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.
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.
Our staff – mechanics, drivers, signers, medics, physios and massage therapists – are the best in the business and return year after year to work on the Tour. They are endlessly cheerful, professional and enthusiastic and play a major role in helping you keep body and mind together … not to mention keeping your bikes in good working order.
If you’re interested in our story please contact Kate: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 3000796. 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
France Bike Rentals provide the best rental bikes available in Provence, Alps, Pyrenees, France and … now Europe. With a full fleet of over 500 superb road bikes, e-road bikes, triathlon bikes, touring bikes and hybrid bikes, they’ve got the whole lot covered. They’ll even deliver right to your door.
Le Loop is thrilled that France Bike Rentals (FBR) is now our official bike partner – supplying a fleet of back-up bikes for our riders to use in case of a serious mechanical on tour.
If you’re heading to France and don’t want to ship your own bike out (whether for Le Loop or any other holiday or cycling event) FBR will sort you out.
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.
Vegware is a brilliant company that produces compostable food service packaging – low carbon, made from renewable or recycled materials, and all can be recycled along with food waste. We’re feeding around 80+ riders every day, at 4 feed stops a day, for 21 days and we really didn’t want all that rubbish going into landfill … so we were delighted to discover Vegware. Being an ethical and altogether sensible and lovely company, they’re massively supportive of community projects and fundraising, so we were thrilled when they agreed to donate all the products we need for serving food and drink on tour. Thank you Vegware!
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 share the same way of thinking: offering fantastic cycling trips with the best possible support, while supporting a great cause. We were particularly chuffed when Marmot Tours chose The William Wates Memorial Trust to be their charity of the year in 2016 and 2017. 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.
Liz and Phil are the brains and beauty behind Velo Vixen, who not only sell gorgeous cycling kit for women, but champion women and cycling in every way possible. They’ve been friends & partners with us since the beginning and Phil has even ridden all 21 stages with us. They also sell particularly nice pants!!
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.
No one tells this story better than the riders themselves.
We love to share all the riders’ blogs and vlogs (that’s a video blog, to anyone over the age of 40!). They make for great reading, so settle down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoy! For blogs/vlogs from earlier years, check them out here: Earlier Blogs
Do you have a blog? Contact Kate with the link and we’ll include you below.
2019 Blogs & Vlogs
Roly Kitson (Grand Loop – all 21 stages … again. Previously completed in 2017) https://rolykitsontourdeforce.wordpress.com/
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.).