With the Vuelta a España set to make a rare appearance in the Hautes Pyrénées on August 23rd, we thought there’s no better way to celebrate than with a special Grand Cols week conquering some of the greatest climbs in cycling history including the Aubisque, Aspin, Luz Ardiden, Soulor, Hautacam and friends, with the added excitement of being part of the Stage 9 summit finish on the legendary Col du 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 period guest house.
This week is all about escaping to the biggest peaks, enjoying the Vuelta vibe and helping you become a more accomplished mountain rider, with laughs and memories that will live with you for a lifetime.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is designed for intermediate level riders, guiding you around the greatest climbs in the Hautes Pyrénées. 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 riding 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 2 climbs, 100km, with 2,000m to 2,500m of ascending, giving yourself time to challenge yourself but (most importantly) enjoy this beautiful region.
With the Vuelta rumoured to make a rare crossing in to France, this will be a unique Grand Cols week limited to a maximum of just 8 riders, with 2-3 guides so that we can really support you in true Col Collective style throughout.
Wednesday 19th - Tuesday 25th August 2020 (6 nights) - Just 3 places remaining!
€2,595 per person - based on twin share, includes our exclusive Col Collective mountain essentials premium kit bag! See ‘what’s included’ for details.
€495 - single supplement. As we have limited rooms in our guest house please contact us in advance to confirm availability.
10% discount for non-riding partners.
5% loyalty discount for returning guests and group bookings of 3 or more.
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:
The Col Collective mountain essentials premium kit bag!
We are currently working on our 2020 Col Collective kit bag which will include the highest quality mountain essentials gear from our premium partners including limited edition Col Collective jersey, nutrition, lighting, tools and more. In 2019 the value of this kit bag was over €850!
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 2020?
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 9 Cols / 530km / 10,500m 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 (2nd summit of Stage 9) > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - Luz Ardiden and Hautacam > 110km / 2,500m elevation
Day 4 - Transfer to Laruns > Col du Pourtalet (first climb of Stage 9) > 85km / 2,000m elevation
Day 5 - Col du Tourmalet with Vuelta Stage 9 summit finish! > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 6 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin from Campan > 110km 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.
Starting the week in style we’ll first ascend the Col du Soulor (1,474m). With its consistent gradient the Soulor is a climb that allows you to really think about what you’re doing, get into a rhythm and enjoy the stunning mountain views. At the summit we’ll pause for refreshments before joining one of the most sensational mountain roads in the world, the unbelievable Cirque du Litor up to the Col d’Aubisque. Built by Napoleon III in the 18th Century the ‘route thermale’ connects the spa towns of Eaux-Bonnes to Argelès-Gazost and has seen much drama in the Tour de France, although this week it’ll see the pros race along it in Stage 9 of the Vuelta! Talk about following in the wheel tracks of legends!
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!
At 1,794m elevation the Col du Pourtalet marks the frontier between Spain and France and is the first big mountain of Stage 9 providing a unique opportunity for us to put our toes onto Spanish soil. A short transfer to Laruns in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques will see us wind our way up the Pourtalet, with its relatively gentle gradient it’s a climb of true wonder with many waterfalls and lakes all peacefully watched over by the 2,884m high Pic du Midi d’Ossau. A loop around the Lanuza Reservoir and incredibly beautiful ascent to Formigal will leave us all in awe before finishing the day with a spectacular 30 km ascent back to Laruns.
One of the most famous climbs in cycling history, the Col du Tourmalet holds the secret to a million stories and more, and today we plan to add a few more to its fabled slopes as we tackle it from the pretty Pyrenean village of Luz Saint Sauveur. This is the day of our giant Vuelta celebration, climbing the mythical Tourmalet while also watching the pros rocket towards the finish at the 2,115m high summit. Despite being so close, it’s safe for the Vuelta to venture into France but when it does so (and finishes at the top of the Tourmalet!) we simply HAVE to be part of it and we can’t wait to share such an adventure with you!
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. As the Vuelta takes a rest day, we’ll get the legs turning again by rolling through the Campan valley where we’ll tackle the first 5 km 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 deeper into the wilderness it’s 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 by the top unforgettable views of the Louron and Aure valleys.
Following a well earned mountain breakfast bonanza 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 by adding a climb or two, 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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Now in our fourth season, we're proud to bring you all the info on our new 2020 cycling tours. Whatever your level of cycling we'd be proud to share the road with you and help you become a more accomplished mountain rider.
Due to the unfortunate situation that we've all faced with COVID19, and for the continued safety and comfort of our guests and team, we have taken the decision to reschedule all of our 2020 tours to 2021. We're currently in the process of re-scheduling our 2020 guests. Full details of our new 2021 calendar will be online shortly. Thank you for your patience and support.
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