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Monday, 24 March 2014 12:00 AM

A Focus for your Holiday in Morocco - Marrakech Atlas Etape

Atlas Etape

APRIL 27th 2014

Morocco is a dynamic holiday destination that holds a number of events during the year for specialised interests, both artistic/ cultural and sporting.

One such annual event is the Marrakech Atlas Etape, focussed on the keen road cyclists or Europe and Africa.

Whilst this is not a competitive event – it is a cyclosportif rather than a race – it is not for the feint hearted, as the full route is 140km covering some punishing (yet beautiful) mountain climbs into the High Atlas Mountains.

What is the route?

The Atlas Etape is based on the principal of the l’Etape du Tour, that was created in 1993 for normal (but keen) amateur cyclists to have a chance of completing one of the mountain stages of the Tour de France (there are typically over 20 stages in a Tour for the professionals).

The Atlas Etape offers a long (140km) and a short (60km) routes, starting and finishing in Marrakech, taking in a loop through the High Atlas Mountains. As in L’Etape du Tour there is a broom wagon that picks up stragglers that need assistance and or are falling too far behind the allotted time.  There are also several refreshment stalls on the route.

How hard is the route?

Starting at 495m elevation in Marrakech, the route heads south along a relatively flat route until it hits the foothills of High Atlas Mountains.

There the interesting and challenging part begins.

The High Atlas Mountains have breathtaking scenery but the climb is serve for any riders. The full route tops-put at 2,624m in the ski resort of OukaÏmeden (the shorter route has a relatively minor 365m altitude gain) before dropping back down to Marrakech.  

Last year 32 cyclists completed the full course out of around 170 cyclists that took part in total.


“ It is everything you can want as a cyclist, an off-the-beaten-track, adventurous challenge with great people in aid of a great cause. I really cannot recommend this event enough—truly exceptional.”    James Tuffs


The reason for the Atlas Etape

The organisers of the Atlas Etape have created it to raise funds for Education For All - a Moroccan NGO providing college education for girls from the rural High Atlas mountains however, charity sponsorship is not required and can be for any charity participants choose. 

Naturally Morocco are here to help you take part

We can create an excellent package that includes flights, transfers, accommodation, race entry and pre-event pasta meal. Additional excursions or tours can be arranged to take full advantage of your time in Marrakech.