Classic Climbs of France

Classic Climbs of France

All the Action of the Alps and Pyrenees and Final TT

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 16 days (15 nights)
Dates: Sunday, 8 July to Monday, 23 July 2012
Start: Lyon Finish: Paris
Accommodation: Selected quality 3 and 4 star hotels
Group Size: Maximum 35 people (5 Staff)
Cost: AUD$7390.00 – Single Supplement AUD$1250.00
Deposit: AUD $1000.00

Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room.

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Inclusions

Optional Extras:

Bike Rental $900.00 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
Paris Triomphe Package (Final day)
Grand Palais Seating (Final day)
Pre or post tour accommodation to extend your stay
Travel Insurance and Car Rental.

Email us for details

Highlights:

  • See 8 stages live including all the Alps and Pyrenees stages
  • Catch the action of the Final TT
  • All the famous rides including Alpe d’Huez, Mont Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and many more
  • Ride in Paris on the final morning and see the stage on the Champs Elysees
  • Visits to Blois Chateau in the Loire Valley

Who is this trip for?

Our Classic Climbs of France itinerary reads like a Who’s Who of Famous French climbs with names like Alpe d’Huez, Col de la Madeleine, Mont Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde, Col d’Aubisque, Col de Menté, Col des Ares and Port de Bales combined with some of the new kids on the block such as Grand Colombier and the Mur de Péguère.

This trip has a heavy emphasis on riding and climbing many of the famous climbs as well as seeing the Tour de France. It has a nice mix of race watching (with seven stage viewings) combined with days away from the race to ride your bike. We ride some sections of the race in the days prior to allow you to do in a more relaxed way rather than trying to do it within the restraints of the Tour de France. It also includes multiple night stays in most locations to enable you to relax without unpacking and packing each day.

The trip is geared to suit anyone with an interest in Cycling who wants to see the biggest of the Grand Tours, the Tour de France. This (and riding our bikes) is our main focus for the trip although this trip will incorporate some tourist days as well. We cater for cyclists of all abilities by providing riding options each day. To enjoy our trips you don’t need to be an athlete, but do need to be someone who cycles regularly and in good health. Each day we’ll have options for rides to suit people of who feel like a challenge, or an easy day enjoying the scenery. We ride on quiet scenic roads and where possible we ride on the race course ahead of the race. As with all of our tours you’ll be guided by our expert team of ride leaders, drivers and guides.

See what our clients said about us after the 2011 Tour: Client Comments

Itinerary

Sunday, 8 July 2012: Bonjour

Welcome to the 2012 Tour de France.

We will collect you from Lyon Expury airport today and take you the short distance to our hotel.

Once you are settled in to the hotel we’ll give you a hand to assemble your bike and store your bike bags safely away while you are on the tour. Later in the day our guides will escort you on an easy ride around the local area to help you loosen up and make sure everything is in working order.

Tonight we will have an early dinner in order to be ready for tomorrow’s journey.

As it’s our first dinner together it’s a great chance to really get to know your fellow travellers, as well as have any questions about the next two weeks adventure answered by our staff.

Overnight: Near Lyon
Meals: Dinner

Monday, 9 July 2012: Alpe d’Huez

A trip to the Alpes is not complete without the chance to ride up Alpe d’Huez, so our focus today is this most famous climb.

The route up to the 1850 meter Alpe d’Huez via the 21 switchbacks is only 13.5 km, with the first few kilometres being the toughest, but it’s an achievable ride for most people.

We will leave the hotel and travel down past Grenoble and up to Bourg d’Oisans at the base of Alpe d’Huez. You may want to start your ride in the valley to have a little warm up before hitting the climb. The ride is not easy but certainly memobable and will no doubt give you a few bragging rights back home when riding with your friends! Once at the top you can have your photo taken on the podium there and enjoy the accomplishment of reaching this famous village.

After we have returned to Bourg d’Oisans we will have some lunch, check out the local shop, maybe pick up a souvenir before we jump in the coach for our trip to Aix les Bains and our hotel less than 200 metres from the shores of beautiful Lac du Bourget, the biggest natural lake in France. Aix les Bains is ideally located for us to see the race over the next few days as it travels down from the north and into the Alps.

Overnight: Aix les Bains  (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, 10 July 2012: Ride the Col de la Madeleine

Today is a rest day in the Tour de France and we will be taking the opportunity to ride another of the most famous and beautiful climbs in France.

This morning we travel by bus to La Chambre and from there we will ride the famous Col de la Madeleine. As beautiful as it is, it is also one of the harder cols of the Alps. We won’t have the opportunity to climb Madeleine on race day so we chose the rest day (today) as a day we could do it at our own pace, without the time constraints that come with race day.

Starting from La Chambre, the Col de la Madeleine’s ascent is 19.05 km long and the average percentage is a difficult 8 %. There are a few cafe’s and shops on the way up to rest and gather your composure (if need be!)

Once you are at the top there is a nice panorama on the Lauziere massif with views all the way to Mont Blanc.

After we take our photos we will return back down the mountain to the hotel.

Overnight: Aix les Bains  (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Wednesday, 11 July 2012: See the Race, Grand Colombier

The Tour de France arrives in the Alpes today and the stage will pass within 20 kilometres of us,  plus  the race finish is only 50 kilometres away so our options are numerous!

One option will be to join the race route and follow it to the finish town of Bellegarde-sur-Valserine taking in the new and brutal climb of Grand Colombier along the way. Alternatively one group will ride directly to the finish with a ride along the shores of beautiful Lac du Bourget and then following the mighty Rhone river upstream to see the finish at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. On arrival we will meet our bus and have a refreshing shower and see what has happened with the race on television before heading down to see it live and soak up some of the atmosphere. The caravane will precede the race by about an hour ensuring that there is plenty to keep us occupied.

The race will be screening live on a big screen so make sure to get a spot with a view.

Finishes are great and it will be interesting to see if the climbers hold out of if someone like Thor who can climb a little comes back to the group on the flat run in.

After the race we will head back to the bus for the short trip home and dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Aix les Bains  (Alps)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 12 July 2012: See the Race, Col de la Madeleine

Sadly, it’s our last day in the Alps today but on the bright side we are heading south to Provence with its warm climate, beautiful sunshine and its famous mountain, Mont Ventoux.

The race will leave Albertville and tackle the Col de la Madeleine soon after so we expect the peloton will be mostly together. We will leave the hotel and travel across to the other side of the Col de la Madeleine where we can ride up onto the climb in the race direction to see the race pass. As soon as we’ve seen the race make it’s way up the mountain we’ll head back down to the bus for the drive to sunny Provence.

As we head south we’ll see the landscape and architecture change as we edge closer to the Provence and the Mediterranean. Our charming style hotel has a magnificent setting, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. This original building is an old farm dating from XVII century and will be a very enjoyable stay for a few days with all comforts including a pool for a dip after our rides. The hotel’s restaurant is worth the visit on it’s own, serving fine fresh local cuisine.

Overnight:Valaurie (Provence)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Friday, 13 July 2012: Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux

We will take a day away from the Tour de France to seize the opportunity to ride one of the most famous cols of the Tour, Mont Ventoux.

We’ll get away in the cool of the morning and travel to the village of Malaucene where we will begin our warm up ride over to the base of Mont Ventoux, Bedoin. This is the most famous and traditional route of the Tour de France that winds its way up through the forest to Chalet Reynard where the well known “moonscape” of Mont Ventoux comes into view. With the hardest section now behind us, the last 6 kilometres of bare landscape provides magnificent views over the plains of the Luberon as you pass by the monument to Tom Simpson, who died tragically on the slopes of the mountain in the 1967 Tour de France.

It is 1617 m over 21,8 km to the summit with an average gradient of 7.43%. The fastest time so far recorded has been that of Iban Mayo in the individual climbing time trial of the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré: 55′ 51″. The time was measured from Bédoin for the first time in the 1958 Tour de France, in which Charly Gaul was the fastest at 1h 2′ 9″.

After the compulsory photographs at the summit we’ll head back down via the thrilling descent to Malaucene. Afterwards we can ride back to the hotel or take the bus. It’s a little under 50 kilometres.

For those not wanting to tackle the difficult climb that is Mont Ventoux, we’ll offer an alternative easy ride returning from Bedoin where you will pass over the little Col de Madelaine and capture some wonderful views of the Mont Ventoux.

This afternoon we will be able to watch the race on television with a refreshing drink in hand and later enjoy a typical Provencale dinner.

Overnight: Valaurie (Provence)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 14 July 2012: See the Start in Saint-Paul, then off to Toulouse

Today we are only 10 kilometres from the start in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. It’s the 14th July, the French national Day so the crowds will be out in force today!

Stage starts are great and a must see. The caravane departing, the riders signing on and the festive atmosphere will carry you away! Don’t forget to get that autograph of that photo.

We expect a start around midday so this will allow us time to have a pleasant ride of a reasonable distance and still allow plenty of time to see the riders and take a good look around the race start. Our rides will take in some of the local villages of Grignan, Valreas and Visan before heading to Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to see all the action at the start.

After the race we will transfer to Toulouse, arriving in late afternoon, in time to freshen up, have a pre dinner drink and then go to dinner.

Overnight: Toulouse (Midi Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Sunday, 15 July 2012: See the First Stage in the Pyrenees, Mur de Péguère

The Pyrenees will begin with a bang. The steep slopes of the Mur de Péguère boast sections of almost 14%. This is why we have chosen this climb as our preferred viewing point. It’s not often that the Tour de France chooses such steep climbs so it will be interesting to see how the riders fare today. No doubt they will be spread out by the time they crest the summit but with over 40 kilometres before they arrive at the finish it’s possible the front groups will come back together and contest a small bunch sprint to the line in Foix.

We will leave the hotel by bus and travel a short distance before dropping off our cyclists who would like a longer ride today. This ride will cross the lower slopes of the Pyrenees and pass through St Girons before heading up the gorge roads to the base of the climb to Col des Caougnous which joins onto the Mur de Péguère.

Our shorter ride will begin near the base of the climb and head up to see the race from the same location. Both rides will return to meet the bus. We will then head across a couple of valleys to the old spa town of Bagneres de Luchon where we will be based for the next three nights. The main street, allée d’Étigny is lined with cafés and snack bars and has a distinctly metropolitan elegance and bustle. Luchon is a comfortable base for exploring the surrounding mountains which we will certainly do over the next few days.
Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Monday, 16 July 2012: Big Day in the Pyrenees, Part 1!

Today we are going to ride the first three climbs of the stage Bagnères-de-Luchon – Peyragudes, which will be raced on Thursday.

We will start nice and early from our hotel and head out to tackle the first of three climbs today, the Col de Menté at 1349 m. It climbs for almost 10 kilometres with many switchbacks until you reach the top where we can stop for a break at the cafe. We then descend the beautiful roads that are found in this part of the world. We then swing round through the valley to the Col des Ares, probably the easiest climb of the day at a length of 6.7 kilometres with an average of around 4% and an altitude of 797m.

After another cafe stop we descend again to tackle the Port de Bales. This is a slightly different story! Starting from Mauléon Barousse, the Port de Bales stands at 1755 m with an ascent of 18.87 kilometres and an average percentage of 6.3 %. However it is very beautiful and a joy to climb (if that can be said). Once at the top it’s down the narrow descent and back to the hotel in Bagneres du Luchon. What a day and just a tick under 100 kilometres! We will be back in the hotel in time to freshen up and watch the race on TV.

On a day like this you might give a thought for your friends back at work…

Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Tuesday, 17 July 2012: Big Day in the Pyrenees, Part 2, Tourmalet and Maybe More

It’s a rest day in the race today so this morning we will go to Bagneres de Bigorre by bus and ride from there to the biggest climb in the Pyrenees, the Col du Tourmalet via Ste Marie de Campan. The Col du Tourmalet has some pretty fearsome statistics with a height of 2115 m, Average: 7.4 %, Length: 17.2 km. Professional cyclists consider it to be one of the hardest climbs in Europe. Either on the way up or down don’t forget to stop at the Forge of Ste Marie de Campan. This is one of the famous places of the Tour de France. The cyclist, Eugène Christophe repaired the front fork there after being struck by a car during the descent of the Tourmalet in the 1913 race. The rules prevented him from obtaining assistance and he had to walk 15 km to do the repairs himself. A plaque recalls the event.

From Ste Marie de Campan we begin the final 17 kilometre ascent to the summit of the Tourmalet. This is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France and has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910, when the Pyrenees were introduced. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. At the col is a memorial to Jacques Goddet, director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987, and a large statue of Octave Lapize gasping for air as he struggles to make the climb.

The cafe at the top is a nice warm place to be and has a nice collection of cycling memorabilia. After photos and coffee we will return back to Bagneres de Bigorre via Ste Marie de Campan to meet the bus making a ride of just under 60 kilometres (30 up and 30 down!).

Now for the “Maybe More bit…” Should you be a strong cyclist there is the option to turn right at Ste Marie de Campan after descending the Tourmalet to do one of the most fearsome chain of three climbs in Tour history that includes the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde for a total of approximately 3000 metres of climbing and a ride distance of 105 kilometres. The stage tomorrow will do these three climbs in this direction but after the Col d’Aubisque!

Overnight: Luchon (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Wednesday, 18 July 2012: See the Race on the Tourmalet

Every year each Grand Tour has a Queen Stage. That is a stage which stands out above all others as the hardest of the race that year. Today is that day with no less than four major climbs beginning with the Col d’Aubisque and followed by the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde before they finish in Luchon. By now you may have ridden all these except one…

Today we are moving location in order to tackle the Col d’Aubisque tomorrow and see the stage on the Tourmalet today. If we were to stay in Luchon to see the finish it would be a very late arrival in Lourdes so instead we will make an early escape and travel to Lourdes in the morning to begin our ride from there.

From here by bike it’s a 35 kilometre ride up the valley along part of the course to Luz St Sauveur at the base of the Col du Tourmalet where you will be able to climb as far as you wish to see the race pass. The Basques will be out in force making it a classic Pyrenees day and one well worth seeing!

After seeing the race we head back to Lourdes by bus or bike for the evening. The ride along the bikepath is a converted rail line and a very pretty 15 kms ride.

In the heart of the Pyrenees, Lourdes is a religious centre and receives more than 5 million pilgrims from all over the world every year most of whom come to take the healing waters. Lourdes was just a small market town on the 11 February, 1858 when Bernadette Soubirous saw the Virgin Mary along the Gave. Today Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels in France (outside Paris) with 230 establishments. For us though it is the geographical position, at the foot of the mountains making it an ideal starting-point for our cycling trips into the Pyrenees with all of the major climbs not far from us.

The candlelight parade is held each night at 9.00pm and is a must see.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, 19 July 2012: Ride the Beautiful Col d’Aubisque

Today we will skip the race to ride one of the must do mountains, the Col d’Aubisque. We will head out early so we are back in time to see the race on TV.

We have two options for riding today. The more difficult of the two will be to travel towards Pau and then take the climb up the middle where we will intersect the road at the Col du Soulor. From here you turn right and head across to the Col d’Aubisque using the ridge that joins these two cols (Cirque du Litor).

This is one of the most beautiful roads in France. The scenery is spectacular as the photo shows. This will be 100 kilometres.

The second option is to ride from Lourdes along the bike path to Argeles Gazost and onto the climb of the Soulor, then across to the Col d’Aubisque via the ridge that joins these two cols (Cirque du Litor) making 82 kilometres and a more gentle ascent.

After photos, something to eat and a bit of a rest we will return along the Cirque du Litor to get a second chance to enjoy the road and then drop down to Argeles and up the path to our hotel for a well earned beer and to see the race on TV.

Overnight: Lourdes (Pyrenees)
Meals: Breakfast

Friday, 20 July 2012: TGV to the Loire!

We will have an early start today and head off to the nearby train station and catch the TGV to Tours and then a short bus transfer along the Loire river to the famous town of Blois where we have organised a tour of Blois Chateau.

Dominating the Loire River, the royal castle of Blois is not only one of the most prestigious Renaissance monuments in France but also a brilliant illustration of the evolution of the French architecture from the Middle Ages to the 17th century.

Afterwards we will walk the short distance from the chateau to our riverside hotel and check in. Once in the hotel we can see the final stages of the race on TV.

Blois is also quite famous in Tour de France history. Both Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain have won stages here and departed wearing the maillot jaune.

During this time your luggage and bikes have been transported separately to the hotel to save you lugging them about.

This evening we will have a special final dinner together at a local restaurant. We have decided to bring it forward as the next few days will be pretty busy and we know you will want to spend some free time in Paris.

Overnight: Blois (Loire Valley)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Saturday, 21 July 2012: The Final Time Trial

Maybe it will all come down to today as it did it 2010, the final Time Trial, when Cadel overtook Andy Schleck around Grenoble and rode into Paris as the winner. We will be in Chartres at the finish to see all the action today.

We will leave Blois by bike this morning and go to Bonneval where we will watch the start of the time trial. The roads of the Loire Valley are quite flat and very scenic with the odd Chateau to distract you. We will offer a couple of rides as usual, one of around 75 kilometres and another of around 40 kilometres.

Time Trial starts are great to see. You get closer to the riders than you normally would and get to see them individually starting from the ramp. If you get around behind the start ramp you can see all the final preparation that goes on such as wheel changes, weighing bikes and last minute adjustments that nervous riders make. In the team enclosure you can see the riders warming up on the trainers for long periods of time and if you are lucky the team enclosure is sometimes open to the public.

After we have seen the riders warming up and the last rider has started we will transfer to Paris and our hotel where you have the evening free to explore the city of lights.

A short walk from the hotel is the lively night spot of Bercy Village with its original cobbled streets where you will find many restaurants and shops that now occupy restored sandstone wine stores that in a past life stored the wine before it was shipped overseas.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast

Sunday, 22 July 2012: Ride and see the Race on the Champs-Elysees

This morning we have a special treat in store. We are going to take a ride through the streets of Paris taking in some of the famous sights such as the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde to mention a few.

We will leave our hotel nice and early to give ourselves the best possible chance of completing a lap of the famous Champs Elysees before they close the road. On our ride we will pass many famous icons of this romantic city. You will be surprised by the difficulty of the cobbles on the Champs Elysees and the steepness of the climb up to the Arc de Triomphe. It will give you an even greater respect for the riders when you see them almost gliding over the cobbles later this afternoon. You will be able to see the preparations for the finale this afternoon, take photos and soak up this great city in a way not many people get the opportunity to do. Eventually we will return to the hotel for breakfast and to pack our bikes (if necessary) before heading back to see the race this afternoon.

The last stage is traditionally a procession until the entrance onto the Champs-Elysees where the racing really starts. Riders traditionally chat, celebrate the final stage, pose for photographs, drink Champagne… sometimes they even dress-up, swap bikes and generally horse around. Traditionally, once the race gets into Paris, the Yellow jersey and his team lead the peloton onto the Champs-Elysees for what is a basically a big criterium in the centre of the French Capital. The riders will arrive at the Champs Elysees just after 3.30pm but the caravan will be there to entertain you from around 2.00pm.

If you wanted to make the most of today you could choose one of the Hospitality Packages available: Paris Triomphe Package or Grand Palais Seating.

Overnight: Paris
Meals: Breakfast

Monday, 23 July 2012: Au Revoir

Its farewell to your new friends as our tour comes to an end this morning. For those flying out today from Paris CDG airport our staff and coaches will be available to help you on your way.

It is the final day of our tour. Over the past weeks you’ve experienced the excitement of the Tour de France up close, challenged yourself over some famous climbs and hopefully had an unforgettable holiday with Bikestyle Tours. We hope we see you again one day.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:

-Transport throughout by private luxury coach with custom bike trailer and shower
-Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver
-15 night’s accommodation, in selected hotels (with private facilities).
-Buffet breakfast daily
-3 course evening meals on 10 nights
-Transfers on Sunday, 8 July from Lyon Expury Airport to hotel
-Transfer on Monday, 23 July to Paris CDG airport
-TGV train transfer from Lourdes to Paris on Friday, 20 July
-Mechanical assistance with your bike
-Sightseeing as listed
-Maps and Bikestyle guide to the Tour de France
-Bikestyle Tours cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

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Reserve your Place Now

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If paying by bank deposit or cheque see below

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below

Classic Climbs of France Deposit ($1000pp)

Classic Climbs of France Bicycle Hire $900.00

Grand Palais Champs Elysees Seating $390.00

Triomphe Champs Elysees Hospitality $730.00

Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions


  • By paying a deposit you are deemed to have accepted our Waiver and Reservation Conditions.
  • We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD). We recommend 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. Please see below.
  • It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
  • * 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.

If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com

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Payment by Bank Deposit and Cheque

If you wish to pay by Bank Deposit or Cheque please tick the box below to go to our Bank Details

Prior to paying a deposit it is advisable to confirm a place is available by sending an email to our Office Manager Michelle Knibbs, michelle@bikestyletours.com or telephone our office 07 38465999.

Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions

  • By paying a deposit you are deemed to have accepted our Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com.
  • Don’t forget it is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
    Purchase your International Travel Insurance here.
  • * 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.

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Register Your Interest in the 2012 TDF

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