L’Etape du Tour – Albertville to La Toussuire (08 July 2012)
Would you believe it? Four days before the Tour de France race a stage of the Tour is blocked for all traffic and opened to amateur cyclists. How many participants you think would show up? Crazy enough to ride 152km including six steep mountain climbs, some of them with 20km-long steady uphill grades? Some hundred?
No less than 9.500 amateur cyclists from over 50 nations participated in this Albertville to La Toussuire Etape! All of them with a burning passion for the mythical Tour de France and eager to test their legs in the French mountains, and to live the dream of riding a Tour de France stage just like the pros.
Obviously we had to be there! Not only because biking is deeply engrained in Oakley’s DNA. Not only because a team of Oakley employees participated in the race – which they actually did, and we are mighty proud of them! Not only because we wanted to present our brand new performance sports glasses to all of those bike fanatics and their fans (only let’s say about 25.000)…
No, the Rolling O-Lab just had to be there, because it’s an event that gives you goose skin with its intensely buzzing energy, with its daring challenge and the beauty of the nature around you. Thousands of cyclists, no matter if in serious competition mode or with a “just to participate”-attitude – all of them challenging their capacities, battling through one steep hill climb after the next, reaching their physical limit, passing it with sheer mental strength, sweating, suffering, cursing – and in the end celebrating!
As always, the Rolling O-Lab was to be found in the centre of the buzz, right in the starting area. We had a local dealer on site selling product to the public, focused for the product demonstrations on the RADARLOCK™ and presented our professional cyclist-stars and BEYOND REASON protagonists Mark Cavendish (Winner of 21 Tour de France stages among his countless successes) and Cadel Evans (2011 Winner of the Tour de France).
If there’s an event that’s a true BEYOND REASON event for amateurs, we think this one has its name very high up on the list of top contenders. Which is why we can only recommend that you train and train and train from now on until next year, and then participate yourself!
You have to ride the race to truly understand what the Tour de France is about – and to pass that test is – quote from a participant – the biggest gift you can give yourself!