The Col du Tourmalet is amongst the oldest and most prestigious climbs in Tour de France history, and what better way to start the season than by escorting the iconic Octave Lapize statue back from his winter hibernation in the valley up to the 2,115m high summit of the Tourmalet, where it’ll then keep a watchful eye over hundreds of cyclists all summer long. A truly unique day of Tourmalet celebration, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of la Montée du Géant, making it an even bigger carnival occasion than ever before! Ride the most famous peaks in the French Pyrénées, including the Col d’Aubisque, Col du Soulor, Col d’Aspin, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam and of course the legend itself…...Tourmalet! With full support from The Col Collective, ride with and learn from Mike Cotty and the team on the bike each day and recover and relax après vélo back at our charming period guest house.
This is based on our signature week with a special Tourmalet twist, escaping to the biggest peaks and helping you become a more accomplished mountain rider, whilst creating mountain memories with The Col Collective and new friends and that will live with you forever.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is designed for intermediate level riders, guiding you around the greatest climbs made famous by the Tour de France. We’re blessed with having so many options from the door to stretch your limits and keep you hungry for more. If you’ve ridden in the mountains before and are comfortable being on the bike for 4-5 hours per day then this is the week for you. We won’t be racing up any climbs so you can set your own pace and we’ll be there to support you all the way to the summit. Typically each day consists of 1 to 2 climbs, 100km to 115km in distance with 2,000m to 2,500m of ascending. We’ve structured the week to capture the true beauty of the Hautes Pyrénées, and are flexible to be able to make days easier or harder so that everyone can get the most from their week in this truly spectacular region.
As the grand opening of the Tourmalet happens just once per year, this will be a one-of-a-kind week with a maximum group size of just 8 riders, so that we can really support you in the best possible way throughout the week.
Wed 2nd - Tue 8th June 2021 (6 nights) - Very limited availability. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
€2,895 per person - based on twin share. Includes our ‘all inclusive’ meal package.
€495 - single supplement. As we have limited rooms in our guest house please contact us in advance to confirm availability.
A relaxing environment where we take care of you from start to finish:
Tasty and nutritious food, locally sourced and lovingly prepared to satisfy your palate and hunger:
On the bike fully supported experience:
A thorough recovery to keep you going longer and stronger:
Keeping it simple for you:
What makes The Col Collective Cycling Tours experience unique?
More than just a cycling tour, an authentic experience
More than just a riding event, the experience of riding like a pro without the stress
More than just a moment, a lifetime experience to remember forever
What’s new in 2021?
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 8 Cols / 530km / 9,000m elevation
Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse airport at midday, bike build and light spin to loosen the legs and get ready for the week
Day 2 - Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque including Cirque du Litor > 105km / 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin from Campan > 115km 2,000m elevation
Day 4 - Col du Tourmalet grand opening celebration from Luz Saint Sauveur > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 5 - Luz Ardiden and Hautacam > 110km / 2,500m elevation
Day 6 - Col du Tourmalet from Sainte Marie de Campan (in honour of Octave!) 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 7 - Final big breakfast, high fives, bike packing and transfer back to Toulouse airport for 12pm noon drop off
Learn more about some of the climbs you’ll conquer throughout the week here.
Arriving in Toulouse we’ll collect you and your bike at midday. Snacks and light refreshments will be available on arrival at The Col Collective HQ where we’ll have time to get the bikes built and prepped before a gentle leg loosener ride (the Tourmalet will have to wait another day!) If you prefer to relax by the pool or catch up on recovery after travelling then no problem. Today is an easy day to get you ready for the week ahead. Over dinner Mike will chat you through the schedule for the coming days and no doubt a few tall tales will be told along the way.
The Cirque du Litor is one of the most picturesque roads in the world, joining the famous Col d’Aubisque and beautiful Col du Soulor along what appears to be no more than a craggy cliff edge. Steeped in Tour de France history, it first featured in the 1910 Tour during an unfathomable 326km stage from Bagnères de Luchon to the Atlantic coast. A gentle start will allow the legs to come around after yesterday’s travelling as we head into the hills. From the north the Soulor is a hidden gem that always leaves us in awe at its serenity as you start to ascend deep into the mountains, feeling the magnitude and beauty of your surrounds as you do. Ride in awe at the Cirque du Litor before taking a breather for coffee and Gâteau Basque at the summit of the Aubisque. Now awaits the first big descent of the week and what an absolute stunner it is.
Although Hourquette d’Ancizan may be a less familiar ascent it’s one that caught me by surprise with its unbelievable serenity the first time I rode it. Memories of that day always put me in a good place so I wanted to share that same experience with you all. We’ll start the day by rolling out through the Campan valley where we’ll tackle the first 6,5km of the Col d’Aspin. An unassuming right hand turn takes us away from the main road and into a world of cycling magnificence as the road meanders for 8km to the 1,564m high summit. Breath deep, the mountain air is so pure it’s invigorating. We’ll pick up the Aspin once again from where we left it to ride Hourquette, 5km from its 1,489m summit, where the road opens up and you’re gifted with sensational views of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2,877m) and of the Louron and Aure valleys.
Celebrating the official opening of the Col du Tourmalet is a once in a lifetime experience as the famous Octave Lapize (the first rider to ever climb Tourmalet) statue takes its place at the summit of this legendary mountain. We’ll join the carnival in the picturesque village of Pierrefitte Nestalas, where the brass band starts to play and the procession begins! Ascending the gentler slopes of the Gorge de Luz there’s time to absorb and enjoy the celebration before the gradient rises and we start the 19km climb of the Tourmalet! Being part of such a celebration definitely adds to the allure of this famous mountain, the history that it holds and the good times we’ll share together forevermore!
Climbing up to 1,715 metres at an average gradient just shy of 8% Luz Ardiden has been the scene of much drama over the years as the pros battle their way to the ski station summit. With a prestigious list of winners including Delgado, Indurain, Virenque, Jalabert, Armstrong and more, its close proximity to Spain means it’s one of the rare climbs that has featured in the Vuelta a España as well as the Tour de France. In fact, it was in the 2003 Tour when Armstrong had a falling out with a spectator’s musette, bringing him to the ground on the early slopes, leading to a frantic chase and eventual stage win…..fairytale stuff indeed. Known as the Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrenees for its similar stats in terms of length and elevation gain (OK, LA has 30 bends as opposed to ADH’s 21 but who’s counting?) it’s with 4 kilometres to go when the summit comes into view and the switchbacks start to flow. This is what we’ve come for! Take a deep breath and let the wonders of Luz Ardiden soothe your soul.
After some well deserved refreshments and a blast back down the Gorge de Luz we’re soon onto the early slopes of Hautacam, with its fluctuating gradient and cheeky pitches, this is a climb that needs careful pacing to get the most from it, allowing you to enjoy the big valley views. We’ll meet at the top for a Col Collective team selfie before allowing gravity to be our best friend on a descent of pure exhilaration!
The final big one and since we’re celebrating a very special mountain this week, there’s no better way to finish off than with the 17km eastern ascent of the Tourmalet from Sainte Marie de Campan, the historic village where, during the 1913 Tour de France, Eugène Christophe repaired his broken fork at a local blacksmith only to be given a fine by the race organisers for having outside assistance when he needed an extra pair of hands to operate the bellows! And you thought life was tough, eh? A gentle 30km start will allow breakfast to digest well before the road starts to tilt skywards and your superman or woman eye lasers fix themselves firmly on the summit. It’s only fitting that we bring our week to a close on arguably the most iconic col in Tour de France history, and the highest road pass in the French Pyrénées. Take a moment to reflect on a beautiful week, the mountain views appear endless and as they say in French c’est magnifique!
After a hearty mountain breakfast, it’s time to pack and prepare for a transfer back to Toulouse airport for a midday drop off.
This is a general itinerary to give you a good idea of what to expect. We may make some adjustments if we think we can further improve the week or if we need to dodge Mother Nature at any time. There’ll be options throughout the week to make days longer or shorter (with transfers to or from climbs) depending on how you’re feeling so rest assured we’re here to look after you.
Located in the heart of the Hautes Pyrénées with views towards the 2,877m Pic du Midi de Bigorre, The Col Collective guest house is a perfect base for cyclists looking to tackle the most prestigious Hors Catégorie climbs, gentle rolling roads or even flatter farmlands that give this area so much charm and character.
We have 5 beautifully appointed en-suite guest bedrooms which can hold a total of 12 people. All of our rooms are named after local peaks or cols and each bring their own unique feel of the Hautes Pyrénées to life.
4 rooms are located in the Grange and 1 room is located in the Maison de Maître. All are warmly appointed and allow for peaceful relaxation and recovery after a great day of cycling. Each room is private and spacious and offers flexible accommodation with the choice of either two single beds or one super king size bed. Complimentary services available in each room include:
Après vélo we welcome you to enjoy our pool, also known as ’the recovery zone’, cultivate your tan lines in our generously sized courtyard or take a spin into town for a coffee and culture.
Please complete the below booking request form so that we can start working with you to confirm your Col Collective cycling adventure. We’ll give you a call or send you an email with more details, also prior to booking we can answer any questions that you may have. Once you’re happy and have confirmed the booking we ask for 30% of the full price of the tour at this time, with the remaining balance paid in full 12 weeks before the tour. Changes and cancellations are detailed in our terms and conditions.
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to welcoming you to our mountains!
PLEASE NOTE THAT WE OCCASIONALLY ENCOUNTER AN ISSUE WITH OUR BOOKING FORM. IF YOU DON’T HEAR FROM US WITHIN 48 HOURS PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO email@example.com
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