4 days cycling. 301km
Just bring legs & a smile (we’ll bring your bike)!
The Tour de France has done the Pyrenees proud this year and with our shorter versions of each stage, you won’t miss any of the fun. All transfers are included but if you’re feeling good (and game), you’re welcome to cycle full stages.
Our Lite version still gets you 6 (or 7 if you choose to cycle the final Prat d’Albis climb on stage 15) of the 8 Pyrenean climbs, packed into 300 of the finest kilometres, including all the best bits: The Hourquette d’Ancizan is a place of exceptional beauty, the Mur de Péguère is the steepest ramp of the whole Tour, the Tourmalet is the ‘oldest’ of all the Tour climbs, even the ‘recovery’ time trial ride will be fun and memorable.
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.
Wed 10th July: Meet at Toulouse hotel
Mon 15th July: Travel home from Carcassonne hotel (there are no hotels big enough near Foix so we’ll take an evening transfer after stage 15 to a hotel near Carcassonne airport. This should also make it easier to depart by plane or train the next day)
Wed 10th July – Arrive to Toulouse
Thur 11th July. Stage 12: Toulouse – Bagnères-de-Bigorre: 202km or 102km
A day of two halves: we’ll spend the morning gradually gaining height as we head south from Toulouse, with the Pyrenees in view in the ever-decreasing distance! The roads look like they’re flat, but they’re not flat and we’ll be wise to take them gently and save energy for what’s to come. The lovely town of Luchon is at 124km, and it’s here that the climbing begins in earnest. First up is the Col de Peyresourde, a classic Pyrenean climb with the pass visible from a long way off, stunning views of the surrounding peaks and a creperie just over the top! We’ll make our way down a fun descent of hairpins into the Louron valley and then it’s time for treat number two! We head up the shady eastern side of Hourquette d’Ancizan, which is similar in gradient and length to the Peyresourde but has a totally different atmosphere. The landscape opens out at the top of the pass and now, at 170km, you’re rewarded with a full 30km of cruisy descent to the finish.
* Pyrenees Lite: A transfer will take you to the 100km point, leaving you all day to tackle the two big climbs without the pressure of a late finish.
Fri 12th July. Stage 13: Pau – Pau: 27km
This short time trial will be a delightful ride, taking us south of the Tour de France’s most popular city (after Paris). Pau has a lot going for it: it’s an ancient royal city, a modern day student stronghold and gateway to the Pyrenees. The highest point of this route is 380m and the lowest 179m so you’re looking at a couple of moderate climbs on small country roads, through forests and farmland. And all of this with the mighty Pyrenees as your backdrop. The photo moment comes at 21km as we pass through the Jurancon vinyards – then it’s back into town for lunch and an afternoon of sunshine!
Sat 13th July. Stage 14: Tarbes – Tourmalet: 117km or 77km
It’s Tourmalet day! The Pyrenean monster has long dominated the Tour, and this year it gets a stage more-or-less to itself – though don’t underestimate the Col du Soulor, which we climb first, from its scenic northern side. It’s a little over half the length of the Tourmalet, but slightly steeper with the summit marking this stage’s half way point. We then have 20km of descent (wheeee!), followed by 19km of steady ascent, up the more beautiful western aspect of the Tourmalet for a summit finish. The climb averages 7.4% with just a couple of extra-steep bursts in the closing kms. This will feel really tough, and it’ll be no different a week later for the pros, even if they do manage it in half the time! The Tourmalet is the ‘oldest’ of all the Tour climbs, now appearing for the 87th time (although the times it has provided a summit finish can be counted on one hand). We’ll celebrate this mighty achievement with a night in a mountain hotel under the Pyrenean stars.
* Pyrenees Lite: You may choose to cycle the full stage as it’s ‘only’ 117km, but if you’d prefer to save your energy for the climbs, you can join a transfer from Tarbes to the first feedstop at 40km, making this a two-climb, 80km stage.
Sun 14th July. Stage 15: Limoux – Foix: 185km or 95km
The most challenging and very original stage of this Tour’s Pyrenean visit takes in almost 5,000 metres of ascent, via four categorised climbs. One third of the way in, at 60km, we have our first summit where we’ll be treated to the spectacular Cathar castle atop the Col de Montségur. The next third of the stage takes us to the Port de Lers at the 120km mark, which is the highest point of this stage at 1517m and is followed by a stunning lake just over the summit. It’s a sweeping 17km descent from there into the quirky little town of Massat, and immediately, without hesitation or hint of flat, it’s straight up the eye-wateringly steep Mur de Péguère. Cue legs of fire but smiles of joy and enough inspiration to fuel you on to the spectacular finale atop le Prat d’Albis, from which, on a clear day, we’ll be able to see much of what we’ve covered today.
* Pyrenees Lite: A transfer will take you to the second feedstop at approx. 90km, leaving you all day to tackle the Port de Lers and Mur de Peguere. On arrival in Foix, it’s up to you whether you carry on for the final climb to Prat d’Albis, or whether you sit back and soak up the atmosphere at a café in the town square of Foix.
Mon 15th July – Depart from Carcassonne (hotel near the airport)
Due end Jan
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Emily, Lead Cyclist says, “You’d be amazed how many people turn up on Le Loop thinking they’ll be the slowest but the reality is that if you strip away the worry and the doubt, cycling in the mountains is pure pleasure. That’s why we’ve made this Lite Loop – to encourage you to take the plunge and experience it for yourself!”
Sarah, Event Organiser says, “On this occastion, ‘Lite’ clearly doesn’t mean easy. It’s still a massive undertaking and a massive achievement to cycle multiple mountains in a day. Just remember that there’s a gear for everything and take it slowly. We’re here to help you!”
Gav, Alumni Cyclist says, “The Tour de France is the Tour de France and it’ll be the best experience however you choose to do it. I did a 3 day Loop to join a friend who was doing 10 stages and whilst I wanted a challenge, I didn’t want that much of a challenge! I can’t really give much advice but I would say that the moment you start cycling, you’ll stop worrying. It’s the friendliest event I’ve ever been on and I’d recommend it to anyone.”
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!