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Joanna Rowsell Shand MBE completes L'Étape du Tour

by Holly Blades

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Double Olympic Gold medallist, Joanna Rowsell Shand MBE, took on an "incredibly tough challenge", L'Étape du Tour with Sports Tours International.L'Étape du Tour is the only cyclo-sportive which allows amateur riders to participate on the same route as the Tour de France during the Tour itself.

Although Joanna is not an amateur cyclist, as a track racer she had never participated in such a challenge; a day long mountain climb.   

Joanna had always wanted to take on L'Étape but it had never been possible due to her training schedule as a member of the GB Cycling Team, so this was her first chance to take on the challenge. 

Commenting on the experience, Joanna said: "This was a challenge I wanted to undertake in retirement, partly to have a goal to keep me active and partly because it was something I've always wanted to do." 

Joanna rode 181km from Briançon to Col d'Izoard in the Alps and commented: "I'm not going to deny this was hard and definitely not something that should be entered into lightly, but the sense of achievement at the finish was incredibly fulfilling! There was an amazing atmosphere all day with so much encouragement from other riders (not to mention the local spectators!) and a sense we were all in it together."

Joanna became a worldwide ambassador for Sports Tours International in March 2017 immediately after announcing her retirement. Sports Tours International is an official VIP tour operator for the three Grand Tours of Cycling: the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España. 

Peter Morgan for Sports Tours International said: "Having a true Olympic cycling hero participate with Sports Tours International in what is arguably the toughest stage of Le Tour de France has been a pleasure and we hope that Jo takes on her next challenge soon." 

You can read more about Joanna's experiences at L'Etape du Tour and watch her exclusive vlog at: 

Anyone who would like to ride the L'Etape du Tour like Jo can register their interest now for 2018. See: 

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