Classic Cols of the Pyrenees
01-09 June 2013 Bookings Closed
Join us as we ride the legendary cycling routes of the Pyrenees on this 9 day cycling adventure of a lifetime.
On this once in a lifetime experience, you will get the opportunity to ride 13 of the most famous climbs in Tour de France history, all the while being expertly guided and supported throughout.
Whilst challenging, the tour blends the perfect balance of shorter and longer rides to ensure your enjoyment throughout.
For full tour details please download the tour dossier on the right hand side of the page
01 June 2013:
Check-in to Hotel les Cimes (Argelès Gazost)
36km warm-up group ride to Lac d'Estaing
Group welcome dinner
02 June 2013:
Group ride distance options - 66 or 94km
Climbs - Hautacam & Luz Ardiden
03 June 2013:
Group ride distance - 103km
Climbs - Col du Tourmalet (East face)
Lunch atop the Col du Tourmalet
Visit to historical village of Bagnerès de Bigorre
04 June 2013:
Group ride distance - 60 or 102km
Climbs - Col du Soulour & Col d'Aubisque
Visit to the historical village of Lourdes
05 June 2013:
Group ride distance - 112km or 103km (without Col du Tourmalet)
Climbs - Col du Tourmalet (West face), Col d'Aspin, Col de Peyresourde (East face)
Check-in to the Hotel Le Majestic (Bagnerès de Luchon)
06 June 2013:
Rest day (options of thermal baths, massages, hot springs and more)
Optional rides on offer:
Morning ride: Superbagnères 37km
Afternoon ride: Col de Portillon with a coffee in a Spanish village 39km
Dinner at leisure
07 June 2013:
Group ride distance options - 60 or 91km
Climbs - Col de Menté & Portet d'Aspet
08 June 2013:
Group ride - 69 or 93km
Climbs - Port des Balés, Col de Peyrasourde (West face) & Peyragudes
09 June 2013:
Transfer to Toulouse and conclusion of tour
The Pyrenees has played host to the Tour de France for over 100 years and in 2013 we invite you to join us as we tackle the most significant cols of the region.
Our tour has been designed for cyclists with a passion for riding on beautiful roads with incredible scenery. We have designed our tour to allow you 8 days of riding new and interesting roads without once needing to take a vehicle transfer and only having to move hotels once. This means more time for riding and more time for relaxing and reliving the incredible rides.
You will pass beautiful rivers and ride through stunning gorges, cross panoramic mountain passes and get the chance to take a pause in the local villages, enjoy lunch at the local markets and taste the produce of the mountains.
We hope that all our guests depart with fond memories of conquering the cols and enjoying the
hospitality and culture of this beautiful corner of France.
For further enquiries or bookings please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
01 June 2013:
Our tour commences in the stunning village of Argelès Gazost. Located on the road between the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque, this pretty village famous for its hot springs, is steeped in Tour history.
Arrival: Guests are invited to arrive either directly at the hotel or alternatively we will be offering a
transfer service from Lourdes at various times through the day. Lourdes is linked by rail (including TGV High Speed service) to Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Hotel check-in is at 2pm however should you arrive prior, the hotel is able to store luggage until your room is available. On arrival at the hotel you will be met by your guide team who will be there to
assist as you require.
Bike fitting: Following check-in, guests are invited to undertake bike fitting. Prior to the event we will ask for your measurements and on the day we will further fit the bike to your specific requirements. All our guests are provided with Trek Madone 5.2 road bikes at no charge. Guests are welcome to bring their own bikes should they wish.
Group ride: On our first afternoon we will undertake an incredibly scenic ride to allow you to soak up
the atmosphere of being in the Pyrenees and become accustomed to your new bike. The ride follows the gorge to Lac d'Estaing before we then return via Saint Savin.
Post-ride: The group will enjoy a 3 course dinner at our hotel where you will take the chance to get to know your guides and fellow riders and also be briefed on the following day's ride and the activities for the tour.
2 June 2013:
Following breakfast at the hotel we will undertake the first day of climbs on the tour.
Group ride: The initiation to the mountains comes on two famous climbs, one of which was host to one of Lance Armstrong's most famous stage wins. After departing the hotel we will get the legs pumping by tackling the Hautacam. Located between Lourdes and the Col du Tourmalet, the Hautacam is one of the most famous ski resorts in the Pyrenees. In summer it opens its roads to the cycling fraternity for good reason. The climb starts at le Pont du Gave de Pau and winds its way 15.5km to the ski station with a consistent pitch of 7.3% which extends to 11% towards the summit.
Surprisingly given its proximity to a number of major climbs, the Hautacam has only been used a few
times since its first appearance in 1994. For the cycling enthusiast, the Hautacam offers a nice warm up to the bigger climbs of the regions but don’t underestimate it as pound for pound it is not far shy of more famous climbs such as l’Alpe d’Huez.
Descending back to the valley floor, we will then head up the valley towards the Col du Tourmalet. From the village of Luz Saint Saveur our parcours then takes us up to the ski station of Luz Ardiden.
Much like the Hautacam, Luz-Ardiden is often forgotten given its more famous neighbours. The ride itself is magic, the road climbs from Luz Saint Saveur in a series of dramatic switch-backs that give riders stunning views down the valley to Argeles Gazost and upwards to the Tourmalet.
At 13.4km, averaging 7.7% with sections of 12%, Luz-Ardiden offers riders a challenge particularly when ridden from further down the valley. The ski station was introduced in 1975 when the road was
extended further up the mountain side, the Tour de France then followed for the first time in 1985.
It was here in 2003 that Lance Armstrong recovered from a fall early on the climb to post one of his most emphatic stage wins and secure the yellow jersey.
For those wishing to ride a shorter distance, they will join the group after the Hautacam for the climb of Luz Ardiden.
Post-ride: The group will be free to relax prior to enjoying a 3 course dinner at the hotel.
3 June 2013:
Breakfast will be served at the hotel before we take on the King of the Pyrenees.
Group ride: On this day the group will cross the highest point of the tour on the famous Col du Tourmalet. Riding directly from the hotel you will follow a little known mountain road to Bagnerès
de Bigorre and on to Saint- Marie de Campan at the base of the Tourmalet.
As the only pass in the Pyrenees above 2,000m and the first true big climb used in the Tour de France, the Tourmalet holds legend status amongst riders the world over. The Tourmalet was first used in the 1910 Tour de France and has since been used in on average 3 out of every 4 times the Grand Boucle is held.
The Col du Tourmalet is served by two faces, very similar in difficulty but often experiencing completely different weather patterns. The East face from Sainte-Marie de Campan is a 17.1km ascent at an average pitch of 7.5% whilst the Western face from Luz Saint Saveur is an 18.7km climb with the same average pitch.
The Eastern face contains a marginally higher maximum pitch at 11%, but it is on the last kilometre of the Western face that the toughest section as it finishes with a section over 10% at the conclusion. Both faces are very consistent though and a rider in a good rhythm will find the Tourmalet an enjoyable challenge.
On the summit is a great little restaurant full of cycling memorabilia where we will pause for lunch
(subject to the restaurant being open). There is also a monument to Jacques Goddet, director of the Tour between 1936 and 1988.
We will commence our ride via a little known mountain road that will take us to Bagnerès de Bigorre and on to Sainte-Marie de Campan where we will start our climb of the Eastern face. After breaking for lunch we will then descend to our hotel via one of cycling's great descents.
Post-ride: The group will be free to relax prior to enjoying a 3 course dinner at the hotel.
4 June 2013:
Breakfast will be again enjoyed at the hotel in preparation for a new day of climbing the famous roads
of the region.
Group ride: The group will head West on today's ride as we take in the Col du Soulour and the Aubisque. Located between Laruns and Argelès Gazost, the Aubisque plays host to the Tour de France on average 3 out of every 4 years. The road itself has given rise to some of the most amazing images in the Tour’s history as it winds its way along the cliff face. The views from this climb are magic as you can see across to the Spanish border.
The more ridden side is from Argelès Gazost. This Eastern aspect also takes in the Col du Soulour. From Argeles Gazost, the initial section is very steep but it quickly eases back providing a false flat before pitching again to overcome the Soulour. After summiting the Soulour, riders are welcomed with a small downhill section before a steady climb to the Col d’Aubisque.
After reaching the col, we will descend part of the way down the Aubisque towards Argelès Gazost before taking a great little mountain road to the valley floor close to Lourdes. Guests will be invited to enjoy some time in Lourdes before we take the bike path which leads back to Argelès Gazost via the valley floor.
Guests wishing to have a shorter day in the saddle will have the option to ride directly back to Argelès
Gazost from the Col d'Aubisque however they will be without vehicle/guide support (total ride distance approx 60km).
Post ride: Guests will enjoy a 3 course dinner at the hotel, our final evening in Argelès Gazost.
05 June 2013:
Guests will enjoy a big breakfast at the hotel in anticipation of the biggest ride of the tour, prior to
checking-out and loading luggage in our support vehicle.
Group ride: On today's ride we will follow the last 112km of stage 16 of the 2012 Tour de France and traverse the Hors Category Col du Tourmalet and Cat 1 Col d'Aspin and Col de Peyresourde. In what will be a tough yet rewarding day you will experience 3 of the most famous climbs in the world.
The day will start out with the Western face of the Col du Tourmalet which you will have descended earlier in the tour before continuing to the Aspin and Peyresourde. The Aspin offers a truly stunning ride, over less demanding terrain than some of the nearby climbs. Its location close to the key climbs of the Pyrenees has seen the Aspin featuring in the Tour de France since 1910 on roughly 70% of the Tours.
Following passing the village of Arreau we will then climb again to the Col de Peyresourde. With over
60 inclusions in the Tour de France this climb late in many stages has made many legends. With 18km of ascent at around 5% incline on average this will certainly be a good challenge late in your ride. Our ride concludes in Bagnères de Luchon which will be our home for the following 4 nights. Another spa village, Luchon is a beautiful town in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains.
Post ride: On arrival we will check-in to our new hotel. In the evening we will enjoy a 3 course dinner at the hotel.
06 June 2012:
Following our big day in the saddle guests will have a rest day on offer however for those wishing to keep the legs moving we will offer optional morning and afternoon rides. Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel between 7 and 9am.
Bagnères de Luchon offers many activities during the rest day from white water rafting and canyoning to golf and the cyclist's favourite; thermal baths and massage treatments.
Optional group rides:
Morning ride - Superbagnères: The tradition of great mountain top finishes in the Pyrenees is found at Superbagnères. Rising from the spa resort town of Luchon in the Midi-Pyrenees, the road doesn’t allow the ability to find tempo as it changes gradient consistently all the way to the summit. With a climb distance of 19.3km and an elevation gain of 1,179m, Superbagneres offers one of the longer
climbs of the Pyrenees. The road itself is typically kept in very good state and winds back on itself, offering a photographers dream.
At an average of 6.1%, Superbagneres is not immediately disconcerting but that quickly changes as every 5km or so, the gradient increases to around 11 and 12%. The route is also very exposed for the latter part which lends to incredible views but also some very high temperatures in the warmer
Afternoon ride: Col de Portillon & a coffee in Spain: After lunch, we will be offering a ride in to neighbouring Spain. The Col de Portillon divides France and Spain. A beautiful mountain pass, the road passes many ravines as it snakes through the valley on its way to the col. The descent in to Spain includes a stunning series of switchbacks with views across the valley below.
On crossing the border we will take a break to enjoy a coffee in a small Spanish village prior to riding
back to Bagnères de Luchon.
Post ride: The evening will be free allowing you to try one of the many excellent restaurants on offer in Bagnerès de Luchon.
07 June 2012:
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel prior to the day's ride.
Group ride: Starting from the hotel today's ride takes on 2 significant cols in tour history. The Col de Menté is a sharp climb with a large amount of switch backs that has featured many times in Le Tour. Typically found in the middle of stages, it does not hold the same notoriety as its more famous neighbours. It is however not one to be taken lightly. Following Col de Menté we will ride to the famous pass of the Portet d'Aspet.
Like no other climb in the Pyrenees, the Col de Portet d’Aspet offers a unique profile that sneaks up on riders. From both directions, the road gently climbs for the first two thirds before pitching at an incredible rate to the summit. First used in 1910, the Portet d’Aspet has featured on average every second year of the Tour de France and its ability to split the riders on the steep pitch has made it a crowd favourite.
The Western face averages 5.4% but don’t let that fool, the final 5km gains roughly 550m and has sections that reach 15% giving rise to a significant challenge to even the strongest riders. The Eastern face is more forgiving with an average of 3.6% but like the West, averages around 10% for the
It was here that Fabio Casartelli tragically lost his life descending in the 1995 Tour de France. A wonderful memorial can be found at the base of the climb in his honour.
Following our climbing of the Portet d'Aspet we will retrace our route in the opposite direction to reach our hotel after a challenging day on the bike. Those looking for a shorter ride are able to shorten the ride distance at their preferred point as we will re-trace our ride route.
Post ride: A 3 course dinner will be held at the hotel.
08 June 2013:
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel.
Group ride: The final day on the bike sees the group ride one of the great roads of cycling. Departing from the hotel we will follow the valley floor to a beautiful village of Mauléon Barousse built over the river before turning towards the Port des Balés.
First introduced in 2007 as prior it was just a dirt mountain road, Port de Bales is set to be regularly
seen in the Tour de France in the future. Only recently bituminised, the road tracks the steep mountain face between Mauleon-Barousse and Bagneres de Luchon.
The Northern face from below Mauleon-Barousse is 19.3km long with an average pitch of 6.3% however it is the section between kilometre 10 and 17 that is the most challenging. From the point
where you bridge the mountain stream, the road averages around 9% for 7km on what is one of the most stunning roads to ride with views across the valley.
After descending almost back to Luchon we will turn off to climb the Col de Peyresourde and continue on to the ski town of Peyragudes. Peyragudes is featured for the first time in tour history as the end point of the final Pyrenees stage of 2012. For those looking to take a shorter ride they will continue to Bagnerès de Luchon rather than continuing on to Peyragudes.
From Peyragudes we will then descend back to Luchon for the completion of our riding having conquered almost 20,000m of climbing over 15 major climbs.
Post ride: Following a well earned cold drink and rest, we will enjoy an end of tour dinner to celebrate our achievements.
09 June 2011:
Following breakfast at the hotel, guests will be transferred to Toulouse for their onward travel. Toulouse is a major international airport and train hub. Please don't make arrangements for travel prior to 3pm from Toulouse in case of traffic delays.
Toulouse is a beautiful city and the gateway to the Canal du Midi and many great places to extend your stay in France.
Dates: 01-09 June 2013
Tour type: Riding
Accommodation: 8 nights (2 hotels)
Start point: Lourdes/Argelès Gazost
Finish point: Toulouse
Price per person: 1,890€ Riding Option
260€ Single Supplement