Barnard completes cycling challenge
In July, ME Construction’s Dennis Barnard was among nearly 10,000 cyclists – including professional riders - drawn from 94 countries, competing in this year’s L'Étape du Tour, a travelling annual race which allows competitors to ride one of the challenging stages of the Tour de France.
Now in its 22nd year, this year’s cyclo-sporting event held on roads completely closed to traffic, covered 148km from Pau to Hautacam – copying the 18th stage of the Tour de France. The route featured two big Pyrenean climbs which have long been regarded as key challenges in the cycling world: the Tourmalet (17.1km at an average gradient of 7.3%) and the final ascent to Hautacam (13.6km at 7.8%).
While the winner of the men’s race was Loïc Herbreteau, in a time of four hours, 47 minutes and 29 seconds, Dennis – competitor number 6988 – recorded the creditable time of nine hours, three minutes 50 seconds. Unfortunately, this put him just off the honours board for this year but it ensured that he out-performed some 2,000 of his colleagues, who failed to finish the race.
According to Dennis, L'Etape du Tour, established to allow amateur cyclists to test their legs on the route of one of the mountain stages in the Tour de France, has become the reference race for cyclo-sport riders from all over the world.
Dennis said: “L’Étape du Tour is the benchmark race for amateur cyclists. They get the chance to prove themselves, testing their abilities under the same conditions as the professional riders on the Tour de France experience.
“This is my fourth L’Étape du Tour and wouldn’t miss it! I always enjoy the cycling challenge, the competition with the other riders - and the camaraderie at the traditional pasta party afterwards!”