Cyclists from all across North America gathered in the Lone Star State of Texas for the triumphant return of the L’Etape by Tour de France amateur race series at L’Etape San Antonio.

With over 3000 riders converging in the city of San Antonio, famously known for The Battle of the Alamo, the event was one of the most successful first year cycling events ever in the United States.

Among the cycling stars in attendance to battle for victory was seven times Grand Tour Champion Alberto Contador, who traveled from Spain just to ride the beautiful 100-mile gran fondo course through the Texas Hill Country, including the ”Cowboy Capital of the World”, Bandera,Texas.

Starting at 07:00, cyclists raced along one of three routes — a 100-mile course, a 60-miler and a 25-mile race. There were not any ”easy” miles, with rolling hills and strong winds making the routes Tour de France worthy.

Each male and female L’Etape route champion was awarded a ”maillot juane” yellow jersey, just like the pros win at the Tour de France.

26 year-old Spencer Jones (ELBOWZ RACING) won the men’s 100-mile race in 4:25:03, just ahead of Juan Antonio Llamas and Brandon Mata, who both finished in 4:25:05. Alfredo Cruz Bernaldez just missed the podium in 4:25:06. Annie Bathalter was the first 100-mile women with a time of 4:49:28. Brandee Brunot 4:50:13 and Fernanda del Valle 4:54:12 finished second and third respectively.

Alberto Contador missed out on adding another yellow jersey to his impressive collection, the 39-year-old ex-pro finished 11th in the 100-mile race with a time of 4:26:54.

In the 60-mile race, Luis Chacon was the men’s winner in 2:49:18, while Jennifer Real led the women across the finish line in 2:49:50. 

In the 25-mile race, Genevieve Vargas claimed victory in the women’s race in 1:04:26, and Carlos Lopez won the men’s race in 1:14:20. 

The L’Étape by Tour de France series is being held in 25 worldwide locations this year, with San Antonio hosting the only stage in the United States. In May, L’Étape heads to China and Thailand, along with two races in Mexico.

Photos: L’Etape San Antonio