3 days cycling, 502km

Super exciting stages with just over 10,000m of climbing in 3 days (yikes); a wonderful opportunity to get to know the Southern Alps!

Every year the Tour gives us spectacular Alpine stages – but in 2024 they’re a bit different, focusing on the southern Alps where the scenery is more wild, more forested and very dramatic. There are bucket list climbs made famous by Paris-Nice as well as quiet, beautiful, peaceful climbs where you’ll experience the joy of perfect tarmac far away from the crowds.

Three very different stage profiles provide the perfect package; non-stop up (stage 17), up-down-up-down and constant change in momentum (stage 18) and three mega-climbs to finish (stage 19).

While the metres climbed may seem daunting, the distances are quite manageable (never more than 180km) and your sense of pride in completing this Loop will only increase one week later when the pros fight it out on the very same roads. These are the stages where the Tour de France will be won (and lost) and you’ll know exactly what it feels like!

** A limited number of Nice extensions will be available if you’d like to add on the last two stages and join us for the celebration party. Cost £590


Tues 9th July: Travel under own arrangements to Nîmes hotel by 7pm. Meet the team, meet your fellow cyclists, arrival briefing and dinner
Wed 10th July: Cycle stage 17
Thurs 11th July: Cycle stage 18
Fri 12th July: Cycle stage 19
Sat 13th July: Depart after breakfast, under own arrangements from Nice hotel.

Stage 17 – St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Superdévoluy – 178km 

This is a stage with a lot of climbing, but you wouldn’t think it from the first 100km, during which we’ll gain elevation fairly slowly, leaving behind the white stone buildings of Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, and setting off through the endless sunny vineyards and olive groves of Provence. The landscape will begin to cluster around us as we approach the picturesque town of Nyons, and all of a sudden we’ll be working our way up the spectacular gorges of the River Aigues, overlooked by rocky crags and bare scrubland.

Soon the hillsides open up again and we’ll enjoy a friendly false flat down to Serres, gazing at the mountains that lie ahead of us: our project for the afternoon. Another very gentle climb, and a short descent, take us to Gap, where the climbing begins in earnest – the second half of this stage contains around two-thirds of its ascent. First, we head up the Col Bayard, via a smooth, well-surfaced road that swiftly elevates us above the town, and offers wonderful views of the surrounding peaks.

A fast, mostly straight descent skirts the edge of this broad, verdant valley, then the road curves upwards again, and we tackle possibly the toughest of today’s climbs: the Col du Noyer. Yes, it averages over 8%, but it’s also a beauty: a narrow ribbon of flawless tarmac, edging its way across the scree and strata of the mountainside, with the valley falling away beneath, and a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. You might even be a bit sorry when it ends – but then the descent takes us into a magical new world, and after a brief flirtation with the valley floor, we’ll set out on our final ascent of the day: the relatively gentle climb up to the ski resort of Super Dévoluy.

Le Loop logistics
Start: Transfer to St Paul Trois Chateaux
Finish: Transfer to Gap



Stage 18 – Gap to Barcelonnette – 179km

Although it’s not technically a mountain stage, today’s ride will look (and quite possibly feel) very much like one, as we’ll enjoy another full day of Alpine scenery, with two beautiful lakes, and a handful of cols to add to our collections.

First up is the Col du Festre, which should warm our legs up nicely, as most of the climb consists of a gentle ascent along a river valley, with gradients rarely straying north of 5%. We skirt the glittering Lac du Sautet on a road that wriggles up and down over the spurs of the surrounding mountains, then sends us back down the other side of the valley we passed through on yesterday’s ride. Following a 6km climb up the Col de Manse, we drop down into the ancient spa town of Chorges, before setting off on another long steady climb that gains height gradually, wiggling across the hillside to the perched village of Saint-Apollinaire, with its views of the bluer-than-blue Lac de Serre-Ponçon.

From here it’s a fast descent down to the bridge that crosses the lake, and then the highlight of everyone’s day: the Côte de Demoiselles Coiffées, named after a group of rock columns that we briefly see on our left as we ascend. The descent plummets us down to the shoreline of the glorious lake, which we follow to its southern extremity, and then continue up the valley (on predominantly gentle gradients) to the finish town of Barcelonnette.

There are roughly 2,500m of climbing to enjoy over today’s 179km – so whilst lacking the HC climbs that lead to a Tour “mountainous” classification, in feel, style and enjoyment, this is very much a mountain stage in our books.

Le Loop logistics
Start: Gap hotel
Finish: Barcelonette hotel


Stage 19 – Embrun to Isola 2000 – 145km

A high point of the Tour both literally and figuratively, this stage gives us the rare opportunity to ride the superlative Col de la Bonette, on only its fifth appearance in the race.

But first we have another 2,000m+ pass to get over: the Col de Vars. Drink a strong coffee at breakfast because we hit the 19km climb within an hour of starting our ride and the steepest gradients are stacked towards the start. The hard work eases off a little between the villages of Saint-Marcellin and Sainte-Marie, and the final kilometres, during which we may be lucky enough to spot mountain wildlife like marmots and chamois, average a more civilized 4%.

There follows a swift descent and a short roll along the valley, overlooked by the imposing Fort de Tournoux, built to defend France from Italy (and now decommissioned). And then, at Jausiers, we get the big one – the 23km climb up to France’s highest and Europe’s third highest paved road: Cime de la Bonette. The gradient averages around 7%, but of course this will feel a lot harder as we get higher – remember there’s around 25% less oxygen at 2,800m.

And then, after one of the most serious (and ear-popping) downhills of your life (in which we lose two vertical kilometres in 40km), comes the final challenge of the road up to the Isola 2000 ski resort. Starting amidst the fresh greenery of the Tinée Valley, this steady climb winds its way upwards via the peaceful Vallon de Chastillon, and delivers us to our destination at almost precisely the 2,000m mark.

Le Loop logistics
Start: Transfer to Embrun
Finish: Transfer to Nice hotel (3 night stay for Grand Loop, Second Half and those cycling the Alps and Mountains Week who have bought a Nice extension)



** A limited number of Nice extensions will be available if you’d like to add on the last two stages and join us for the celebration party. Cost £590


Deposit Second Payment
Due end Jan
Final Payment
Due end Mar
Fundraising Target 80% Fundraising
due end April



£250 £220 £320 £1200 £960


What’s included:
  • Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy by January)
  • All 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 when the stages aren’t contiguous
What’s not included:
  • Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
  • Bike Transport (£40 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
  • Evening massage (£10 or €10 per massage if you’d like one – highly recommended)
  • Beer/wine/drinks at dinner