Vuelta a Espana 2012

Vuelta a Espana 2012

Join Dave McKenzie for a memorable trip to the Vuelta a Espana!

Bikestyle Tours has been running trips to the Vuelta a Espana every year since 2002 making us one of the most experienced and professional companies to see this great race with! If you are looking for a relaxed cycling holiday, but would still like to take in one of the world’s great races, you should try the Vuelta!

This year could well be our best Vuelta Itinerary yet! Have a read of this unique itinerary and see what you think…

The 2012 Vuelta a España will start on 18 August 2012 in Pamplona and will be the 67th edition of the race.

Ex professional cyclist David McKenzie and Bikestyle Tours have put together a very special small group tour to the 2012 Vuelta.
On the 7th stage of the 2000 Giro d’Italia, Dave McKenzie rode into history. Jumping from the peloton for a long solo breakaway, he won a gutsy and very popular victory. Dave had a great career as a pro in Europe and Australia before turning his hand to commentary with Australia’s biggest cycling broadcaster, SBS. These days he provides expert commentary on all the big races from around the world, including the Tour de France, Gior and Vuelta.

Join Dave on this trip and enjoy his relaxed style, expert commentary on the race as it progresses and last but not least share a ride with him on the roads of Europe.

Our 2012 Vuelta trip will be a departure from our tradition of following the end of the race. Instead we will be off to the start of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana in Pamplona and the Basque Country. We just couldn’t resist the pull of visiting Pamplona (famous for the running of the bulls, the vineyards of Rioja and the spectacular scenery of the Basque Country and the Spanish and French Pyrenees.


Trip Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Dates: Tuesday 14th August to Friday 24th August, 2012
Start-Finish: Biarritz, France Getting to and from Biarritz
Accommodation: Top Quality Exclusive Hotels
Group Size: Small Group Trip with maximum 20 people (3 Staff)
Cost: $AUD5250.00, Single Supplement: $1395.00
Deposit: AUD $1000.00
Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room.
Register for 2012 Vuelta a Espana Updates or Reserve this Trip Now

Optional Extras:
Bike Rental $600 (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
Pre or post tour accommodation to extend your stay
Travel Insurance and Car Rental.
Email us for details

Our 2012 Vuelta Trip Highlights

  • Starting and finishing in the famous beach resort of Biarritz
  • Ride the Col d’Aubisque
  • Ride the Col du Tourmalet
  • See 5 stages of the Vuelta 2012 including the Teams Time trial Start and the first mountain top finish
  • 3 nights Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls
  • 3 nights Logrono in the premier Basque/Spanish wine growing area of La Rioja
  • Minimal Transfers
  • Great Cycling
  • Exclusive Hotels
  • Famous Basque Cuisine
  • Winery Visit
  • Relaxed Environment
  • Personal Attention of the Bikestyle team

The trip will start on the French side of the Basque Country in the famous beach resort of Biarritz. See our page on Getting to and from Biarritz. As a little bonus for the trip we will travel from Biarritz across to the French Pyrenees town of Pau where we will tackle two of the mightiest climbs in Tour de France history: The Col d’Aubsique and the Col du Tourmalet.

From here we will head to Pamplona for 3 nights to our modern cutting edge hotel where we will see the Teams Time Trial in the streets made famous by the “Running of the Bulls”. Next day we are right on the spot to see the start of the race, get a few autographs, take a few pictures and then ride out to see the race pass by Pamplona on it’s way to Viana.

We then leave Pamplona for our next stop for 3 nights at Santo Domingo de la Calzada in the premier Basque/Spanish wine growing area of La Rioja and catch up with another 2 stages of the race before heading back in to France for our final night in the resort of  Biarritz.

Our accommodation while on the road will include some modern luxury hotels along with restored and modernised historical buildings that have been converted to luxury hotels, one being a 12th century former hospital on the famous pilgrim path to Santaigo de Compostela which is now a magnificent 4 star hotel.

Our trip will be fully escorted (including rides each day) by Spanish, French and English speaking guides. Bikestyle Tours have been organising cycling trips to Europe since 1996 and this is our tenth year at the Vuelta a Espana. Over those years we have learnt a lot and our knowledge is supported by the local expertise of our guides.

Whilst our trip is primarily based on the Vuelta a Espana it will cater for non-cycling partners too, with bus trips to strategic locations along the course and visits to tourist spots while the cyclists do what cyclists do! You will enjoy renowned Basque food and wine in a relaxed environment with some excellent race viewing, great riding, terrific sightseeing and personal service. You’ll be able to ride parts of the course before the race and challenge yourself on the famous climbs of France and Spain.

Our trips are designed to give excellent quality, value for money cycling holidays with the emphasis on cycling while not forgetting to enjoy what our destinations have to offer.

We have found that our trips attract cyclists of differing ability as well as people who do not ride but just want to catch up with the Vuelta. To cater for this quite diverse group of people we offer different options on most days.

Our Rides

Experience tells us that people who come on our trips have quite different goals and the range of capabilities on the bike vary from those who are race fit and want to see what it is like on a hard day at the Vuelta to people who ride infrequently and just want to stretch their legs. So each day we offer rides to suit most people with 2 or 3 options varying from 40km to 120km depending on terrain. Our rides are planned around the Vuelta and often involve rides along the course ahead of the race or through a scenic part of the area we visit.



Tuesday 14th August, 2012
Our 2012 Vuelta adventure will start by collecting you from Biarritz airport or rail station today and taking you to our 4 star hotel for the night before we head across to Pau tomorrow. See our page on Getting to and from Biarritz.

Once you are settled in to the hotel we’ll give you a hand to assemble your bike, or expertly fit you to your Cannondale rental bike. 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.

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 your upcoming adventure answered by our staff. After dinner it will be off to bed as we will need an early start in the morning.

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). Eugenie invited foreign royalty to stay with their entourages and courtiers; Queen Victoria of Britain, who came regularly over a period of 30 years, and sundry Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, German, Russian nobility. The Russians built their own magnificent Orthodox Church next to the Palace.

Biarritz has a lot more than beautiful buildings to offer today. 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.

Meals: Dinner
Overnight: Biarritz

Wednesday 15th August, 2012: Pau and the Col d’Aubisque
This morning we hit the road and travel to Pau from where we will take the opportunity to tackle one of the epic climbs in Tour history, the Col d’Aubisque. The Col d’Aubisque is both beautiful and difficult and will give you a memorable day.

We have two options for riding today. The more difficult of the two will be to travel towards Pau where we will begin our ride firstly through the valley to Laruns and then up the steeper and more difficult side of the Col d’Aubisque. On a good day the view from here is spectacular! It only gets better from here as we head along the ridge road (Cirque du Litor) that joins the Col d’Aubisque to the Col du Soulor . It is one of the most beautiful roads in France.

The second option will be a ride from Pau along the valley to Laruns and then as far as you wish up the climb of the Col d’Aubisque.

Afterwards we will return to Pau and our beautiful 4 star hotel for the next 2 nights.
Bordering the Beaumont Garden, where charm and history meet, adding its own personal charm and warmth, the Hotel Parc Beaumont is in harmony with its environment.
Cozy, elegant rooms and suites, a gourmet restaurant, shaded terrace, as well as a personal luminous spa….

Pau is famous for its historic attractions such as the history-rich and impressive Chateau de Pau. And for us it is a short hour drive from Biarritz and the Spanish border, as well as a wide range of splendid cities and villages.

Pau received the distinctive four-flower designation, and features more square feet of greenery per capita than any other city in Europe. The selection of hotels and dining is diverse for a city of this size.

The famous King Henry IV was born at the city’s château in 1553. Rumor has it he was christened with a local specialty, Jurançon wine, which can still be sampled there to this day.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Pau (Pyrenees)

Thursday 16th August, 2012: The Mighty Tourmalet
Drum roll please. This morning we tackle the highest road in the central Pyrenees, the 2115 meter Col du Tourmalet. You’ve all seen the TV images of this mighty mountain each year on the Tour de France, now is your chance to see what it’s all about. We will ride from the hotel on a hilly 35km to St Marie de Campan where we begin the final17 kilometre ascent to the summit of the Tourmalet. The cafe at the top is a nice warm place to rest and contains an interesting collection of cycling memorabilia.

From the top of the Tourmalet it is 35km downhill back to the hotel making a ride of 100 kilometres. Of course there will be shorter options available today including riding with the group from Lourdes to St Marie de Campan, a pretty little town at the foot of Col du Tourmalet where you should 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.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Pau (Pyrenees)

Friday 17th August, 2012: Pamplona and the Basque Country

From Pau we will head to Pamplona for 3 nights and our modern cutting edge hotel where, tomorrow we will see the Teams Time Trial in the streets made famous by the “Running of the Bulls”.

On our way we will stop for a beautiful ride through the quiet roads of the French Basque Country, finishing up in St Jean de Luz for a late lunch before we again jump on the bus for the short trip to Pamplona.

Pamplona is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions. This festival was brought to literary renown by Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Sun Also Rises. For a cyclist it is also famous as the hometown of Miguel Indurain the five times winner of the Tour de France. He will be sure to be about over the weekend for the Vuelta, a race he never won. Besides all this it is a beautiful town with lots to see including the 16th century walls and the wonderful Plazas with their cafes and restaurants. The Spanish live their lives in these plazas and it is what makes this part of the world so vibrant.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Pamplona

Saturday 18th August, 2012: The Start!

We will have plenty of time for a nice ride this morning as the Teams Time Trial is traditionally held late in the afternoon. Our ride will head north to the rolling hills of Navarra for a couple of options.

Each day we offer a few different riding options to cater for the different levels of cyclists who come on our trips. Usually we will offer a ride of around 40 to 70 kilometres and another of 80 to 120 kilometres depending on terrain and the level of the people on the trip. So today we will head out of Pamplona and ride through the foothills of the Pyrenees where we will link up with the pilgrim trail, the Camino de Santiago for the final 40 kilometre ride home to Pamplona. The ride options will be 60 and 100 kilometres.

The Camino Francés is the main part of the route of the Camino de Santiago. It stretches of nearly 800 kilometres (500 miles) from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. It has had large numbers of pilgrims travelling to the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) for at least 800 years. It has had a major influence on European history since it was the protection of pilgrims which inspired European rulers to support the small northern Spanish kingdoms in their efforts to push back the Muslim invaders of Spain.

We will have time to freshen up and rest before heading down to see the race later this afternoon. You are free to experience local cuisine in one of the many restaurants and tapas bars tonight. It should be possible to choose a restaurant on the route so you can spend the evening sitting by the roadside, enjoying the local food and wine while the race passes.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Pamplona

Sunday 19th August, 2012: Stage One, off to the race start

Today we are ideally situated to see the start of the race, get a few autographs, take a few pictures and then ride out to see the race pass by Pamplona on its way to Viana.

If you have been to other Grand Tours (especially the Tour de France) you will be struck by the relaxed atmosphere of the Vuelta. You’ll be surprised how close you can get to the action today as the cyclists arrive in the start area for the sign on and eventual depart from the centre of Pamplona early this afternoon.

After the races departs we will be on our bikes to ride out (hopefully along the race route) and see the race pass again on it’s way to Viana.

After seeing the riders pass we’ll head back for another pleasant evening in historic Pamplona.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Pamplona

Monday 20th August, 2012: Logrono

This morning we will reluctantly say goodbye to Pamplona leaving the hotel and going by bike or bus to see the race on the Category 2 climb of the Puerto de Bernedo. It’s close to 100 kilometres so some will choose to get a lift part of the way to bring the ride distance down to something more “sensible” 🙂

It’s great to see a race on a climb and as this one is early the riders will be mostly together making a great spectacle as they swarm up the hill taking every square inch of the road.

After the riders pass we will transfer the short distance to our next stop for 3 nights at Logrono in the premier Basque/Spanish wine growing area of La Rioja.

Our accommodation is right in the centre of this acient yet lively city. Logrono is the capital of La Rioja and a very pretty city with lots of green areas and lots of historical buildings due to the meeting of different cultures and the Camino de Santiago which crosses the city. Logrono is also well known for its gastronomy.
The entrance to the city is quite impressive with its grand ancient stone bridge and view over the old part of the city.

Logrono is an important and historic stop on the Camino de Santiago which crosses the city by the stone bridge at the entrance and then going up the Rúa Vieja, it passes the hostel for pilgrims and the Santiago fountain, Barriocepo street, until it arrives at the Murallas de Revellín (city walls) and leaves the city through the Puerta del Camino.

It is also famous for its shops especially its shoe shops, clothes shops and food shops. It has very good restaurants and tapas bars and is well known for its lively nightlife at weekends.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Logrono

Tuesday 21st August, 2012: The First Mountain Top Finish

Today the race will finish at altitude for the first time in 2012 at the ski station of Valdezcaray where the Colombian Fabio Parra took the last stage victory there in 1991 during a time trial.

The riders will face 155 kilometres today with a Category 1 climb at the 50k mark. There is quite a distance before they hit the final climb up to the ski station at Valdezcaray so expect plenty of fireworks from early on in the climb. It is the first chance for the climbers to strut their stuff and it will be great to be on the climb to see the gaps appear as riders attack and come back together like rubber bands. The field will be spread out for kilometres…

Today’s ride will begin from the hotel and head up the Oja Valley to Ezcaray at the base of the climb. We will meet our bus here and make it our base for the rest of the day. It’s a 16 kilometre climb to the finish and about 800 metres in altitude gain so not too difficult, however we won’t know for sure until we are on the climb as these mountains can be deceptive!

So our aim today will be to ride out and then up the climb as far as we choose and return to Logrono by bus after the race.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Logrono

Wednesday 22nd August, 2012: Longrono Circuit

The race returns to Logrono once again this year for the start and finish of this stage, making this the 16th time for the Vuelta in this regional capital. The stage will be on a circuit of nearly forty kilometres, with 3 passes over the finish line before the finish. So in effect we could see the race 5 times today!

It is a flat stage where no major surprises are expected so it should be the perfect setting for a sprint. Maybe a last win for Mark Cavendish in his World Champions jersey before his reign is over?

What better position could we have but the town of the start and finish. This morning we will do a lap of today’s race circuit from Logrono and return in time to shower and head off to see the race including the start, the multiple passes of the race and finally the finish with the thundering sprint down the long finishing straight at Logrono.

Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Logrono

Thursday 23rd August, 2012: Ride to a Winery!
This morning we will have a leisurely 40 kilometre ride to visit the most famous of all Rioja wineries, Bodegas Faustino. We will head out from the hotel for the last time and ride to the winery at Oyon near Logrono. Here we will have a tour of the winery followed by a tasting of their magnificent wines.

In 1861, Eleuterio Martinez Arzok set out on a journey, selling his Rioja wines directly from the barrel, working from the back of a horse-drawn cart. Thus began Bodegas Faustino, today Spain’s largest producer of Reserva and Gran Reserva Rioja wines. In the late 1950s, Eleuterio’s equally adventurous descendant, Faustino Martinez, launched the Faustino label. Faustino is a proud custodian of the Rioja’s international reputation for world-class wines. A phenomenal nine million bottles of Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are stored in Faustino’s magnificent cellars. With 1,625 acres of vineyards, Faustino’s Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are all estate-grown and bottled.

After our visit we will be on the bus again and off to Biarritz, where it all began 10 days ago. We should arrive in time to explore Biarritz a little more before dinner tonight.

Tonight at our hotel we will have a farewell dinner and toast what has been a wonderful time together in Spain (and France).

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Biarritz

Friday 24th August, 2012: Farewell
Its farewell to your new friends as our tour comes to an end this morning. Over the past 10 days you’ve experienced the excitement of the Vuelta up close, challenged yourself on some famous climbs and hopefully had an unforgettable Spanish experience with Bikestyle Tours. We hope we see you again one day.

Meals: Breakfast.


Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
-Transport throughout by private luxury coach with custom bike trailer.
-Services of our experienced tour guides, plus our coach driver.
-Transfer on 14th August from Biarritz airport to hotel.
-Transfer on 24th August from hotel to Biarritz airport
-10 night’s accommodation, in selected 5 and 4 star hotels.
-Buffet breakfast daily
-3 course evening meals on 4 nights
-Mechanical assistance with your bike
-Sightseeing as listed
-Maps and Bikestyle guide to the 2012 Vuelta a Espana
-Bikestyle Tours cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

Reserve your Place for the 2012 Vuelta a Espana

Payment by Credit Card

If paying by bank deposit or cheque see below

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below

Deposit Vuelta a Espana 2012 ($1000.00)
Single Supplement ($1395.00)
Vuelta Bicycle Hire $600.00
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. If you have any further enquiries please email us at
  • 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.
  • Deposits can also be paid by direct deposit or cheque. For more information contact our Office Manager Michelle Knibbs for our bank details and mailing address,


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, 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
  • 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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