Tour de France week: cycling holidays Pyrenees

Tour de France in the French Pyrenees road biking holiday

Tour de France week: Supported cycling holiday in the French Pyrenees (We also have accommodation available for self guided groups)

Mountainbug Tour de France cycling holidays are based around the passage of the 2018 Tour de France through the French Pyrenees during the week of 21st - 28th July.

The Pyrenees dominate the Tour de France itinerary this year with five mountain stages that are due to be decisive on the final result for the riders coming as they do in the last stages of the Tour. We have Tour finishes at Bagneres de Luchon, St Lary Soulan and Pau. The highlight for us is Friday the 27th of July with a 200km stage starting in Lourdes passing in front of our lodge and over the Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque for a finish at Laruns.

Our very popular guided Tour de France cycling holiday, with road support and transfers, takes in the highlights of the Tour in the Hautes Pyrenees – including seeing the tour pass over the Col du Tourmalet and the finishes at Col du Portet (St-Lary), Pau and Luchon. We will ride several of the classic HC cols that have featured many times in the history of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees. Climbs include the Aspin, Peyresourde, Tourmalet, Soulor, Aubisque,  Luz-Ardiden, Peyresourde and an excursion into the heart of the National park and UNESCO world heritage sites of Troumouse and Gavarnie. There is also an option for the hardy to climb the Col de Tentes 2200m – the highest paved road in the Pyrenees.

Big days on the TDF itinerary:

  • Tues 24th Carcassonne to Bagneres de Luchon.
  • Wed 25, Bagneres to St Lary.
  • Thursday 26, Sprint day: Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.
  • Friday, Lourdes start and passage over Tourmalet.
road bike supported cycling holiday vacation Pyrenees Tour de France

Watching the Tour de France climb the Col du Tourmalet

This trip is aimed at keen road cyclists who want an action-packed Tour de France cycling holiday, including the classic Pyrenean Tour de France routes as well as viewing live TDF stage finishes from the best spots with true local inside knowledge. You need to have a good level of fitness and experience to tackle these HC cols on a daily basis, but you have all day, road support and the result is worth it!

Based in Barèges, on the Col du Tourmalet route

We are based for the week in the mountain village of Barèges – well-known to cyclists as a staging post before the legendary Col du Tourmalet (the highest road pass in the French Pyrenees at 2115m), and directly in between the Tourmalet col and the Luz-Ardiden climb. For the many of our rides we can cycle direct from the village, and for others we provide transfers at the beginning or end of the day. The transport accompanies the group through the day for technical support.


Group cycling up to Hautacam

Wiggins keeps the yellow jersey - stage finish 2012


Tour de France cycling holiday – prices

Our Tour de France cycling holiday is priced at £940 per person for 7 nights, based on 2 sharing an en-suite room. It includes:

  • Half board accommodation (Ensuite room, breakfast, picnic lunches, afternoon tea and delicious cycling orientated evening meal), at our catered chalet “Les Cailloux” (except one free day on Wednesday, with breakfast only)
  • Picnic lunches on cycling days
  • 5 days of guided/vehicle supported cycling
  • Local transfers
  • Storage for your bikes

The price does not include airport transfers or cycle hire but these can be arranged for you.

Tour de France cycling holidays – dates

Our Tour de France special cycling holiday for 2018 is the week of 21st – 28th July. Contact us to book.

Tour de France in the Pyrenees, COl du Solour

The Col du Soulor

Cycling holidays – fitness levels

To take part in Tour de France cycling holidays you should have a good level of fitness or pre-training. The rides are not a race and you will have plenty of time to complete each stage at your own pace, be it blistering or not. There are optional extra ascents throughout the week for very keen riders, and road-support is available throughout for mechanical assistance, morale-boosting and lifts should they be required.

Guided cycling holiday – itinerary

Please click the “itinerary” tab for more details. The itinerary is flexible, so do let us know if you have other routes or suggestions. We can adapt the rides during the week depending on the weather, group fitness etc. Please note though that this is a very popular week and we are often booked up early by keen cyclists. A limited number of spectator places may also be available – please enquire.

Other options for road biking holidays in the French Pyrenees

Tour de France guided cycling holiday itinerary

Cycling the Tour de France in the Pyrenees, Lourdes, Tourmalet, Aspin,, Bagneres de Luchon, St Lary.

The Tour de France in the Pyrenees 2018

Saturday 21st July – Arrive in Barèges. High point: 1250m

Arrive in your own time, prepare the bikes and settle in with a drink in our local bar the  “Richelieu” for the best spot to view the day’s Tour de France on TV. Soak up the atmosphere with the local French cycling fans, or hoon off straight up the Col du Tourmalet if you prefer, there is always one…

Sunday 22rd – Barèges, 1250m, to Luz-Ardiden, 1720m. Distance 44.2km, high point: 1720m

Luz Ardiden mountain finish of the Tour de France

Tour de France mountain stage finish at Luz-Ardiden

We set out from Bareges with the 8km sweeping descent into Luz-St. Sauveur (710m) – start point for our climb to Luz-Ardiden. This classic Tour de France favourite was a finish most recently in 2011, but is best known for Lance Armstrong’s crash in 2003 when his handlebar snagged on a spectator’s bag.  The climb is a big one – a 1010m ascent in 14.7km, averaging a gradient of 6.9% making it a is a Cat HC climb up to the ski station. The climb is on a well made road that was constructed in the 1970s and is regularly re-surfaced for pretty-much-perfect cycling conditions. Maximum gradients is 12%. The highlight of the ride is the descent, with 25 hairpin bends and long straight sections in between, taking you down from Alpine meadows through the forests and the beautiful perched villages of Grust and  Sazos, to finally roll into the ancient and vibrant spa town of Luz. 

From Luz you can call it a day and cruise back up, or take a lift with the bus back to Bareges for afternoon tea. If you don’t fancy relaxing there is always the epic ride South to Gavarnie and the Spanish border at the Col de Tentes (2200m).


Monday 23rd - Cirque de Troumouse - UNESCO World Heritage site. Distance 71.2km, high point: 2125m 71.2km

moss campion

You can’t come to the Pyrenees and not experience the truly awe-inspiring beauty of the Pyrenees National Park and the Mont Perdu UNESCO World Heritage sites of  the Cirque de Troumouse and Gavarnie. The climb is 16.4km at 6.5% to an altitude of 2125m. The snaking switchbacks of this private road have to be seen to be believed, and the scenery is some of the most breathtakingly beautiful in the World - with thundering waterfalls, soaring 3000m peaks,  golden eagles, wild chamois, marmots and a challenging climb to boot!

For those who like the idea of ending on a very high note there is the option of adding a second big climb this day to take you to the top of the Gavarnie ski resort at 2200m, the Col des Tentes


 

Tuesday 24th - Bagneres de Luchon Finish. The Col du Peyresourde with Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet options. Distance 57.2km (from St-Marie de Campan), high point: 1580m

Pyrenees Tour de France climb

Part of our route to Bagneres de Luchon

Col d’ Aspin + Col de Peyresourde   [57.2km, 1,865 m ascent 1,892 m descent]

After a short transfer over the Col du Tourmalet (option to set off early to climb the Tourmalet first and meet us there…) to the village of Sainte Marie de Campan, we start the day with a very picturesque and steady climb up to the Col d’Aspin (1490m) - used more often by the Tour de France than any other Pyrenean climb. The D918 then takes us down into the bottom of the Vallee d’Aure and through the market town of Arreau, nestling at the junction of the valleys of Aure and Luron on the banks of the Neste river. The river brings welcome natural air conditioning as the route now heads up the valley to the start of the Peyresourde climb.

The col de Peyresourde is a Cat 1 climb on the borders of Hautes Pyrenees and Haute Garonne, with a summit altitude of 1569 metres. It was included in the first mountain stage of Le Tour de France in 1910 and has appeared regularly since. Today’s stage finish isin the Town of Bagneres de Luchon down in the valley to the East of the Col in the department of the Haute Garonne. It is a beautiful and lively spa town known as the Queen of the Pyrenees, a great place to enjoy the days Tour de France finish as they race down its famous tree lined avenue.

Col du Tourmalet, mountainbug cycling holiday

The Geant du Tourmalet on the Col du Tourmalet

 


Wednesday 25th - FREE DAY

Today you can rest, hike, paraglide, raft, cave, canyon…or we can advise you on other local routes to tackle on 2 wheels, including: Borderes, Soulor/Aubisque, Cambasque, Luz Ardiden, Tourmalet, Aspin, Col des Tentes, Hourquette d’Arcizans, Cirque de Troumouse, Hautacam. You could even ride the Tourmalet and Apsin and back again to head over to see another finish at St Lary!


Thursday 26th -  See the finish of the Trie-sur-Baise to Pau stage with a traverse of the Soulor Col road. Distance 111km, high point: 1709m

Tour de France finish viewingToday’s ride to Pau goes via the classic Pyrenean TDF cols of Soulor and Aubisque and down the beautiful Ossau valley to see the live finish of stage 11.The twinned Pyrenean giants of Soulor and Aubisque are steeped in Tour history. This is a long, but rewarding day through breathtaking scenery in the Natura 2000 protected reserve of the Azun valley.
We start out with an exhilarating descent from Bareges, through the Pierrefitte gorges and down to the pretty market town of Argeles-Gazost. From here, the classic Tour de France route climbs through a string of picturesque mountain villages, first summiting the Col de Soulor at 1474m. Last featuring in the Tour in 2010, this 19.5km climb rises 1019m with an average gradient of 5.2%. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a relaxing ride though, as the gradient picks up after Arrens-Marsous reaching 10% or more (the is a short section at 16%)!
Rolling onwards, our route takes us a further 10.6km and 235m ascent to reach the Col d’Aubisque at 1709m. This section of the ride is famous for the two narrow tunnels and airy cliff-side road around the Cirque du Litor.  After celebrating our double summit, we continue West down into the beautiful, pastoral valley of Ossau, which leads us through the Jurancon wine area into the centre of the historic town of Pau in time to see the finish (54.3km).
Christian Prudhomme’s comment about the Tour stage that day: Stage 11 of the Tour de France, Length 202km from Eymet to Pau. “The Tour gets closer to its Pyrenean base, but mountain specialists will still be preserving their energy. Going through the areas of Les Landes and Gers, the command of the pack will probably be left to the teams of sprinters. The escapees having made the effort to take off will, why not, have the opportunity to make a prayer at the Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes Chapel, situated in Labastide-d’Armagnac.”

Friday 27th - The Tourmalet.

Monday 10th - The Col du Tourmalet and Pic du Midi. Distance 100km circuit, high point: 2115m

Col du Tourmalet, mountainbug cycling holiday

The classic 100 km circuit of the Pic du Midi du Bigorre (2877m), finishing with the Eastern ascent of the Col du Tourmalet a viewing of the passage of the tour over this emblematic Col and a flying descent into Bareges.

The day begins early but leisurely with descent to Pierrefitte where we pick up the superb “Voie Verte” cycle track to Lourdes – a great warm up with no chance of any traffic! At Lourdes our route takes us East to Bagneres de Bigorre via the rolling foothills of the Pyrenees. Although the hills here might not rival their high-mountain big brothers for altitude, there are some tricky steeps and long, sweeping descents that guarantee the grin-factor of this ride. From Bagneres – itself a regular Tour de France finish, most recently in 2013, the route ploughs South to Sainte Marie de Campan. This is the official start point for the ascent of the Eastern flank of the Col du Tourmalet – a gruelling climb of 1268m over 17.2km, with the gradient averaging 7.4% (much of the last 10km clocking 10%). The Eastern ascent is considered to be the most challenging approach to the Tourmalet giant, at 2115m. We aim to be at the Col by midday, before the road closes to cyclists, in time to claim a good spot to watch the passage of the tour (which will have just chased us up the climb!). We then get to fly down after them back to the bar in Bareges to see them race to the finish from comfort.


Saturday 28th July – Goodbye to the TDF in the Pyrenees for another year

Pack up and bid a sad farewell to the Pyrenees as you chase the Tour to the Champs d’Elysee (or to your television at least).

Supported cycling holiday Pyrenees tour de France

Farewell to the classic cols of the Pyrenees and the 2018 Tour de France

 

 

 

Please check individual holiday descriptions to find out what the price includes.  In some cases discounts are available for groups or family rooms. For some holidays accommodation is provided in mountain refuges, or by 3rd party suppliers – please see individual holiday descriptions for details.

PLEASE NOTE - Our calendar is flexible. Please contact us if you have a different trip or date in mind to the ones shown or if you would like a bespoke itinerary (these can be organised on most dates).

Summer 2018

May 2018

Dates Holidays Price
26th  May Walking – Valleys & views Taster  Sight seeing and walking £810

June 2018

Dates Holidays Price
2nd June Walking – Valleys, villages & cirques Explorer Gentle guided walking £790
9th June Walking – Lakes, cirques & summits Discoverer Intermediate guided walking £790
16th June Walking – Valleys, villages & cirques Explorer Gentle guided walking £790
16th June Walking - Neouvielle Lakes – Discoverer walking (2 nights at manned refuges - Lake District) £810
23rd June Walking – Lakes, cirques & summits Discoverer Intermediate guided walking £790
23rd June Walking - Neouvielle Lakes – Discoverer walking (2 nights at manned refuges - Lake District £810
 30th June Hiking - Peaks, ridges & refuges Adventurer Unlimited trekking to the guides favourite spots, 1 night in catered refuge. £810
 30th June Walking – Valleys & views Taster Sight seeing and walking  £810

July 2018

Dates Holidays Price
7th July Cycling – Guided Classic cols of the Pyrenees Road biking the TDF climbs in the Pyrenees mountains £790
7th July Walking – Valleys, villages & cirques Explorer Gentle guided walking £790
14th July Walking – Gavarnie & Ordesa Special Discoverer  France and Spain inc. 2 night mini-trek in catered refuges. £810
14th July Multi activity – Action Mountain multisports suitable from 8 yrs old. £790
21st July Multi activity – Adrenaline Our most popular action packed non-stop adventure sports holiday £915
21st July Cycling – Tour de France guided Special- supported riding for the Tour de France in the Pyrenees. £855
21st July Walking – Lakes, cirques & summits Discoverer Intermediate guided walking £790
21st July Catered Accommodation for independent activities/hiking £450
28th July Multi activity – Adrenaline Our most popular action packed non-stop adventure sports holiday £915
28th July Catered Accommodation for independent activities Half board with afternoon tea £450
28th July Multi activity – Adrenaline Our most popular action packed non-stop adventure sports holiday £915

August 2018

Dates Holidays Price
4th August Multi activity – Adrenaline Our most popular action packed non-stop adventure sports holiday £915
4th August Multi activity – Action Mountain multi-sports suitable from 8 yrs old. £790
4th August Adventurer level 3000m peaks special Mountain trekking - inc 2 nights in catered refuges. £830
4th August Catered Accommodation for independent activities Half board with afternoon tea £450
11th August Multi activity – Adventure Mountain multi-sports suitable from 10 yrs old. £840
11th August Multi activity – Action Mountain multi-sports suitable from 8 yrs old. £790
11th August Catered Accommodation for independent activities Half board with afternoon tea £450
18th August Walking – Valleys, villages & cirques Explorer Gentle guided day walking £790
18th August Multi activity – Adrenaline Our most popular action packed non-stop adventure sports holiday £915
18th August Catered Accommodation for independent activities Half board with afternoon tea £450
18th August Multi activity – Action Mountain multi-sports suitable from 8 yrs old. £790
18th August Canyoning Week A special guided week of Canyoning in France and Spain! £1005
25th August Trekking – HRP Stage 1 The Pyrenees Haute Route Trek (Coast to Coast long distance hike) £890
25th August Multi activity Bespoke guided multi activity holiday for any level available. contact us £—
25th August Catered Accommodation for independent activities Half board with afternoon tea £450
25th August Walking – Gavarnie & Ordesa Discoverer France and Spain inc. 2 night mini-trek in catered refuges £810

September 2018

Dates Holidays Price
1st September Walking - Neouvielle Lakes – Discoverer walking (2 nights at manned refuges – Lake District) £810
1st September Trekking – HRP Stage 2 The Pyrenees Haute Route Trek (Coast to Coast long distance hike) £890
1st September Walking – Valleys & views Taster Sight seeing and walking £810
8th September Walking – Valleys, villages & cirques Explorer Gentle guided walking £790
8th September Trekking – HRP Stage 3 The Pyrenees Haute Route Trek (Coast to Coast long distance hike) £990
8th September Bespoke guided walking/trekking/climbing/activity week Your choice! contact us
15th September Walking – Lakes, cirques & summits Discoverer Intermediate guided walking  £790
22nd September Walking – Gavarnie & Ordesa Discoverer France and Spain inc. 2 night mini-trek in catered refuges  £810
30th September Walking – Spanish Pyrenees Discoverer Kingdom of Aragon hike.  £810
30th September Walking - Spanish Pyrenees Explorer Kingdom of Aragon hike.  £810
30th September Bespoke guided walking/trekking/climbing/activity week Your choice! contact us  —

October 2018

Dates Holidays Price
7th October Walking – Cathar country Explorer The Cathar Trail, castles, views and history of the Albigensian crusade. £895