2 days cycling, 294km
Each of these Pyrenean stages will provide an experience rich enough to make that day alone worth all your training and fundraising.
This Pyrenees Loop is the perfect mix of charm and challenge and everything there is to love about cycling in the mountains.
You get a lot of glory for your miles here because they’re not actually ridiculously long stages, meaning you’re faced with a proper, tough challenge but without the panic of 200km and finishing past bed time (on the contrary, we expect everyone to have time for an outdoor beer!).
They’re also both very nicely formed stages with a gentle run up to the first climb each day and time to chat and prepare for the task(s) ahead.
The other lovely thing about this Loop is the very clear difference between the two stages in terms of ‘le feeling’. Stage 8 is an absolute classic Tour stage with climbs you’ll be seeing on telly for years to come and campervans already parked on the slopes of the Peyresourde. Then you’ll be able to contrast that with stage 9, shunning famous climbs in favour of back roads and technical riding which will make you wonder at the idea of a full Tour peloton passing through one week later.
The first hotel is very accessible in the south of Toulouse. Then we stay two nights in the same hotel in Pau – a relative Tour luxury.
For anyone who has yet to discover the Pyrenees, wait no longer; we organise everything so that you can take on this brilliant challenge and focus on the cycling joy.
Arrival day. Fri 26th June.
Arrival to the Tour hotel in south Toulouse under own arrangements.
Stage 8: Cazeres-Loudenvielle. 140km. Sat 27th June.
One of those special here-come-the-mountains stages, today’s ride will take us from gently rolling lowlands into the high Pyrenees, with ascents of Col de Menté, Port de Balès, and our old favourite, the Col de Peyresourde. Each has its own character – Menté is leafy, with satin-smooth hairpins on the ascent; Balès is wild and windswept; Peyresourde offers picture-perfect mountain views and heroic photos at the top. With a downhill finish into Loudenvielle, this stage is a Pyrenean classic to remember. To make it even more memorable, we’ve booked dinner in the Loudenvielle thermal baths and spa complex and you’ll have time to spend an hour or two in the pools (small charge) or having a beer in the spectacular surroundings before dinner and the transfer back to Pau.
Lite option*: A lift will be available to the first feedstop at 40km, shortening this stage to 100km but losing none of the famous climbs or views.
Start: Transfer from Toulouse South hotel
Finish: Dinner in Loudenvielle and then a transfer to Pau
Stage 9: Pau-Laruns. 154km. Sun 28th June.
Pau is one of the Tour’s most frequently visited towns, but the rest of this stage will be a voyage of discovery, as our route takes us over a number of lesser known Pyrenean cols, including the magnificent Col de la Hourcere (making its Tour debut) and offers us eye-watering gradients to go with the breath-taking views. We’ll finish our day with a descent into the Ossau valley, but not before we’ve taken on the Côl de Marie Blanque from its (much steeper) western side. These are the back roads with their wild landscapes that the Pyrenees are loved for – and this is a very fine opportunity to ride them.
Start: Pau hotel
Finish: Transfer back to Pau hotel (2 nights)
Departure day. Mon 29th June. Pau
We’ll transfer back to Pau at the end of stage 9 so you’ll be in a town with airport and train station and free to leave the hotel under your own arrangements on Monday 29th. (See travel advice below for more info)
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising|
due end April
Emily, Lead Cyclist:
“If you’re seriously thinking of it, follow your instincts and go for it! There are some mighty climbs here so it’s not to be taken lightly, but we really do provide everything you need to make this possible”
Sarah, Event Organiser:
“I’m a big Pyrenees fan and each year I hugely look forward to sharing these stages with everyone. See you there!”
Tom, Alumni Cyclist:
“All my local training rides are pretty flat so although I’d done a couple of hillier sportives, the Pyrenees came as a bit of a shock. The first day I struggled quite a bit – but at some point on the second morning, it all sort of clicked and from then on I completely loved it (even the descents which I didn’t expect at all). The advice I got (and which I’d pass on) would be to focus your training on the long rides – they made the biggest difference to both my endurance and confidence”
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…
Pyrenees & Pyrenees Lite…
The Tour de France Pyrenees stages are 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…
We’d love you to take on the Pyrenees and love every kilometre – they’ll be amazing. However, if you sign up for the 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. (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!