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Tour de Celeb concludes tonight as stars take on L'Etape du Tour

122km route in the Alps from Megève to Morzine featured climbs of the Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombiere and Col de la Joux Plane

Tonight sees the fourth and concluding episode of Channel 5’s Tour de Celeb – and the series finale sees the stars tackle one of amateur cycling’s iconic challenges, the 122 kilometre L’Etape du Tour, but will they be ready for it? 

In last week’s episode, the going got tough as the eight riders were spilt into two teams and tackled the big hills of the Yorkshire Dales White Rose Classic.

TOWIE’s Lucy Mecklenburgh conquered her fear of downhills with the help of a sports psychologist. Rugby’s Austin Healey – “Show-off!” shouted Olympian Amy Williams as he left her in his slipstream – led from the front. Even cricket legend Darren Gough finished without getting off his bike, something he proudly admitted he wouldn’t have been able to do six weeks earlier.

But L’Etape is another challenge altogether. Will Louie Spence’s back hold up? Will Hugo pay for partying at Glasto instead of training? Will Goughy stay up drinking shots the night before? It’s the end of the road for Tour de Celeb – they’ve been on quite a journey and an entertaining one at that.

> Tour de Celeb: Eight go mad on bicycles and fall off a lot — but is it all fun and games, or just too contrived for words?

July’s event followed the route of Stage 20 of the Tour de France from Megève to Morzine and featured climbs of the Col des Aravis, the Col de la Colombiere and the Col de la Joux Plane ahead of a descent to the finish.

Originally scheduled to cover 146 kilometres, it was shortened to 122 kilometres to skip the Col de la Ramaz due to rockfalls in the area.

2016 Etape modified route profile.jpg

The show will be screened on Channel 5 at 7pm this evening and together with the three preceding episodes will be available to watch afterwards on the channel’s catch-up service - you can access them all here.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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21 comments

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gb901 | 7 years ago
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Lucy "my jerseys unzipped - look at my tits" M was abysmal and she and that tool Hugo epitomised the moronic idiocy of reality TV!

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FatBoyW | 7 years ago
1 like

Really! Austin was tongue in cheek all the way  in the interviews - his time was frankly incredible and he admitted that he couldn't have put more effort in just maybe have taken a few more risks descending. So for me he remains quality

He made extremely salient points about the dangers.  The Etape is dangerous 15,000 riders and dangerous difficult descents means there are many many serious injuries - at least I saw loads and at least 2 air ambulance helicopters. 

I was very surprised at how realistically the program represented the effort and extreme harshness of the Etape. If you are going to enter be prepared its really hard and not without risk.

Also note whilst Healey started at the front and kept in reasonable space with few riders so could afford to slow down descending us mere mortals have to contend with having to go reasonably fast on the descents or risk being wiped out by much faster riders...

 

As for the others they made it to the finish so well done! Just as incredible to do it with so little preparation or knowledge.

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theloststarfighter | 7 years ago
2 likes

I'd like to echo some of the remarks made.  I think the celeb's did a good job, they succeeded in an extremely tough challenge.  You only had to see how many others were off and walking to appreciate they weren't the only ones struggling.  What annoyed me was the lack of assistance they received in basic maintenence and setup.  Hadn't someone set Jodie's limit screws correctly or instructed her on how to set the derailleur up, Hugo looked like he should have a basket on the front of his bike he was so upright and some of the others didn't look that comfortable either.  There were decisions made by the producers to make this program look a certain way and the celebs come across as challenged, not always in the right way I don't think.  But overall, well done.  It's more than I've ridden in a day without a bacon sarny and cake stop!

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rliu | 7 years ago
2 likes

It's quite obvious these shows manufacture drama. It didn't make sense to me that Lucy was crying about descending the day before the event yet completed in the end and had done a 100 mile sportive the week before. Or why Hugo lost 45 minutes to a puncture without doing something about it sooner.

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Yellow Peril | 7 years ago
2 likes

 

It de-mystified the Etape for me. I always thought that it was something you had to be super fit for or the broom wagon would quickly swallow you  up. that didn't seem to be the case though.

 

I agree with some of the comments regarding the poor coaching above. cycnically I wonder whether things like riding in cleats was rushed over  in order to make good television and have lots of people crying (which is all television seems to show these days).

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WolfieSmith replied to Yellow Peril | 7 years ago
3 likes
Yellow Peril wrote:

 

It de-mystified the Etape for me. I always thought that it was something you had to be super fit for or the broom wagon would quickly swallow you  up. that didn't seem to be the case though.

I've finished two etapes back to back - in 2009 and 2010 and Joux Plane or no Joux Plane I wouldn't take a 75 mile ride as an example of how easy the Etape might seem. Ventoux at 32C after 90 miles isn't fun and I can report that the Tourmalet isn't any better after 6 hours in the saddle with the clock ticking either! If you don't train, don't eat and drink enough and don't keep up a decent pace in the valleys you will get swept up. It's a combination of the heat and the altitude: factors that you just cannot train for in the UK. 

I agree with all the comments above. Healey was a smug little bugger but he did the preparation. Gough - like all cricketers presented with real cardio vascular exercise - was in utter denial. You can't be 3 stone over weight, go on a bender the night before a sportive and then pretend it is about 'dehydration'. Fair play to the coaches for showing verbal restraint. Also huge respect to all of the riders for finishing. I'm not sure I could have done it with so little preparation.

The worst point of all the programmes wasn't the Etape but  seeing that horrendous climb out of Settle on the White Rose Classic. The camera angle actually did it justice with the roofs of the town falling off below... Just awful. In fact the entire White Rose Classic is just awful. Nice countryside but one after the other with gawd awful climbs and a couple of  dangerous descents thrown in. If you survive that you'll survive the etape.

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kevvjj | 7 years ago
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Overall I quite enjoyed it. It did portray cycling as dangerous though, and too frequently. It would have been good to see more time spent with nutrition etc. I cannot believe that the organisers did not teach them how to change a tube!

i wonder how they would have coped with the 2015 Etape - 146km and 4500m of climbing... and just as hot.

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srchar replied to kevvjj | 7 years ago
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kevvjj wrote:

i wonder how they would have coped with the 2015 Etape - 146km and 4500m of climbing... and just as hot.

Having ridden the 2016 Etape, I don't think the numbers tell the whole story. I didn't do the Etape in 2015, but I did do a baking hot Maratona with similar stats. By far the hardest ride was the Etape. The Joux Plane is absolutely brutal.

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Shades | 7 years ago
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It was OK; could have been put together better.  Anyway, I've never done the Etape, so 'chapeau' to them.  Having done a few HC climbs, I always thought the 'killer' on the Etape would be climbing in the afternoon sun which was certainly the case.  Must find those roads they were on; looked awesome.

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ianrobo | 7 years ago
0 likes

irrelevant comment ! 

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drosco | 7 years ago
1 like

After my initial scepticism, I'm now really enjoying it.

 

Hugo is a waste of space though. He has everything going for him, yet has a toddler's ability to stick at something when it gets difficult. 

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psling | 7 years ago
3 likes

I haven't been watching all of it but may tune in tonight. You have to remember this is celebrity entertainment tv; what you see is what they want you to see, not necessarily a completely true reflection of what really happens. All the b0ll0x referred to above will be a distant memory as they complete the task, with a few 'moments' along the way no doubt. Sorry, but I'm a real cynic when it comes to reality tv.

Chapeau to them actually doing it for real though, whatever dramas may have been portrayed on tv along the way.

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PaulBox | 7 years ago
4 likes

Lol, I've quite enjoyed the series so far, even got my Mrs to watch last week.

When they were trying to teach Angelica to ride one handed (to drink, take a bottle) my wife said that she could do it, but not if she was clipped in, apparently it's one or the other...  1 

To be fair to Angelica, at least she keeps going, definitely a case of the hare & the tortoise on a couple of occasions.

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ktache | 7 years ago
5 likes

I must admit, quite guiltily, that I have really enjoyed this show.  

I have to slightly disagree with you jolly, but the improvement in Angelica has really impressed me, and this is the least annoying thing I have ever seen Louis in, normally I would refuse to watch anything he appeard in.

I took a huge amount of peverted pleasure in Darren's foolish hangover.  But then to continue...

And even though he may do very well, and nothing against the rest of his team, but I wouldn't want to be riding with Austin.

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PaulBox replied to ktache | 7 years ago
3 likes
ktache wrote:

his is the least annoying thing I have ever seen Louis in, normally I would refuse to watch anything he appeard in.

Exactly the same.

Cycling makes everybody better!

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jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
1 like

It's great to have cycling on the TV, 'non cyclists' starting to get the bug, showing that it can be done, etc, but I can't help feeling sorry for Rob Hayles and so on.

I have a lot of time for Lucy M, she's a sharp cookie and we've all had little moments where it's a bit scary.  But the diva-strops being thrown by Louis, the general lack of commitment from Hugo, and oh god, Angelica (do you really have so little control of your body that you can't ride one handed?  And why do you give up at the first hill every time?)... I'd have thrown those three in a lake by this stage.

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bendertherobot replied to jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
2 likes
jollygoodvelo wrote:

It's great to have cycling on the TV, 'non cyclists' starting to get the bug, showing that it can be done, etc, but I can't help feeling sorry for Rob Hayles and so on.

I have a lot of time for Lucy M, she's a sharp cookie and we've all had little moments where it's a bit scary.  But the diva-strops being thrown by Louis, the general lack of commitment from Hugo, and oh god, Angelica (do you really have so little control of your body that you can't ride one handed?  And why do you give up at the first hill every time?)... I'd have thrown those three in a lake by this stage.

I have a little more time for her post psychological descent training but her throwing herself off prior to that was very tiring. Angelica is a fighter and has been from the start. 

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Richard D replied to jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
1 like
jollygoodvelo wrote:

It's great to have cycling on the TV, 'non cyclists' starting to get the bug, showing that it can be done, etc, but I can't help feeling sorry for Rob Hayles and so on.

 

I worry that it puts people off.  We've been told again and again by this show that it's really dangerous to ride a bike.  Darren Gough was mere minutes away from death through over-exertion, Nagelica has shown us that if you take a hand off the handlebars for a moment, you'll crash, the model keeps trying to throw herself under the wheels of any passing vehicle, and if you can get over the extreme danger then it's still too hard for anyone other than an Olympic athlete.

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dottigirl replied to jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
7 likes
jollygoodvelo wrote:

It's great to have cycling on the TV, 'non cyclists' starting to get the bug, showing that it can be done, etc, but I can't help feeling sorry for Rob Hayles and so on.

I have a lot of time for Lucy M, she's a sharp cookie and we've all had little moments where it's a bit scary.  But the diva-strops being thrown by Louis, the general lack of commitment from Hugo, and oh god, Angelica (do you really have so little control of your body that you can't ride one handed?  And why do you give up at the first hill every time?)... I'd have thrown those three in a lake by this stage.

I didn't feel sorry for him at all - after all, most of the problems were down to the inabilities of the 'coaching team' to actually coach. 

Neither Hayles nor Storey are qualified cycling coaches, and you could tell from their advice - they had no idea how to break down and teach the skills needed. And to stick newbies in cleats was verging on criminal. 

Most of the riding problems were due to the badly fitting bikes. Obvious, badly fitting bikes.

Even in episode three, when they were motor-pacing, Louie's saddle was clearly too high - watch it and see his hips were rocking all over the place. I'm not surprised he had lower back pain, I am surprised he managed to finish the Etape at all.

This is something a decent coach should have spotted right at the beginning. 

I suspect the two women's bikes (Angellica and Lucy) were sized down to them: narrow bars plus short stems makes steering twitchy. No wonder she couldn't go one-handed, and I'd expect her to lose a fair bit of power too, like Spence would have. 

In one clip, Storey wasn't even watching Lucy descend - she was in front of her going down Box. So, how is she going to correct her technique?

We don't know the gearing they were using. Perhaps a larger cassette could've helped Angellica stay on and not climb off? Perhaps we weren't shown this bit, or perhaps they didn't know there were other options. But, I'd expect a little more understanding and possible solutions from the coaches.

Elite/experienced cyclists often forget the difficulties they had learning the basics. There were so many facepalm and headshake moments from Hayles and Storey, I admire the contestants even more for getting through it. 

 

I agree with you on Hugo though. Wanker.

 

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gb901 replied to jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
1 like
jollygoodvelo wrote:

It's great to have cycling on the TV, 'non cyclists' starting to get the bug, showing that it can be done, etc, but I can't help feeling sorry for Rob Hayles and so on.

No, I'm sorry Lucy M is bloody useless and a whining waste of time. Another reality TV vacuum and waste of oxygen!

I have a lot of time for Lucy M, she's a sharp cookie and we've all had little moments where it's a bit scary.  But the diva-strops being thrown by Louis, the general lack of commitment from Hugo, and oh god, Angelica (do you really have so little control of your body that you can't ride one handed?  And why do you give up at the first hill every time?)... I'd have thrown those three in a lake by this stage.

Lucy M was frankly abysmal: all whiny and look at me! You sir, just fancy her!

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Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
6 likes

The one who looks most like he should be a cyclist (Hugo?) is a useless fop.

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