3 Days cycling. 541km
The first three stages of the 2020 Tour provide seriously good cycling, guaranteed sunshine, unlimited ice cream and that holiday feeling…
The Grand Depart in any year is always a unique occasion but with the 2020 Grand Depart in Nice, now’s the time to come and see the show… assuming you’re up for some climbing…
Be warned: stage 1 is already pretty hilly but it’s stage 2 that’s the absolute belter with a total of over 4000m of climbing (mais oui). This ‘higher, sooner’ approach to designing the Tour de France is turning heads amongst both pros and fans – and in an entirely different way, it will turn ours: the views on this Loop are to die for. Seriously. The cote d’Azur got its name for a reason – so chuck in remote, winding roads and a bit of altitude and we’re talking about cycling inspiration and views that you’d struggle to beat anywhere in the world.
And so to stage 3, added on to this Loop because you need to experience the ‘tour’ in ‘Tour de France’ and because we wanted this to be significantly more than the Etape du Tour (which is tackling stage 2 this year). It’s a glorious day (morning gently up hill, afternoon gently down hill) to realise that you can keep going after yesterday, and to see what lies further inland, namely beautiful, beautiful Provence.
Arrival day. Friday 19th June. Nice.
Arrival at Nice hotel by 5pm under own arrangements (the hotel has a free shuttle from the airport)
Stage 1: Nice-Nice. 156km. Sat 20 Jun.
The first stage of this year’s adventure is an unconventional one, formed of three loops around Nice and jaw-dropping views for at least 80% of the 156 kilometres. The first two identical loops take us up shallow gradients, past olive groves and fig trees, to the fortified village of Aspremont, a back-drop of Mediterranean sea all the while. From there we’ll descend to Carros and fly back into the city along flat roads, to wave at the Promenade des Anglais before heading off again. On the third loop we’ll venture a little further, with an eight-kilometre climb up to Levens, before descending, back to the by-now-very-familiar finish line and on to our beach hotel.
Start: Nice hotel
Finish: Nice hotel
Loop payments include a Friday arrival with the rider briefing at 5pm followed by dinner. You can buy an extra night of accommodation in Nice if you’d like to arrive on the Thursday rather than the Friday.
Stage 2: Nice-Nice. 187km. Sun 21st June
It’s unusual to find a mountain stage so early on, but the beautiful scenery surrounding Nice has enticed the Tour into the hills much sooner than usual. This challenging ride takes in almost 4,000m of climbing, including the Col de la Colmiane, via a picturesque road that winds through small mountain hamlets and feels a world away from the Cote d’Azur, and then the steeper Col de Turini, with its photogenic switchbacks and magnificent views. We’ll admire the Mediterranean as we descend to the Col d’Éze (ruined 17th century chateau perfectly positioned above a sparkling sea) and wearily ‘enjoy’ a cheeky extra Loop that the pros do (but the Etape du Tour doesn’t) before we roll back into Nice, full of the joy of cycling.
Start: Nice hotel
Finish: Nice hotel
Stage 3: Nice-Sisteron. 198km. Mon 22nd June
This is a relatively hilly stage with a flat finish, full of Provencale charm. We start our day at the seaside, and finish it among the low mountains, bidding a fond farewell to Nice and heading north-west via the historic town of Grasse, world-renowned for its perfume industry. Then we ride along the Route Napoleon (stunning, stunning scenery; a Tour highlight), over a series of moderately steep climbs and on towards the imposing citadel and vast serrated cliffs of Sisteron (and a hotel swimming pool!).
Start: Nice hotel
Finish: Sisteron hotel
Departure day: From Sisteron. Tue 23rd June
We have included a coach transfer in the cost of this Loop. You will depart Sisteron on Tuesday morning at 7:15am and the coach will arrive at Nice airport just before 10am. Then travel back from Nice by plane or train under own arrangements.
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising|
due end April
Emily, Lead Cyclist:
“These are three great stages to re-live once back home. Or don’t go home and stay in France for a holiday – you’ll definitely have earned one!”
Sarah, Event Organiser:
“It’s rare to have a Grand Depart which is so accessible, so stunning and so French. But don’t underestimate the difficulty of stage 2 – it has been sent to test us… offset perhaps a bit by the luxury of three nights in the same hotel!”
Paul, Alumni Cyclist:
“If you’re scared, don’t be. You’ll be amazed by how much faster you cycle in a group and on better tarmac. The emphasis on enjoying the cycling and not racing on Le Loop is really refreshing – you’ll love it!”
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 Tour de France Grand Depart stages are tough and completing back to back mountain stages 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…
We’d love you to take on the Grand Depart and love every kilometre – they’ll be amazing. However, if you sign up for the Grand Depart, you will be given the option to cycle the full stage or the shortened, ‘lite’ versions of stages 1 & 2.
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. (This is a rough guide only: once you’re in France you’ll be cycling within your comfort zone rather than racing so the pace will be slower than this and you’ll stop more frequently).
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!