PYRENEES TO PARIS
Welcome to the Pyrenees
Our guides will pick you up at the Pau train station, the hometown of the French king Henry IV. A light lunch awaits us before we head to Bagneres de Luchon, where locals will be decked out in yellow as they celebrate the arrival of the 101st Tour de France. After a brief bike fitting, safety talk and map review, we’ll head out for our first ride. There is no better introduction to the Pyrenees than to set out and do a col. We’ll head towards Superbagneres, first introduced to the Tour in 1961. Revel in the stunning panoramic scenery of the Pyrenees while you’re engulfed in beautiful switchbacks with picture perfect views over the valley! Tonight, we’ll dine at our favorite cozy restaurant where they’ll be serving up delicious local specialties.
Accomplished: 22 miles / 36 km
Bagneres de Luchon
Today, the 16th Stage of the Tour will depart in Carcassonne and finish in Bagneres de Luchon. The original Tour organizers were looking for new routes in the Pyrenees, so in 2006, they paved the last 5 kilometers of an old trail in the south side of Port de Bales (pronounced “baal-ess”). We will set out early to ride on the same route as the tour, all the way to the finish line. Enjoy sweeping views as we conquer Col de Portet-d’Aspet and Port de Bales. We’ll be in for a test, with climbs of up to 14% gradient. Once we return to Bagneres de Luchon, we’ll be rewarded with front-line views of the stage finish and join the Cannondale team for an unprecedented VIP Tour experience. This evening we enjoy a fabulous dinner as we revel in the Tour festivities.
Accomplished: 47 miles / 76 km
Riding the Tourmalet
This morning, we’ll set out from our hotel and experience all the day’s excitement as the riders depart from Bagneres de Luchon. After mingling with the Cannondale team, we will watch the riders in what is sure to be a critical mountain stage . We’ll follow the race caravan as we set out to cycle up the Tourmalet! The first col on our list is the Col de Peyresourde, which has appeared in the Tour on 60 different occasions. As we head to the famous Tourmalet, our second col is the Col D’Aspin, whose hairpin turns can be seen from far below. The spectacular climb with 24km of scenery will leave you absolutely breathless. We’ll end this epic day by descending down the other side and cycling to our hotel for yet another fantastic dinner.
Accomplished: 65.5 miles / 105 km
Cycling Up Hautacam!
Tour de France fans rejoice! Stage 18 departs from Pau with a dramatic finish predicted on Hautacam. Today we’ll be in the center of the action to see every moment! Our ride starts from the hotel where we will gradually descend until reaching our first hills of the day. The picturesque 18km climb will be a challenge as the undulating gradient is never steady. After we watch the riders fly past, we will descend with the crowd of Tour fans and return up the valley to our hotel. Tonight you are free to enjoy the town on your own and take in all that the Tour festivities have to offer.
Accomplished: 58 miles / 93 km
Time for the Col d’Ausbisque
As the Tour de France heads north, we have one last unforgettable day of cycling planned in the Pyrenees. There is no grander way to depart this cycling haven than by challenging ourselves on its toughest and most iconic climb – the Col d’Aubisque. With 30km of climbing it’s no wonder that Octav Lapize referred to race organizers as “assassins” after he crossed the finish line on top. Marvel at the amazing views before heading down the other side to Laruns for a light lunch and shower. We’ll transfer on to Bergerac and check into our next hotel – Chateau des Vigiers – which dates back to the 12th century. Tonight, gourmet dining and fine wines await you at one of the hotel’s exquisite restaurants.
Accomplished: 50 miles / 80 km
Race Against the Clock
An early bike ride north, to the city of Bergerac, will bring us into the scenic Dordogne Valley. Today, our last battle will be fought. It’s a race against the clock as the race leaders set out on the time-trial course to gain valuable seconds. Stage 20 may be cruel for some as climbers give everything to retain their podium positions. We will stay in the core of the action with behind-the-scenes access to the Cannondale team as they get warmed up for their turn to gain valuable seconds on the leaders. See how the pros prepare and mingle with the team in the riders’ village. After the time-trials, we’ll take a relaxing ride back to our hotel. Tonight is a free night and our guides will be happy to shuttle you into town.
Accomplished: 25 miles / 40 km (optional extra)
We’ll take an early TGV train to get to Paris bright and early to settle in to our Grand Stand seats. The City of Lights will take on new meaning tonight when the Tour crosses the ultimate finish line at Paris’s Champs-Elysees. We’ll be front and center, with our VIP passes, to witness the world’s greatest sprinters duke it out for one last shot at glory and watch the maillot jaune wearer toast his victory with a glass of Champagne. We’ll meet up with the Cannondale team one last time before we head out for a delicious feast, celebrating our own victory over the Pyrenees, at one of the famed fine dining destinations in Paris. It will truly be a night to remember.
Accomplished: 47 miles / 76 km
Vive le Tour
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast and reflect on all the spectacular moments from the past week of the Tour de France Pyrenees to Paris Bike Tour. Our guides will make sure your transportation is arranged and see you off to the train station.
Total Milage Accomplished: 267 miles / 430 km