3 days cycling, 461km
Super exciting stages which are designed to provide fireworks for the pro race, but which give amateurs an enjoyable, challenging and hugely rewarding Tour de France experience
This Loop includes the Etape du Tour stage 20. But why do one stage when you can do three? The ‘Final Fireworks’ of the 2019 Tour, with nine climbs over three stages, has rarely been this dramatic. To combine the cols of Vars, Izoard and the Lauteret/Galibier in one 200km stage is something to be experienced – you’ll dine out on it for years!
Follow this with a stage that features the ‘top of the Tour’ (Col d’Iseran at 2770m), and a sharp uphill finish to Tignes, and then a final stage with a rarely visited climb that is the longest of the Tour, and you have very busy and very excellent three days.
Stages 19 and 20 are both mercifully short though, so somehow all of this becomes, dare we say it, achievable (try telling Cav that).
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
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.
Fri 19th July. Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes: 123km
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!
Sat 20th July. Stage 20: Albertville – Val Thorens: 131km
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!
Sun 21st July – Depart from Lyon (after the Val Thorens finish, we’ll have a celebration dinner and then transfer to Lyon airport for the night so travelling home will be easier)
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
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due end April
Emily, Lead Cyclist says, “Chapeau to everyone who takes this on. You have to be prepared for some tough days here but presumably that’s why you’re thinking about it! Just make sure you read my training blogs each month!”
Sarah, Event Organiser says, “The cycling will be pretty full on but we’ll get you there. Our feedstops (with access to day bags) will be every 30-40km so you just break the day down into manageable sections. The friends and laughs will be as much the memories as the cycling”
Marianne, Alumni Cyclist says “This is so much more than the Etape du Tour; this is a way to get to know France, and the Tour de France, better. If you want to race up the mountains, you won’t be the only one on strava – but I really enjoyed the mix: going for it up some of the big name climbs and chilling out and chatting up others.”
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!