2018 VUELTA A ESPAÑA

2018 Vuelta a Espana Cycling Holidays

TRIP DETAILS:
Duration: 11 days (10 nights) SOLD OUT
Dates: Thursday 6th September – Sunday 16th September, 2018
Start: Bilbao Airport, Spain
Finish: Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, France
Accommodation: 3 and 4 Star hotels
Group Size: 24 Guests (4 Staff)
Suitable for: Cyclists and their Non-cycling partners
TRIP COST: AUD$5950.00 (US$4760.00)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$850.00 (US$680.00)

Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If traveling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively, you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.

Optional Extras:

Highlights:

  • Ride the famous Alto d’Angliru – the most feared climb of all grand tours
  • See up to 7 live stages of the Spanish Grand Tour
  • Stay in Superb Accommodation, experience amazing Spanish cuisine
  • Buffet breakfast provided everyday, meals provided on 6 evenings
  • Ride the Pyrenees, Cantabria and Asturias mountain ranges
  • Explore Pamplona, famous for their running of the bulls
  • Visit a stunning Spanish winery
  • Travel and relax in our luxury coach, with custom built bicycle trailer
  • Personal attention of the Bikestyle team

This Trip will be Escorted by Former Pro-Cyclist, Eric de Clercq and Lorian Graham

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 1994-2002.2018 Vuelta a Espana Cycling HolidaysAfter 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.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 Cycling HolidaysLorian is a survivor and a caring Bikestyle Tours guide. Her insights into women’s racing, highs and lows of the sport are just some of the stories she is able to share. Guests love having Lorian as their guide because her care and encouragement toward them creates something very special about being on the bike.

Her highest moment in cycling was winning the National Road Cycling Championship in the Adelaide Hills. She competed in the tours of Italy, France, Spain and Germany as well as many World Cup events. Since retiring from the sport, Lorian believes riding is a great source of leisure and a necessary escape from the day-to-day chores.

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.

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 and several short stages give more opportunity for riders. Spain offers luxury accommodation, fine cuisine and a relaxed culture.

Our trip starts in Bilbao, home of the impressive Guggenheim Museum. We’ll transfer to our base for the first four nights at a luxury spa hotel in the Asturia mountains. From our comfortable setting we’ll experience the wonderful cycling around Oviedo, see stage starts, finishes and mountain passes and enjoy an afternoon cidre (cider). After conquering Alto d’Angliru we have a short transfer along the coast to the Cantabria ranges where our second hotel is conveniently located in the start village for the individual time trial. A grand tour time trial is always a favourite day for our guests.

Midway into our trip we return to near Bilbao and experience the surfing coast along the Bay of Biscay, along with the fanatical Basque supporters. As we head toward the Pyrenees and Andorra, we will visit Pamplona and experience some of Spain’s natural beauty, historic sites and a stunning winery. Our final stop in Andorra coincides with the final decisive stages of the Vuelta. Our luxury accommodation in the heart of Andorra is adjacent to the exclusive fashion, perfumeries and jewellers. To finish, our luxury coach will transfer us to Toulouse, giving you easy connection to elsewhere in Europe.

Our former cycling professionals, Eric de Clercq and Lorian Graham will escort our guests at the Vuelta 2018. This trip is one not to be missed, with incredible riding, cuisine, accommodation and seeing 7 stages live of the Spanish grand tour.

Itinerary

Thursday, 6th September 2018 Bienvenidos, Welcome to Spain

Your cycling holiday starts with staff meeting you at the Bilbao Airport at 10am. Bilbao is easily reached from many European destinations and some international destinations. We suggest arriving a day or two early so that you can explore this fascinating city and of course, visit the Guggenheim Museum. Exhibits are always changing and the building itself is spectacular. The old town is also a great place to explore. If you’d like Bikestyle Tours to secure you an extra night or two at a Bilbao Hotel, please indicate to us at the time of booking.

Our luxury coach will transfer us from the airport to the Asturia mountains where we can unpack our bags, for four nights at least. Our luxury spa hotel is a popular health retreat, especially for cyclists. Our mechanic will assist you to assemble your own bike or fit your pedals and saddle to your hire bike before we set off on a short warm up ride.

This evening we will have a special dinner to officially welcome our new and returning guests to their Spanish cycling holiday with Bikestyle Tours. Staff will be on hand to answer any of your questions about the adventures to come.

Bikestyle 2017-07-05-19

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Welcome Dinner (with drinks)

Overnight
Las Caldas, Asturias

Harder Ride Option

Friday, 7th September 2018 Asturia Mountain Stage

We join the action of the 2018 Vuelta a España in the middle of the second week for the first of three consecutive mountain stages. Today climbers will have their opportunity to build an advantage before the upcoming time trial. Today’s stage features two categorised climbs. We’ll join the race for the main climb, a long gradual climb reaching 1,490m.

We’ll watch the professionals over the climb before descending back to a small village to watch the final stages of today’s race in a local bar, enjoying an accompanying cold beverage. The final summit finish packs a real punch with ramps of 18 and 19 percent, so it will be a great way to see every attack unfold.

Once the race finishes, we’ll transfer the short distance back to our hotel to enjoy some of the hotel health facilities before we gather for dinner together this evening.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 Cycling Holidays

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Las Caldas, Asturias

Harder Ride Option

Saturday, 8th September 2018 Cidre Museum and Mountain Stage Finish

The race returns to the Asturias after a brief overnight visit to Castile and León. After an initial descent, the race passes over 4 climbs to reach another summit finish. We’ll take the opportunity to ride and see today’s finish on the narrow punishing climb up from Nava. Alto Les Praeres is a new climb for the Vuelta and only 5km in length, but with more than 13% average and ramps over 20%, it will really test the climbers, let alone the sprinters. Fortunately, we have the choice to climb it, as the alternative is to finish your ride at Nava and visit the Cider Museum before the race comes through later today.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 Bike ToursWe have multiple ride options today, with a choice of the one, two or three climbs. After the race we will return to our hotel for dinner, refuelling for our big day tomorrow.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Las Caldas, Asturias

Harder Ride Option

Sunday, 9th September 2018 Stage start and Alto d’Angliru

Today’s stage start is only a short distance from our hotel. So we can enjoy a relaxed morning before heading to the stage start. A Grand Tour stage start is exciting to experience marked with the arrival of team buses before riders sign-on and make their final preparations. Unlike other grand tours, the Vuelta gets you much closer access to the teams and riders are much more relaxed. After capturing our selfies and photos of our favourite riders, or old-school an autograph, and watching the riders roll-out we will jump on our bikes too.

Our ride will be shorter than the professionals, but possibly more daunting. We’ll be able to warm up our legs before we reach the bottom of the mighty Alto d’Angliru. The climb has a fearsome reputation and you can add it to your resume if you wish. This is the most feared climb of all Grand Tours, and possibly all cycling races on the UCI World Tour.  “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.

2014-09-09 12.17.56

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.

After the descent and taking photos, you can either ride or we’ll transfer you back to our hotel. Tonight, you are free to dine at one of the local restaurants.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Las Caldas, Asturias

Harder Ride Option

NIK_6308-13

Monday, 10th September 2018 Cantabria Coast

Today is the final rest day for tour riders. For us we will make a transfer to our next hotel in the Cantabria region. Cantabria is a limestone massif with an abundance of Oak and Beech forests, and thus promoted as the “Green Spain”. 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 and being rest day in the tour, we have much of the day to explore and finish our rides.

We will leave our hotel after breakfast and drive to the coast, from where we will start our rides. We have two ride distances allowing you to choose a distance for how you feel on the day. Tonight we will enjoy dinner together at our family run 3 star hotel. Our hotel is conveniently located near the start of tomorrow’s time trial.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Santillana del Mar, Cantabria

Harder Ride Option

Tuesday, 11th September 2018 Individual Time Trial

Mechanics will have had the last few days preparing riders time-trial machines for today’s important race of truth. Riders will start at intervals throughout the day, with those highest on classification rolling out last, giving them the advantage to check their splits against the earlier riders. Time trials have flare, buzz and excitement. Our hotel puts us among the action, close to where riders will warm up and set off from the starting ramp.

After an early breakfast, we will challenge ourselves on the same time trial course and return to our hotel in time to see the riders head off on today’s stage, perhaps a little quicker. You are free to find a local restaurant for dinner tonight and enjoy the festival in the start village of the time trial. Today will be a memorable day.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Santillana del Mar, Cantabria

Harder Ride Option

Wednesday, 12th September 2018 Basque Country and Pamplona

After breakfast we travel to near where our trip started, Bilbao. We will visit the village to its north, Getxo which will host today’s stage start. Alberto Palacio was taught his trade by Gustave Eiffel and designed the suspended ‘transporter’ bridge connecting Getxo with Portugalete. The 50m pillars either side suspend a gondola to shuttle cars and passengers across the 164m span. This allows ships to pass with minimal interruption to the cross-water service. It is a marvellous piece of architecture and engineering.

We will watch today’s start in this beautiful Basque village. The Basque are fanatical about their local cyclists and they will be in full noise waving their red, green and white flags. Once riders roll out we will ride along the stunning coastline, a popular holiday destination for Europeans. If we make reasonable time we’ll have a chance to see the race a second time.

After we finish our ride we’ll travel to Pamplona giving you time to explore this intriguing city. Pamplona is most famous for the running of the bulls, a week long festival where each morning 6 bulls run through the sectioned-off streets to the bullring. Our visit will be less hazardous, but you’ll find it interesting to learn more of the festival of Sanfermines while in Pamplona.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Pamplona, Navarre

Harder Ride Option

Bikestyle 2017-07-06-8

Thursday, 13th September 2018 Aragon traditions and Somontano Wine

Today we transfer toward Andorra, but we’ll minimise our travelling time and enjoy a great ride through the dramatic landscapes of Aragon and finish in the wine growing region of Somontano. Directly from latin, Somontano means “beneath the mountain”. The first grapes were grown before the Romans and with their influence, production expanded. Only since 1984 has the Somontano held a Denominación Origen (DO) for its wines. We will finish our ride at a beautiful winery setting and enjoy a guided tour with a wine tasting.

Our hotel tonight is a lovely 4 star hotel in the heart of this vibrant city. You are spoilt for choice with eating places tonight, all within a stroll of our hotel.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight
Barbastro, Aragon

Harder Ride Option

Friday, 14th September 2018 Andorra and mountain stage finish

After a short transfer this morning, we will arrive at the Principality of Andorra. The Head of state is shared between the President of France and bishop of Urgell, an historical county of Catalonia. Best known for its winter resorts, adventure activities and tax free shopping, Andorra also often hosts stages of both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. The next two stages will be on our doorstep.

We will drive to Andorra ahead of today’s race, giving you the time to ride to the summit of the final climb and finish at Naturlàndia. You can ride just part way up and stop at one of the villages along the way if you don’t feel like riding all of the way.

After watching the finish of today’s race, we can descend to the main village. Our hotel for our final two nights is a 4 star hotel situation adjacent to the main retail centres. After freshening up at our hotel you can head out for dinner and enjoy the carnival atmosphere in Andorra la Vella, ahead of tomorrow’s stage start.

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Harder Ride Option

Saturday, 15th September 2018 Penultimate stage and securing Tour victory

Today is the final difficult stage for riders before they transfer to Madrid and finish with what is normally a procession stage. The rider wearing the red jersey at the end of today’s stage, barring any catastrophe tomorrow will take overall victory

This exciting stage has six categorised climbs, including a summit finish. So there are many opportunities for a climber to snatch victory. Today’s course also gives us alternative options for conquering some nice climbs and seeing the race. After today’s penultimate stage we will return to our hotel for a final dinner together, celebrating our 10 days following the Tour of Spain with new and old friends. It is also a moment for us to extend our welcome to new guests into our Bikestyle family.

Girl guides chalk green rocky switchback

Easier Ride Option

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Harder Ride Option

Sunday, 16th September 2018 Hasta la próxima, Adiós. Until next time, farewell

Sadly, after breakfast our trip comes to an end. We will be transferring guests to Toulouse this morning. We will arrive at Blagnac Airport late morning, so if you are flying out today, we suggest a departure time no earlier than 2pm for domestic European flights. Toulouse is also connected well with the TGV (high speed French train) to other parts of Europe, should you prefer.

La Ville Rose (“the Pink City”) is a nickname earned by the pinkish terracotta bricks that defines much of the Toulouse architecture. Airbus has its headquarters here and together with the large university population, Toulouse is a vibrant and exciting city to visit. We highly recommend visiting the refurbished air museum and Airbus tour if you do stay a little longer. Please let us know at the time of booking if you’d like us to arrange additional nights accommodation in Toulouse at the end of your trip.

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
  • 10 nights accommodation in quality 3 & 4 star hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • 3 course evening meals on 5 nights
  • Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
  • Lunch at winery
  • Mechanical assistance with your bike
  • Scheduled arrival transfer on day one from Bilbao airport
  • Scheduled departure transfer on final day to Toulouse Airport
  • Ride files and Bikestyle guide to the 2018 Vuelta a Espana
  • Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

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