Bikestyle 2017-07-20-101

TRIP DETAILS : 
Duration: 12 days (11 nights)
Dates: Tuesday, 17 July – Saturday, 28 July, 2018
Start: Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alps
Finish: Toulouse, Occitanie
Accommodation: 3 and 4 Star hotels
Group Size: 20 Guests (4 Staff)
Suitable for: Experience Cyclist Only
TRIP COST: AUD$6850.00 (US$5270.00)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$1050.00 (US$810.00)

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

Optional Extras:

Highlights:

  • Experience the excitement of the 2018 Tour de France
  • Ride more on our carefully itinerary for epic ride routes. We have reduced the transfers and limited time waiting for the race so you can spend more time on the bike
  • Ride iconic French Alp climbs, such as Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Col du Croix de la Fer, Col du Glandon and some lesser known stunning balcony roads
  • Watch the exciting French Alps stages including the pretty Annecy stage start and the stage finish on top of Alpe d’Huez
  • Ride the balconies of the Vercors mountains
  • Ride the lunar moonscape of Mont Ventoux and the stunning Gorges de la Nesque
  • Ride the quiet climbs of the Ariegeoise
  • Watch the decisive stages for General Classification in the Pyrenees
  • Ride the luscious Pyrenean climbs, including Col du Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden and Col d’Aubisque

This Trip will be Escorted by Former Pro-Cyclist, 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 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.

Who is this trip for?

Are you an experienced rider? You ride more than most. You’d rather be on a bike than standing or walking around tourist sites.  Waiting for more than one hour to see the race come through is eating into your ride time. Our Classic Climbs trip is tailored for you, the experienced rider!

We’ll target famous climbs and stunning roads throughout the trip. For most of our rides, we will have the option of reaching the summit of 2 climbs during the ride. Our carefully planned itinerary will intersect with the race at convenient locations, so we avoid road closures and you spend more time exploring on your bike.

Our exclusive smaller group will cover more kilometres (and most importantly, more vertical metres) than any of our other trips. Each ride will still be supported by our professional cycling guides and a support vehicle with spares, water and nutrition. Our meals on many of our evenings are supplied as part of our accommodation, so you can concentrate on refueling and preparing for the next day

Itinerary

Tuesday 17 July: Bienvenue (Welcome) to France

Our staff will meet you at Lyon Saint-Exupery airport at 10:00 am. Saint-Exupery is easily accessible from many European destinations by train or plane. There are also some international flights that arrive into Lyon. Arriving in Europe a day early is the best way to prepare for your trip.

After collecting you from Lyon, we’ll transfer you to our 3-star chalet in the Alps. Our chalet is located a short distance from Alpe d’Huez, giving us convenient access to the Alpe on race day and being a great starting point for our rides. The breathtaking views of the Alps will give us something to contemplate each morning before conquering another summit.

Staff will help you ready your bike, or fit your pedals to your hire bike before heading out for our warm-up ride. We’ll give you the opportunity to test out your gears and brakes, as we are in the Alps after all. Our purpose of today’s ride is to get your bearings, meet the rest of the group and check over your bike. We will open our riding palmares with a scenic balcony road that joins onto Alpe d’Huez. We’ll return to our chalet in time to watch today’s exciting opening mountain stage on TV.

Tonight we’ll enjoy a special welcome dinner at our chalet, a perfect opportunity to meet fellow guests and staff who will be on hand to answer questions about your cycling holiday with Bikestyle Tours.

Bikestyle 2017-07-05-19

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Welcome Dinner (with drinks)

Overnight
Isère, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Harder Ride Option

Wednesday 18 July: Alpe d’Huez and Dutchie corner

It will be extremely difficult to beat today’s bike ride, climbing Alpe d’Huez the day before the race comes through. There will be partial road closures to traffic, and spectators will already line the roads, from bottom to top! Climbing seems easier with cheering spectators. It will probably be the closest you’ll ever feel to being in the Tour de France (for most of us we can only dream).

We’ll head out from our chalet this morning to the bottom of the valley, giving you a chance to warm up your legs. The switchbacks begin soon out of Bourg d’Oisans. Besides the mystique of the 21 switchbacks, most people remember the challenge of the first 3 corners where the gradients are steepest. After making it through those corners, the views and crowds will spur you on. Today, be sure to absorb the atmosphere of Dutchie corner (corner 7) before pushing along for the final 6 corners. Our longer ride will have an opportunity to continue over a second climb, Col du Sarenne.

We will arrive in time to see riders sign on and gather for the start, giving you time to take a selfie with your favourite riders or for the bike-tech guru, see the latest gadgets on this year’s bikes in the bunch. Annecy is a beautiful village to explore, even without today’s race start. It will be an enjoyable day in Annecy for our cyclists and non-riders. We’ll also have the spectacle of watching the Women set off on their battle for La Course.

Each corner is marked with the winner of each stage that has finished at the summit. In 2018, the stage winner to Alpe d’Huez will be etched onto the sign marking turn 13, joining Dutchman Peter Winnem. The Dutch have taken more victories on Alpe d’Huez than any other nation. Maybe there is something in the beer on Dutch corner. Today will be a memorable ride.

We’ll return to our chalet mid-afternoon, where you’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing beverage and catch up on another mountain stage of the tour. This evening dinner will be offered by our hosts at this beautiful chalet.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Isère, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Harder Ride Option

Thursday 19 July:  Le Tour on Alpe d’Huez

It’s a very special day today. It has been three years since this mythical mountain featured in Le Tour. In 2015 it was a French rider who claimed victory. In fact, it was the third successive French stage victory on the Alpe. Could it be another Frenchman today? Maybe it’s time for Romain Bardet? Today’s long stage and cumulation of the previous two days in the mountains will make an entertaining final climb. One to be there for.

Our plan will be to ride early to avoid road closures on Alpe d’Huez and head in the opposite direction, toward Les Deux Alpes. In 1998, the same year as the Festina affair, ‘Il Pirata’, Marco Pantani won stage 15 to the summit finish of Les Deux Alpes. This was the first time the Alpe was used during the Tour de France and was visited once again in 2002. It is a challenging 9km climb, with an average of 7%. However, a small downhill section in the middle of the climb means the rest of the climb is consistently around 8%.

After reaching the summit we can return back our chalet where you have the option of heading to today’s stage by bike on the final ascent. Or for the adventurous, there is the option to take the scenic ski-lift to the top of the mountain and see the race from a corner higher on the mountain.

On Alpe d’Huez today, the crowds will be enormous and the atmosphere electrifying. Thankfully at the end of the day, we will have a short ride or transfer back to our hotel rather than hours of sitting in post-race traffic jams that are an unavoidable part of an Alpe d’Huez race finish for most people today.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Isère, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Harder Ride Option

Friday 20 July: Col du Lautaret and Col du Galibier

Over breakfast this morning, we’ll contemplate our climb ahead of us, the Col de Lautaret and Col de Galibier. We will climb the 39km to Col de Lautaret and if you’ve got the legs for it, climb to the summit of Col de Galibier. If you’d like a recovery day and to see today’s stage start, you can ride to Bourg d’Oisans to see today’s start. We will show you an alternative balcony road to get to the stage start.

We will leave our chalet and ride down to the valley and head towards Col du Lautaret, passing the pretty village of La Grave along the way. It isn’t too steep but the length can more than make up any lack of gradient. The views of the glaciers on the Ecrins Massif are among the most spectacular in the Alps. From the summit of Lautaret we turn left and begin the final ascent to the Col du Galibier, a further 8km.

Galibier roadsign blue sky wide landscape

The Col du Galibier tops the charts with a 2,642m summit putting it among the highest roads in Europe. It’s about 2,200 metres of climbing in total so it’s a climb that demands respect! Don’t forget to take a photo at the memorial to the Tour de France founder, Henri Desgrange. Together, Col du Galibier and Col du Lautaret are the two most visited climbs in the Alps for the Tour de France. After photos, we will return back along the same route, which may be a little quicker.

We will enjoy a final dinner at our chalet this evening as tomorrow we will leave the Alps and conquer more climbs and explore beautiful roads.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Isère, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Harder Ride Option

Saturday 21 July: Stunning balcony roads

We depart the Alps today, and the Tour will start making its journey across France. We have a few days away from the Tour now. Instead, we will achieve some of our own cycling goals and enjoy some beautiful parts of the country. We will ride each morning over the next couple of days, beating the heat and return to our hotel in time to see the end of the stage on television. Today is a stage in the Central Massif, with a finish to Mende aeroport.

We will drive down the mountain and beyond Grenoble this morning before getting on our bikes. It is easy to miss some of the nicest parts of a country if you only you stick on highways, high-speed rail links or travel by plane. Rather, today we’ll make a small diversion to the spectacular Vercors mountains on our way to Provence.

The Vercors massif is a rugged sequence of mountains, valleys and plateaus. Therefore, any road through this region will either follow the valley or hug the edge of the maintain along a spectacular balcony road. We will ride along some of the most beautiful roads and we promise a photogenic route and you will take with you incredible memories.

Vercors

After our spectacular ride, we’ll continue on our journey south to Provence and to our hotel in a picturesque village in Vaucluse. Our hotel in Provence has its own pool and working vineyard. Nearby are the lavender fields, olive groves and picture book villages. We have the next 2 nights in our family run hotel situated near the plus-beaux (most beautiful) village of Séguret. Each night we will enjoy a beautiful meal with local ingredients on our hotel’s terrace.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Harder Ride Option

Sunday 22 July: Mont Ventoux, Géant de Provence

Today we’ll take our turn at riding Mont Ventoux and see how our efforts compare with the riders of the peloton. We may take a bit longer but we’ll enjoy it a bit more perhaps!

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. For those who want an easier ride today, we can propose something a little easier than the entire Ventoux loop.

After the compulsory photographs at the summit, we’ll head back down via the thrilling descent to Malaucene for lunch and a cool drink in the shade. Once we’ve recovered it’s back to the hotel in the bus, or if you still have the energy a 25km ride back to Nyons. We’ll be back in Nyons in time to watch the finish to today’s challenging stage across the Tarn region. The final climb in today’s stage is the French training climb for our Bikestyle staff, as our headquarters are at the base of Pic de Nore.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Harder Ride Option

Monday 23 July: Pont du Gard

Today is our transfer to the Pyrenees for more climbing. We will take the opportunity this morning, while it is still cool and before the crowds arrive to visit one of France’s most beautiful sites, Pont du Gard. Our ride will also aid the recovery of our legs and help us prepare for our final week of climbing in the Pyrenees.

Hailed as one of the greatest feats of Roman engineering, the magnificent Pont du Gard aqueduct was built in 19BC. Its purpose was to channel fresh water across a 45km stretch of land from the Eure River spring near Uzes to the nearby town of Nimes, thus supplying the many fountains and thermal baths within the metropolis. Pont du Gard stands nearly 50m high and is 275m long.

After a brief stop at Pont du Gard, we’ll get going on our transfer to the Ariege, a lush green landscape with many wonderful roads to ride. We’ll position ourselves conveniently located to watch tomorrow’s stage and explore some of the great climbs in this area. Our family-run hotel is a cycling friendly hotel. We are also close to town for you to explore and village’s restaurants this evening.

IMG_1919

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Ariège, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Bikestyle 2017-07-20-101

Tuesday 24 July: La Tour enters the Pyrenees, Ariege climbs

We will catch up with the tour again today and see the riders come through later this afternoon. That will give us lots of time for a beautiful ride through the Ariegeoise. Since 1995, when the Tour arrived in the Ariege, the local tourism department has been hosting an annual cyclosportive, showcasing their roads and climbs. This is a great spot to ride and see the race.

Our main climb today is about 25km of climbing, but the first half is more or less a false flat. The final 11 km is more challenging average more than 7%, getting over 10% more than once. From here it is a short descent before we start climbing again to Col d’Agnès, a much shorter climb from this side. But from there it is a long descent into Saint-Girons to watch today’s stage on their entry into the Pyrenees. After watching the race pass, we can ride back to our hotel, in time to see the finishing stages of today’s stage. But, if you’ve had enough riding today, we can transfer you back in the van.

Tonight, you are free to dine at one of the restaurants in town, or try out the great little restaurant attached to our hotel.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Ariège, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Wednesday 25 July: Col du Tourmalet

Today is the shortest stage in Tour de France history. Dubbed more of a mountain sprint than a mountain stage, it will be exciting to watch from beginning to end. With riders not heading off until mid-afternoon, it gives us plenty of time for our ride this morning. Col du Tourmalet completes our triple set of bucket list climbs for this trip. Col du Tourmalet has featured more than any other mountain in the Tour de France, it is a great climb.

Today we will tackle the highest road in the central Pyrenees. The summit of the hors categorie climb up to Col du Tourmalet has been crossed 75 times during the history of the Tour. It will be more special today, as fans will already be camped out on the mountain for Friday’s stage. Remember, a screaming fan makes climbing seem easier!

We’ll travel to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, which will give you a warm-up before the 23 km climb up the eastern side of Col du Tourmalet which begins at Campan. It’s a gradual climb, with an average of 6.4%. But more of the ascending is done closer to the summit than at the bottom, so choose a low gear and enjoy the view. 

When we reach the top, it will all seem worth it and the cafe at the top is a nice warm place to meet up and regroup, with an interesting collection of cycling memorabilia.

Once we reach the summit of this mighty mountain, we will descend down the western side to Luz-Saint-Sauveur where we can have some lunch. If you’d like add another climb into your Palmares today, you can head up Luz Ardiden from Luz-Saint-Sauveur.

After lunch it is a downhill run to our hotel. Our base for the next 3 nights is Lourdes in a newly refurbished bike friendly hotel. 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. For us though it is the geographical position, at the foot of the mountains. Tonight, you can dine in one of the many restaurants in Lourdes. You might consider seeing the Candlelight Parade later on this evening.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Thursday 26 July:  Col du Soulour, Col d’Aubisque and stage finish in Pau

Today we will tackle another famous climb of the Pyrenees and it is always a highlight ride for our guests. We’ll give you chance to ride this before race day so that you can experience the joy of riding along la Corniche du Cirque de Litor. Views reward those on the spectacular balcony road between Col de Soulor and Col d’Aubisque. Our rides will guide us to the finish of today’s stage in Pau, via the village of tomorrow’s stage finish, Laruns.

After fueling up at breakfast, we’ll head off into the village of Argeles-Gazost. An initial climb starts from Argeles-Gazost but it’s not too long before the road flattens taking us to the village of Arrens-Marsous. From here the real climbing begins, a manageable 7.5km averaging close to 8% takes us to the first col, Col du Soulor. For the faster riders, there is also an option to follow the final climbs of tomorrow’s stage and include le col des Bordères.

Our welcoming party of local cattle and horses grazing upon these high pastures will greet us before we carry on. With the most difficult climbing behind us now, we have a short descent before the final 7km to the summit of Col d’Aubisque, where we can reward ourselves with lunch.

We will descend to Pau to see the finish and meet the vans before our transfer back to our hotel.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Bikestyle - Mountain TT-54

Friday 27 July: Hautacam and a mountain stage live

Today is our last riding day in the mountains and we intend to make it a memorable one for you. From our hotel, we will leave for the relatively short ride to the base of Hautacam where we will climb to the top of this famous climb, the ski station of Hautacam. The top of the Hautacam is where the Tour has finished before, however the road continues to the Col de Tramassel.

The first few kilometres after Argeles are downhill but soon you get a hard section of 10%+ before a small descent. Now, you’re close to the hardest part of the climb, near Saint-Andre there are 3 kilometers of 9-10% on average. After this, the climb continues to be inconsistent, never really going below 8% until the top. After photos at the top, we will return to the valley in time to watch the race come through on the slopes of their final 2 climbs.

Our final night is celebrated with a lovely meal and accompanying wine. We’ll acknowledge our new friendships and reflect on our memorable stay in the Alps and watching the Tour de France.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Hautes Pyrénées, Occitanie

Harder Ride Option

Saturday 28 July: Au Revoir (Farewell)

Sadly, our trip comes to an end today. We hope that during our 2 weeks on the Classic Climbs of France that you’ve challenged yourself on the world’s most famous climbs, relaxed a little and cheered on the Tour de France. Most of all we hope you’ve created new friendships and great memories. After breakfast this morning we will make one transfer to Toulouse Airport.

We will arrive at the airport no earlier than 12:00 pm. For booking international flights, plan for departure after 3:00 pm and for flights within Europe, after 2:00 pm. There is also a bus service and taxi links into the centre of Toulouse.

Why not finish off your Classic Climbs trip with a wonderful weekend in Paris seeing the finale on the Champs-Elysees. If you’re interested please contact us by email and we’ll take the hassle out of your transfer and accommodation.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

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
  • 11 nights accommodation in quality 3 & 4 star hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • 3 course evening meals on 8 nights
  • Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
  • Mechanical assistance with your bike
  • Scheduled arrival transfer on day one from Lyon Saint-Exupery airport
  • Scheduled departure transfer on final day to Toulouse Airport
  • Ride files and Bikestyle guide to the 2018 Tour de France
  • Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

Reserve your Place Now

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below
Deposit 2018 Classic Climbs 12 Days ($1000pp)
2018 Classic Climbs Bicycle Hire ($770.00)
2018 Classic Climbs Single Supplement ($1050.00)
Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions
  • 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.
If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com

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