Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Dates: Friday 13 April to Monday 23 April, 2018
Start-Finish: Zaventem Airport (Brussels)
Accommodation: 9 nights Tongeren, 1 night Brussels
Group Size: Maximum 7 people (2 Staff)
Cost: A$5870.00 per person twin share.
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If travelling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.
Single supplement: A$750.00
- Bike Rental A$660.00 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
- Pre or post tour accommodation to extend your stay
- Travel Insurance – Email us for details
- Ride the Tour of Amstel Gold Cycle Sport event and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Cycle Sport event.
- See some of the greatest races in the world and a semi-classic: Amstel Gold, Flêche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
- Ride the famous roads of the Belgian Ardennes with Eric de Clercq, an ex Belgian Pro
- Visit the Ridley High tech windtunnel
- Experience Belgian Hospitality
- Immerse yourself in a true Cycling Culture
This Trip will be Escorted by Ex Pro, Eric de Clercq
Eric is a native Belgian whose career spanned 11 years from 1991 to 2002, in which he had 19 victories including a stage win in the Tour of Britain. He is one of the hard men of Belgium having raced the big Classics such as Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Eric rode for La William-Duvel from 1991-1993, and Collstrop from 1994-2002.
After he retired from racing, Eric became a Director Sportif from 2004-2007 for the Vlaanderen Women’s Pro Team. It was here that Eric learned the organisational skills that make him such an asset to Bikestyle Tours.
Eric has been with Bikestyle Tours for several years and has run trips to the Spring Classics, Giro d’Italia, La Vuelta a Espana and le Tour de France. Speaking three languages, you will find Eric to be a very capable guide and a good guy to socialise with after a ride.
Friday 13 April: Arrival at Bikestyle Tours Ardennes Classic Trip
Today we collect you from Zaventem airport in Brussels and take you to the oldest city of Belgium, Tongeren, our base for the next 6 nights where you can unpack and settle in. There will be someone to meet you at the Airport and assist you to our vehicle. After we collect everyone we will be on our way to our hotel in Tongeren.
Zaventem is not a busy airport. You can see the official website for info on the airport: http://www.brusselsairport.be
Tongeren is a city located in the Belgian province of Limburg, in the southeastern corner of the Flemish region of Belgium. Tongeren is the oldest town in Belgium, as the only Roman administrative capital within the country’s borders. As a Roman city, it was inhabited by the Tungri, and known as Atuatuca Tungrorum, it was the administrative centre of the Civitas Tungrorum district. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.
The first job will be to assemble your bike and Bikestyle staff will be on hand if you have mechanical problems or need any other assistance. The rest of the day is yours. Depending on your arrival time there should be time for a shakedown ride.
Tonight a Welcome Dinner is provided and there will be plenty of time to ask questions and meet the staff and of course, the people who you will be spending your holiday with and maybe a Belgian beer or two!
Saturday 14 April: Amstel Gold Cycle Sport
Today we will travel over the border to Holland for your own Amstel Gold Race. You will experience what it feels like to grovel over these steep climbs. If you think Holland is flat, think again. Over here in the Limburg, it is not flat! It’s a great day out and one of the most popular events on the cyclosportif calendar.
You have a choice of 3 distances (60km, 100km, 125km).TBC
- 7 – 11 AM: Start 125 km tour
- 7 – 11 AM: Start 100 km tour
- 7 – 11 AM: Start 60 km tour
We will do our best to be at the finish line to meet you but as you will see it is quite chaotic so please make a note of where the van is parked in case we miss you at the finish.
You’ll ride through some of Netherlands most beautiful scenic areas.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Today we will do the Amstel Gold Race again but this time as a spectator. Over the years we have organised trips for spectators during the Spring Classics and The Amstel Gold Race is our favourite. The beautiful area with a mixture of tough climbs and small roads and this in such a small area makes this race special.
You will experience the Amstel Gold Race with:
• Access to the Amstel Gold Race VIP-pavilion located directly near the finish line
- Culinary programme for VIP-guests
- Watch the male and female finish line passages, the finishes and attend the award ceremonies
- Attend the first interview with both winners within the VIP-pavilion
- Meet former winners of the Amstel Gold Race
- Souvenir race programme & small gift
The Netherlands is known for its flat country, where cyclists have all the rights on the road. Although this part of the “Low Countries” has numerous hills. Maasberg, Adsteeg, Camerig, Gulperberg, Keutenberg, and Cauberg are only some of them and these names will mean nothing to you until you meet them on your ride.
The race route for 2018 is still to be confirmed, based on 2017 we expect the route to include:
The 31 hills are:
1:Maasberg, 2:Adsteeg 3: Lange Raarberg 4: Bergseweg 5: Sibbergrubbe 6: Cauberg 7: Wolfsberg 8: Loorberg 9: Schweiberg 10: Camerig 11: Drielandenpunt 12: Gemmenicherweg 13: Vijlenerbos 14: Eperheide 15: Gulperberg 16: Plettenberg 17: Eyserweg 18: Huls 19: Vrakelberg 20: Sibbergrubbe (2e maal) 21: Cauberg (2e maal) 22: Geulhemmerberg 23: Bemelerberg 24: Wolfsberg (2e maal) 25: Loorberg (2e maal) 26: Gulperberg (2e maal) 27: Kruisberg 28: Eyserbosweg 29: Fromberg 30: Keutenberg 31: Cauberg
Meals: Breakfast, VIP Lunch
Monday 16 April: Amstel Gold without the crowds
Today we go back to the Netherlands to ride a part of the Amstel without the other 16,000 cyclists. We will start and finish our ride in Valkenburg. After our ride, we can have some lunch in one of the many restaurants in Valkenburg.
In the afternoon you can explore Tongeren or make a trip to the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery. Here on a bluff overlooking the Belgian countryside, 7,989 of American World War II dead are buried. Most of them were killed during the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and during the advance into Germany in 1945. Like all American military cemeteries in Europe, Henri-Chapelle is both beautiful and sombre, with its sweeping rows of white crosses honoring those who gave their lives for their country. This afternoon you can explore historic Tongeren.
Tuesday 21 April: Flèche Wallonne Ride
Today we’ll ride the final 65km or 100KM of the Fleche Wallonne.
The Flêche Wallonne is the little brother of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and The Amstel Gold Race, but the race and the area are just as fascinating. We will ride the final circuit of the race, which means that we start in Huy at the feed-zone. This 100km trip offers 7 hills and ends at the Mur of Huy (9,3 to 17 %).
Our support-van & driver will be there when we need him. You can ride your own tempo knowing that alongside the road you’ll get provided with soft-drinks and bars. You’ll be the hero when you reach the top of the Mur without getting off the bike.
After our ride and lunch, we stay in Huy to see the women team presentation. The Flêche Wallonne for women is one of the hardest women’s world cup races on the calendar. The final is the same lap as the male pro’s!
Wednesday 18 April: Flèche Wallonne Race
The first of two Belgian Ardennes classics, La Flèche Wallonne (the Walloon Arrow) is held mid-week between the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. At one time, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were run on successive days as “Le Weekend Ardennais”. The list of winners over the years include such legends as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser and in 2010 Cadel Evans, the reigning world champion at the time.
La Flèche Wallonne was created to boost the sales of a newspaper Les Sports during the 1930s and was first run in 1936. While perhaps not as revered as one of the Classic ‘Monuments’, the race is widely regarded as a Classic and became part of the UCI World Ranking calendar in 2009.
Like many cycle race events, the course has altered considerably over the years, both in route and length. The event was first run on roads from Tournai to Liège (growing from 236 km to 300 km – its longest ever distance – in 1938).
The riders have to do 3 times the steep Mur de Huy climb, with several sections steeper than 17%. The finish is at the top of the Mur after the third ascent.
After seeing the men’s start last Sunday we’re going to see the women’s start. Women’s racing is still growing but you will see the difference with the men’s start. After the race start, we have our lunch picnic and you can find a spot on the famous “Mur de Huy”. During the afternoon we will see the women’s race pass and the finish as well as the men’s race twice before seeing the finish
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
Before the pros hit the circuit for Sundays Liège-Bastogne-Liège, we will attempt some of the climbs of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Leaving our hotel by van to the medieval town Durbuy where we’ll start our ride. Durbuy is one of the smallest towns in the world with a population of only 11.000 people It’s all day up and down on quiet countryside roads. At the end of our ride we will tackle the famous climbs of Liege-Bastogne- Liege, Côte du Stockeu with the Eddy Merckx statue on top of the climb and Côte de la Haute Levée.
The professionals are not the only ones who think La Doyenne is the ultimate cycling classic and a challenging experience. Cyclists will be nervous for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge too.
You are sure to have a great day out on the bike and have a new found respect for the professionals who will tackle the race on Sunday at full race speed. After the ride, we will return to Tongeren.
Tomorrow’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege Sportif will be a tough day on the bike so we offer an easy ride to keep the legs fresh for tomorrow.
We also visit the Flanders Bike Valley Ridley wind tunnel near Beringen.
The Flanders’ Bike Valley wind tunnel is a special, independent, low-speed wind tunnel specifically developed for the bicycle industry and cyclists. The test results will contribute to optimum aerodynamics in the end products: bicycles, clothing, helmets, etc. The attitude of the athlete on the bicycle can also be tested and improved. This is very important in the time trial discipline in the sports competitions. The wind tunnel is 50 m long and can generate wind speeds of 30 m/s (108 km/h).
Saturday 21 April: Liege-Bastogne-Liege Sportif
Today is our day to ride the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Challenge, the day before the race itself.
- 164 km : between 06.30am and 09.30am TBC
- 84 km: between 8am and 10am TBC
Timing with chip on slopes like the Côte de La Redoute: 2100m – 9,7% Col du Maquisard: 3000m – 5,1% Côte de St. Nicolas: 1000m – 7,6%
One day before the pros, the most audacious of cycling fans try the slopes of Liège-Bastogne-Liège themselves. More than 6,000 participants take part in the randonnée of the Ardennes classic.
The professionals are not the only ones who think La Doyenne, the ultimate cycling classic, is a nail-biting experience. Amateur cyclists are nervous for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge too. The ultimate challenge is to ride the entire course as the pros will do the day after. However, the routes of 160k and 80k will also leave you plenty of opportunities to get to know the famous climbs included La Redoute, Rosier …. With 6,000 participants from 26 countries, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge has carved out a substantial place among cyclosportives.
Liège–Bastogne–Liège began in 1892 to publicise the newspaper L’Expresse. It is because the paper was published in French that the route stayed in the southern, French-speaking half of Belgium. Its equivalent in the Dutch-speaking north is the Tour of Flanders.
The first race was for amateurs, from Spa to Bastogne and back. It was won by Leon Houa, who also won the first race for professionals in 1894. Until 1991 the race finished in Liege city centre, with a flat run into the finish. From 1992 the finish moved to the suburb of Ans, on the northern side of the city. The Côte de Saint Nicolas was added to the final kilometres, along with a final climb to the finish in Ans.
The start of today’s race takes place in the centre of Liege. We will see the start of the race before heading off on our own little race. As we did during all the spring-classics, today we will test your orientation by crisscrossing through this beautiful part of Belgium to see the race. Our preparation of the route is well known by famous ex-cyclists and some of them even try to follow us. They often wonder, year after year, how we manage to reach all the spectacular places.
Shortly after the race, we will travel to our hotel in Brussels, about a one hour drive. Tonight is our final night together so we will celebrate with a farewell dinner to celebrate our time at the Spring Classics.
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
Monday 23 April: A Bientot
Sadly our trip ends this morning after breakfast at our hotel. We hope you have enjoyed your week at the Ardennes Classics with us.
A free shuttle bus is available between our hotel and Brussels airport, so you can depart at your leisure at any time during the day. Please note check out time from the hotel will be late morning. If you require a later checkout please ask at the hotel reception for details on availability.
- All Transport.
- Services of experienced Tour Guides, including former Belgian pro cyclist, Eric de Clercq.
- Return transfers from Zaventem Airport on the 13th April and 23rd April.
- 9 Nights accommodation in Tongeren, 1 night accommodation in Brussels.
- Buffet breakfast daily.
- 3 course evening meals on 3 nights.
- Lunch on 3 days.
- Mechanical assistance with your bike.
- Sightseeing as listed.
- Ride files and Bikestyle Tours Itinerary.
- Bikestyle Tours Cycling Jersey & Bibs
- Entry to Amstel Gold and Liège–Bastogne–Liège Sportifs
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- We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices shown in other currencies are only approximate. We advise that you check the exchange rate before booking.
- A surcharge of 1.5% is applicable for payments made with visa or mastercard and 3% for payments made with American Express credit cards.
- Deposits can also be paid by direct deposit or cheque.
- It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.