CYcling Tours and Holidays | Tour de France

TDF French Alps | 15-28 July 2019 | BOOK NOW

Trip 2 Exploratory trip featuring many new roads in the Magnificent French Alps.

Our 2nd TdF trip involves far less bus travel and is more of an exploratory trip. Starting and finishing in Lyon. This trip spends all it’s time in the French Alps. We will be riding hotel to hotel where possible and really trying to limit the time on a bus. Maximising time on the bikes.

It’s designed with repeat clients in mind. Those wanting something different. Or for new clients who have already been to the Pyrenees and Provence.

A lot of the rides planned are based on local knowledge. We have two guides who live in the Alps. Silas Cullen and Patrick Cozza. This itinerary is based on their recommendations.

The official TDF Alps itinerary won’t be finalised until late October 2018 although it’s unlikely to change much from what you’ll see below. Typically, a two-week RIDE Holidays tour will encounter the Tour de France race about four times, prioritising the must-see sections as the race nears the finish. Group members will enjoy an insightful sampling of the different types of course sections, from mountain top triumphs to decorated villages.

Our TdF trips are very popular and we are happy to take advance bookings. The deposit is $500.00 however this is 100% refundable. If you don’t like the final itinerary when released, then you can have your money back. (please note, not many people cancel) The dates (15-28 July) won’t change.

RIDE Holidays cycle tours are achievable for anyone who rides a road bike, not just the serious cyclist, and offers an unparalleled experience of both the race and the country. There are three rides to choose from daily – the less demanding ‘cappuccino’ level, then ‘latte’ and, for those keen on pedalling 100km or more per day, ‘espresso’. The TdF Alps trip will still cater for non-riding partners. (Team Macchiato)

Day 1, Monday 15 July

Welcome back to France,

We’re picking the majority of people booked on this trip have already been to France on previous trips…. So, a huge welcome back. Thank you. Ahhhh, now I remember - all things good about France. The pace of life, croissants, wine, cheese, great roads, amazing scenery etc etc. We could go on and on. What a fantastic country. Why wouldn’t you come back year after year!!

Ideally, we’d like you to arrive early afternoon. Our hotel is located right at the airport. Late this afternoon we put all the bikes and make sure the rentals fit correctly. We’ll go for a quick spin around the car park. It’s a big car park. As we’re starting and finishing in Lyon we plan to leave the bike bags (and excess luggage) at the hotel.

Tonight the chef has promised a regional meal. That’s French speak for using local produce to create a stunning welcoming dinner for us. Oh, there will also be champagne and red wine. A lot of you will know each other so it’s a case of saying hello to old friends and welcoming those who are travelling with us for the first time. Welcome back to France.

/ Accommodation: Lyon Airport
/ Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2, Tuesday 16 July

The most beautiful place on earth…

Lake Annecy is simply one of the most beautiful spots on earth. That’s a fact. It’s been 3 years since we’ve been here and we just needed to get back. You’ll love it which is why we have 4 nights here.

The plan is to leave Lyon reasonably early. Our drive to Aix-les-Bains isn’t a long one. Here we jump on the bikes and ride lake to lake. That would also be lake to hotel. Life is great. In a straight line it’s only 35km. For us it will be longer as we are hardly heading in a straight line. Yes, there will be some false flat. Nothing too dramatic though. Today is all about turning the legs over.

Team Macchiato – you’ll also join us in Aix and rather than cycle we’ll take you on a nice walk. There’s a walking path that runs along the lake front. The plan is to beat the feet and then find a nice restaurant for lunch. We’ll time our arrival in Annecy at the same time as the cyclists.

Tonight we eat in Annecy. Stunning. You’ll see.

/ Accommodation: Lake Annecy
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3, Wednesday 17 July

Off the beaten track… With a touch of gravel.

Part of the reason for introducing this new trip to the RH calendar is that one of our team – Silas Cullen lives here. He’s the man with all the secret rides. His personal favourite is Col de l'Arpettaz. So, that’s where we shall go today. The start of the climb is an easy jaunt along a bike path from our hotel. It’s then – up, up and away… The length isn’t overly scary at 16km. There’s an altitude gain of 1160m with an average of 7%. Don’t worry, we’ve got all day. And, we’ll have a support van handy for those who want a lift half way. The climb itself is generally traffic free on a small narrow road that starts in a beech forest before popping out in stunning French high country – complete with bells and brown cows. Despite being in the middle of nowhere there’s a fantastic refuge (alpine café) on top that’s know for it’s hot chocolate and apple tart. This Col also offers amazing views of Mont Blanc. And wait, there’s more. There’s a touch of gravel for those hipsters amongst us.

What a great start to your riding holiday.

Team Mac – We’re going to show you around town this morning. There’s a lot to see. The plan then is to hop in the van and arrive at the top of Col de l'Arpettaz at the same time as the cyclists.

Tonight, you are free to explore the canal restaurants for dinner. See you nice and early tomorrow.

/ Accommodation: Lake Annecy
/ Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 4, Thursday 18 July

Watches, Knives and Chocolate…

Team Mac and anyone feeling like a day off the bike head for Switzerland with one of the vans. Geneva is only 45mins away and it’s old town is a labyrinth of narrow streets, picturesque stores, cafes and restaurants. We really don’t expect to see you back until later on as the city also has a lot of walking opportunities. Please bring me back some chocolate.

Cyclists – life is short. Col du Plan Bois awaits. Yes, another local gem. Not as challenging as yesterday but still a big lumpy piece of dirt and again off the beaten track. It’s on the other side of the valley from the famous Col de la Croix Fry. There’s again a nice café at the top which is where we’ll have lunch. This afternoon is all about the lake. It’s time for a swim.

Tonight we’ve booked an evening cruise and dinner. In true French style it doesn’t depart until 8pm, returning at 10.30pm. Maybe a sleep in tomorrow.

Accommodation: Lake Annecy
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner (cruise)

Day 5, Friday 19 July

Our last day in Paradise

Our last day in this gorgeous region. Wednesday and Thursday’s rides were designed around local favourites. Today we go mainstream. You can’t visit Annecy without venturing up Col de la Forclaz and it’s not far from our hotel. The ride itself isn’t hard but it can be hot as you’re in the trees most of the time. The view from the top is incredible as you look down on the lake and the city of Annecy. This climb is a favourite on the Tour de France agenda.

For those who want more distance we’ll send you out with Silas. There are another 4 or 5 climbs in this region. A word of warning – here’s how Silas describes gradients. 0-5% Flat. 5-8% False flat. 8-12% undulating. Above 12% some hilly sections. You have been warned.

Team Mac – It’s market day in Annecy. We’d suggest checking that out before joining us at the top of Forclaz which is where we’ll have lunch. Its action packed as we watch all the paragliders jump off the ramp right in front of the restaurant. Feel free to join them!!

Accommodation: Lake Annecy
Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 6, Saturday 20 July

Les Lacets de Montvernier

This morning we bid au revoir to Annecy and head deep in to the Alps.

The plan is to stop half way and ride Les Lacets de Montvernier. You probably watched this on the TV in the 2015 and 2018 TdF. It was the amazing switchback climb that was closed to the public because it’s too narrow. Jaw dropping stuff and worthy of a quick ride. Today is designed a semi rest day. Tomorrow the sh*t hits the fan.

Team Mac – the actual Lacets climb is only a couple of kms long and not overly step due to the switchbacks. We plan to get you there an hour or so before the cyclists and make you walk it. There will be a van waiting for you at the top near the church.

Our accommodation for the next three nights is again on a lake. However, unlike Annecy I’d describe this particular lake as alpine, so I doubt you’ll be swimming. It’s also in a tiny village. A good refreshing change from the last 4 nights. You’ll be the talk of the town.

/ Accommodation: le Lauzet Ubaye
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7, Sunday 21 July

A new Ride Holidays record…

Again we are in this region because one of our guides lives here. We’ve entered the mountain world of Patrick Cozza. He’s been encouraging us to visit for a number of years. Patrick, here we are. What have you got for us?

At 2802m Col de la Bonette is the highest paved col in Europe. It is situated within the Mercantour National Park near the border with Italy. We haven’t been here before. It’s new territory and a great challenge. We’ll have support vehicles to help those who don’t want to cycle all the way. It’s not overly steep however it’s still a 25km climb. The gain is just over 1600m at an average of 6%. (false flat going off Silas’s chart) Generally there are more cyclists than cars which is always a good sign. It’s well paved, with lots of hairpin bends. You also pass quite a few old military forts. I have Goosebumps just sitting at my desk researching this. The photos look amazing. Bring it on.

Team Mac – the plan is to hire a local guide for a guided walk in the area that we’ll be cycling. The other option is an espresso in Italy? There are many good things about France. Coffee isn’t one of them. Italy is only 45mins away over the Col de Larche. We are very flexible and will listen to your requests. Or, you can simply join us on top of one of Europe’s highest roads.

/ Accommodation: le Lauzet Ubaye
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8, Monday 22 July

Rest day – kind of.

At time of print we are unsure of the TDF race route however we believe they’ll be in the area over the next few days. The itinerary will be tinkered with once we know.

Yesterday was massive. The plan for tomorrow is equally as challenging. Today is a down day. Those who want to get some vertical can simply ride to Pra Loup. Most famous for when a certain Eddy Merckx and Bernard Thévenet battled it out on the final slopes for victory.

The latte ride literally involves a ride out to Le Sauze du Lac and back. There are quite a few other options. By now, some will be seeking a day off the bike. How about a spot of high Alpine golf?

The other option is to join Team Mac as the explore Fort de Tournoux. It was built between 1843 and the early 20th century to defend France against invasion from Italy and Savoy. It was described as the "Military Versailles of the 19th century," resembling a Tibetan monastery on the mountainside above the Ubaye.

Or just – relax by the pool. See you tonight for dinner.

/ Accommodation: le Lauzet Ubaye
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9, Tuesday 23 July

Puki Puki Munta

There are a few options today. Not many will take on the whole challenge. Those that do will be drug tested.

The Puki Puki involves a quick ride in the van to Risoul which is where you’ll start your ride. It’s then up the back side of Col d’Izoard before the worlds best descent in to Briancon and on to our hotel. Ride distance is about 60km.

The Puki Puki Munta challenge involves a hotel to hotel ride. Total riding distance is just under 110km however you have the extra climb of Col de Vars. In short – it’s a munta of a day and probably your longest day in the saddle. Ouch.

Team Mac head for Briancon which is one of the nicest towns in the Alps. Complete with narrow cobbled streets. You then head up d’Izoard in the opposite direction to the cyclists. We’ll meet you at Napoleon’s refuge for a coffee and cake.

It’s then on to Serre Chevalier for our last three nights in the Alps. We hope to see the TdF the next three days.

Tour de France Cycle Tour

Day 10, 11, 12 & 13…

Staying in Serre Chevalier (inc all breakfasts and dinners)

We are 80% sure the Tour de France will be in the area and we’ll finalise the plan in October once race route is released.

Our plan is simple. To see as much of the TdF as possible as well as giving you the chance to ride favourites like Galibier, Lautaret, Telegraph and Alpe d’Huez.

As well as giving you the option of exploring new rides like Col de Sarenne, Col du Granon and Oulles which is stunning, narrow, switchback 10km climb. The view from the summit is incredible, giving you a viewpoint on Alpe d’Huez, and the Balcony Road.

Team Mac – you’ll also have the chance to hire e-bikes and ride with us. We did this last year and it was a great success. There’s also the thermal spa which isn’t far away. And for the actual TdF stage you will have V.I.P access. Our official support van with will be able to take you right to the finish line. Quite a treat as the road will have been closed to normal traffic for the past 48 hours.

Late on Saturday 27 July we plan on arriving back in Lyon where it all started. Accompanied with a bucket load of memories. It’s been a great two weeks. Those mountain climbs have been officially tamed.

Tonight, we’ll celebrate over a glass of champagne. Or two.

Day 14, Sunday 28 July

Safe travels home

Our tour finishes after breakfast. For some it’s time to head home, while others will take some time in Lyon or head off to explore other parts of Europe. Thank you for joining us on the adventure of a life time and the greatest sporting event in the world.

Or, you can see it live. Some may decide to head for Paris and the Champs Élysées. Our V.I.P grandstand tickets are only 200m from the finishing line. It’s really your only option to experience the race today as millions of people queue for the free seats. The riders will complete eight laps of the 6km circuit to decide who wins the final stage on the famous cobbles.

Whatever you decide. Safe travels home and thank you for joining Ride Holidays.

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Tour Inclusions

  • 2 nights Lyon, 4 nights Lyon, 3 nights le Lauzet Ubaye, 3 nights Serre Chevalier.
  • Up to 4 stages of the Tour de France
  • Choice of 2-3 rides per day at your pace
  • 6-7 staff including mechanic
  • Small vans for support and transport
  • All breakfasts, all evening meals (except two)
  • Includes all tips (guides and pre-arranged meals)
  • Tour de France souvenir booklet and RIDE Holidays cycle jersey
  • Maps provided as well as GPS assistance
  • Non-riders are very welcome and well catered for
  • 10 week training program

The Price Excludes

  • International Airfares – Karl can arrange
  • Bike Rental – NZD 650.00 (Carbon, Compact & fast)
  • Paris - final stage. Grand Stand tickets, accommodation and travel. Price is approx. NZD1000.00.
  • Lunches, drinks & snack bars, your cycling food.
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory! Karl can arrange
  • Pre-& post tour accommodation or tours

Approximate Tour Cost

$8700.00 NZD per person twin share

$8500.00 NZD for past, repeat clients.

$1300.00 NZD for single room (Subject to availability)

 Tour de France Bike Tour

Tour de France Bike Tour

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