2019 Le Grand Tour 25 Days

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 25 Days (24 nights)
Dates: Friday, 5 July to Monday, 29 July, 2019
Start: Brussels
Finish: Paris
Accommodation: 3 and 4 Star hotels
Group Size: 30 guests – 5 staff
Suitable For: Cyclists and Non Cyclists
Suitable Cyclists ability: Experienced, Intermediate, Social
Price: AUD$14,890 (US$10,423)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$2300 (US$1,610)

Optional Extras:

Bike Rental AUD$1400 (US$980) (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
Travel Insurance

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.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

Bucket List climbs
Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg, Kapelmuur, Grand Ballon, Col d’Aubisque, Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and the big 3: Col du Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez

and Secret Roads
Central Massif, Ariege Mountains, Gorges de la Nesque, French Alps balcony roads, Paris highlights, Champagne wine trail, Alsace villages trail, Routes des Grandes Crus

Touristic opportunities
Tour of Flanders Museum, famous wine regions, Verdun Memorial, Mulhouse Motor museum

Experience the TDF Live

Stage 1: Bruxelles to Bruxelles, Flat, 192 km
Stage 2: Bruxelles Palais Royal to Bruxelles Atomium, Team time-trial, 27 km
Stage 3: Binche to Épernay, Hilly, 214 km
Stage 5: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Colmar, Hilly, 169 km
Stage 6: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, Mountain, 157 km
Stage 8: Mâcon to Saint-Étienne, Hilly, 199 km
Stage 11: Albi to Toulouse, Flat, 167 km
Stage 12: Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Mountain, 202 km
Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Barèges, Mountain, 117 km
Stage 16: Nîmes to Nîmes, Flat, 177 km
Stage 18: Embrun to Valloire, Mountain, 207 km

2019 Le Grand Tour

The full three week experience

Experience the ultimate Tour de France trip. Complete with the nervous energy of the first week, tricky transition stages, the mountain attacks and opportunistic breakaways. Finish your trip on the Champs-Élysées, hours after having ridden it yourself. Riders will pass the famous landmarks of the Grand Palais and the Arc de Triomphe before crowning the 2019 winner. Enquire at the time of booking about VIP experiences.

Our trip starts in Belgium with a homage to Eddy Merckx before we enter France and travel through the southern regions of Central Massif, the Pyrenees and the Alps. Tick off the bucket list of the most famous cycling routes, enjoy the great wine regions and immerse into the French culture. Our grand tour is designed for cyclists. During the trip you’re able to take a rest-day and enjoy a non-cycling itinerary for the day.

Our carefully designed itinerary minimises transfers and gives you additional time at each hotel, so that you can relax, enjoy riding and recharge yourself during your Tour de France trip. You will travel like a professional cyclist in our custom fitted luxury coach – with its own toilet, bar, reclining seats and coffee machine. It will also meet you at the end of rides allowing you to have a hot shower before heading off for a drink or watching the race.

Day 1 – Friday 5th July: Bienvenue

Welcome to the Tour de France

Our trip starts with your guides meeting you at the Brussels Zaventem Airport at 10:00am. Belgium is the home of fine chocolate, even the world’s best beer (your Belgian guide may be biased, but apparently its well tested). Arrive a day or two earlier and enjoy Belgium’s capital with its great restaurants, architecture and museums.

After a short transfer to the heartland of Flanders cycling, we’ll assemble our bikes and head out on a short warm up ride. The very quiet roads through the countryside are perfect for adjusting to the time zone, shaking off some travel legs and testing out your bike for your Tour de France cycling holiday.

I’m not sure if Belgium invented cycling or cycling created Belgium. I’m certain though that Belgians know all of the riders past, present and future, just as we’re born to know Beatles music. The infrastructure for riding is exceptional; wide bike paths, dedicated cycle lanes and courteous road users to make you feel appreciated for riding your bike.

Tonight, we’ll have dinner together with an accompanying drink. A great social opportunity to meet your fellow guests and staff. Most importantly, have any of your questions answered by your helpful staff.

Meals
Welcome Dinner

Overnight
Oudenaarde, Belgium

Warm up ride

Day 2 – Saturday 6th July: A Belgium Classic

Kapelmuur and Grand Départ

With a hint of excitement, we eat our breakfast and prepare ourselves for a day on the bike and watching the race. Our main ride will challenge us on the same ascent as the professionals – the Kapelmuur. Our 40 km ride from our hotel finishes in Geraardsbergen. You could finish your ride here where we’ll watch the race pass, or take our longer ride option and ride back an additional 50 km, to our hotel testing out some of the bergs used in the Belgium classics.

We’ll chaperone our non-riders to Geraardsbergen and experience Belgium hospitality in the village before watching the race come through. The atmosphere will be electric and fans will have their quota of fries and mayo. Expect to see Eddy Merckx impersonators wearing woolen Molteni jerseys in bicycles of the era. A crowd pleaser before you’ll see the hungry peloton compete for the lead of the polka-dot competition. A great way to introduce us to the Tour de France.

Once back at our hotel, we can see the closing moments of the race on television and visit the Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling museum if you would like to before heading out to a local restaurant for dinner. The village has a fine historic square surrounded by beautiful buildings. Our hotel is just a short walk.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 1: Bruxelles to Bruxelles, Flat, 192 km
A key moment on today’s stage is Muur van Geraardsbergen, also known as the Kapelmuur. A cobbled climb to a picturesque church through a narrow forest path made famous by the Ronde van Vlaanderen (RVV, Tour of Flanders) race. It was momentarily excluded from RVV before organisers and fans lobbied to include the steep grades of the muur again. By the finish of today’s stage, the climb will select a polka-dot leader and once over the climb, it will come down to a final sprint in Brussels for the yellow.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Oudenaarde, Belgium

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 3 – Sunday 7th July: Vlaanderen Classics

Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and team time-trial

We have a short ride for our cyclists this morning before we freshen up and head into Brussels for the team time-trial. There are very few days of the year that teams roll off the starters ramp together looking for every little advantage they can get. The fast course has a couple of technical corners, so skill and strength are both pre-requisites. We’ll also take the opportunity to inspect some of the sights of Brussels. After seeing the awarding of the yellow jersey, we will make our way back to our hotel and enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Our ride this morning will source out some of the classic sectors used for the Ronde van Vlaanderen one day classic. It will be a short 40 km ride with a few kickers. This ride gives us plenty of time to get to the race this afternoon.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 2: Bruxelles Palais Royal to Bruxelles Atomium, Team time-trial, 27 km
Day two should see a new leader, unless yesterday’s sprinter is able to stay with the winning team on the entire team time trial course. Expect the teams of Sky, BMC (CCC from 1 Jan 2019), Mitchelton Scott and Team Sunweb to perform well. Although Quick-Step Floors won the 2018 team time trial championships, many members of its winning team have moved to new teams in 2019. Brussels will fill the pictures of today’s idyllic stage with its historic sites.

 

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Oudenaarde, Belgium

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 4 – Monday 8th July: Champagne Capital

Épernay and sprint finish

After breakfast we’ll set off in our luxury transport and cross the border into France. Soon we’ll arrive beside the grapevines declared suitable for champagne. The proprietary technique for capturing those tight bubbles in the bottle has been replicated around the world, but Champagne can only be labelled if it comes from Champagne, it’s the only true source of the golden bubbles.

Our ride will explore the beautiful villages and vineyards of this region as we stop for lunch. We have two distances to cover, a 70 km loop or a shortcutting loop making it 40 km. On return to Épernay, the energy will have risen as spectators await the arrival of the sprinters.

With the possibility of a third rider taking the yellow jersey we’ll watch the presentation and set tracks for our beautiful 4-star hotel in a decadently restored castle. We will enjoy dinner together tonight celebrating another wonderful day at the Tour.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 3: Binche to Épernay, Hilly, 214 km
A long stage today taking the riders into France and there destination is the Champagne Capital, Épernay. Producers Moët Chandon, Mercier and De Castellane will celebrate the arrival of the riders for the final sprint. We might expect a calm start leading to an aggressive stage finish, thereby raising the concern of team leaders. Time bonuses will be important today.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Verdun, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 5 – Tuesday 9th July: Capital of Peace

Battle of Verdun

We’ll take things a little easier today and escape by bike with a small cultural excursion. Near to our hotel in the Meuse department there have been many events shaping France’s modern history, particularly relating to the First World War.

Now known as the world capital of Peace, there are several memorials throughout the area. Within a 10 month period in 1916, the French lost some 300,000 soldiers in the Battle of Verdun. One of whom became the “unknown soldier” buried beneath the Arc du Triomphe in Paris. A respectful reminder honoured every evening at 6:30pm to help recall the sacrifices made.

Our 95 km ride will visit some of the French and Allied monuments of the area and explore the Meuse river. We also have a shorter ride of 40 km. Both rides will return to the hotel in time for you to enjoy the village or take a treatment in the hotel’s wellness centre, and of course watch today’s sprint finish on television. This evening you are free to dine in one of the many restaurants. A relaxing day before we set off toward the mountains.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 4: Reims to Nancy, Flat, 215 km
Another long stage today will likely start with a calm pace until the sprinters have their chance to avenge the winner of the opening stage. The 1.5km final straight in Nancy will attract the formation of the perfect lead-out train. A modern sprinter who is less reliant on his team’s positioning may spoil his opposing team’s effort. A windy day however, may make this a challenging stage for all.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Verdun, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 6 – Wednesday 10th July: Most beautiful villages

Alsace Villages and a stage finish

This morning we will head east catching the finish of today’s race. We’ll drive directly to the stage finish town and start our ride from one of France’s classified ‘most beautiful’ (plus beaux) villages. An old town with cobblestone streets and lined with half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings. There are several smaller villages built in similar style, within riding distance. We’ll snap up the opportunity and ride through these stunning villages. Separating each village are vineyards that produce the crisp white wine that Alsace is renowned for.

After our ride, we will return to Colmar in time to freshen up, explore the village and prepare for the arrival of the peloton at the finish line. After the presentations, we’ll travel the short distance to our family run 3-star hotel for the next 2 nights. Each night, our hosts will provide delicious food from the region, and you may as well accompany your meal with a local wine.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 5: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Colmar, Hilly, 169 km
Riders enter one of the most admired wine regions of France. The scenery and magnificent villages will have helicopters and viewers across the globe in awe. Riders won’t be stopping for pictures as they’ll negotiate the first real climbs of the Tour. Expect a strong breakaway to establish early on before they try to hold off an eager peloton with the favourites.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Ensisheim, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 7 – Thursday 11th July: Vosges mountains

The first mountain stage

The Vosges mountains are much softer than any other mountain ranges in France. Naming peaks for the tour has to do with the terrain, a “côte” climb sits on the side of a mountain and are common in the Central Massif. A “col” climb is typical of the Pyrenees or Alps and is a pass between two peaks, thereby connecting two valleys. Multiple junctions at the summit may be called a “croix” or cross.

Unique to the Vosges, peaks have a rounded shape raising the term “Ballons” or rounded summits. Most of the terrain is densely covered in conifer and beech forests. Germany’s black forest is not far from here. It is a beautiful area to ride, shaded roads and climbs are more manageable than the Alps or Pyrenees. We will ride the Grand Ballon today and watch the race over the summit. Our easier option is a flat ride to watch the stage start and the possibility of visiting the motor museum in Mulhouse.

We’ll return back to our hotel in time to see the summit finish of today’s stage, before dinner. The road to La Planche des Belles Filles is known for producing exciting finishes in the Tour. Organisers have insured its inclusion with the additional gravel and steep ramps. For the record a “Planche” is a “board” or table-top, like a plateau.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 6: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, Mountain, 157 km
Today will be the first showdown for race favourites. Until now, the first mountain stage, they’ll have been minimising their efforts to limit any time loss. La Planche des Belles Filles has appeared regularly over the last 10 years, having setup the Tour lead for Froome and Nibali before reaching Paris. Today’s finish has an extra 1 km sting with 2 steep pinches and some gravel, a stage for the highlights reel.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Ensisheim, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 8 – Friday 12th July: Routes des Grands Crus

Welcome to Cote d’Or, Burgundy

Today we will leave the mountains and travel across the valley to a more gentle slope, famous for producing great French wine. Côte d’Or is a small escarpment that exposes vineyards to the ideal amount of sun for great wine.

Our ride will take us through the wineries to our hotel which is set among a working vineyard. Overlooking a French chateau, it is the perfect location for us to finish our trip following the Tour de France. This afternoon we’ll watch the finish of the stage on television. This evening you are free to dine in one of the many restaurants. A relaxing day before we set off toward the mountains.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 7: Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône, Flat, 230 km
The longest stage of the tour and set for another showdown between sprinters. We’d expect a breakaway group to form a significant time gap to a peloton with sprinters in pursuit. They’ll time their pursuit, or will the breakaway succeed?

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Vougeot, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 9 – Saturday 13th July: Beaujolais

More wineries and a stage start

This morning we’ll head a short distance and experience a stage start, a must at the Tour de France. We’ll arrive before the team buses and watch riders sign-on. Position yourself between the team buses and the sign-on area for a great opportunity to get your favourite riders autograph or a selfie with them. Moments before the riders set off, they will gather beneath the depart banner and the announcer will introduce favourite riders and the wearers of the tour jersey’s, who will position themselves along the front row.

Soon after the riders set off on the course, we will head off on our own ride through Beaujolais. We are experiencing the best of France. Gamay is the predominant grape in the region and their wine label is expanding throughout the world market. One of our guides, when not riding or long-distance running prepares his own vintage of this lovely wine.

After rolling through the quiet country roads and through the wineries, we’ll head back to our hotel and relax for the afternoon. Tonight we’ll have a special farewell dinner celebrating our trip to the Tour de France.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 8: Mâcon to Saint-Étienne, Hilly, 199 km
Riders depart from the sun drenched escarpment of two great wine regions, Bourgogne and Beaujolais. Their destination is in the central massif which has many winding and undulating roads that navigate gorges and wooded forests. A total vertical ascent of 3,800m is not a walk in the park, it’s a stage for the opportunist.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Vougeot, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 10 – Sunday 14th July: Confluence

Modern with Vieux Lyon and Fête Nationale

Today we’ll transfer to Lyon and explore, with the bonus of joining the national day celebrations for Bastille Day. As it is a public holiday and a Sunday, the roads will be quiet, which gives us a unique opportunity this afternoon to ride through the city and its surrounds with few vehicles. Exploring an old city by bike is one of the greatest ways to experience its culture along with the medieval and Renaissance architecture that Lyon is famous for.

Lyon, also a modern city, has some of the best modern transport infrastructures, particularly for bicycles. We’ll first visit the trendy modern confluence quarter, where a striking museum has been built where the Saône river joins the Rhône. Some liken its appearance to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

After our ride, you can recharge and enjoy watching the finish to today’s stage. With a finish in his home town on their national day, the French will be cheering for a stage victory for Romain Bardet or in consolation him winning one of the jerseys. Patriotically it would thrill the nation. Tonight, you’re free to savor deliciousness at a nearby restaurant.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 9: Saint-Étienne to Brioude, Hilly, 170 km
A similar menu of climbing completes the transfer across Central Massif and again favours a breakaway. The steep climb at 35 km will select those courageous enough to join the battle and continual undulations will drain their energy. The final 4 km climb before the finish will turn breakaway compatriots to foes. Is there a chance the break will hold on today? It will be tough, but look out for a French rider on their national day.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Lyon, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 11 – Monday 15th July: East to West

320kph on the TGV

This morning we’ll speed our way across France in comfort by fast train. If you haven’t travelled by fast train before, you’ll find this truly remarkable. Reaching speeds in excess of 320 km/h, you’ll soon arrive in Toulouse.

On arrival in Toulouse, you can explore “ville rose”, the pink city coined to describe the unique appearance of the buildings made of pinkish terracotta bricks. Toulouse is a vibrant city with a young population thanks to its multiple universities and strong technology industry. A city that is easy to enjoy. Visit Capitole de Toulouse and the Abbey of Saint-Sernin to admire the terracotta architecture. The area around Esquirol has many great shops and restaurants.

To make life easier, we’ll transport your large luggage and bicycle to Toulouse for you. It will be much slower than you, so take a day off the bike and rest your legs for the riding that is ahead.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 10: Saint-Flour to Albi, Flat, 218 km
A fourth stage over 200 km will again spark the interest of sprinters. However, tired legs from 10 consecutive days of racing and more undulations will raise the potential for a breakaway to hold off the peloton in pursuit.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Toulouse, France

Day 12 – Tuesday 16th July: Country roads

Welcome to Aveyron

This morning we will meet up with guests who will join us for the final two weeks of the Tour. After meeting up with our new arrivals we make a short transfer into the Aveyron region, part of the Central Massif. We’ll reacquaint with our bikes and join guests for their short warm up ride.

The roads around the Aveyron are some of the most quiet roads in France. Our ride crosses the Aveyron river a couple of times, before returning back to our hotel. The river has gorged its path through the host rock so we’ll be able to enjoy some great views combined with a little climbing.

Tonight we’ll have dinner together and an accompanying drink. A great social opportunity to meet your fellow guests and additional staff.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Rest Day 1: Albi
Albi hosts an annual cyclo-touring event and the 2017 UCI World Gran Fondo Championships were decided here under the backdrop of its grand brick Cathedrale Sainte-Cécile, noted as the largest freestanding brick building in the world. Massage, rest and an ‘easy 90km’ ride will be on the agenda for riders.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Rieupeyroux, France

Warm up ride

Day 13 – Wednesday 17th July: Gaillac wines

Wine tasting and a stage start in Tarn

We arise this morning with the excitement of the day ahead. There is nothing more special than seeing the buzz of a stage start of the largest annual sporting event in the world. See your favourite rider as they disembark from their team bus and sign-on before heading off on today’s stage. A vibrant atmosphere and a great opportunity for an autograph or a selfie.

After fuelling ourselves in the breakfast room, we offer a couple of options for guests. If you’re eager to rack up the kilometres in France, we have the option for a 50km ride to the stage start. We’ll also offer a ride after the stage has started, so if you’d like to experience more of the stage start, our chauffeur will transfer you and your bike to Albi. After lunch and the peloton has departed Albi, we’ll start our main rides. We have a short (30km) and long (60km) option through the Gaillac wine growing region.

Our ride finishes in Gaillac, where you’ll be able to taste the wines of the region and grab a bottle or two to take on your trip through France. Afterwards, we’ll travel to the Pyrenees where we’ll base ourselves for four nights enjoying this great riding location and conquering its most famous climbs.

Tonight, at our 3rd generation family run hotel, we’ll enjoy our evening meal together, helping us prepare for the climbing ahead.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 11: Albi to Toulouse, Flat, 167 km
Set up for the sprinters, this shorter flat stage will attract the best sprinters of the world and contribute toward the Green Jersey aspirations. They may be spoiled by a rider searching for the honour of winning a stage of Le Tour de France.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Argelès-Gazost, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 14 – Thursday 18th July: Legendary climb

Col du Tourmalet and a stage finish

We’ll set off after breakfast and make our way along the route of Saturday’s important stage, the summit finish to Col du Tourmalet. We start on the gentle gorge road beside the crystal waters flowing from cirque du Gavarnie. After reaching the village of Luz-Saint-Sauveur, the climbing begins. This western side with its consistent grades is the most difficult of the two possible ascents. The final 3 km averages more than 10% and contradicts the apparent proximity of the summit which is always in sight.

Once at the summit, and with our memorable moments caught on camera, we’ll descend toward today’s stage finish and stop along the way for lunch. We’ll soon join the final kilometres of today’s race route before watching the attacks on the big screen and the race for line honours with a possibility for claiming the yellow jersey.

Today’s shorter ride option still offers you the chance to climb to the summit of the legendary Col du Tourmalet, ascending the ‘easier’ eastern side. If you’ve had enough you may turn around at anytime. But without time pressure, choose an easy gear, take your time and you’ll conquer this legend.

After the stage finish, we’ll return to our hotel for a scrumptious meal and share wonderful stories of today’s adventure.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 12: Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Mountain, 202 km
A mountain stage more than 200 km! Welcome to the Pyrenees. Riders will leave from “ville rose” with the imminent mountains ahead. Two familiar climbs on today’s course will return our focus toward the race favourites. Col du Peyresourde will make the selection before the twisty ascent of Hourquette d’Ancizan tightens the screws and then a fast descent to the finish line in the thermal spa town. Perhaps a new yellow jersey leader?

 

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Argelès-Gazost, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 15 – Friday 19th July: Beautiful roads

Cirque du Litor and Col du Soulor

Our base in the Pyrenees is surrounded by the great climbs of the Grand Boucle. This morning, we’ll have the chance to ride over one of its most scenic. Our ride begins with a short climb out of Argeles-Gazost, before the road flattens through the valley and then our main climb to Col du Soulor starts. For our stronger riders, we’ve added a bonus climb before reaching the ascent to Soulor. From Arrens-Marsous, the climb is 7.5 km long with grades mostly above 8%.

Your efforts at the summit will be cheered on by the spectators in their campers positioned for tomorrow’s stage not to be outdone by the curious, if not crafty, horses, donkeys and sheep searching for willing feeders. Our climbing continues after a short descent, along one of the most beautiful roads in France along the edge of Cirque du Litor to Col d’Aubisque. There is a great cafe to stop for lunch at the summit before returning to the village for the afternoon watching today’s time-trial.

After a number of evening meals together, tonight is available for you to soak up the atmosphere of the local village as it welcomes tomorrow’s passage of the Tour de France.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 13: Pau to Pau, Individual time-trial, 27 km
Mechanics will prepare the sleek rigs for riders on one of the most important stages of the 2019 Tour de France, an individual time-trial. Although it seems short, the undulations will favour a powerful all-rounder. The proud race leader tonight will receive a very special collector’s jersey, marking the 100th anniversary of the Maillot Jaune.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Argelès-Gazost, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 16 – Saturday 20th July: Bucket list

Hautacam, a bonus climb and the summit finish

We have many ride options for you today. The hardest task may be choosing which one. As we’ve had a number of days climbing and more to come, you may have a day off the bike or an easy ride along the bike path with a visit to Lourdes and its Grotto. You can return to our hotel in time to see the race pass through.

If your mission is to tick items from your bucket list, why not add two more today. They may be the shorter climbs in the Pyrenees; the jury is out on whether they’re any easier. I’d suggest not. Leaving from our hotel we’ll make our way up the Hautacam in the cool of the morning. Go a further kilometre and a stunning view welcomes you at Col de Tramassel. Descend back to the valley and join onto today’s race route toward Luz Saint-Sauveur. From here you can grab some lunch before going towards the summit finish to watch the race. Alternatively, add the bonus climb to Luz Ardiden ski station to your palmarès.

Once the race has passed through, its all downhill back to our hotel for our final night in the Pyrenees. We’ll come back together for dinner as we look forward to our next few days on tour.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Barèges, Mountain, 117 km
There is little time for riders to prepare for the two tough climbs of today’s stage. Our focus will be on the mountain specialists as they sore up the ascents of Col du Soulor and Col du Tourmalet. It is only the second time a stage has finished at the summit of this ascent of the Tourmalet. The previous stage winner was Andy Schleck over Alberto Contador in one of the greatest battles.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Argelès-Gazost, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 17 – Sunday 21st July: Cyclists heaven

Ariege and its mountain stage

We’ll depart the Haute-Pyrenees today and travel to the Ariege department for the final Pyrenees mountain stage and before the second rest day. This is a cycling heaven, quiet roads in lush forest and lots of undulation.

We’ll travel a short distance before we jump on our bikes. Our short and long rides will intersect with today’s stage. After cheering on the passage of the Tour, we’ll return to our bus and make the short transfer to our 4-star hotel situated overlooking the infamous La Cité Medievale – Carcassonne.

Tonight you can explore the well preserved remparts and old city. There are many restaurants to choose from within La Cité. As the sun sets, the lights take over creating a beautiful setting.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 15: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis, Mountain, 185 km
Aerial pictures will capture the amazing Cathar castles during today’s stage. Riders, however will be captivated by the challenging ascents. None more than the difficult 18% slopes of Mur de Péguère before descending into Foix, which is 12 km from the final summit finish. Nearly 5,000 m of vertical ascent in today’s stage.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Carcassonne, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 18 – Monday 22nd July: French wonders

Carcassonne to Géant of Provence 

We’ll arise to the morning light shining on the medieval castle. After breakfast, we will  travel to Provence to conquer the mighty Mont Ventoux. Long before Everesting, a cyclist who made the 3 summits of Ventoux in a single day became legendary. After today’s traditional single summit to Ventoux, you earn the right to comprehend the feat.

Our ride starts from Bédoin, giving us several kilometres before the climb begins in earnest. Officially, the total length is 21.5 km averaging 7.45%. Reaching the renowned tower at the summit, requires great resolve to pace yourself and keep pedalling. Riding through the forest raises the question for when will this climb end. Rest assured, the gradient eases as you reach Chalet Reynard. From here it just 6 km to the summit, through one of the most surreal environments you’ll ever ride – the Ventoux moonscape. Make a stop at the Tom Simpson memorial 900m  from the summit.

Your reward at the summit is a serious oversupply of lollies from the vendors and the views across the Luberon Valley. This is truly a memorable experience. After contemplation of your achievements, we’ll descend to Malaucène where you can enjoy a well deserved feed. You can either travel back on our bus or ride the 20 km to our hotel through the Provence villages.

Our hotel for the next 2 nights is a tranquil 3-star hotel with its own pool on a working winery, this is Provence. Tonight we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner from our hotel restaurant, produced with the finest local ingredients.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Rest Day 2: Nîmes, Rest day 2
After a short, yet intense second week, riders will take their rest in Nîmes. Once settled in to their hotel rooms the night before, riders will welcome a three night stay which will help aide their preparation for the final week.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Seguret, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 19 – Tuesday 23rd July: Roman ingenuity

Pont du Gard, watch the race live

We can enjoy a little sleep in this morning before we head off across the Rhône river into the Gard department for today’s stage. Soon after leaving from Nîmes, the peloton will cross the Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard. We’ll avoid the closures on the aqueduct and catch up with the race later on before giving us a chance to see Pont du Gard and watching the race twice. Our longer ride will start from our hotel, while our short ride option will start further along our ride route.

You won’t miss the action of today’s race as our hospitality crew will secure a position on course and give you live television coverage as it unfolds. After the race has finished, we’ll travel back to our hotel where you can walk into the historic centre and have dinner. Today will be memorable for its scenery, historic sites and the buzz of chasing the Tour de France.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 16: Nîmes to Nîmes, Flat, 177 km
Today’s stage will be for the sprinters and is entirely within the department of Gard. The highlight of the parcours will be the peloton riding over the famous Pont du Gard.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Seguret, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 20 – Wednesday 24th July: Mystical climbs

Alpe d’Huez

Like the professionals, we’ll head into the Alps, the difference is we’ll travel in style and skip the laborious kilometres on the bike. Our hotel in the Alps is situation atop the most famous Tour de France climbs – Alpe d’Huez. Not only does this give us the opportunity to close out our set of Tour de France classic climbs, it is accessible to tomorrow’s monumental stage on Col du Galibier. From our beautiful timber rooms, we’ll wake to the incredible Alps vista and our hosts will refuel us each night with dinner.

We’ll start our ride from the valley and let you warm-up before starting the climb. The 13 km climb with 21 switchbacks became legendary in its inaugural year when motorcycle television crews were used for the first time during the Tour. The opening 3 km of the Alpe, where gradients are steepest, force you to question your enthusiasm. Rest assured gradients temper and you’ll settle into a rhythm with the marked reminder of champions past at each turn.

For a longer ride and nearly 3,000 m of vertical metres, you have the option to descend via Col de Sarenne and take an incredible balcony road that suspends over the valley floor. This will bring you back onto the main climb, above the steepest section.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap, Hilly, 206 km
Riders return to a long 200+ km stage as they head toward the French Alps. The early stages will highlight the historic sites along the Rhone Valley, including the theatre in Orange before the village of Vaison-la-Romaine. Winds are possible to challenge the peloton and favour a breakaway. The final climb under 10km to go will turn a cohesive breakaway against each other.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Huez, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 21 – Thursday 25th July: Monumental climbs

Col du Galibier and a monumental stage

We have two ride options this morning, taking us to intersect with the race at Col du Lautaret. Our longer ride will depart from the hotel and first descend, before the long climb to the Lautaret. For a shorter ride option, we’ll transport you to midway along the climb. Gradients are low to moderate for the lower parts of the climb, even some flat and down hill. Once you reach La Grave, the slope increases and your tired legs trouble your ambition. Push on, and the procession of like minded cyclists help motivate you to the summit.

Once we intersect with the race route, we’ll follow it to the summit of Col du Galibier. Reaching the summit (2,642 m) is one of the most satisfying moments you’ll have on the bike. We’ll watch the race pass through, perhaps a little faster and make our descent to meet our transport at the bottom of the valley. It’ll be a long day, but memories of watching the race on this monumental climb will last a lifetime. I still recall, as if it were yesterday, the day Cadel Evans fought-off the repeated attacks by Frank and Andy Schleck in 2011.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 18: Embrun to Valloire, Mountain, 207 km
Touted as the biggest alpine stage of the tour, the route along Grandes Alpes features 2 hors categorie and a categorie 1 climb. The familiar names of Col d’Izoard and Col du Galibier sore above 2,000 m. Climbers will be eyeing off this stage and the competition for polka-dots as well as the yellow jersey will go to a new level. After the descent off Galibier, victory at the finish will require some risk-taking.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Huez, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 22 – Friday 26th July: More climbs? Why not?

Col du Glandon and Croix de Fer

With the tour heading further North, you’ll have the option for adding two more cols to your belt. We start our ride from the hotel and ride down another balcony road, before starting the climb to Col de la Croix de Fer. Just over half way up the climb, we pass the incredible Lac du Grand Maison. There are even some downhill sections to let the legs recover (or does that mean we’re climbing on the way back?). The bonus is that near the summit of Croix de Fer is a second summit, Col du Glandon.

If your legs aren’t favouring two cols, you can take a short ride in the village before travelling on the gondola to the top of the world, Pic Blanc. The top station is over 3,300m and has wonderful views across the Alps.

After filling our camera with pictures, we’ll head back to our hotel and enjoy watching today’s picturesque stage on television from our hotel. This evening is our final night in the mountains before heading off to the city of lights tomorrow.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes, Mountain, 123 km
Riders reach the highest point of the tour on Col d’Iseran (2,770m) in today’s short, but dynamic stage. It will only be the second time that the Tour has climbed up this tougher southern side. We would expect the attacks to launch to the highest point of the tour. Time gaps will eventuate at the summit finish to the ski village in Tignes.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Huez, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 23 – Saturday 27th July: TGV from the Alps to Paris

Fine dining experience

This morning we’ll transfer to the TGV, the high-speed train service to Paris. If you haven’t travelled by fast train before, you’ll find this truly remarkable. Reaching speeds in excess of 320 km/h, you’ll be in Paris soon after lunch. We’ll transport your luggage and bikes for you, making it even easier. On arrival in Paris, we’ll check into our 4-star hotel rooms and catch up with today’s final mountain stage.

Tonight, we have a special treat for dinner as we step back in time as to how the French travelled. Decorative fresco artwork populates our evening restaurant with motifs for various region of France, many of which are where we’ve travelled together. This 3 course farewell dinner with accompanying wine is a wonderful way to celebrate our our trip.

 

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 20: Albertville to Val Thorens, Mountain, 131 km
A third summit finish above 2,000m creates the theatre for the final alpine stage, and the final opportunity for the yellow jersey. The total ascent for the day approaches 4,500m, but negotiating some of the windy descents may prove the difference.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Paris, France

Day 24 – Sunday 28th July: Paris sights

Ride it, Watch it: Champs-Élysées finale

It may be the only morning you set an alarm, but well worth the early call. As the sunrises over the city of lights, we head off on our bike through the streets of Paris before it awakes. Our 25 km loop visits the significant sights of this adorable city. Notre-Dame, Le Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Arc du Triomphe,  Trocadéro, and Tour de Eiffel. We’ll even ride along Champs-Élysées. After many photos and a memorable ride, we’ll return back to our hotel for a delicious breakfast.

During the morning you can do some shopping, sit in a Paris café or lounge by the pool. This afternoon, we’ll chaperone you to the Champs-Élysées for the evening finale. Are you interested in a champagne and catered experience? Enquire at the time of making your booking about VIP hospitality.

This evening after the race, you can explore Paris under lights, take in a show or possibly take a dinner cruise on the Seine.

TODAY IN THE RACE
Stage 21: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Élysées, Flat, 127 km
A day of celebration for the yellow jersey and his team. Tradition is that they will lead the peloton onto the Champs-Élysées before the pace intensifies. It is a dream for many riders to lead the peloton out of the final corner and with the Arc du Triomphe in sight, win the final stage in Paris.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Paris, France

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 25 – Monday 29th July: Au revoir

Farewell to new friends

Our trip to the 2019 Tour de France finishes today, and we bid farewell to our new friends. We trust that you have had an enjoyable time making new friends, conquering bucket list climbs, visiting beautiful regions and experiencing the 106th Tour de France.

We welcome you to our Bikestyle family and we look forward to seeing you again one day. If you’re leaving today, the hotel will help you to arrange a private transfer for your connecting flight or accommodation in Paris. There is also a metro station nearby to connect you with urban and regional trains. Check-out time is until 12pm.

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
  • 24 nights accommodation 3 & 4 Star hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • 3 course evening meals on 14 nights
  • All TGV tickets
  • Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
  • Scheduled arrival transfer on day one from Brussels Airport
  • Mechanical assistance with your bike
  • Ride files and Bikestyle guide to the 2019 Tour de France
  • Persoanlised Scicon Rain Bag
  • Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

Why Bikestyle Tours?

The enthusiasm of our staff for the Tour and the knowledge and insight provided by our guides means that a Bikestyle Tours trip gives you an unequalled experience. Our staff ratio of 1 staff to every 7-8 clients is one of the best in the business and assures a high level of personal service. You will be looked after by our professional team of on the road cycling guides (male and female), mechanics and support van drivers.

The combination of years of experience, good service, attention to detail and value for money has proven to be a winning formula. Our tour preparation is more than 12 months each year as we sleuth for the tour route before the official release. On our trips we stay in quality 3 star and 4 star hotels chosen for their comfort and location staying as close as possible to the race route, with a mix of traditional and modern hotel styles.

Importantly all Bikestyle trips are Guaranteed Departures, so we won’t cancel a trip due to insufficient numbers leaving you stranded. Our customers come from all over the world so no matter where you live we can help you with your Tour de France vacation.

Specific trips for a range of cycling ability and non cyclists, we have a suite of trips to cater for a range of cycling abilities from our Classic Trips which cater for all levels of cyclists and non-cyclists to Experience Cyclists only trips.

Travel like a “PRO”.

Our comfortable fleet of buses are the best in the business, featuring custom designed enclosed trailers to carry your bike safely. On board are reclining seats and a bar stocked with cold drinks. This year most will have an outside shower with hot water to freshen up after you ride.

Check out your bus HERE

Is this trip for me?

I'M A NON RIDER, IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

Ideally for Cyclists

We have shorter trips for non-cyclists or non-cycling partners. The focus is on seeing the race and riding your bike. On some days, we’ll visit beautiful areas of France where you can experience the food and culture.

Our longest trip is ideal for a cyclist.

I'M AN EXPERIENCED CYCLIST, IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

Ride further and climb more

Yes. But, there are some shorter days on the bike too!  Long rides on this trip are 100km or 2,000m of climbing. We have other trips dedicated to our experienced cyclists with more vertical metres.

Completing a training program is still necessary for our long trip.

I'M NO ELITE CYCLIST, IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

Absolutely! Ride regularly

Our most popular trip catering for different riding abilities. We expect that guests have trained to prepare for their riding holiday.

Rides involve riding in a group at average speeds of more than 20km/hr (15miles/hr) on the flat.
Climb at your own pace.

Reserve Your Place Now

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below
Deposit Le Grand Tour 25 Days ($1500pp)
Le Grand Tour Bicycle Hire ($1400.00)
Le Grand Tour Single Supplement ($2300.00)
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

Register Your Interest

  Tick the box to ask your own question about the trip.
Navigation