This 10 day trip combines the beauty of the stunning coastal scenery of northern Spain with the best Grand Tour of the racing calendar.
Duration: 10 days (9 nights)
Dates: Friday, 1 September to Sunday, 10 September, 2017
Start: Toulouse Finish: Bilbao
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$5390.00 (US$3880.00)
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$830.00 (US$600.00)
- Bike Rental A$594.00 (US$430.00) (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
- Travel Insurance – Email us for details
- Ride the famous Alto de l’Angliru and the tour classics Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque
- Visit the beautiful Spanish city of San Sebastian and the Rioja wine region
- See 4 stages live, including starts, finishes, individual time trials and the decisive mountain stages in the final week of the 2017 Vuelta
- Stay in Superb Accommodation, experience amazing Spanish cuisine
- Visit and ride the Pyrenees, Cantabria Ranges and Asturias
- Travel and relax in our luxury coach, with custom built bicycle trailer
- Personal attention of the Bikestyle TeamThis Trip will be Escorted by Ex Pro, Eric de Clercq
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 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?
Spain hosts the final Grand Tour of each year and in recent years it has been the most entertaining of all 3 week stage races, for many reasons. The race attracts all of the major contenders as riders are not compelled to sit this tour out to focus on another race later in the season. Mountain stages feature every week throughout this tour and several short stages give more opportunity for riders.
2017 will be no different and the final week of racing in the Northern part of Spain will be one of the greatest weeks of cycling to see this year. The penultimate stage finishes on one of the most feared and legendary climbs in cycling, Alto de l’Angliru. You will have your chance to ride this legend a day before the Pros. You will not want to miss the 2017 Vuelta a España.
Our trips are geared to suit anyone with an interest in Cycling who wants to see the most accessible of the Grand Tours, the Vuelta a España. 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 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.
Our 10 Day 2017 Vuelta trip will follow the final week of the race in the North of Spain. We will see 4 fabulous stages live and experience the beauty of the stunning coastal scenery of northern Spain, Cantabri and Asturia mountains, the historic city of San Sebastian and the famous La Rioja wine region. Stay in beautiful hotels and eat the best of Spanish cuisine. We’ll avoid the long transfers and hot Southern areas of Spain and rather ride some of the most famous climbs in the Pyrenees, Col du Tourmalet and the balcony road to Col d’Aubisque.
Friday 1 September, 2017: Bienvenidos
Our tour starts today with our staff meeting you as you arrive in Toulouse, with a transfer to our 4 star hotel close to the centre of town. Toulouse is easily reached by train from Paris, or by flights from many European airports. As the old capital of Languedoc and France’s fourth-largest city, Toulouse (known as la ville en rose, or the city in pink) is the major city of the southwest, and the gateway to the Pyrenees mountain range. Toulouse, today is a city of the future and the high-tech centre of the aerospace industry in France. It is home to Airbus and Aérospatiale — and the National Centre for Space Research has been headquartered here for more than 3 decades. The extraordinarily high population of students, some 110,000 out of a population of more than 800,000, also contributes to the pulse of the city.
Once we’ve got you settled into the hotel we will assemble bikes and take a short local ride to make sure you and your bike are all in good working order after your long journey. We will aim to ride around 3pm, so arriving before 1pm will give us plenty of time to set you up with your bike before our ride. Tonight we will have a welcome dinner where you will meet your fellow travellers and where our staff will answer all your questions on your upcoming adventure.
Meals: Welcome Dinner
Saturday 2 September, 2017: Col du Tourmalet
The Vuelta is deep into it’s second week, and the accumulated exhaustion on today’s 185km stage and high temperatures will hinder riders but could be favourable for a breakaway win, depending on everyone’s interests regarding the general classification. We’ll catch the race on TV at our hotel this afternoon.
Today, we’ll ride in the more bearable temperatures and tackle the highest road in the central Pyrenees, the 2115 meter Col du Tourmalet. Tourmalet is the highest road pass in the central Pyrenees. You’ve all seen the TV images of this mighty mountain in Grand Tours, now is your chance to see what it’s all about. The summit of the HC (hors categorie) climb up to Col du Tourmalet is one of the most visited climbs of Le Tour de France. We’ll head off from our hotel shortly after breakfast to give you plenty of time to ride today before checking into our hotel.
We’ll start our rides from Bagneres de Bigorre. The climb starts off very gentle, giving you time to warm up. Only once you reach Sainte Marie de Campan does the official climb begin. With a length of 17.2km from the Eastern side and an average grade of 7.4%, it is the more gentle of the 2 sides to climb Tourmalet. When we reach the summit it will all seem worth it and the cafe at the top is a nice warm place to meet up and regroup, with a nice collection of cycling memorabilia. We will descend toward Luz Saint Sauveur where we will regroup once more before the fun coast down the valley to our hotel in Lourdes, making it a total of 80km today with close to 2000m of climbing. We’ll have shorter ride options available for those concerned about riding the whole Tourmalet.
Our base for the next 2 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. Lourdes was just a small market town on the 11 February, 1858 when Bernadette Soubirous saw the Virgin Mary along the Gave. 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. Tonight you are welcome to wander through town and dine in one of the many restaurants.
Sunday 3 September, 2017: Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque
Today we will tackle another famous climb of the Pyrenees and is always a highlight ride for our guests. It may be because you notch up 2 cols for the day, or attributed to the views that reward those on the spectacular balcony road between Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque.
Today’s stage is the last before the designated final rest day and riders will be looking forward to cooler temperatures after their transfer tomorrow. Although a short stage, the summit finish to Sierra Navada ski station will be compounded by yesterday’s long stage. It will be another tough day for riders. It is a great opportunity for a team to work hard and move one of their GC contenders to within striking distance of the overall lead.
After fuelling up at breakfast, we’ll head off along the bikepath from Lourdes to the village of Argeles-Gazost. The initial climb starts from Argeles-Gazost but it’s not too long before the road flattens taking us to a small village. From here the real climbing begins, a manageable 7.5km averaging close to 8% taking us to the first col, Col du Soulor. Our welcoming party of local cattle and horses grazing on 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 back to Col du Soulor before and carry on to Lourdes where we will pass the Grotto on the way into town. We can enjoy a nice cold drink and watch the finish of today’s stage on TV.
This evening you are free to dine in one of the local restaurants, you may also like to visit the grotto where pilgrims believe its water possess healing powers.
Monday 4 September, 2017: Biarritz and San Sebastian
Riders have a designated rest day today, but as has happened in most Grand Tours this year, a long transfer will be the first order for teams. The 3 hour flight for riders and 9 hour drive for team staff will disrupt the normal recovery plans for teams.
Our transfer will be a little more leisurely and after a couple of hard days on the bike, we have some easier rides planned today. After breakfast we will transfer you to Biarritz, on the French side of the Basque Country. Biarritz came to fame in the mid 19th Century, when Empress Eugenie (the wife of Napoleon III) fell in love with this part of the Basque country and built a Palace on the beach at Biarritz (which is now the world class Hotel du Palais). It’s a vibrant town with magnificent beaches, golf courses and numerous sporting facilities. Surfing started in France here in Biarritz in 1957 and surfers come from all over the world to ride the waves. After a short visit to Biarritz we will set off on our rides.
Our rides today will follow the coastline into Spain, and tonight we will stay in the famous town of San Sebastian. Today is a great day to ride together at a leisurely pace, enjoying the villages of the Basque country and riding across country borders. If you’d like to stretch your legs a little bit more, you have the option to climb along one of the coastal escarpments before descending into San Sebastian. Our hotel is walking distance from the historic centre which comes alive in Cidre season at the local Pintxos (or Tapas) bars that are a favoured hangout. San Sebastian attracts famous actors each year when they host the San Sebastian international film festival. You will see tributes to the many stars throughout this beautiful city.
The locals mostly converse in the local Basque language which differs significantly from Spanish. While the origins for the language are not conclusively known, it is believed to be one of the oldest surviving languages in Western Europe. Tourism is a major industry in San Sebastian, so you will not have any trouble exploring this beautiful village. You will have plenty of time this afternoon to see San Sebastian and wander through the historic centre. There are many dining options for you to choose from tonight, like grabbing a Cidre and Pintxos from one or two bars or choosing from one of the many fine dining restaurants.
Overnight: San Sebastian
Tuesday 5 September, 2017: Individual Time Trial in Rioja
After a spending a few days achieving some of our own cycling goals in the Pyrenees, we set off and catch our first glimpse of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Some riders will be showing signs of cracking as they enter into the final week. This may be compounded by the hot weather experienced in Southern Spain and the long transfer during a normal rest day. Today is the individual time trial, and it is through the famous La Rioja wine region. Time trials at Grand Tours are wonderful spectacles, and made more special at the Vuelta with the accessibility of teams. Riders will set off in a race against the clock and roll off the starting ramp across the afternoon. The best placed riders on General Classification will have the advantage of following the rest of the riders as their team director radios comparative time gaps along the way.
We will head off early to get a good spot near the start, where we can park the bus and head off on a short ride ourselves. This will get you back in good time to see riders’ warm-up at the buses before making their way to the start ramp. Don’t forget your camera today, it is a great opportunity to get close to the professionals and see their amazing time trial machines. Starting from a motor-racing circuit, will make today’s stage more spectacular. Later in the day, we’ll head off to Logroño, the region’s capital, where we will see the riders finish and possibly a new race leader who will take the red jersey into the final week.
After a big day watching the Vuelta, we’ll transfer the short distance to our historical hotel where we will enjoy dinner together in a spectacular setting.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Wednesday 6 September, 2017: Los Machucos
Spanish organisers have been known to include some insanely steep roads in the race route. This recent tradition is upheld with today’s final climb. A narrow road with a few kilometers that exceed 14% of average slope and ramps of 20, 22, 26 and up to 28%. It is only a short climb, but the ramps give this stage a real sting in it’s tail.
We can enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning before heading North to the Cantabria region. Promoted as the Green Spain, Cantabria is a limestone massif with an abundance of Oak and Beech forests. The mountains and beaches attract a cooler climate than much of the rest of Spain. We have spectacular rides planned for today in the impressive natural setting. You’ll have the chance to challenge yourself on today’s final climb of Los Machucos to Monumento de la Vaca Pasiega. We will find a great spot on the climb and cheer the professionals along.
Both of our rides will start from Espinosa de los Monteros and give you the opportunity to ride the final 90km of today stage, including the 3 categorised climbs. Our more direct route will reduce this to 45km and after a small effort to Puerto de la Sia, you’re rewarded with the fun and scenic descent to the base of today’s final climb.
After watching the race, we will meet up with our bus and travel to our next hotel and share dinner together. For the next two nights we’ll be hosted in a small family run hotel in the historic town of Santallina del Mar, close to the Cantabrian coast. Santillana del Mar is often considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, a medieval town of stunning medieval architecture.
Overnight: Santillana del Mar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Thursday 7 September, 2017: Stage Start in Suances
We have just a short ride to see today’s stage start in Suances. So we can enjoy a little bit of a sleep in and a hearty breakfast before heading off to see the stage start. Stage starts are your best chance to catch an autograph of or selfie with your favourite rider. Riders and Team Directors will discuss their day’s tactics and race scenarios on their buses before riders go and sign on. Race commentators and announcers alike are on hand to interview riders. Finally riders marshall at the start and roll off together on the day’s stage. The relaxed atmosphere at the Vuelta enable riders and teams to be more accessible than at any other Grand Tour.
Once the riders head out on course, we will follow them out for a ride along the Cantabrian coast before heading inland along some of the undulating and scenic roads. If you make good time, you may be able to see the race a second time today. You will have the choice of ride distances today between 40km and 100km. Both rides will return back past the Caves of Altamira, a Palaeolithic site dating back some 15,000 years. The museum has an extensive exhibition covering everyday life and preserved art from the Upper Palaeolithic age.
Overnight: Santillana del Mar
Friday 8 September, 2017: Alto de l’Angliru
We will take a break from watching the race today and offer the chance for you to ride one of the most challenging climbs you will ever do! The ascent of the mega-mountain: Alto de l’Angliru. The Angliru is the most famous climb of the Vuelta, with the winners always being outstanding climbers able to conquer ramps that reach up to 23%. The climb has a fearsome reputation and you can add it to your resume if you wish. “The climb is extremely tough, almost inhuman” Oscar Sevilla said once. The wet stage in 2002 had David Millar withdrawing from the race just short of the finish line in protest over the climb’s inclusion. However, in their defence, organisers say that a Vuelta without Angliru would be like a five-kilometre marathon or a 15-minute football match.
This morning we will drive to near La Vega-Riosa at the base of the climb so you can warm-up your legs before the climb. From La Vega it is 13km, but it is the final 6kms that earns the Angliru its reputation with an average gradient of 13%! Of course you don’t have to go to the top, so just take your time and turn around when you’ve had enough and meet up in La Vega. You can either take the bus from La Vega back to our hotel or ride the 20km, which is mostly downhill.
If the thought of climbing Angliru doesn’t appeal to you then we’ll have a much easier alternative for you this morning, and it involves another race viewing opportunity as riders make their way up today’s second climb. We’ll set off on our ride in the opposite direction from Angliru to watch the race. After seeing the race it is 25km back to our hotel.
Our next location is Las Caldas in the heart of the Asturias mountains, where we spend the next two nights in a lovely thermal spa resort hotel. The Asturias mountains are a perfect base for cyclists and often visited by the Vuelta a España. In summer the lush green countryside is very pleasant, when much of Spain is unbearably hot. On arrival at our hotel you’ll have time to relax and enjoy this peaceful location before we get together this evening for dinner in our hotel restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Saturday 9 September, 2017: The Battle for Red
Today’s stage is very short, 119 km, but very tough. La Vuelta winner may be determined at the Alto de l’Angliru, as was the case in 2011 between Bradley Wiggins and Juanjo Cobo. It is the last stage for riders to give it their all, so we are in for a good show. Our ride options available today all give you the opportunity to watch the final battle on Angliru. If you still have some climbing left in your legs, and would like to test them, you can ride the final 70km of today’s stage before watching the riders on Angliru. Returning back to the hotel after the race will give you a little more than 100km and over 2000m for the day.
If you’re after something more manageable, we will head off later today and watch the riders pass just down the road from the hotel. Then we will take the more direct (and flatter) route to the base of Angliru. You’ll have time to get a little of the way up Angliru and watch the race.
After seeing the race pass, we will travel back to our hotel where we will have a special farewell dinner tonight recognising the great times that we have had together, our new friendships and achievement of our cycling goals.
Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Sunday 10 September, 2017: Adiós, Bilbao
This morning, professional riders will board their chartered flights for Madrid for the final flat stage. A stage that serves to recognise the three weeks of sacrifice and suffering endured by riders. Team soigneurs and mechanics will drive their vehicles the 6 hours to the stage start. We’ll avoid the long transfer and after breakfast we’ll drive to Bilbao where you’ll be able to stay on and visit the magnificent Guggenheim Museum or make your own connections to other European destinations.
Bilbao has a major airport and is serviced by major airlines with direct connections from Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Frankfurt and many more. We’ll arrive at Bilbao airport before midday in time for you to make an early afternoon flight.
If you are interested in staying on in Bilbao, or flying to Madrid from Bilbao, please contact Liz Georgeson from our Bikestyle team on firstname.lastname@example.org who can assist you with accommodation in either location.
Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
- Transport throughout by luxury coach and supported on the road by a custom mini van
- Services of our experienced tour guides, mechanics and drivers
- 9 nights accommodation in quality 3, 4 & 5 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 Toulouse airport
- Scheduled departure transfer on final day to Bilbao airport
- Maps and Bikestyle guide to the 2017 Vuelta Espana
- 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.