“Since its inception in 2016, L’Étape Australia by le Tour de France has provided a new level of riding experience in Australia, combining the beauty of the Snowy Mountains, the incredible enthusiasm of the locals and an event run to Tour de France professional standards.

In 2016 and 2017 L’Étape Australia was the largest Tour de France event held outside France.

L’Étape Australia provides amateur riders with an experience as close to riding in the Tour de France as it is possible to get with fully closed roads and a mountainous course that is the equal of a mountainous stage of the Tour de France.

The local Snowy Mountain community have embraced the Tour de France riding through their towns and villages; they come out in their thousands with cow bells and flags encouraging and supporting the riders along the route. The locals dress the entire area in yellow, green and polka dot; phenomenal bike artworks adorn the entire route.”

Sarah ann and Sheryl , the Tour Leaders of AACR (Australian Alpine Cycling Retreat), entered into the strong women’s team “Queen of the Mountains”, created from the last 2016 female team winners.

Due to terrible weather, we were not sure if the race would even start. But the start time rolled on and we started the race (distance and route modified for the conditions) in the wet .

My experience of the race, was riding conservatively down the wet roads into Jindaybne, then forming a strong group of riders from the local Jindabyne Cycling Club that saw Froome ride past us taking a few photo opportunities. Cycling from Jindabyne to Berridale was a 1st for me on the main roads, which was great having fully closed roads. Arriving into Berridale the town people were out cheering us on, encouraging us into the next section of the ride with undulating roads to the bottom of Col de Beloka. I rode strong up the climb passing a few riders with a time of 18:16mins. Hitting the top I knew the time had come to dig deep and ride my heart out to the finish line. I crossed the finish line totally exhausted.

The news came in that we had WON -1st Female team, and I had ridden the fastest time in our team.

It was such a proud moment to stand on stage with these amazing female cyclists and receive our award from Frome himself.