The Etape is a popular event – this year there will probably be many thousands of people who will unfortunately not be allocated a place. All that preparation need not be wasted!

A similar event is held every year in Northern Italy. Starting and finishing at the historic hill top town of Bergamo, on the edge of the Alps in Italy’s Lake District, there will be several thousand riders attempting an exciting mountain course. Unlike the Etape there are three distance options. Like the Etape, there is mechanical backup and there will be feeding stations.

The options are: 97Km and 1200 meters of climb

134Km and 1671 meters of climb

165Km and 2620 meters of climb

The event takes place on 7th May 2006.

If you feel that you will not be sufficiently fit by then, there is a second opportunity in September, when a similar event takes place in the Cinque Terra area of Italy, around one of Italy’s most spectacular and least spoilt stretches of coast line.

One of my readers has offered to arrange trips to both these events, arranging transport to and from the hotel from the airport and hotel accommodation. He has also offered to handle the paperwork (he has a good grasp of Italian!)

To find out more, e-mail at