8 day cycling journey that follows the 2017 Tour de France through the heartland of the Spring Classics. Challenge yourself on the Cobbles of the Spring Classics and climb Mur de Huy and enjoy the beautiful Vosges mountains, seeing 4 stages of the Tour de France live.
Duration: 8 days (7 nights)
Dates: Friday, 30 June to Friday, 7 July, 2017
Start: Brussels Finish: Mulhouse
Accommodation: 3 star and 4 hotels
Group Size: Maximum 24 people (4 Staff)
Suitable For: Cyclists and Non Cyclists
Trip Type: Classique Trip Find out more…
Cost: A$4,750.00 (US$3,420.00)
Deposit: A$1000.00 (US$720.00)
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$570.00 (US$410.00)
- Bike Rental A$462.00 (US$335.00) (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
- Travel Insurance – Email us for details
- Experience the excitement of the 2017 Tour de France
- Challenge yourself on the Cobbles of the Spring Classics and climb Mur de Huy
- See it Live! 4 Tour de France stages, including the first challenging stage for the yellow jersey
- Ride the beautiful Vosges mountains
- Escorted by former professional rider Eric de Clercq and former Australian Road Champion Lorian Graham
This Trip will be Escorted by Ex Pro, Eric de Clercq and Lorian Graham
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 learnt 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 of course, le Tour de France. Speaking three languages, you will find Eric to be a very capable guide and good guy to socialise with after a ride.
Former Pro-Cyclist, Lorian Graham
Lorian is a survivor and a caring member of the Bikestyle Tours staff. Her insights into women’s racing, highs and lows of the sport are just some of the stories she is able to share. Guests love having Lorian as their guide because her care and encouragement toward them creates something very special about being on the bike.
She enjoyed the tough European racing in the Professional Women’s peloton. Having raced with in the Australian team and for Spanish and Dutch professional teams her favourite races included tours of Italy, France, Spain and Belgium Classics as well as World Cup one day races. Her career highlights include Australian Road Champion, winning KOM classification overall in Tour of New Zealand and competing in the World Championships.
It is now 10 years since a terrifying road accident knocked down her team in Germany while riding, killing her team-mate. Her life-long injuries and being told she would never ride again became just another source of motivation. But her determination and many, many sessions of rehabilitation helped her to get back on the bike. Not just ride a bike, but qualify for World Championships and Olympic selection. Riding, now, is a great source of leisure and maintenance to keep her body moving.
Who is this trip for?
Starting from Brussels, this small group travels through the heart land of the Spring Classics to take in the opening week of the 2017 Tour de France, which in recent years has provided some of the most thrilling and unpredictable racing of the whole Tour. Highlights of the trip include riding the famous roads of the Spring Classics, the climbs of the Ardennes and in the beautiful Vosges mountains.
This is a trip that is suitable for cyclists and non-cyclists who want to experience the opening stages of the Tour de France, while taking in some of the most famous sights in Belgium. Our Cobbles and Cols trip is ideal for those wanting a choice of terrain and rides, with everything from challenging hill rides over some of the best cycling roads in Europe.
Our trips are 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 you do need to be someone who cycles regularly and in good health.
Each day we’ll have options for rides to suit people 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 route ahead of the race. As with all of our tours you’ll be guided by our expert team of ride leaders, drivers and guides.
Friday 30 June, 2017: Welcome to Belgium
We start today with our staff will meet you at Brussels Zaventem Airport at 11am and transport you to your first hotel in Oudenaarde, the heart of the Flanders cycling culture. Oudenaarde is home to the museum of Ronde van Vlaanderen, a one-day race held in spring. The incredible history of these monument races are known for their difficult in Belgium spring weather and tough cobbled sections.
This part of Belgium has produced some of cycling’s greatest, including Eddy Merckx, Peter van Petegem and current Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet. The locals passion for cycling races, riders and all things to do with cycling is second to none. It is the perfect place to start your cycling experience with Bikestyle Tours. We are also not far from the Roubaix velodrome, where the “hell of the north” – Paris-Roubaix race finishes. We will use our two days in Ourdenaarde to ride some of these famous roads.
Our hotel for the next 2 nights is a modern bike friendly hotel, with a recent refurbishment. It will be make very comfortable start to the trip, and Vlaanderen people are friendly hosts. After arriving at our hotel, our staff will help you set up your bike, be that your own or a hire bike. Once we are ready to roll, we’ll head out on a short warm up ride to test that you and your bike are in working order for the next 8 days of cycling adventures. A leisurely paced ride on the cycling friendly roads of Belgium and a perfect way to meet your fellow travellers.
We will have a welcome dinner tonight, where you can ask your Bikestyle Guides questions about your upcoming holiday. We may even have a Belgian beer or two, since we are in Belgium.
Saturday 1 July, 2017: Roubaix
After breakfast we’ll take the bus to arguably the most famous velodrome in the world. Each year Vélodrome André-Pétrieux hosts the finish to the “Hell of the North” race, or “Paris-Roubaix”. A race of attrition across multiple “secteur” of pave and a committee to make sure each “secteur” stays that way – yes maintained to be brutal roads. The cobble trophy is one of the most prized awards of all cycling races
After visiting the velodrome, we’ll ride back to Oudenaarde either following our longer 70km ride option or the more direct 40km ride. Each ride will offer you a chance to ride over some of the Ronde van Vlaanderen climbs such as Oude Kwaremont, Patersberg or Koppenberg.
Once back in Oudenaarde, you can grab some lunch and take a visit to the Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling museum to learn the history, triumphs, misfortunes and stories of this monumental race.
The Tour de France starts today, in neighbouring Germany, with a short prologue. The 13km prologue will be a spectacle to watch unfold and only
seconds will separate riders. You may like to watch from the comfort of the hotel, or possibly join the knowledgeable locals at the brasserie attached to the museum. Either way, a local trappist beer won’t be far away.
Tonight you will be free to dine at one of the many local restaurants available in Oudenaarde.
Sunday 2 July, 2017: Cobbles
Today we’ll experience the roads of past Vlaanderen races, before making our transfer to see the first road stage of the 2017 Tour de Fance. We will ride to the Muur de Geraardsbergen, which was the penultimate climb of Ronde van Vlaanderen between 1981 and 2011. Also known as the Kapelmuur, it features a striking chapel as you reach the top. As you depart Geraardsbergen along Bergstraat, the road narrows, steepens and cobbles begin, with a maximum gradient of 20%.
After our ride, we will travel to the stage finish in time for the arrival of the caravane and for all the atmosphere of the a bunch sprint into Liège. With time bonuses on offer, there’s a slim chance we might see a new yellow jersey winner tonight. But the stakes will be highest for sprinters and the all important stage victory.
Our 4-star hotel for the next 2 nights is a former monastery with airy modern rooms, a restaurant, a lounge bar and a garden courtyard. After arriving at the hotel this evening and settling in, we will have dinner together and share our experiences of seeing our first 2017 Tour de France stage live.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Monday 3 July, 2017: Mur de Huy
We will take the short drive from our hotel this morning to the stage start in Verviers, in time to see the riders sign on, walk around the team buses and possibly capture a selfie with your favourite rider. A collection of photos are among the bragging rights that make all your friends back home jealous. The stage should start just before lunch, so after seeing riders head out and grabbing some lunch, we will travel to Huy to enjoy our own ride.
Today’s ride will feature another famous climb for the drama it creates in Spring. The mid-week race between Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the Flèche Wallonne. It is is the newest of the spring races in the Ardennes, but growing in popularity for its final climb. Also having featured in Tour de France stages, the Mur de Huy is a 1.3km bitumen climb with a maximum gradient of 24%. Those victorious on this climb have to make an all-out effort that needs to be perfectly timed, as 30 seconds or even a minute is easily lost to fellow competitors.
We will offer two ride distances today, both looping back to Huy and battling the Mur de Huy. After our rides, we’ll travel back to Tongeren for our final night in Belgium.
Tuesday 4 July, 2017: Feedzone
We depart Belgium today and head across the border to France, where we will catch the race at a feed zone or an intermediate sprint. Tour de France riders need to carefully refuel their bodies everyday throughout the tour, particularly on these early long transition stages. Sprinters will be eager to claim points towards the Green Jersey, and other riders will be trying to keep out of any trouble on the roads. Seeing a feedzone is not only a spectacle but a great opportunity to souvenir a discarded team issue musette or drink bottle.
After our transfer this morning and catching the fourth stage of the Tour, our rides will offer some recovery with a leisurely paced ride to Metz, situated on the banks of the Moselle river. Our hotel tonight is conveniently located close to the centre of Metz featuring the impressive Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral housing the largest expanse of stained-glass windows in the world. This is the Lorraine region of France, and you may already be familiar with the local cuisine, quiche “Lorraine”.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Wednesday 5 July, 2017: Station de la Planche des Belles Filles
In 2017, the Tour de France explores areas other than the Alps and the Pyrenees to gain its vertical metres; the Vosges, Jura, Ain, Aveyron and Central Massif are additions to the schedule this year. Today we will visit the first of those areas in the Vosges. It will be our final opportunity to see the Tour de France live on this trip, before we spend a little time enjoying what this region of France has to offer. We will travel on the bus to the foothills of Réserve Naturelle des Ballons Comtois before tackling the final climb to Station de la Planche des Belles Filles before watching the professionals climb this afternoon.
We will offer rides between 40km and 70km today. It is up to you how far you would like to climb up to la Planche des Belles Filles. From Plancher-les-Mines the climbs is 5.5km long reaching an elevation of 1,148m starting at an elevation of 532m. The lower and middle sections of the climb are the hardest with grades consistently above 10%. The final section before the finish line is a gruelling 20%.
Once the final riders pass we will make our way back to the bus and travel to our hotel where our dinner will be waiting. Our hotel for the next two nights is in the most eastern part of France, a beautiful landscape nestled between Germany and Switzerland. The region is famous for its white wine, timbered houses and the vosges mountains.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Thursday 6 July, 2017: Le Grand Ballon
The tour heads off on a flat transition stage to Troyes. We’ll resist the urge to chase the tour today, but rather settle for a relaxing, or challenging ride in this wine growing region of France. After breakfast, we will leave from our hotel on our bikes to ride one of the climbs often visited by Tour de France, last in 2015.
Our long ride option today will reach the summit of Le Grand Ballon. Reaching an altitude of 1,343m, our climb starts from the village of Saultz-Haut-Rhin over a total length of 19km. Starting out on gradual slopes through thick forest you’ll need to measure your effort as after 6km the climbing begins where the slope regularly reaches 10% and in the final 6km an average grade of 8.5% tests those weary legs. Once we reach the summit it will be a mostly downhill ride all the way back to the hotel where the pool and spa awaits us. Our short ride option will stay to the valley roads and visit the beautiful villages in this part of France.
After having conquered the biggest climb in the Vosges mountains we’ll return to our hotel for a relaxing afternoon, watch the final moments of the tour and prepare ourselves for our farewell dinner this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Friday 7 July, 2017: Au Revoir
Today is our last day of the Cobbles to Cols trip, combining the opening stages of the 104th Tour de France and completing some spectacular rides ourselves. It is farewell to our new (and returning) friends, and thank you for joining us at this year’s tour. We will offer one scheduled transfer to Mulhouse TGV station for all guests this morning, arriving at approximately 10.30 am. From here there are direct high speed trains to Paris, Lyon, and Paris CDG airport. Paris is just over three hours by TGV from Mulhouse, with trains departing 4 times per day. For those continuing onto Le Grand Tour we’ll have a day off the bike and travel to the Ain and Savoie region
Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
- Transport throughout by custom mini vans or luxury coach
- Services of our experienced tour guides, mechanics and drivers
- 7 nights accommodation in quality 3 & 4 star hotels
- Buffet breakfast daily
- 3 course evening meals on 5 nights
- Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
- Mechanical assistance with your bike
- Scheduled arrival transfer on day one from Zaventem airport, Brussels
- Transfer to Mulhouse TGV station on final day
- Maps and Bikestyle guide to the 2017 Tour de France
- Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag
Reserve your Place NowNOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below
- 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.