3 Days cycling. 433km
Brussels to Epernay: Beer to Champagne! You’ll need both because completing this Belgian-French Loop will be a huge achievement to celebrate.
The capital will be using this as an excuse to celebrate King Eddy (or Monsieur Merkx if you prefer), so the Grand Depart will be a unique occasion, with much more going on than your average Tour send-off.
After a taste of the Spring Calssics on stage 1 and a tour of the main sites of Brussels during the time trial, stage 3 continues our journey from the medieval town square of Binche which, being home of one of the oldest carnivals of the country will mean more festive decorations and a party atmosphere: The luxury of 3 out of 4 nights in the same hotel, and the accessibility of Brussels make this a great weekend of Tour cycling. We’d love you to join us!
Fri 28th June: Arrival to Brussels hotel
Tue 2nd July: Depart from Epernay hotel
Fri 28th June. Arrival to Brussels
Sat 29th June. Stage 1: Brussels – Brussels: 192km
From Brussels we roll out through the busy Flemish countryside towards the iconic Muur Geraardsbergan, a cobbled climb made famous by the Flemish Classics, whose gradient reaches 20% at its steepest. Then, after tackling the lesser Bosberg, we’ll turn south, and follow flatter (and smoother) roads through Enghien and Charleroi, passing the site of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo (you can choose if you doff your cap/helmet to Napoleon or Abba) before re-entering Brussels via Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Eddy Merckx’s childhood home. In 2019 the flags will be out for Eddy, it being 50 years since he first won the maillot jaune in the 1969 Tour.
Sun 30th June. Stage 2: Brussels – Brussels: 27km
A smashfest for the pros, but an easier day for us, as we’ll ride a mere 27km (plus a few kms to and from our hotel) along the majestic avenues of Brussels, finishing at the park Ter Kamerenbos in the north of the city, close to the Atomium. With a high point of 109 metres, and no gradient stronger than 4%, this will be an opportunity to rest our legs, save our energy for what’s to come and maybe make time for some local produce (frites, biere, or both!)
Mon 1st July. Stage 3: Binche – Epernay: 214km
We leave the medieval ramparts of Binche, finally arriving on French soil as we head south through the ancient forests and hedge-trimmed lanes of the Avesnois national park. This will be great for group riding with the second half of the stage in a particularly picturesque part of northern France. The landscape will open out as we find ourselves in the rolling Champagne region (cue vinyards and chateaux), and the afternoon will feel almost hill as we enjoy a series of short punchy climbs in the final 30km, before a short warm-down along the Marne valley into Epernay.
Tue 2nd July – Travel home from Epernay hotel
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
Emily, Lead Cyclist says, “This is what the Tour’s about. A Grand Depart and two great stages to re-live once back home – and again and again each year during Classics season!”
Sarah, Event Organiser says, “It’s rare to have a time trial so well placed, and a Grand Depart which is so accessible. Plus the luxury of three out of four nights in the same hotel!”
Paul, Alumni Cyclist says, “If you’re scared about doing full Tour de France stages, all I can say is 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!”
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!