A total of 120 riders set off yesterday on the 2013 edition of the Trois Etapes cycling pro-am tour in the French Alps.
The event, which features 15 charity teams, has already raised more than £2 million for good causes in the last year.
15 pro riders are racing this year, including Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre, former Garmin-Sharp riders Andreas Klier and Daniel Lloyd, World Champion Evelyn Stevens, Team MTN Qhubeka’s Songezo Jim, Gent–Wevelgem winner Lars Michaelsen, Round The World cyclist Mark Beaumont, Paracycling World Champion Colin Lynch and Madison-Gensis riders Joan Horrach and Liam Holohan.
The pro riders mentor the amateurs in a unique pairing: the Trois Etapes is designed to give riders the chance to experience team cycling under race conditions, with the full support that a pro would have in a Grand Tour. It teaches tactical team riding, as each team of 8 riders (7 amateurs and 1 pro) has its own team car and Directeur Sportif. Every rider has a radio link with their team car and the Race Director.
The event isn’t a sportive – instead, it pits the teams of amateurs against each other on some of the toughest climbs the Alps has to offer over four days, and all in aid of charity.
Here’s a video that shows how it works:
Last year’s event raised $1.7 million for charity partners making it the largest pro-am charity cycling event of its kind. Charities supported this year include The Anne Frank Trust, Prostate Cancer UK and Walking with the Wounded, together with Right to Play, World Bicycle Relief and the dZi Foundation.
The event is being filmed by Channel 4 and British Eurosport.
To find out more about the race, click here.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.