Peaks of the Pyrenees (8 days)
TRIP DETAILS: Sold Out
Duration: 8 days (7 nights)
Dates: Tuesday, 5 July to Tuesday, 12 July, 2016
Start: Toulouse Finish: Toulouse
Accommodation: 3 star and 4 hotels
Group Size: Maximum 12 people (3 Staff)
Suitable For: Cyclists Only
Trip Type: Central Based Trip Find out more…
Cost: A$3950.00 (US$2765.00)
Deposit: A$1000.00 (US$700.00)
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$490.00 (US$345.00)
- Bike Rental A$420.00 (US$295.00) (Cannondale Synapse carbon fibre)
- Pre or post tour accommodation in Toulouse to extend your stay
- Travel Insurance – Email us for details
- Experience all of the 2016 Tour de France stages in the French and Spanish Pyrenees
- Challenge yourself on Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and Col de Peyresourde
- See it Live! 3 Tour de France stages in the Pyrenees
- A leisurely trip based in two locations in the beautiful Pyrenees
This Trip will be Escorted by Former Pro-Cyclist, Allan Iacuone
For a rider that esteemed cycling commentator Matt Keenan rated as one of the best to come from this country, the career of Allan Iacuone has been an interesting one. He raced professionally in Europe, the US, Asia and even the Pacific.
Highs included a 2nd place in the 2002 Sun Tour (to Baden Cooke, and beating riders the calibre of Brad Wiggins, Matt Wilson and Mark Renshaw), 3rd in the Tour of Langkawi, winner of the Tour of Tasmania, and was the winner of the 1994 Australian Road Championships. In stage races, he’s placed above riders like George Hincapie.
Contrasting with these highs were cruel twists of fate off the bike that cut short his career. The victim of several teams folding, Allan was at times stranded mid season in Europe. The Team Linda McCartney collapse impacted on Al’s confidence, his views on the sport and his place in it. Al was then thrown a lifeline by Dave McKenzie with his iTeam Nova in 2001, only to see that fold a couple of years later as well.
Fast forward ten years or so to 2013 and Allan is again an Elite Men’s National Champion! This time it’s the inaugural Australian Cyclo Cross Championships in Melbourne. “I fell in love with Cyclo-cross two years ago,” remarked Iacuone. “I was always hoping that I could win the national title, but never really thought I could.
Who is this trip for?
Our Peaks of the Pyrenees Trip spends the first 4 nights in a beautiful valley in the village of Luz St Saveur, surrounded by the famous climbs of Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisqe, Hautacam and Luz Ardiden. We spend 4 glorious days riding and seeing the race in this part of the Haute Pyrenees before moving east to the town of Luchon, close to the Spanish border and the setting for the arrival and departure of the race before it ventures across the border to Spain and Andorra. Our carefully selected hotels at two prime locations in the Pyrenees gives you easy access to watching the race and riding the famous climbs of the Pyrenees. This great value trip is designed for those who are keen to ride their bikes combined with some race viewing. We will ride the famous climbs of the Pyrenees over routes from this year’s Tour de France, and years gone by. The trip will be paced so you’ll get opportunities to relax, do some easier rides and enjoy the beauty of the Pyrenees.
Please Note: This is a Cyclists Only trip.
On this Cyclists Only trip you do not have to be an elite athlete to enjoy this trip, but due to the terrain it is probably not suitable for beginner riders. As with all of our trips however we do offer easier and harder ride options. Our trips are geared to suit anyone with an interest in Cycling who wants to see the biggest of the Grand Tours, the Tour de France. This (and riding our bikes) is our main focus for the trip although this trip will incorporate some tourist days as well. We cater for cyclists of all abilities by providing riding options each day.
Each day we’ll have options for rides to suit people who feel like a challenge, or an easy day enjoying the scenery. We ride on quiet scenic roads and where possible we ride on the race route ahead of the race. As with all of our tours you’ll be guided by our expert team of ride leaders, drivers and guides.
See what our clients said about us after the 2015 Tour by reading their Testimonials here.
Tuesday, 5 July 2016: Bienvenue
Toulouse is well served by flights from all over Europe, so an easy destination to reach. We can arrange for a pre-tour night at our Toulouse hotel if you prefer to arrive before today and take a look around Toulouse.
After we’ve made our introductions we’ll transfer you to our home for the next week in the village of Luz St Saveur in the Pyrenees. This is our home for the next 4 nights in a family run 3 star hotel located close to the town centre. Each night we’ll dine in the hotel’s great little restaurant and socialise over dinner.
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. We can take a ride up the Luz valley, or if your legs feel up to a few small hills we can tour a few of the local villages and test out your low gears. After the ride we can catch up with the Tour de France live on TV and see the finish of today’s stage finish in the Alps.
Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner where you will enjoy a glass of wine, meet your fellow travellers and our staff will answer all your questions on your upcoming adventure.
Overnight: Luz St Saveur
Wednesday, 6 July 2016: Col du Tourmalet
Today we will take the chance to 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 each year on the Tour de France, now is your chance to see what it’s all about. The summit of the HC (hors categorie) climb up to Col du Tourmalet has been crossed 75 times during the history of the Tour.
We don’t need to start too early from our hotel in Luz St Sauveur, where the 19 km climb up the western side of Col du Tourmalet begins. It’s a constant climb, at an average of 7.4%, but we’ve got plenty of time so choose a low gear and enjoy the view. When we reach the top it will all seem worth it and the cafe at the top is a nice warm place to meet up and regroup, with a nice collection of cycling memorabilia.
Adding to the atmosphere today will be the race fans and campervans lining the road, already in place to catch the Tour de France as it makes it’s way up the Tourmalet.
It’s a quick descent back to Luz St Sauveur for lunch, with time to relax this afternoon. For the masochists there is the chance to do a second climb today, from Luz St Sauveur up the Luz Ardiden climb, another Tour favourite and a lovely climb if you have the energy.
Dinner tonight will be a 3 course menu at the hotel.
Overnight: Luz St Saveur
Thursday, 7 July 2016: Col d’Aubisque
We can have a relaxed start to our second day before we start what is perhaps the nicest route in the Pyrenees, over the Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque.
We will begin our day with a ride down the Gorges de Luz before arriving in Argeles-Gazost to start our ascent of the Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque. The climb starts as a pleasant ride through small villages until Arrens-Marsous, where a series of switchbacks and some quite steep sections remind us that we are in the mountains! Once at the top of Col du Soulor we can stop at the cafe for refreshments and admire the stunning views before continuing on to the Aubisque along the Corniche du Cirque du Litor, which is a highlight with stunning scenery and the odd cow standing on the road with his bell ringing to warn you if there happens to be some mist.
At the top of the Col d’Aubisque we will take the obligatory photos to commemorate our achievements and enjoy the long descent back to our hotel. We should be back down in the valley for lunch, leaving the rest of the day free to relax or perhaps catch today’s tour stage live on TV.
Overnight: Luz St Saveur
Friday, 8 July 2016: Le Tour in the Pyrenees
Stage 7 of the Tour de France sees the race arriving in the Pyrenees, with a 162km stage from L’Isle sur Jourdain to Lac de Payolle. It’s an undulating route with a single climb up to Col d’Aspin before descending to the remote Lac de Payolle.
We’ll get our first look at the Tour de France today and as we’ve had a couple of tough days on the bike take it easier with a ride through the Midi Pyrenees to catch the race as it makes its way to the Pyrenees this afternoon. We will explore the quiet undulating roads of the region and catch up with the race mid-afternoon, possibly at an intermediate sprint or feed station. It’s the kind of stage that lends itself to a breakaway, so it’s always a guessing game which riders will come in to view first up today.
After we’ve seen the race we’ll return to the hotel for our last night in Luz St Saveur with another lovely dinner at the hotel to fuel our bodies for tomorrow’s ride in a new part of the Pyrenees and our second encounter with the race.
Overnight: Luz St Saveur
Saturday, 9 July 2016: Col de Peyresourde
We leave our hotel early this morning for our ride that will take us over the Col d’Aspin, down to the valley and finally on to the beautiful Col de Peyresourde where we will catch the race as it makes it’s way up the final climb of today’s stage.
Our main ride for the day starts in the village of Campan, where we’ll first ride a short portion of today’s race route before cresting the Col d’Aspin in the reverse direction that yesterday’s stage took. This is a lovely ride and one of the gentler climbs of the Pyrenees with a long winding descent down to Arreau where we can take a break.
From Arreau we’ll ride up through the lush green countryside to the Col de Peyrsourde, which the race enters today about halfway up the climb after having already tackled 3 climbs: Col du Tourmalet, Hourquette d’Anzican and Col d’Azet. The battle for the win will be well and truly on by this stage so it will be a great place to see the race.
After we’ve seen the race and the road is opened we’ll finish our climb up Col de Peyresourde and enjoy the long descent down to the finish line in Bagneres-de-Luchon. It’s about 20kms and more descending than climbing so we’ll be able to get to the hotel reasonably quickly for a shower before heading out to explore the town and have a well earned dinner.
If you don’t fancy any climbing today then our easier option is to travel to Bagneres-de-Luchon this morning, enjoy lunch in town then take an easier loop out along the valley before returning to town to see the race finish a short distance from our hotel.
We spend the next 3 nights in Bagneres-de-Luchon, an elegant old spa resort, surrounded by the peaks of the Pyrenees including Col de Peyresourde and the Superbagneres ski area. Our 4 star hotel is right in the centre of town, surrounded by restaurants and cafes. If it’s warm you’ll appreciate that it’s the only hotel in the entire valley with air-conditioning!
Sunday, 10 July 2016: Stage start in Spain
Just across the border with Spain is the Val d’Aran and the town of Vielha, where today’s stage of the Tour de France starts. It’s 35kms from our hotel in Luchon, so we’ll have time to ride to the start this morning and farewell the riders as they head to Andorra.
From Luchon it’s a 10km climb to the Spanish border to get us warmed up, followed by a winding descent to the floor of the lush green Val d’Aran where the River Garonne starts it’s 575 km journey to the Atlantic in France.
Vielha will be a great place to see today’s stage start. You’ll hear a mix of French, Spanish, English and the local Catalan language being spoken amongst the international crowd who will turn up in this remote Pyrenean town to farewell the riders this morning. We’ll be able to see the riders as they make their way to the sign on, get ready for the day in the team buses and sign autographs for enthusiastic fans.
After the race has departed Vielha we can enjoy lunch in this historic little Catalonian town then head back to Luchon, either in the van or by bike. The ride back to Luchon is a touch easier than the ride out and we’ll get back in plenty of time to relax in Luchon, watch the race live on tv or perhaps take a dip in the thermal pools to rejuvenate tired muscles.
Monday, 11 July 2016: Port de Balès
The Tour de France has left France and the peloton is taking a rest in Andorra. So today we will take one final ride and ride two of the loveliest climbs in this part of the Pyrenees.
Our final day will be, like every day on our trip, a memorable one with something for everyone. If you want an easier day we’ll have a tourist ride down the valley to the medieval hilltop village of St Bertrand des Comminges, a very pleasant flat to undulating 65kms along the valley.
For those after one last challenge we’ll start off flat along the valley before tackling the Tour de France climb of Port de Balès. Starting from Mauléon Barousse, the Port de Bales stands at 1755 m with an ascent of 18.9 kilometres and an average of 6.3%, so it’s a long steady climb. From Port de Balès it’s a nice descent down towards Luchon with the option of climbing a few hundred meters more and adding on one more climb to your collection with the quite pretty climb up to the Col de Peyresourde from the eastern side.
Tonight is our final night together so we will celebrate our trip coming to an end with a farewell dinner in one of the restaurants close to our hotel in Luchon.
Tuesday, 12 July 2016: Au Revoir
Sadly our tour ends this morning after breakfast. We hope you’ve enjoyed your Tour de France experience with Bikestyle Tours.
This morning we will transfer you to where we began, Toulouse Blagnac airport, arriving at around 11am. If flying out today we suggest booking a flight no earlier than 12.30 pm. If you plan on staying on in Toulouse there is plenty to see and do in the “Ville Rose” and we can arrange a hotel close to the airport where you can be dropped off this morning.
Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:
- Transport throughout by luxury van or mini coach with custom bike trailer
- Services of our experienced tour guides, mechanics and drivers
- 4 nights accommodation in traditional 3 star hotel in Luz-St-Saveur
- 3 nights accommodation in comfortable 4 star hotel in Bagneres-de-Luchon
- Buffet breakfast daily
- 3 course evening meals on 5 nights
- Wine with welcome and farewell dinners
- Arrival transfer from Toulouse airport to our Pyrenees hotel on day one of our trip
- Departure transfer from Luchon to Toulouse airport on the final day of our trip
- Mechanical assistance with your bike
- Sightseeing and entry fees as listed
- Maps, GPS files and Bikestyle guide to the 2016 Tour de France
- Quality Bikestyle Tours kit including cycling jersey, knicks, cap and musette bag
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