9 days cycling. 1484 km.
Cycle all the way from Copenhagen to Châtel over a long week and experience the magic of the Tour
With a Grand Depart in Denmark and the first couple of stages heading west through such a unique landscape, this is surely the year to ride the first half of the Tour!
After these first couple of stages (ideal for group riding and chatting), we have another 6 stages to experience life on Tour. Starting in the land of cycling fanatics, we then get cobbles for heroics, the longest Tour stage for kudos, a visit to Switzerland for cultural variety and a full 3600m of climbing in a mega Alpine stage to top it off. This Loop is as treat-filled and non-stop as 9 or 10 days of cycling can be.
Friday 24th June: Meet at 12:30pm in Copenhagen (travel under own arrangements) for lunch and arrival briefing. Following lunch, we’ll cycle stage 1 at a leisurely, city-cycling pace before taking a coach transfer to Roskilde for our first night of accommodation.
(For those who’d like to arrive on Thursday 23rd, we’ll put you in touch with each other and recommend accommodation in Cophenhagen in case you’d like to meet up – but bikes transported by our bike transport won’t be available until late morning on the 24th)
Mon 14th July: Depart Morzine after breakfast under own arrangements
24th June. ARRIVAL DAY & Stage 1. Copenhagen – Copenhagen. 13km
A leisurely start to our adventure, this short stage takes in some of the sights and scenery of what is arguably the world’s foremost cycling city. For the pros this will be a fast inner-city time trial, on closed roads with no obstacles – for us it’ll be a chance to warm our legs up, and enjoy the rare experience of an urban environment where the cyclist is king. We’ll join the 40,000 Danes who cross the Queen Louise Bridge every day (it’s the world’s busiest cycle path), we’ll admire Eriksen’s Little Mermaid statue, and we’ll roll past Tivoli Gardens: the world’s second oldest amusement park.
With no route profile to speak of, it’s unlikely we’ll even need to change gear on today’s stage, and there’ll be plenty of time to recover from our paltry exertions and seek out some of Copenhagen’s famous pastries as fuel for the days ahead.
Start: Meet in central Copenhagen (travel under own arrangements) for lunch
Finish: Transfer to Roskilde hotel
25th June. Stage 2. Roskilde – Nyborg. 190km
Today’s stage is all about wind – as plotted by Tour Director Christian Prudhomme, who has described the three prologue stages as “a compendium of bicycle racing on flat terrain.” We’ll set off from ancient Roskilde, and visit the Viking capital of Lejre (home of world champ Mads Pedersen) before turning back to the coast for a couple of hours’ riding through quiet seaside towns, and alongside the fjords of Inderbredning, Holbæk and Lammefjord. Then we’ll tackle three of Denmark’s steepest hills in quick succession, though their respective gradients (5.8%, 4.7%, 5.6%) shouldn’t give us too much trouble – as many Danish cyclists will tell you, “the headwinds are our mountains.”
For now we have sidewinds to contend with, along an open stretch of coastline between Kalundborg and Korsør, where low-lying farmland offers expansive views (but little shelter!), and we’ll give thanks for the quiet country roads and smooth tarmac. Unlike the Tour, we won’t be allowed to cycle over the 18km Storebælt Bridge between Zealand and Funen, which may be a relief to some, as the pros are predicted to face a strong head-sidewind here. Our day’s riding will end just before the water, and we’ll get to enjoy the bridge from the relative comfort of our transfer coach the following morning.
Start: Hotel in Roskilde
Finish: Hotel just before the Nyborg bridge
26th June. Stage 3. Vejle – Sønderborg. 170km
This is a flat stage by Tour standards, but still offers more climbing than you might have been expecting in Denmark. The first couple of hours take us through Vejle’s hilly hinterland to Jelling, and past the ancient runic stone known as ‘Denmark’s birth certificate’. From there’s it’s south through lush green countryside to Kolding, where we’ll admire the town’s imposing 13th-century castle, and briefly skirt the coast (and pause for ice cream?) before warming our legs up via the steady (though uncategorised) hill between Binderup and Grønninghoved.
There’s a short categorised climb out of Hejlsminde, and cobbled streets to look forward to as we pass through the UNESCO heritage site of Christiansfeld, famous for beautifully preserved 18th century architecture and cyclist-friendly honey cakes!
The approach to Aabenraa takes us up onto the Knivsbjerg ridge, and through the ancient berry-filled woodland of Jørgensgård, as we move into the rolling Danish-German borderlands – famous internationally for having been drawn according to a public vote. The iconic Dybbøl windmill welcomes us to Sønderborg, and we’ll enjoy a flat loop of the picturesque town to finish.
Start: Transfer across the Nyborg bridge to Vejle
Finish: Hotel in Sonderborg
27th June. Rest Day (with transfer)
Long transfer on posh coach to Dunkirk hotel. We’ll make the drive as pleasant as possible
28th June. Stage 4. Dunkerque – Calais. 172km
The north coast of France is not known for its mountains, but this is a surprisingly punchy little stage, with some stiff climbs spaced out over the day’s ride. The stage has been cleverly designed and will be a treat to cycle: quiet, rural roads, plenty of views and lots of small villages will give it a very French feel. From the famous port of Dunkirk, we head south inland, across quiet farmland, through forests and wetlands, and then back up towards the Opal Coast, where (hopefully) westerly winds will blow us along the English Channel towards our destination of Calais. The views are magnificent along this last coastal stretch of the day; ample reward for our first hundred miler in France!
Start: Dunkirk hotel
Finish: Calais hotel
29th June. Stage 5. Lille – Arenberg. 155km
It’s back to our old friends the cobbles – except that this year we’re treated to a few secteurs never seen before in the Tour, or even Paris-Roubaix. (You may be relieved to know that the route stops short of the notorious Arenberg Trench). Altogether we’ll ride 19.4km of boneshaking farm roads, over 11 different secteurs, with the longest coming in the second half of the day, when arms and legs are beginning to tire. However, alongside the bravado of riding the cobbles, the majority of our day’s ride will be on comfy Flemish tarmac, with relatively little elevation gain, and a chance to admire the wheat fields and rural red-brick villages of this French cycling heartland, tucked in next to the Belgian border.
For our cobbles blog, click here
Start: Transfer to Lille
Finish: Arenberg hotel (actually 4km from Arenberg)
30th June. Stage 6. Binche – Longwy. 220km
Today takes us on a beautiful journey from Belgium to France and you’ll notice the landscape evolve over the course of the ride, from the low-lying farmlands of central Belgium, to the dense forests and steep hills of the Franco-Belgian borderlands. There are no cols here, but over 220km (20km longer than any other stage on this year’s Tour) we’ll still be covering a significant amount of climbing, and the final haul up to the old stone citadel at Longwy will be brief but brutal, with sections of 12% and 11% in the final kilometres, which will challenge the puncheurs of the pro peloton, and ensure that we go to bed with an enhanced appreciation for the uncompromising landscapes (and beer and chips) of one of European cycling’s most hallowed regions.
Start: Transfer to Binche
Finish: Longwy hotel
1st July. Stage 7. Tomblaine – Super Planche des Belles Filles. 172km
The first official mountain stage of the Tour finishes at the increasingly iconic Super Planche des Belles Filles, where Pogačar snatched victory from Roglič in 2020 – but the road to get there will ensure that you don’t just remember stage 7 for it’s final climb. The stage is far from flat, gradually climing from the first feedstop for almost 50km to top 900m just over half way through. We pass through the countryside of Alsace-Lorraine, admiring yet another side of France’s diverse heritage in the distinctive Germanic architecture of this region’s towns and villages. Then follows the beautiful Vosges, a “secret” corner of France which isn’t well enough known but it’s a cyclist’s dream; shady switchbacks up forested hillsides, quiet, perfect tarmac and a chance to chat. And then… the final spectacular kilometres – the last being gravel, and a brief 24% wall – to see where the men’s Tour will fight their first mountain battle a week hence, and the very first winner of the Tour de France Femmes will be crowned at the end of the month.
Start: Transfer to Tomblaine
Finish: Dinner at Planche des Belles Filles and a transfer to Dôle hotel
2nd July. Stage 8. Dôle – Lausanne. 184km
We’ll cross yet another border during today’s ride, as the Tour makes a rare excursion to Switzerland. This will be one of those blissful stages where the mountains are visible, but the climbing relatively low in gradient and altitude, as we follow valleys and low-lying hills through the Jura Massif, up to a manageable 1100m – think forested slopes, brilliant green meadows, and mighty limestone crags, towering over us as we wind our way east. After the day’s ups come the downs, we have an easy finale, descending to the lowlands and winding through picture-perfect Swiss countryside to end the day in Lausanne, hopefully with a view of the Alps across Lake Geneva.
Start: Dôle hotel
Finish: Lausanne hotel
3rd July. Stage 9. Aigle – Châtel. 183km. 3600m ascent
This stage offers us the treat of exploring an area rarely visited by the Tour caravan and comes in at over 3600m of climbing… We’ll set off from Aigle – home of the UCI and some excellent vineyards – and spend the morning gaining height gradually, among the modest green peaks of the Gruyère region (yes, of course there will be cheese at the feed stops), and then the real elevation gain will start midway through the stage, as we depart Rossiniere, home to the Grand Chalet, Switzerland’s largest inhabited wooden house! The first climb, Col des Mosses, is an hour or so of uphill at a relatively sedate 4.1% gradient, but it’s closely followed by Col de la Croix (almost twice as steep, and our high point of the ride so far), and then, after a long descent back towards Aigle, we’ll climb the switchbacks of Pas de Morgins, overlooked by fairytale mountain peaks, to re-enter France, and finish a few kilometres later, after a brief descent, and a small final climb to Châtel, to end our day on a high.
Start: Transfer to Aigle
Finish: Dinner in Châtel and a late transfer to Morzine where we’ll spend 2 nights and the rest day
4th July. Departure day
Departure from Morzine under own arrangements
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
The price of this Loop is based on a nightly cost of £170 (which includes the 2022 green contribution) plus a supplement of £70 for the transfer from Sønderborg to Dunkirk
Emily, Lead Cyclist:
“I just cannot wait! It’ll be a tough first week but if you want to test yourself, 10 days non-stop on these roads will be the best!”
Sarah, Event Organiser:
“Throughout the week, there will be huge changes in landscape, architecture, culture and challenge. This is the way to get to see how much variety the Tour de France offers.”
Annabel, Alumni Cyclist:
“I cycled the first half because I was happy with the challenge of long stages but decided the second half mountains were just one step too far. I remember a couple of the stages being pretty brutal but it was so memorable and sooooo worth it. Just take your time and you’ll get there!”
We do not accept cyclists with e-bikes or non-standard bikes on Le Loop without prior agreement. Each year we nominate one Loop for non-standard bike participation and cyclists are able to join us with a e-bike or non-standard bike for that Loop only, as long as they have prior agreement from us.
Although the use of e-bikes is increasing and we’re delighted that they have made cycling accessible to more people, Le Loop is not an e-bike event. Practically, our mechanics don’t carry the tools or charging facilities to cope with e-bikes but there’s also the question of “feel”. Our goal is to encourage as many cyclists as possible to ride Tour stages, under their own steam, as the pros do. In order to make this more achievable and open to more people, in the mountains we offer our “Lite” Loops.
There is something very special about Le Loop; we have an enormous range of cyclists (in speed, ability and experience) who achieve something incredible together every day – and we feel (for now at least) that allowing e-bikes on more than one Loop would water down this special feel.
A note on speed
Le Loop is known for its camaraderie and inclusiveness and we strongly believe that there’s a Loop for everyone. We have no cut off times and cyclists will always be supported as far as safety and daylight hours allow. However, there is a speed and a level of training required for some of the longer Loops and the Grand Loop because we have limited space in our support vehicles and this event is not designed for cyclists who cannot complete full stages.
We need to be clear about how tough the Tour can be in order to help you pick the right challenge…
The Grand Loop…
You should be able to complete 200km stages with 2500m of climbing in under 10hrs (including stops). Assuming a total of 90 mins stopping, this equates to an average cycling speed of 23.5 km/h (14 m/h) or faster, day after day over relatively hilly terrain.
On a mountain stage of 180km with 4500m of climbing, we expect Grand Loopers to take between 8 and 12 hours, including stops. Assuming a total of 90 mins stopping, this equates to an average cycling speed of 17km/h (10.5 m/h) or faster.
If in any doubt, please get in touch to discuss. Or consider joining us for a shorter Loop with a view to completing the Grand Loop once you have tested yourself over 3 to 5 stages.
Whilst we have back up vehicles for injured or exhausted cyclists, this is intended as just that: a back-up plan should something go wrong. If there is a reason why you cannot complete one or two stages (injury, illness, one-off extreme fatigue), we will of course help you and offer you space in a support vehicle. But if you are not able to cycle full stages without medical or equivalent reason, we will have to ask you to take public transport or find alternative arrangements to travel between stage starts and finishes.
If in doubt, please see below for our more manageable Loop options and use that as training for the Grand Loop at some point in the future.
First Half, Second Half, Mountains Week…
As with the Grand Loop, these Loops are extremely testing. You should be able to complete full stages which will sometimes involve over 10hrs cycling and we would not expect you to need to take the Lite options in the Alps or Pyrenees.
For advice on average speeds, please see the guidelines above for the Grand Loop.
Alps, Pyrenees, Alps Lite, Pyrnees Lite…
The Tour de France mountain stages are extremely tough and completing back to back mountain stages is something that requires commitment and training. However, we are not all equal: in time available, experience, natural ability or desire for the toughest challenge. Which is why we have our Lite options…
If you sign up for the Alps or Pyrenees, you will be given the option to cycle the full stage or the shortened, ‘lite’ version. We usually take numbers the night before, giving you plenty of flexibility should you wish to go long or short.
Please, please avoid the temptation to view the Lite options as a weaker challenge: they are not! The extra transfers or short-cuts serve simply to open up the Tour de France to more people, encourage more diverse groups to join us, or offer an alternative to people who would like a really great day of Tour riding, rather than an overly-epic day which leaves them broken.
As a rough guide, a cyclist who can complete an undulating 100 km sportive in 5hrs or less in March and a hilly 100 km sportive in 5hrs or less in late April/early May will be well placed to join us in France.
Middle Mountains, Tour de France Adventure, Grand Depart…
The variety of the Tour de France route each year means that there can be quite a variation in the difficulty and length of stage within these options. Please see the Loop descriptions for more information and get in touch if in any doubt about your ability to take part.
Often the Mountains Lite Loops can be more manageable than the longer stages involved in other Loops. And sometimes morning transfers, hotel changes and other logistical variations can affect how difficult a Loop feels. So don’t be put off by the climbing involved in the mountains – with training and commitment, we believe that there really is a Loop for everyone and we’re always happy to discuss your options with you.
Included in all Loops
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy once you\'re signed up)
- 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!