3 days cycling, 364km
Just bring legs & a smile (we’ll bring your bike and organise everything else)!
We’ve shortened each stage (see ‘stages’ below for how) to make this a more manageable Loop, but if you’re feeling good, you’re welcome to cycle it all – just let us know the night before.
Our Lite version still gets you all of the big name mountains and most important parts of each stage, and you’ll still be cycling with all the other Le Loop cyclists.
The Pyrenees is a place of exceptional beauty and is perfect seen from a bike. So whether you’re ‘enjoying’ the stage 14 ride up the Tourmalet or exploring the smaller climbs of stage 15, you’ll be in awe – both of the scenery and also how the pros manage to cycle the same thing with such ease at such speed!
Note on the Lite option: Some people love knowing they’ve completed full stages; others love knowing they’ll finish before dinner. For us, there’s no better or worse and everyone will be welcomed as equals… because if you’re happy cycling, we’re happy for you.
Thurs 4th July: A transfer from Bordeaux airport to Agen is included in this Loop (see travel info below) OR make your own way to Agen. Meet the team, meet your fellow cyclists, arrival briefing and dinner.
Fri 5th July: Cycle stage 13
6th July: Cycle stage 14
Sun 7th July: Cycle stage 15
Mon 8th July: A transfer from the hotel to Narbonne station or Toulouse airport is included in this Loop (see travel info below) OR depart under your own arrangements.
Stage 13 – Agen to Pau – 131km
Pyrenees Lite: You may choose to ride the full stage but if you’re saving your legs for the next couple of days, we’ll give you a lift to the first feedstop, making this a mere 131km.
This is a beautiful all-change stage, taking us from the low-lying Garonne Valley where the skies are blue and it’s always summer (Agen is famous for its sun-ripened prunes) to Pau, the Royal city generally considered the gateway to the Pyrenees which has hosted the Tour de France more often than anywhere except Paris and Bordeaux. The regional change will add to the sense of journey with cultural, architectural and agricultural changes ever couple of hours.
Today’s ride should be easy-ish on the legs, and with amazingly varied views, from scenic balcony roads as we leave the Garonne, to classic French countryside, including long avenues of poplar trees and rolling fields of sunflowers.
There are some sections of long, straight roads today, perfect for group riding and an extra couple of kilometres per hour. These roads are interspersed with lovely, small French towns where colonnaded squares provide shade to coffee-drinkers and market-goers.
Although this is billed as a flat stage, it avoids the path of least resistance, and there are a couple of short sharp climbs to keep the legs nimble as we work our way south. The mountains loom ahead and are visible long before we approach Pau– a thrilling sign of what’s to come.
Stage 14 – Pau to St Lary Pla d’Adet – 103km
Pyrenees Lite: There are two options to shorten today; the first is to stop in St Lary at our hotel and miss the final climb. This removes 11km and 800m of climbing. There will also be the option of a lift to the first feedstop in Lourdes (-38km/200m) which means that if you take the double-lite option, the stage is a more manageable 103km with 2,900m of climbing.
Choose to cycle to the first feedstop in Lourdes – or have a lift. From there it’s just over ten kilometres of relative flat, watching the mountains get closer and closer, until they surround us completely, and we arrive in Argelès-Gazost. From here, the only way is up – for 19km, with an average gradient of 7.4%, until we stand on top of one of cycling’s most famous cols, with almost 20km of descent awaiting us.
Our next big climb is the gorgeous Hourquette d’Ancizan – a very different hill from the Tourmalet. A quiet, immaculately surfaced road winds us up through shady woodland (with gentler gradients than we’ve endured so far), then out into a peaceful landscape of sheer green hillsides and curious sheep, before shooting us down a fast, tree-lined descent into Saint-Lary (our home for the night).
Stage 15 – Loudenvielle to Plateau de Beille – 130km
Pyrenees Lite: As with stage 14, there are two shortenings possible today; the first is to stop in Les Cabanes rather than climb to Plateau de Beille (-16km & 1,200m) and the second is to have a lift from the start either to the top of the Peyresourde (-7km & 500m) or the top of the Col de Menté (-50km & 1,600m). So for those taking the Col de Menté/early finish double Lite option, the stage is reduced to 130km with 2,000m of climbing.
We start off with a choice – to drive to the Col de Peyresourde or to the col de Menté – or to ride up to the Col de Peyresourde from the start. It’s a scenic 7km climb that made its Tour debut in 1910, and has featured over 50 times since. For those starting from the hotel or Peyresourde, from this first summit we whizz down to the pretty spa town of Luchon, enjoy a pleasant roll along the valley, and then set off up the wooded slopes of the Col de Menté. This, and the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, which immediately follows, will hold our steepest gradients of the day, with averages above 9%. If you choose to be driven all the way to the top of the col de Menté, the Portet-d’Aspet will be your first climb… we’ll just ask you to decide the night before.
From the Portet-d’Aspet, the next 30km we descend more than 500m, and we briefly emerge from the mountains – but don’t be fooled: there’s much more to come! After turning south in the picturesque riverside town of Saint-Girons we spend another hour or so following the River Garbet back into the thick of it, regaining all the height we just lost as we approach the base of the Col d’Agnes. From here we go down only slightly before reascending to the Port de Lers – a sequence that captures Pyrenean cycling in all its remote, green, sheep-scented glory.
There now remains just the descent to Tarascon, and a lovely last 10km with only 100m of ascent to contemplate our achievements – before we arrive in Les Cabanes where we stop for dinner and transport to our hotel.
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy by January)
- All 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 when the stages aren’t contiguous
- Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
- Bike Transport (£40 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
- Evening massage (£10 or €10 per massage if you’d like one – highly recommended)
- Beer/wine/drinks at dinner