The newest addition to the L'Etape series is in the Atlas Mountains rather than the Alps - but KOM-chasing cyclists will get their money's worth in North Africa's highest mountain range...
If you haven't already guessed, Morocco is the latest destination to get the Etape treatment. Run by ASO - the team behind the Tour de France, and world-famous sportives like the Etape du Tour - the first edition of L'Etape Morocco will take place on Sunday 20 October 2019.
Starting from Marrakech, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, riders can choose from four courses ranging in length from 40km to 155km. The range of distances make this edition of L'Etape perhaps more accessible than L'Etape du Tour, but that's not to say it's easy: a feast of climbing is in store whichever route you choose.
Those tackling the long course in particular will enjoy a spectacular ascent, with the first 52km climbing steadily to a height of 1783m - a gain of over 1300m!
The final 12km of this climb will see a timed KOM challenge, with prizes for the fastest riders.
The reward for all that climbing comes at the end, with the last 20km being a fast, downhill blast back into Marrakech and the finish line.
A three-day festival of cycling will precede the Etape, with free entry to an event village complete with entertainment and local food from the Thursday.
Entry to the sportive is priced €160 for the 155km route, €140 for the 120km route, €120 for the 80km option and €80 for the 40km distance.
Your entry fee includes a goodybag, finishers' T-shirt and medal, feed stations and mechanical assistance. Riders will be timed, and the route is described as "privatised" which we think may mean it's on closed roads - we're seeking confirmation from the organisers.
Alongside entry-only options, a number of package deals including accommodation are on sale, to encourage riders and their partners to spend a few days enjoying the vibrant city of Marrakech.
There's plenty to explore on the bike too: Morocco's highest roads, the passes of Tizi n'Tichka (2260m) and Tizi n'Test (2090m) are within reach if the Etape whets your appetite for heights - although we wouldn't recommend them as a warm-up!
Hikers, meanwhile, may fancy the chance of climbing Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak at 4167m. Day trips are available from Marrakech.
With some fantastic climbing in what should, in late October, be perfect cycling conditions, L'Etape Morocco looks like a great new addition to the calendar. For more information and to sign up, visit www.letapemorocco.com.