Our Tour de France week will capture the beauty of the mountains and the colours and character of the Tour as it passes through the Pyrénées. Combining peaceful yet challenging ride days with the spectacle of the world’s biggest race, whilst enjoying every minute with The Col Collective. Riding and watching the Tour in the same week is a surreal experience that often has us pinching ourselves in disbelief at just how magical the mountains can be.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is for those who want to experience the magic of the Tour de France close up while also having a challenging and rewarding week on the bike. We’ll be tackling some off the most legendary climbs in the sport including the Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, Col du Soulour, Hautacam, Peyresourde and of course the Col du Tourmalet, plus we’ll be getting up close and personal with the Tour as the pros go full gas in the Pyrénées.
On average rides are around 100km with 2,000m of elevation gain, and plenty of opportunities to extend the shorter days or cut the longer ones depending on how you’re feeling each day. We want this week to be a celebration of the Tour de France, a chance to conquer the most prestigious peaks and a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience it all with personal support from The Col Collective.
We’re offering 7 nights accommodation and a maximum group size of just 8 guests with 2-3 guides so that we offer the best possible experience and levels of personal support both on and off the bike.
22nd - 29th July 2018 (7 nights).
€2,550 per person - based on twin share, includes our exclusive Col Collective mountain essentials kit bag worth over €850! See ‘what’s included’ for details.
€500 - 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% discount for group bookings of 3 or more.
The Col Collective premium mountain essentials kit bag worth over €850!
We are very proud to be able to offer a truly exceptional package from our partners to help you in every area of your cycling. This kit includes:
* The Col Collective Limited Edition
PLUS! Access to preferential Col Collective partner pricing**
** Limitations may apply and can be confirmed prior to booking.
For 2018 we’re currently working on the full contents of our mountain essentials kit bag. Some items may change subject to availability but the value will be equivalent, or more, than quoted.
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 12 Cols / 575km / 12,000m elevation
Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse airport at midday, bike build and light spin to loosen the legs
Day 2 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin (1st col of Stage 19) > 120km 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - Col de Peyresourde, Col de Val Louron-Azet, Pla d’Adet, Col de Portet > 85km / 3,000m elevation (Stage 17 of the Tour)
Day 4 - Col du Tourmalet (2nd col of Stage 19) from Saint Marie de Campan 105km / 2,000m elevation with an option to add Luz Ardiden > +25km / 1,000m elevation
Day 5 - Hautacam > 60km / 1,100m elevation and visit to Pau for the finish of Stage 18
Day 6 - Col des Bordères, Soulor and Aubisque including Cirque du Litor > 100km / 2,000m elevation (final 3 cols of Stage 19)
Day 7 - Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur > 105km / 2,000m elevation
Day 8 - Breakfast basking in Tour de France glory, bike packing and (sadly) 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 spin. 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.
Hourquette d’Ancizan may be a less familiar ascent but 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 and as it lends itself for an incredibly beautiful loop that takes in the historic Col d’Aspin (that will be the first ascent of Stage 19 of the 2018 Tour) it’s the perfect way to ease our way into the mountains with spectacular scenery, idyllic peaceful roads and the iconic 2,877m high Pic du Midi de Bigorre keeping a careful watch over our every move.
A short transfer to the spa town of Bagnères de Luchon sets up what’s to be a very exciting and challenging day as we take a close look at what the pros will be racing up on Stage 17 of the Tour. Starting with the Col de Peyresourde, another truly historic Tour mountain that first featured in the 1910 race, taking us from the Haute-Garonne back into the Haute-Pyrénées (with a cheeky crêpe stop at the summit). This will be the seventh time that the Col de Val Louron-Azet has been part of the Tour, acting as a 7.4km test before descending to the ski town of Saint-Lary-Soulan. It’s here that things start to get really exciting as we head up Pla d’Adet and beyond…...yes, beyond! For the very first time ever the 2,215m high road up the narrow twists and turns of the unknown Col de Portet will be our focus. The day may be short(ish) but it’s climbing all the way and a once in a lifetime chance to scale a totally new col before the race heads there the following day. Maybe we can let Froomey and the boys know what they’re in for in advance!
Continuing our footsteps following the magic and history of the Tour de France, today we’re heading to Saint Marie de Campan, the town where in 1913 Eugène Christophe repaired his broken forks at a local blacksmiths 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! A flat 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 of the legendary Col du Tourmalet. Arguably the most iconic col in Tour de France history the Tourmalet is a big test - 17km long with an average gradient of 7.4%. The highest road pass in the French Pyrénées at 2,115m, making it to the summit and gazing out at the view is worth a million laboured pedal strokes every time and it’s great to know exactly what the Tour riders will face just two days later.
After the last two big days in the saddle it’s time to taper things back a notch to allow you to recover. OK, so that’s the theory. The reality is today we’ll take a ride up Hautacam, a climb that’s known as one of the toughest there is with its fluctuating gradient and steep pitches that make finding a rhythm almost impossible. Rolling out to Argèles Gazost provides the perfect warm up. As it’s a ski station summit you can choose to push it on or hold back to enjoy the views. We’ll meet at the top for a Col Collective selfie and a coffee stop before descending back to base where we’ll freshen up and head to Pau for dinner and to catch the final of Stage 18 as riders thunder into town, will Marcel Kittel repeat his victory from 2017? Only time will tell.
The final BIG day in the mountains for the Tour and we wanted to make sure it’s going to be a massive day for you to remember! We’ll start by seeing the riders roll out of Lourdes and while they head east we’ll make our escape in the other direction to tackle the final three climbs of the stage just hours before the pros circle back around. Starting with the lesser known (until now) Col des Bordères before heading on towards two of the oldest climbs in the Tour’s long and illustrious history. The Col du Soulour’s steady and consistent gradient takes us deeper into the stage, topping out at 1,474m and taking us onto one of the most picturesque and dramatic roads in the world (not only the Pyrénées) the truly spectacular Cirque du Litor as we trace our way along what appears to be little more than a craggy cliff edge to the summit of the legendary Col d’Aubisque which will be the final mountain peak of the entire race! Fireworks expected? Oui, oui!
As the Tour heads onwards to Paris it’s time for one last mountain and there’s no better way to end the week than with the Col du Tourmalet, this time from Luz Saint Sauveur. With the sound of race radio crackling and the screams of a million fans still hanging in the airwaves today the Tourmalet is going to be a spiritual place to savour as the dust finally settles on its slopes once more.
After a Tour de France breakfast fit for royalty, 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 HQ 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 velo we welcome you to enjoy our heated 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 tour. 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!
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After an incredible first season we are very pleased to offer you our new 2018 cycling tours. Whatever your level of cycling we'd be proud to share the road with you and help you become a better rider.
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