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L'Etape du Tour 2006: Gap - L'Alpe d'Huez, part 4

A video tour of l'Etape

But what's it really like to ride the full length of a stage of the Tour de France? In these six short video clips, Mark Sharon puts you in the saddle from the start in Gap, over the cols, through the tunnels and through the all-important feed stations to l'Alpe d'Huez. All in glorious Cyclingnews HandleBarCamOVision.

Read all about Mark's adventures on this year's Etape in his three-part story:
Part 1, Giving amateurs a flavour of the Tour, is here.
Part 2, A failing sense of confidence, is here.
Part 3, L'Etape's colourful history, is here

And now see the movie! Click on each thumbnail to go through to the video:

The start village
Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

The start village - the place to meet your friends, collect your event pack and make sure your support crew and loved ones know where to find you at the end of the epic journey to l'Alpe d'Huez.

Le Depart
Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

The start - at last. The first group gets away in seconds, but for the riders at the back of the 8,500-strong field it would take more than a few minutes to get started.

Combes de Queyras
Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

Deep into the Alpine countryside and the scenery is spectacular. It gets hidden from you now and then by tunnels and the challenge is to keep your eye on the road so you can appreciate the scenery but not become part of it...

Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

The 2360m Col d'Izoard held a nasty surprise for the riders, but fortunately it's a 17km plummet to Briancon afterwards.

To Briancon
Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

And with a hearty "Taaaaallly-hoooooo!" we plunge off Izoard to Briancon. Careful now, though - bags not going home in the ambulance.

Alpe d'Huez
Photo ©: Mark Sharon
(Click for larger image)

The final push to l'Alpe, first crossing the Col du Lautaret at 2058m.Lauteret was a welcome sight for our hero, but the Alpe was his undoing.

Thanks to:

Travel: Brittany Ferries - www.brittanyferries.com
Accommodation: Lawrie Cranley at www.bikestyletours.com
Frame: Giant Bicycle Company - www.giantbicycles.com
Saddle/Seatpost: Specialized UK - www.specialized.com
Handlebars/Stem: ITM - www.itm.it / www.jimwalker.co.uk
Groupset/Wheels: Campagnolo - www.campagnolo.com
Tyres and clothing: Continental - www.conti-tyres.co.uk

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