21 Stages. Approx 3500km
The ultimate sporting challenge, one week ahead of the pros!
Cycle the entire Tour de France route from Copenhagen to Paris. Sporting challenges don’t come any bigger or better than this. You will tackle the flat, the mountains, the even bigger mountains, the time trials and the finale into Paris. Surviving this gruelling challenge will give you a real insight into the life of a pro-rider. The sense of achievement from completing the Grand Loop challenge cannot be underestimated.
Fri ? June: Meet in Copenhagen
Mon ? July: Depart from Paris hotel
More dates and stage info TBC in October when the route is announced
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.
Tour practicalities: Friday 25th June: meet in Copenhagen for briefing, lunch and to ride the time trial followed by transfer to our tour hotel.
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. Le Loop will lay on transport to get all bikes and riders safely across, and we’ll finish the stage in the old Danish capital of Nyborg.
Tour practicalities: Start Roskilde, finish Nyborg hotel.
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.
Tour practicalities: Start with transfer to Velje. Finish in Sonderborg
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
£4200 – £4500
Emily, Lead Cyclist:
“This is the ultimate opportunity – grab it with both hands. I’d advise you to embrace this challenge in every possible way: the more you put into both the training and the fundraising, the more you will get out of the Tour experience”
Sarah, Event Organiser:
“The Grand Loop is 90% type 1 fun and 10% type 2 fun. If you anticipate the tough days, they won’t be nearly as tough. Life on Tour is an amazing bubble – all that we ask of you is to be supportive and inclusive to all cyclists, no matter which Loop or what speed”
Col, Alumni Cyclist:
“It’s difficult to describe how much fun I had for the three weeks I rode the Grand Loop. Do 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 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.
We will update this advice once the routes and stages for these Loops is known.
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!