg-breaking”) to refer to particularly difficult parts of a ride, or roads that awkwardly change gradient and break a cyclist’s rhythm.

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the Casse-Pattes route covers the large outer loop of the map in a clockwise direction. The first 12km is pan-flat with two timed sprint segments, but then that rhythm is broken up in the back half by two timed KOM climbs.

 

Route Basics

Length: 23 km (14.3 miles)
Elevation:
145 m (476‘)
Lead-In: 0.9 km (0.6 miles)
Map: France

Start & Finish

Begins and ends at the Marina Sprint banner.

Achievement Badge: 460 XP

Banners and Leaderboards

(in order of appearance)
Marina Sprint Reverse
Pavé Sprint Reverse
Aqueduc KOM Reverse
Petit KOM

Bike Selection

Despite two timed KOM segments, this route is very flat overall. Your fastest times will come from an aero setup!

Fastest Frames >
Fastest Wheels >

Route Description

Route profile by ZwiftHub – the place to plan and track your route achievements!

Beginning with a short lead-in from the start pens, we travel east into the marina where we get a chance to hit the Marina Reverse Sprint. (This sprint banner is the official start/finish line for this loop.)

Enjoy the sites as you spin through the flattest portion of the France map. You’ll spot Mont Saint-Michel to your left, as well as a familiar Arch and Needle as you ride near the sea. Just past a field of sunflowers, you’ll enter a town that includes the Pavé sprint segment. Go for the green, then prep your legs for the short Aqueduc KOM.

You will descend into the fields of vineyards and flowers before it’s time to hit the big climb of this loop: the Petit KOM. At 2.7km with an average grade of 4% its zigzags are just long and steep enough to make your legs really feel the effort!

Recover as you descend and ride past the start pens, then it’s one final Marina Reverse sprint to the finish line.

Stage 3 (July 18-19): Ven-Top (Mont Ventoux) 20.9km. 1523m of ascent

Animated “Ven-Top” Route Details (France) Map
Animated map provided by ZwiftHacks

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the “Ven-Top” route is named for the massive climb it contains: Mont Ventoux! This GPS-accurate model of the world-famous climb is by far the toughest ascent in game, climbing 1480 meters (4857′) from the beginning to end of the timed KOM segment.

Released with Zwift’s France map for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, the “Ven-Top” route is named for the massive climb it contains: Mont Ventoux! This GPS-accurate model of the world-famous climb is by far the toughest ascent in game, climbing 1480 meters (4857′) from the beginning to end of the timed KOM segment.

Route Basics

Length: 20.9 km (13.0 miles)
Elevation:
1534 m (5,033‘)
Lead-In: 0 km ( miles)
Map: France

Start & Finish

Begins at start pens, ends atop Mont Ventoux at KOM arch

Restriction:

Achievement Badge: 420 XP

Banners and Leaderboards

(in order of appearance)
Mont Ventoux KOM

Bike Selection

Looking to get your fastest time up this massive climb? The Specialized Tarmac Pro frame with Lightweight Meilenstein wheels is your best bet! Check out Fastest Bike Frame and Wheelset for Climbing Alpe du Zwift for more tips.

Route Description

Route profile by ZwiftHub – the place to plan and track your route achievements!

The route begins at the start pens heading east (away from the marina) and immediately onto a false flat. Enjoy it while you can: it’s only going to get steeper!

The timed KOM begins approximately 1.8km after the start. From here you have 19km and 1480m to the top of Mont Ventoux, or you can target the first KOM arch at Chalet Reynard which is 13km and 1058m from the KOM start line. (For comparison, the Chalet Reynard KOM line makes this climb very similar to Alpe du Zwift, which is 12.2km long with 1035m of elevation gain.)

When you pass the Didi ballon and see pitchforks on the pavement, you know you’re getting close to Chalet Reynard. Keep pushing for another 500 meters to that KOM banner. Then you have a decision to make: do you have what it takes to push for another 6km and 400+ meters to the top? (Of course you do! You’ve made it this far. Keep going!)

Notice how the landscape and foliage changes as you climb, beginning with rolling hills and pastures, morphing into a landscape strewn with giant boulders and pine trees, and eventually changing to the famous “moonscape” of Mont Ventoux’s upper reaches. Be happy you’re indoors – it gets windy outside!

You’ll pass Tom Simpson’s memorial with 1km to go. Almost there!

When you reach the weather station atop Mont Ventoux, you’ve completed the Ven-Top route. But keep riding on the flat loop to turn around, then enjoy the long descent – you’ve earned it!

 

Sign up in the Companion app or online at zwift.com/events/series/virtual_letape_du_tour_de_france

Categories

The L’Etape du Tour events have just two categories to choose from:

  • A: Women Only
  • E: Open (Men and Women)

These categories aren’t based on ability in any way – they simply allow the ladies to ride in a women’s-only event if desired.

Is it a race? Only if you want it to be! Keep in mind you’ll be competing against the full spectrum of riders, not just a typical race category (B, C, etc). Make it your personal challenge just to finish a stage, or race all three – it’s up to you!

ZwiftPower for Racers

If you’re planning on racing, be sure you’re signed up for ZwiftPower beforehand since the general classification results (cumulative time) across stages will only be available on ZwiftPower.

Follow the instructions under “Getting Started” here to get signed up for ZwiftPower.

ZwiftPower L’Etape du Tour 2020 Results Page >

Trek Madone

Riding Trek

At the time of this post, the L’Etape du Tour events are set up so all riders are placed on the Trek Madone frame. This is due to partnership/sponsorship deals with ASO, and the good news is the Madone is a very aero frame.

But it leaves us wondering: why not at least give us the Emonda (a better climber) for the final Mont Ventoux stage?

Double Draft

These events are set to run in double draft mode, which hasn’t been used much lately for big Zwift events. If you’re not familiar with double draft, it’s a stronger draft effect more akin to what you would experience in outdoor riding.

This will help packs stay together on the flats, since the faster pack speeds in double draft mode make it harder for strong riders to stay away – at least until the climbs begin!

Kit Unlock

Finish just one Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France stage to unlock the virtual Rapha l’Etape kit, seen here:

To learn more or sign up, visit zwift.com/events/series/virtual_letape_du_tour_de_france

Questions or Comments?

Share below! We’ll do our best to answer questions and comments as more information is released in the coming days.

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Deanna
Deanna
8 months ago

Please unsubscribe

BooX
8 months ago

Can’t wait for the Ven-Top race, I tried the route yesterday and it’s basically 80 minutes of climbing and pure pain ( at least for me… ), and it makes the Alp seems like a recovery ride if you compare.
I’m pretty sure it’s quite easy to push to hard at the first part and “run out of steam” before the top 🤔 Can’t wait to se the times for the pro’s 🤗😀

Rich
Rich
8 months ago
Reply to  BooX

Unfortunately they’re not riding Ven-top.

BooX
BooX (@boxlund)
8 months ago
Reply to  Rich

Oops… After riding the route it was so obviously to me that it would make a killer race, that I didn’t even think it was possible that hey left it out of the vTDF 😯 At least an amateur like me can have a lot of “fun” on it 😀

Marcus Berghauf
Marcus Berghauf
8 months ago

I’m wondering if Eric or anyone else could give any guidance on how long it could take people of different abilities to complete Ventoux? I’m thinking that I can do the Alpe in roughly 1hr 10, so if this is half the elevation again simple maths suggests I should be looking at at least 1hr45m. But is that realistic? Is there more to it?

MATHEW M ROSE
MATHEW M ROSE (@matrose617)
8 months ago

I’ll second that request. My last two times up the Alpe have been 54 and 53 minutes respectively at the end of Überpretzel and Four Horsemen respectively, but I’m wondering what pacing should be like and whether we get a segment counter on the left side of the screen to help pace segment power like we have for the Alpe. I’d be happy to hear from those who have used a hack to ride it early how their times compare between Ventoux and the Alpe.

BooX
BooX (@boxlund)
8 months ago

I rode Ventoux at 3,5 w/kg avg. on the Specialized Tarmac Pro/Meilenstein climbing setup, and that equals to 1h21m for the Strava Kom segment and 1h30m from the Zwift start to the top ( the KOM segment starts slightly into the route ). If I do the same avg. w/kg on the Alp that equals to around 54m30s. That should give you and idea of what to expect time vise.

Space Kraft
Space Kraft
8 months ago

There are several online. I used it for the Tour For All climbing stage and they give you a good benchmark of what to expect based upon your watts/kg. There was one site that was fairly easy, most are highly detailed and want all sorts of inputs (e.g. enter your rolling resistance). I’m not sure if I found it through here, ZwiftPower Forum, or via browser search.

Jon
Jon
8 months ago

Look on Strava, some people have been using a Zwift hack to do the routes.

Tim Schneider
Tim Schneider (@tasmobile)
7 months ago

I rode Ventoux at 2.0-2.5 w/kg avg. on the Specialized Tarmac Pro/Meilenstein climbing setup it took a little over 2 hours.  

Robert Barrett
7 months ago
Reply to  Tim Schneider

I’m going for around 155 to 165, that’s around 2.3 to 2.5 so hopefully I’ll scrape just inside two hours. I’ll find out Sunday morning …. with green kit !!

DarrenEllis
DarrenEllis
8 months ago

Hi Eric
Signed up for all 3 stages
I turn 55 on 15th of july
So this is my challenge
I can’t wait for the weekend and stage 1
are you doing it

Jean-Marie Billon
Jean-Marie Billon
8 months ago

Hi Eric, just wanted to take the opportunity of this article to thank you for your “insider” information.
Take care,
Jean-Marie

Ross K.
Ross K. (@arkeele)
8 months ago

What do folks figure for a wheelset for the mountain route? Something more aero with decent climb like the Enve 7.8’s, or lighter but less aero like the Enve 3.4’s or Zipp 454’s?

Dylan
Dylan
8 months ago
Reply to  Ross K.

Anywhere except the Alpe and now Ventoux, I typically ride the 454s. They’re almost as fast as the really fast aero wheels (juuuust behind the 808s), and they’re not far off on climbing performance either (tied for 5th in pure climbing). They’re the top of the “combined” rankings.

Dylan
Dylan
8 months ago

Have the bikes always lacked pedals and it’s just really glaring in that shot of the new kit because the Mavic shoes are yellow, or is something up lately?

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

Any sign of make up dates for these?

Space Kraft
Space Kraft
8 months ago

Awesome news on the Trek Madone since that’s what I ride in the real world.

Edgnar
Edgnar
8 months ago

In events where everyone rides the same bike (in this case the Madone) it would be cool if a few riders per event were awarded the bike unlock as a spot prize. I don’t know if this happens at all but it would be a nice extra incentive.

David Cooper
David Cooper
7 months ago
Reply to  Edgnar

Not sure that would be much of an incentive for most riders. Unless this particular one is a special item, the Madone unlocks at level 20 and IIRC doesn’t cost that many drops to buy anyway. I imagine most L20+ riders already own it as, I think, it is probably the fastest bike you can get at that level, unless you have already earned the Z1.

Kriezies
Kriezies (@kriezies)
8 months ago

I want to ride these routes and unlock the bike and jersey for this event, but don’t really want to race. In the discovery rides you won’t get these unlockables I supose?

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk_2)
8 months ago
Reply to  Kriezies

just sign up and ride at whatever pace you want, there’s thousands of signups for each event so you’ll always find a group to ride with at your pace.

Nigel Birch
Nigel Birch
8 months ago

Apologise may have posted this on the wrong forum – Hugely disappointing to have my session on the Etape du Tour crash after seconds into the race – tried 10. Or more times to get back into the ride but these were all in vein – thought this issue was sorted – cheers Nige

Raya
Raya
8 months ago

The women’s ride starts 1 min before the open category. Does this mean everyone will be on the course together? Like, if I decide to ride with the mixed group even though I started with the women’s group, I can do that?

Marcus Berghauf
Marcus Berghauf
7 months ago
Reply to  Raya

It doesn’t tend to work like that as I understand. While in rides and races we think of ourselves as being “on the course at the same time,” you don’t see riders in other races, or who are free riding.

EJ Acosta
EJ Acosta
8 months ago

Despite one broken rib and two bruised one that made it hard to breathe during the climbs, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. I have never been able to ride more than one hour on the trainer, but today I rode two hours and loved it. It was nice riding with so many Zwifters. Your course description was spot on. Thank you and thanks to Zwift.

EJ Acosta
EJ Acosta
8 months ago
Reply to  EJ Acosta

Here I am riding through the mountain top blizzard. 👍

0F29D5E9-91EF-499F-AFF7-9801F5743BCB.jpeg
Joe killian
Joe killian (@joe-konasubway)
8 months ago

I did stage one of the L E tape today, are there results or was it a group ride? If there are results where do you find them?

Sharon Hammond
Sharon Hammond
8 months ago
Reply to  Joe killian

I am thinking the same thing- I see other peoples results but not mine

Tyrone
Tyrone
8 months ago

Can’t wait to ride into zwift ,Last time I climbed Ventoux it was quite windy

Tyrone
Tyrone
8 months ago

Screenshot for my ride

C45DEAAF-4439-4A84-9882-114F1B3BAFE2.jpeg
Luciano
Luciano
7 months ago

Orange or blue kit??
Strange that I saw everyone in orange jerseys during the event, but from other people’s screenshots, the event was blue jersey.
Did anyone else see that? Any explanation?

Laura
Laura (@laurakfrancis)
7 months ago
Reply to  Luciano

I only saw blue

Luciano
Luciano
7 months ago
Reply to  Luciano

That’s my screenshot… and my Strava Activity https://www.strava.com/activities/371109781

DLzj_O472GY6RMC0uRkbgy1LkuotKuZi90rcaZdtEq4-2048x1152.jpg
Luciano
Luciano
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Yeah, just found on Zwift Forums that the blue one is 2019’s Jersey, and looks like I got a “traning camp” jersey that was distrubuted before 2019’s event. Weired bug! They are already aware and it will be fixed along the week (the correct one is “teal”, just like the screenshots released).

Neil coles
Neil coles
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Same here unless there are two different kits in which case what are the conditions to unlock?

Laura
Laura (@laurakfrancis)
7 months ago

So we all get assigned the Trek Madone, cool, but… most were red but quite a lot in other colours… can you change the colour? Or is it somehow randomly assigned? Just curious. Plus it seemed you can ride whatever wheel set you choose. I joined just a few moments before the start yesterday as I’d forgotten so no time to mess around!

Laura
Laura (@laurakfrancis)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Sweet! Thanks. I was too late to do that this week

Robert Barrett
7 months ago

No way to see age group results, as far as I can tell, any ideas please? I’m UCI 70+ for 2020 (December birthday). It would be useful to compare myself with others in that group. I know I’m not the best but it would be useful to know what the gap is. (y)

Jim Lisius (HCRA60 )
Jim Lisius (HCRA60 )
7 months ago
Reply to  Robert Barrett

Go to ZwiftPower and search the entire (using All-All) l’Etape du Tour for “70+” — I consider it the 10year age group results, but you have to be registered with ZwiftPower before the tour starts.

Carl Sealby
Carl Sealby
7 months ago

I never got chance to ride letape this weekend, will there be another chance to ride it ? Or will there be another ride to unlock the kit?

Carl Sealby
Carl Sealby
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Thank you, I’ll get In one next weekend all being well 🤞

Marius
Marius
7 months ago

Any info on the 2019 Zwift L’Etape du Tour de France scheduled for 21 July? It says that it will be held on the Uber Pretzel course, but thats about it. The sign-up link on Zwift goes nowhere, wondering if you might know more, Eric? And thanks, great site and blog!

Marius
Marius
7 months ago
Reply to  Marius

Seems that although the scheduled date says 21 July 2020, this was in fact last years event. So no further info needed, thanks!

Jen
Jen
7 months ago

Have now completed the first two stages, but don’t seem to have unlocked the jersey……is there something else I need to do?

roman
roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Jen

same issue…

Lisa
Lisa
7 months ago
Reply to  Jen

Same. And although both stages completed show on zwift power, I experienced stage 2 App crash after I crossed the finish line where I lost all pr, course badge, no jersey, ftp increase and credit for completing the stage. I tried to ride it again Sunday early 0600, but the app crashed 3 times before mile 5, once in the pen waiting to start! Guess it wasn’t meant to be. The app crashes happen to me a lot which is a real bummer

Esteban Ortiz
Esteban Ortiz
7 months ago

Hi. I’d run the Virtual Tour de France – Open – Stage 1 Discovery Ride but I dont unlock the virtual Rapha l’Etape kit. What stage I have to run to unlock the kit?

Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Esteban Ortiz

You have to ride an Etape event to unlock the kit – unfortunately the Discovery rides don’t count

Neil coles
Neil coles
7 months ago

Great info as always Eric. I rode the first Etape last weekend but only heard of zwift power after. There is no way to still get a cumulative result? I also got a Rapha d’etape Kit but was dark blue not the more striking turquoise above. Any idea why?

Martin
Martin
7 months ago
Reply to  Neil coles

There was a bug in the system which looks like it was fixed last weekend, at least for me. My blue jersey changed to the turquoise one. Much better looking!

Esteban Ortiz
Esteban Ortiz
7 months ago

Hi Eric I’d ride the stage one of Tour the France Yesterday but I didn’t unlock the virtual Rapha l’Etape kit. To unlock the kit we have to ride in the above detailed dates?

Kamila G
Kamila G
7 months ago
Reply to  Esteban Ortiz

me too – really want that jersey!

Deem
Deem
7 months ago

Noob question: but how does one join the race on Zwift?

Last week, for Stage 1 — I selected “Join” from the top right of the home screen…
/ but was never prompted to enter the race while waiting at the home screen.

Should one be waiting at the home screen, or in a world? (e.g. Watopia)

Philippe B
Philippe B (@philippe-j-barzin)
7 months ago

We were 6,954 participants today. Is there a place where I can find results?

Keven
Keven
7 months ago

I’ve just completed Stage 2 and signed up for Zwiftpower but can’t see my placings. Do I need to do all races to see this ?

Miles
Miles
7 months ago

Hey are they going to be doing make up days for this event, hurt my back yesterday so can’t ride for a few days. I’m hoping it’s a yes as I’ve stage 1 in the bag…..

Paul
Paul
7 months ago

I am relatively new to Zwift, just a couple of weeks in, and I have to say I’m really enjoying it. Completed stage 2 of L’Etape yesterday following a failed attempt on Saturday due to a system crash/frozen screen. I continued to ride with the screen frozen in the hope it would resume, it did but when I reappeared I was on the Mont Ventoux route! It was not long before I realised but decided to continue. For those who, like me, are only very average cyclists and/or are new to Zwift, like me, then do not underestimate next weeks… Read more »

Patrick McQueen
Patrick McQueen
7 months ago

I get that you use the Trek sponsor bike for the event, but can you still choose your own wheels? Assuming it is the Madone or Emonda for Stage 3 the Lightweights would still be the best choice, correct?

Deon Konig
Deon Konig
7 months ago

Will stages 4,5 & 6 also be available in the coming weeks?

Jim Lisius (HCRA60 )
Jim Lisius (HCRA60 )
7 months ago

I’m disappointed that in Stage 3 we’re not riding the pro course, especially since it’s billed as “will allow participants to test themselves on the same (virtual) roads as the professionals, like the outdoor event, but across three stages instead of just one.”

I really enjoyed watching the pros ride the two courses on Sunday that I had suffered on Saturday. The France world is beautiful, but I’m really missing the La Reine stage 3.

Joe
Joe
7 months ago

Do you know if there will be any catch up days? Laptop died halfway through the climb…

Joe Killian
Joe Killian (@joe-konasubway)
7 months ago

how many stages are there for letape tdf?

Maureen Marshall
Maureen Marshall
7 months ago

How do you get to the France world? When I signed up for Stage 1 I didn’t know where to go…I’m signed up tomorrow at 6 am.m. do I need to ride earlier and get to a certain spot. Thank you.

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