This challenge is not for the faint hearted! Over the course of six long days on our bikes we will cover over 430 miles and gain over 50,000ft of vertical ascent, cycling from the Atlantic Coast to the Mediterranean through the majesty of the French Pyrenees. You’ve seen them on the television, now tackle them in real life: during this ride we will be taking on many of the classic Pyrenean Cols ridden during the Tour de France and other Grand Tours. Being the toughest of our European road rides you will need to be at the peak of fitness both to complete and enjoy this challenge. The energy and encouragement you will get from the rest of the group and support team will help you through as will the dramatic mountainscapes, beautiful lakes, heart-pumping ascents and adrenalin filled descents. Stopping for coffee at quintessentially French cafes in sleepy villages with fabulous roadside lunches, we’ll spend the evening relaxing in the comfort of our hotels, with a “demi” to whet our whistles as we watch the sun set over the mountains.
|Departure & Return||Duration||Price (incl. flight)||Price (excl. flight)|
|04 September 201611 September 2016||8 days||£TBC||£1,395|
|13 September 201721 September 2017||8 days||£TBC||£TBC|
- All of your accommodation (twin room basis)
- All meals except for ones mentioned in the itinerary
- Luggage transfer
- Support by experienced 360 leaders, support and medical staff and vehicles
- Professionally edited highlights video of your trip!
- Travel to the start and finish points of the ride
- Personal travel insurance
- Meals mentioned on the itinerary, drinks, extra food
Travel to Hendaye
We will settle into our hotel in Hendaye, following our transfer from Biarritz. Hendaye is the most southwesterly town in France, lying within the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and located in the traditional province Lapurdi (Labourd) of the French Basque Country. The town is a popular seaside resort by the Atlantic coast, the “Côte Basque”.
Hedaye - Oloron Sainte-Marie (approx. 90 miles)
After an early start this is one of the longest mileage days, so it will be a case of ‘up and out’! Starting at sea level today’s ride takes us up and over the Col de Saint Ignace- 198m high and at 3.3km long, it’s just long enough to warm up the legs and give you a taste of what’s to come. We will take a moment at the top to enjoy the view back out over the Bay of Biscay before carrying on with our journey east. The Col de Pinodieta 176m and the Col d’Osqich 500m will maintain those legs before arriving at Oloron Sainte-Marie which is our resting place for tonight.
Oloron Sainte-Marie – Luz St Sauveur (approx. 60 miles)
After a good night’s sleep and hearty breakfast we’re back on the bikes. Today we have a shorter distance, but as we enter the terrain of the Pyrenees we have three climbs to tackle. Our route takes us up over the Col de Marie Blanque 1,035m, the Col d’Aubisque 1,709m (regularly part of the Tour de France, and generally rated an “hors catégorie” climb - which literally means “beyond categorisation”, or an incredibly tough climb!), and the Col du Soulor 1,474m. As we descend the Soulor we can enjoy the scenery and think of tomorrow’s giants as we ride into Luz- our destination for tonight.
Luz St Sauveur – Luchon (approx. 60 miles)
Another shorter mileage day but by no means an easy day. Today we tackle some of the iconic cycling greats and ride on some of the highest roads in the Pyrenees. The first being the Col de Tourmalet 2,115m with almost 12 miles of ascent. The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France. It has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910 when the Pyrenees were introduced. Up to 2012 the tour has visited the Col du Tourmalet a total of 82 times. The total includes two stage finishes at the summit and three at La Mongie. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. The Vuelta a España has also crossed the pass several times. Next we tackle the Col d’Aspin 1,489m with an average gradient of 5% and the Col de Peyresourde 1,569m on which we gain over 900m of height. This is a tough day but we are rewarded by fantastic cycling, views and a massive sense of achievement. The day ends in the town of Bagneres de Luchon, a major player in the history of the Tour de France. The town of Bagneres-de-Luchon is a spa town in the heart of the Pyrenees, surrounded by steep hills and imposing scenery. Today it has a reputation as an active thermal spa treatment centre – so perhaps you could book yourself in for a welcome treatment for all your hard work so far…
Luchon – St Giron (approx. 55 miles)
Our shortest day of cycling on the trip but it still finds you tackling two fantastic scenic climbs. The Col des Ares 797m, (that most rare of things – a gentle Pyrenean climb) and the Col de Portet d’Aspet 1,069m. Today also sees us passing the monument commemorating the death of Fabio Casartelli, one of only a small number of people who have lost their lives while competing in the Tour de France. After taking a moment or two to reflect we head down to St Girons for the night.
St Giron – Ax-Les-Thermals (approx. 75 miles)
Today we have another two great climbs starting with the Col d’Agnes 1570m with an average gradient of 8.1% with its steepest section being 10.6% and the Col de Port 1250m a very popular pass with touring cyclists. The day ends in the Spa town of Ax les Thermes where we can prepare for our last day of cycling.
Ax-Les-Thermals – Argeles-Plagu (approx. 75 miles)
Today we have four climbs beginning with the second highest of the trip, the Port de Pailhères 2,001m, before we reach the slightly less challenging Col de Moulis 1,099m, Col de Garavel 1,256m and the Col de Jau 1,506m. It’s all downhill from here and we head down to the Meditereanean coast to celebrate our achievement in the beautiful town of Argeles-Plage. In the evening we will have a group celebration meal to finish off the trip.
Argeles-Plagu (approx. 0 miles!!)
Depending on your flight times there may be time to explore or spend the morning on the beach before heading off to the airport for flights home.
1 * Kit Bag
1 * Cycle Helmet
1 * Sunglasses
1 * Base Layers
1 * Cycling Gloves
1 * Cycling Jersey
1 * Hard Shell
1 * High Viz Top
1 * Mid Layer
1 * Cycling Shorts
1 * Cycling Tights
1 * Waterproof Trousers
1 * Cycling Shoes
1 * Trainers
1 * Insect Repellent
1 * Wash Kit
1 * Water Bottles
1 * Wet Wipes
1 * Spare Clothing
1 * Bike
1 * Bike Lights
1 * Bike Pump
1 * Chain Lube
1 * Inner Tubes
1 * Puncture Repair Kit
1 * Personal First Aid Kit
1 * Personal Medication
1 * Camera
1 * Credit Card
1 * Entertainment
1 * European Travel Adaptor
1 * Money
1 * Multi Tool
1 * Snacks
1 * Sunblock
1 * Copy Of Passport
1 * EH1C (formerly E111)
1 * Passport
1 * Travel Insurance