3 days cycling. 492km.
Each of these stages will provide an experience rich enough to make that day alone worth all your training and fundraising.
Three stages of gradually increasing difficulty which take you deep into the Pyrenees via some famous climbs and some lesser-known treats; contrast the quiet charm of the Col d’Aspin with the wide open, imposing Tourmalet – and the youthful vibe of Pau and it’s royal castle with the tradition and formality of the Cauterets spa town. It’s an undeniably attractive trio that make up this Loop; the warm up is gradual, the stage distances are sane, the altitude gains are tough-but-doable and on your last night you sleep high in the mountains, in a ski resort where you can look up at the stars, proud of your Tour de France achievements.
Arrival & Departure:
Mon 26th June: Arrive to Bayonne hotel by 7pm for arrival briefing
Fri 30th June: Depart from Cauterets hotel. A transfer from Cauterets (dept 9am) to Tarbes is included in this Loop.
Mon 26th June: Arrival day
Arrive to Bayonne hotel by 7pm for arrival briefing. (NB. The hotel is in Bayonne because that’s where the Tour will finish on the 26th and it’s easier for you to get to than Dax. We’ll have a short transfer in the morning before we start cycling).
Tuesday 27th June 2023. Stage 4 – Dax to Nogaro – 182km
Proving once again that there is no such thing as a flat Tour de France stage, today’s ride will take us from the former bullfighting capital of Dax through the shady pine forests that fringe the nearby coast and into the rolling hills of the thinly populated Gers department. Expect undulating fields of corn and sunflowers and distant views of the Pyrenees hovering over the vineyards. We may even have a tailwind as we ride away from the coast – though we turn west again in the final kilometres on our way to a stage finish at Nogaro’s motor-racing circuit. This stage won’t be as hard on the legs as what lies ahead, so this is a good opportunity to warm up, enjoy the scenery, get to know your fellow riders and get ready to support each other in the mountains that lie ahead.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Transfer to Dax
Finish: Transfer to Pau hotel
Wednesday 28th June 2023. Stage 5 – Pau to Laruns – 165km
The first few hours of this stage will feel like a French cycling holiday (oh, hang on, it is!); a pleasant roll through the fertile countryside south of Pau, as the mountains draw ominously closer and the landscape gradually tightens around us. The uphill drag begins with the magnificent karst gorge of the river Uhaïtxa, which leads us to our first pass of the day – the 1,540m Col de Soudet (15km at just over 7%). This climb, which steepens as it gains height, will take us out of the leafy valleys we’ve enjoyed thus far and up above the treeline where we’ll be treated to views of distant mountain tops, stretching away towards the Spanish border. From here it’s a rock-lined descent, a brief climb over the quiet, pastoral Col d’Ichère, and then our final ascent of the day: the Col de Marie Blanque (7.7km at 8.6%). From here it’s a relatively easy roll downhill and around 7km up the next valley to Laruns. The total altitude gain today is 3400m; a tough day without anyone needing to worry about being late for dinner.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Pau hotel
Finish: Transfer to Tarbes hotel
Thursday 29th June 2023. Stage 6 – Tarbes – Cauterets-Cambasque 145km
Leaving the popular Tour city of Tarbes, we gain height steadily during the morning, following the pretty river Neste to the charming village of Arreau where we swing right off the main road and head straight up the Col d’Aspin, a 12km ascent whose summit is in sight from quite far down, so you can see what you’re aiming for (and how quickly you’re gaining ground). From here we descend, through a lovely remote valley, to Sainte-Marie de Campan, universally known as base camp for the Tourmalet. Then it’s the famous 17km climb, up through the trees to the 70s-feel ski resort of La Mongie, and then past the ski lifts and the llamas, to one of this year’s only cols above 2,000m. The Tourmalet! You’ve ticked off a bucket list climb!
Our reward is a full 30km of downhill before the relatively sedate but absolutely stunning climb to the Plateau du Cambasque, which averages 5.4% over 16km, features some spectacular switchbacks and gives us the opportunity to explore a road less travelled after the big names we’ve visited earlier in the stage.
Believe it or not, this stage manages to pack 3750m of climbing into 145km; we’ll get you there but it will hurt!
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Tarbes hotel
Finish: Cauterets hotel
Friday 30th June: Departure day.
Depart from Cauterets hotel. A transfer from Cauterets (dept 9am) to Tarbes is included in this Loop.
Stage profiles: All available stage profiles are displayed on our Route page. The Tour de France publish maps and profiles for every stage in June. Until then we have profiles for the mountain stages and the most significant climbs only.
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
The price of this Loop is based on a nightly cost of £175, plus a supplement of £25 for the transfer from Cauterets to Tarbes.
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy in 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 (£30 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