3 days cycling, 283km
Back-road climbs, classic climbs, flying descents, Alpine views, camper-vans lining the Izoard and Iseran summits: you have it all here.
If you’d love to give the Alps a go but are daunted by the scale of the Tour de France stages, this is for you. All transfers are included but if you’re feeling good (and game), you’re welcome to cycle full stages.
The way we’ve organised the transfers (at the start of the stages) means that you don’t miss any highlights: you still get the summit finishes, you still get the big name climbs (including 4 out of the 5 2000m+ cols) and, once they catch you, you still cycle with all our other Le Loop cyclists.
Each day, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve achieved. Photos from the Iseran, chatting your way up the Galibier, a night of luxury in Tignes… Three stages of Tour Magic await.
Note on the Lite option: Some people love knowing they’ve completed full stages; others love knowing they’ll finish before dinner. For us, there’s no better or worse and everyone will be welcomed as equals… because if you’re happy cycling, we’re happy for you.
Note: Paris extensions are possible. See your Rider Zone shop once signed up.
Wed 17th July: Meet at Gap hotel
Sun 21st July: Travel home from Lyon (at the end of stage 20, we will transfer to a hotel at Lyon airport)
Wed 17th July – Arrival to Gap
Thur 18th July. Stage 18: Embrun – Valloire: 207km or 107km
We’ll be heading into thin air on today’s ride, which takes us up above 2,000 metres on three separate occasions. First comes the 2,109m Col de Vars which is technically ‘only’ 9.3km but in reality the road climbs (very) gently for a full 50km before that! It’s a lovely road though, and a lovlier climb, followed by a great smooth descent into Guillestre. And so to the toughest and most spectacular climb of the day: the Col d’Izoard. We climb via the otherworldly Casse Deserte where you cannot but imagine the pros passing a week later. Tour history in the making! From here the Galibier takes us higher still (2642m to be precise), but mercifully via slightly kinder gradients, for which most of us will be grateful by then! The last 18km of the stage are a pedal-free downhill to Valloire where glory and high fives await.
*Alps Lite: A short 25km transfer from Embrun takes you to Guillestre, bypassing the Col de Vars and taking you straight to the 100km marker, which gives you a fantastic 106km stage including both the Izouard and Galibier climbs.
Fri 19th July. Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes: 123km or 83km
This is a relatively short mountain stage, but it still packs in plenty of climbing and will take most of us all day. The Col d’Iseran (at 85km) will be the high point of the whole Tour – and indeed, it’s the highest paved pass in Europe, at 2,764 metres. This is only the second time in Tour history that the peloton has climbed from it’s hardest (and most impressive) side – there are few places as dramatic and beautiful as this to ride one’s bike.
Before that we’ll already have gained 1,000 vertical metres via the Montée d’Aussois and Col de la Madeleine which will afford us Alpine views left and right and up and down! These mountain roads will be a feast for the eyes as we climb deeper into the Alps, finishing the day with another 8km climb to the ski resort at Tignes, itself over 2000m and a fabulous place to spend the night!
* Alps Lite: You may choose to cycle the full stage as it’s ‘only’ 123km, but if you’d prefer to save your energy for the climbs, you can join a transfer from Tarbes to the first feedstop at 40km, making this an 83km stage complete with the Iseran climb and the Tignes summit finish.
Sat 20th July. Stage 20: Albertville – Val Thorens: 131km or 93km
After a steady climb up the Doron Valley, we’ll ramp up towards the picturesque Roselend lake from Beaufort, slowing down to admire the isolated stone chapel on its northern shore which is all that remains of the village that was submerged when they built the dam in 1960. After negotiating the hair-raising descent from Cormet de Roselend, we’ll roll along the Isère Valley, before ascending the Côte de Longefoy. And then, after a sweeping descent, we have more than 30km of steady climbing, gaining over 1800m to get us up to Val Thorens for a summit finish. This climb is the last of the Tour so it’s a good thing it’s a big’un. As the temperature drops and you notice the landscape changing around you, you’ll be sure you’re ending the Alpine trilogy on a high!
* Alps Lite: Your option here is to take a transfer to the first feedstop at the top of the Cormet de Roseland. Removing just under 40km and 1500m of climbing leaves you all day for the remaining 94km, comprising a warm up climb and the big, glory summit finish to Val Thorens.
Sun 21st July – Depart from Lyon
Due end Jan
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Emily, Lead Cyclist says, “You’d be amazed how many people turn up on Le Loop thinking they’ll be the slowest, but the reality is that if you strip away the worry and the doubt, cycling in the mountains is pure pleasure. That’s why we’ve made this Lite Loop – to encourage you to take the plunge and experience it for yourself!”
Sarah, Event Organiser says, “It’s a massive challenge but the best one I can think of. Whether you’re new to cycling, new to mountains or just don’t want to push yourself beyond sense, we’d love you to join us and will support and encourage you all the way”
Phil, Alumni Cyclist says, “Le Loop was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. My highlight was finishing a stage at the top of the Izoard – I set myself the challenge of not stopping on the climb and although you could probably have walked faster, I managed it. I was cheered in at the top, given a high five, a cold can of coke and the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten – and then I stayed to cheer in the next few cyclists. As a life experience, it’s right up there.”
Included in all Loops
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy in January)
- Food (3 meals and the best feedstops you’ve ever seen)
- Fully signed route, the stuff of legend
- Mechanical, medical and moral support
- Luggage Transfers
- Coach transfers to the next stage start where applicable
Not included in all Loops
- Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
- Bike Transport (£30 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
- Evening massage (£10 per massage)
- Beer/wine/dinner drinks!