Find out about the team behind the event, our history and more …
Meet The Team
Le Loop is run by Sarah and Kate with lots of help throughout the year from Emily (our lead cyclist)
and all the Trustees of the William Wates Memorial Trust.
We are joined on tour by an incredible team of around 30 staff: mechanics, signers, drivers,
physios, masseurs and medics. They are the best in the business!
Sarah Perry will be with you in France, managing logistics and making sure that everything goes smoothly and everyone has a fantastic time on tour.
She has spent the last 18 years working in travel; leading groups, managing events and trying to be outside as much as possible.
Sarah has cycled with groups and on her own in some brilliant and fascinating places (China, Cuba, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Russia, Vietnam…) but deep down knows that France is the best.
Kate Norris works with Sarah on pre event organisation and in particular with the fundraising. A lot of you will be speaking to her during the year.
She has worked organising events and travel for over 20 years and is as comfortable on a road bike as she is on her mountain bike or tourer. She often rides a few stages of the tour with us each year.
Emily Chappell is an ex-London Courier, world class endurance cyclist, writer and active campaigner promoting cycling, largely through the Adventure Syndicate which she co-founded.
In fact, she’s so impressive that she’s earned herself her own page!
Rick Wates is a Trustee of the William Wates Memorial Trust and enthusiastic Chairman of Le Loop. The other family Trustees of WWMT are Andrew and Sarah, William’s parents, and his brothers Tim, Jonny and Monty.
Will’s family are deeply committed to all aspects of Le Loop and actively participate in the event (with varying degrees of athleticism).
The Le Loop Ambassadors are a special group of cyclists who have participated in previous years’ events.
They have all taken part in both the cycling and fundraising aspects of the event with massive enthusiasm and are ready and willing to share that enthusiasm with you – as well as their experiences, knowledge and honesty!
If any of our cyclists would like to be put in touch with a Le Loop Ambassador to ask questions before or after signing up (or even head out for a spin), Kate and Sarah will be delighted to put you in touch with one of them.
Staff on tour. We reckon we have the best, friendliest and most efficient mechanics, medics, physios and massage therapists in the business. They are key to keeping body and bike on the road. Without them, many riders might not make it (and many bikes certainly wouldn’t!).
If you’re interested in our story please contact Kate: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 3000796 ext 2. We can provide:
- high resolution print quality images
- personal stories on riders past and present including interviews
- contact with the William Wates Memorial Trust and supported charities
- Story ideas
If you’d like to be on our email list for receiving our press releases, drop Kate a line
We’re delighted that Trek are our bike partner for Le Loop. They generously provide us with a fleet of 10 gorgeous new road bikes in various sizes as back up for mechanicals that cannot be fixed on the roadside and includes a few demo bikes which you can try out on the event just for fun! Having a serious mechanical on tour has its upsides for once! Cheers Trek!
On Your Bike is our favourite bike shop for everything! Not only are they the most efficient, friendly bike shop in London, but they also offer discounts to Le Loop cyclists on kit, services and bike fits. They handle all of our bike pick ups and drop offs in London and get rave reviews every year from the cyclists who make the most of their offers. They’re the only place in London for reliable road bike hire so check them out if you have friends visiting who you’d like to take out for a ride. Once you’re a signed up rider, you can find out more about their offers in the Rider Zone.
We share the same way of thinking: offering fantastic cycling trips with the best possible support, while supporting a great cause. Marmot Tours has chosen The William Wates Memorial Trust to be their charity of the year. Several Loopers (and Tour de Forcers in earlier days) have ridden with Marmot Tours and rave about their experience.
For over a decade, James and Cathy at Marmot Tours have been helping cyclists achieve their goals in Europe’s most famous mountains. Whether in the French Pyrenees, Alps, Corsica, Dolomites or Spanish Picos – whether you are a Novice or Expert – Marmot Tours are there to make it real, make it fun, and make your cycling holiday the best it can be.
It is with great pleasure that we have continued our kit collaboration with Morvélo. For those of you who don’t know Morvélo, they are a team of designers with a passion for cycling. They produce really great, top quality technical kit that is also beautifully designed. Our riders have never looked so slick!
We just can’t get enough of the Bruce Doscher cycling posters. He catalogues every stage of the pro ride in his beautiful graphic prints, live each day! He has been a great supporter of Le Loop & Tour de Force, donating posters for prizes and offering special deals to our riders that include a donation to WWMT. And in 2015 he cycled all 21 stages with us. Cheers Bruce!
The Tour of Wessex is a 3 day sportive at the end of May each year. Each day is around 100 miles (with a shorter option each day), back to back, so it makes the perfect training weekend at the perfect time ahead of the Le Loop. To join the Le Loop team, simply sign up to the Tour of Wessex and quote ‘Le Loop’ as your team name. We will have a stand at the event too, giving us the perfect Le Loop hub for all riders. Wear your Le Loop/Tour de Force jersey with pride and we look forward to seeing you all there.
The following terms and conditions form the basis of your contract with Tour de Force Cycling Limited (a company registered in England and Wales with company number 07834337 whose registered office is c/o Wates, Station Approach, Leatherhead, KT22 7SW) (“we”/”us”) which is organising and running Le Loop on behalf of the William Wates Memorial Trust (WWMT) (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 1011213) to raise money for the Trust. These terms set out our respective rights and obligations and you should therefore read them carefully before booking your place on Le Loop.
These terms and conditions apply to the exclusion of any other terms and conditions unless they are agreed by you and us in writing.
Allocation of places
All places allocated to participants on Le Loop are entirely at our discretion. We reserve the right to allocate, withdraw or refuse your place on the tour without giving our reasons.
Your place on the Le Loop will not be confirmed until you have completed the online booking form and paid a non-refundable booking fee. This is deductible from your total participant cost. Once this deposit is paid, your place will be held. However, the registration process will not be complete until we have received a medical form complete with your doctor’s signature confirming that you are fit to take part. Once you have fulfilled these three criteria we will update your status and at this point we will consider there to be a contract between you and us for your place on the Le Loop. All bookings are subject to availability.
Changes to published itinerary
Road cycling inherently requires a degree of flexibility. We rely on decent weather conditions, mountain passes being open, roads being in a suitable condition for road cycling etc. Therefore there may be changes to the planned itinerary. You accept that we may modify the itinerary at any time (including after commencement of the tour) for safety or logistical reasons or for any other reason which we consider necessary.
Arrival/Departure from the tour
It is your responsibility to get to the start point at the correct time. We will provide assistance in the form of suggested airports/train stations. Please note that flights and other products you purchase separately do not form part of your holiday package with us. Whilst we will endeavour to ensure the accuracy of any guidance we provide, this guidance should not be relied upon and must be checked by you. Our responsibility does not commence until the appointed time at the designated meeting point. If you fail to arrive there at the appointed time for whatever reason, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by you in order to meet up with the group.
To take part in Le Loop you must hold suitable insurance cover. It is your responsibility to obtain insurance which must include adequate cover for baggage, medical expenses, medical repatriation and the activity (road cycling) you will be taking part in. We are not insured against loss or damage to your bicycles: It is your responsibility to obtain insurance cover for your bicycle if required (including during transit). If you are an EU resident, you should also take a European Health Insurance Card with you.
We strongly suggest that you take out insurance at the time of booking but in any event you must provide us with details of your insurance policy at the time of your arrival briefing. If you fail to provide us with any of the information we require regarding your insurance or if we are reasonably of the view that the insurance arrangements you have made are not adequate, we may ask you to purchase appropriate cover or take it that you have cancelled your place on the tour and cancellation charges will apply in accordance with our Cancellation Policy set out below.
Participants pay their accommodation, transport and other event costs to Le Loop. These monies are separate to the sponsorship that is being raised for WWMT. Temporarily we will not be adding a surcharge to credit card payments. We would prefer you to pay by debit card if possible but if you do use a credit card, you won’t be charged. You can send a cheque made payable to Le Loop, 41 Rew Rd, Ashburton, TQ13 7HA. Please quote your name and address as a reference when making a payment. A non-refundable deposit is paid at the time of registration. 60% of your participant cost is due by 30th January in the year of your participation and 100% of the participant cost must be paid by 31st March in the year of your participation. In the event of dishonour of any cheque, or of late payment of more than 3 days, we will charge £30.00 to cover our administration costs and we will require cleared payment within the next seven days.
If you fail to pay the participant cost or any other amounts payable under your contract with us by the due date for payment, we may take it that you have cancelled your place on the tour and cancellation charges will apply in accordance with our Cancellation Policy set out below.
If it becomes necessary for you to cancel your place on the tour, please let us know immediately in writing (this may be by email). Upon receipt of your cancellation and the issue of any acknowledgement by us, your cancellation will take effect. The following conditions and charges apply to cancellations by you:
- If you cancel at any time, your £200 (£400 for Grand Loopers) deposit will not be refunded;
- If you cancel before 31st March, you will receive a refund of the participant cost paid in excess of your deposit;
- If you cancel between 29th March and 30th April (inclusive), we will retain 60% of your participant cost;
- If you cancel between 1st May and 31st May, we will retain 80% of your participant cost;
- If you cancel after 31st May, we will retain 100% of your participant cost.
All dates refer to the year of your participation in Le Loop.
In the event that any payments due from you have not been paid at the time of cancellation, these may be recovered from you as a debt due and payable.
Cancellation by us, postponement or delay: We reserve the right to cancel the Le Loop prior to the departure date, in which case you will be given a full refund of the participant cost paid by you.
You acknowledge that we may cancel, postpone or delay the tour or any aspect of the tour or withdraw your place on the tour if we are prevented directly or indirectly from running the tour or from performing any of our obligations under our contract with you by reason of an act of God, inclement weather, strikes, trade disputes, industrial action, fire, breakdowns, government or political action, acts or threats of war or terrorism, interruption of transport, congestion, technical problems or acts or omissions of third parties or for any other reason of whatever nature beyond our reasonable control and you acknowledge that in these circumstances you will have no right to a refund of your deposit or the participant cost either in whole or in part.
In the event that we cancel, postpone, delay or change the itinerary for the tour or withdraw your place on the tour for whatever reason, you will not be entitled to claim against us (or against the William Wates Memorial Trust) for any amounts (other than for any refund which is expressly stated to be payable in accordance with these terms) or to seek any compensation for any injury, loss, expenses, damage (either direct or consequential) or for any loss of time or inconvenience which may result from such cancellation, postponement, delay, change or withdrawal (including but not limited to visa or passport charges, gear purchases, transport costs, airport or airline taxes). Nothing in these terms excludes or limits our liability (or the liability of the Williams Wates Memorial Trust) for death or personal injury arising from our negligence.
By registering for the Le Loop, you are promising to raise a pre-determined minimum sponsorship for the William Wates Memorial Trust as set out on the website. All fundraising monies are paid by sponsors direct to the WWMT and, where applicable, can be tax effective. We will help you with this by giving you fundraising ideas and information about of how to set up a Virgin Money Giving sponsorship page. By 30th April (in the year of your participation) you need to have raised 80% of your minimum sponsorship. If you fail to do this, we may take it that you have cancelled your place on the tour and cancellation charges will apply in accordance with our Cancellation Policy set out above.
For cyclists taking on two Loops (only possible by arrangement and subject to availability), the fundraising target will be the higher target plus 50% of the lower target.
To participate in Le Loop you must be 18 or over.
Conduct During Event
As organisers of Le Loop we expect all participants to behave respectfully during the tour. We reserve the right to ask participants to leave the tour if we believe that their conduct or behaviour is detrimental to the spirit or safety of the event.
Good physical and mental health are essential to the enjoyment and safety of this event. By filling out the medical form and obtaining your doctor’s signature, you are certifying that you do not have any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for you or any other participants. It is essential that any known medical conditions are communicated to us in advance of the event.
A valid passport is required with an expiry date of at least six months after your return. Visas are not required for EU citizens but if you are not a resident of an EU country, you are responsible for verifying your own status and obtaining the necessary visa.
You are responsible for your own level of fitness and cycling ability. If you do not have an adequate level of fitness or ability, we reserve the right to stop you cycling and transport you some or all of the way by vehicle in order to maintain the safety and operational viability of the event.
Safety and Security
Your personal belongings are your own responsibility during your time with us on the event. You are required to wear a cycling helmet at all times when you are cycling, whether you are on private property or not. You are also required to follow all additional safety advice given to you.
Acceptance of Risk
Please be assured that we will do the utmost to ensure your safety and well-being when on the event. However, you accept that there are some inherent risks on the event that cannot be eliminated by us. By registering to take part in Le Loop, you are accepting those risks which are outside of our reasonable control.
Equipment and Accommodation
You are expected to use the equipment and facilities provided to you with care. We reserve the right to charge you for any extra cleaning, missing items or damage. You are responsible for ensuring that your bicycle is adequately maintained and insured at all times. We will take all reasonable care when transporting equipment, bicycles and luggage. However, we are not responsible for any damage caused during transportation or caused by a third party either during the event or in transit.
These terms and conditions and your contract with us are subject to English law and the jurisdiction of the English courts.
Le Loop Cycling (operators of Le Loop) is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. Therefore at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with ”The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992” all passengers booking with Le Loop Cycling are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Le Loop Cycling. This insurance has been arranged with Affirma a trading brand of MGA Cover Services Limited (registered address Farren House The Street, Farren Court Cowfold West Sussex RH 13 8BP, company registration: 08444204 authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority registration number 678541) under a binding authority with the insurer CBL Insurance Europe Limited (registered address 2nd Floor 13-17 Dawson Street Dublin 2 Ireland, who are authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority registration number 203120).
In the unlikely event of insolvency, you must inform Affirma (MGA Cover Services Limited) immediately on +44 (0) 20 3540 4422. Please ensure you retain this booking confirmation form as evidence of cover and value.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid back to you by your Travel Insurance or any losses which are recoverable under another insurance or bond.
Tour de Force is the old name for Le Loop – Q&A
It’s official! After years of enjoying a friendly, informal relationship with the Tour de France, our friendship is being formalized, and we couldn’t be more excited.
As part of this development, we have changed our name to Le Loop. The new name became active from Monday 17th July 2017. Why then? Because it was one day after the 2017 Tour de Force arrived in Paris, but was ahead of sales for 2018 opening as Le Loop on Wednesday 19th July.
Since 2006 the William Wates Memorial Trust and the Tour de Force have enjoyed a wonderful, growing family of loyal supporters who will no doubt feel some nostalgia with the name change to Le Loop. We hope that all our friends and partners, as well as our Alumni of previous riders will feel very special and incredibly valued – you were in it from the start and have been instrumental in helping us reach this real turning point in our story. We couldn’t be more grateful.
And if you’re new to the event, rest assured that everything you’ve heard about it will still be true!
The following Q&A helps to explain more about our name change.
- Why have you changed your name?
A.S.O. (the organisers of the Tour de France) gave us the opportunity to formalize our long-standing friendly relationship with them. They have been supportive of Tour de Force since it became a public event in 2012 but now we have been given the chance to make that friendship official!
By formalizing our relationship with the Tour de France, we can now look forward to exploring with ASO what we hope will be many opportunities to make our event the best it can possibly be and to raise as much funds for the charities supported by the William Wates Memorial Trust as possible.
Our new status with A.S.O. gives us a legitimacy that will appeal to new riders and potential corporate sponsors.
A.S.O. asked us to change our name to avoid the inevitable name confusion that could come from our new formal status. We were pleased to oblige given the incredible support we now enjoy from them.
- Will the event change in any way?
No! Nothing will change in the way we operate – the event will still be the same event that has been enjoyed by so many riders since 2006. Our team is the same and the Trustees of course all remain.
Our hope is that our next chapter will attract corporate sponsorship that will help us make the myriad of small improvements we know will improve the tour – but fundamentally the tour itself and everything that makes it so special will remain unchanged.
- Why did you choose the name Le Loop?
The Tour de France is referred to in France as La Grande Boucle – the big loop. It stood out as a name that captures the fun of our event and the French element.
It also refers to the journey that we all undertake on the roads of France during the tour, as well as a human journey for both our riders and our grant recipients. Our riders often tell us that their participation in this tour has changed their life, and it certainly helps to change the lives of those we support through charitable grants.
Finally, there is a continuity about our event which is reflected in Le Loop. We ride annually, raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust to help prevent what happened to William happening to others and in doing so keep William’s memory alive.
- What do staff and trustees think about the new name?
We love it! It’s been a fun process and we’re really excited about this new chapter in our shared history, including all the potential we think it gives us for raising our game even higher.
- Will we still have Lifers (those who ride all 21 stages)?
The new name Le Loop lends itself to some new terminology. Folk riding the full route will now be riding the Grand Loop. We think our riders will soon come up with a generic name for themselves but it will not be one we officially enforce.
- Will any donations be effected by the name change?
No – all donations are made to The William Wates Memorial Trust, not the cycling event itself and so are unaffected by the name change of the event, which remains their biggest fundraiser.
- Is the charity changing the way they do things?
No – but they continue to look for fantastic worthwhile projects that specifically target the UK’s most disadvantaged young people. As of 2017 they are also supporting a project in France in acknowledgement of our links to France through the Tour de France (this was already in process before the discussion began with A.S.O.).