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Tips on preparation for tackling the Col de Vars and Col d'Izoard from Mike Cotty and Nicolas Roux...

If you've signed up for next year's Etape du Tour, here's a must-watch video - and even if you haven't got an entry to perhaps the most eagerly awaited sportive of the year, it's well worth a few minutes of your time.

Mavic, who service the event as well as providing neutral service to the Tour de France itself, have teamed up with brand ambassadors Mike Cotty, whose Col Collective videos we feature regularly on road.cc, and ex-pro (and Etape du Tour winner) Nicolas Roux to give you all the information and tips you need as you prepare for it.

With a field of 15,000, the 25th edition of the Etape takes place on Sunday 18 July 2017, and follows the route of Stage 19 of the Tour de France with a first-time summit finish on the Col d'Izoard.

It starts in Briancon, with the 178-kilometre route also taking in the  2,109 metre Col de Vars, crested 49 kilometres from the finish, while the ascent of the Izoard takes riders up to 2,360 metres.

> L'Etape du Tour 2017 to finish on Col d'Izoard (+ video)

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.