An international cycling event sponsored by the organization that runs the Tour de France is coming to San Antonio next year.
The event is the first announced in the U.S. by L’Etape, a global cycling series sponsored by the same group that runs the world’s most famous cycling race. L’Etape is holding races in 14 different countries in 2021, including three in Mexico and one in Canada.
Expected to draw thousands of people, the San Antonio event is scheduled for April 8-10, 2022, the last weekend of Fiesta, San Antonio Sports CEO Russ Bookbinder said Friday. It will include social- and family-oriented rides, along with professional races of multiple distances up to 100 miles.
“It’s a cycling event for everyone,” Bookbinder said
San Antonio Sports, a 37-year-old athletics nonprofit that brought Final Four championships and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon to San Antonio, successfully bid for L’Etape with the help of Visit San Antonio and members of the hotel industry among others, Bookbinder said.
“Our goal is to make this much like the Rock ‘n’ Roll [marathon] was to running in this community,” Bookbinder said. “We believe L’Etape will do that for cycling. We see that as really positive for the health of our community.”
Bookbinder was not able to share additional details about the event Friday, saying that an official announcement will come June 1. Efforts to reach Michael Brown, the Canada-based organizer for L’Etape events to be held in the U.S., were not immediately successful on Friday.
Organizers describe L’Etape events as offering “a unique Tour de France atmosphere.” It began in 1993 as L’Etape du Tour, where amateur cyclists ride the same route as professionals competing in the Tour.
Jeff Moore, founder of SATX Social Ride, was among the leaders in the local cycling community invited to a meeting at the Pearl on Wednesday with Brown and San Antonio Sports staff.
“They just called me out of the blue and said, ‘Hey, this guy wants to talk and he wants to find out about the local cycling community and he wants to make this as embedded in the local culture and community as can be,’” Moore told the San Antonio Report.
Moore, who was not involved in bringing the event to San Antonio, said the timing will be perfect in 2022.
“Cycling’s bigger now than ever,” Moore said. “We haven’t had any events because of COVID, but we’ve got more people on bikes because of COVID. Hopefully by next year, we’ll have crowds and be a little bit back to normal.”