Join us as we follow the 2010 race for the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees. This year's race commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tour in the Pyrenees. Here, in 1910 the Tour organizers had pushed the entrants in this already difficult race to the absolute limit by taking them over the Col du Tourmalet. Still difficult today, the route was nearly impassable in 1910. It was during the 1910 Tour that the eventual winner, Octave Lapize, second to cross the Tourmalet, spat the word "assassins" at the tour organizers as he pushed his bike over the summit for having put him and the other racers through such an ordeal. Our ride features four race stages and some of the best bicycling in all of France.
Day 1: Gather today in Carcassonne
Highlights: Carcassonne, one of the best restored Medieval villages in EuropeArrive in Carcassonne, one of the best restored fortified Medieval villages in France. Come early to explore this masterpiece of Medieval town planning restored in the 19th Century. We'll fit bikes this afternoon after watching the end of Stage 13 of the Tour on TV. We'll meet for introductions followed by dinner together.
Day 2: Pedal from Carcassonne to Chalabre to see the Tour
Highlights: Stage 14, Sunday picnic with the French on the race routeToday is one of the first Pyrenees mountain stages of the Tour. The race starts in Revel and heads due south for two steep climbs, including a mountain finish. We'll pedal out of Carcassonne and through the foothills of the Pyrenees to intersect the tour near Chalabre. So grab your lunch supplies on the way and join the throngs of French people who will be picnicking along the course (it's Sunday after all and this is one of the favorite pastimes of the French!) Once the race passes we'll pedal on to Foix where we'll find a café to watch the mountain finish on the Plateau de Bonascre. Shuttle to our hotel in St. Girons will end our day. Dinner together. Daily Mileage: Approximately 120 km (75 miles)
Day 3: Ride from St. Girons to the Col de Portet d'Aspet
Highlights: Ride part of the Tour route, watch stage 15 on the Col de Portet d'AspetWe'll get an early start this morning as we shuttle then pedal to St. Girons today ahead of the Tour on their route up the Col de Porte d'Aspet. Mid to late morning the publicity caravan will overtake us. We'll be allowed to ride more on the course before the race catches us. Watch for a good spot to see the riders as they come up the east side of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. Once the race goes by we'll continue on an extended loop ride or coasting back to St. Girons to watch the Stage finish on TV. Optional dinner included. Daily Mileage: Estimated 85 km (53 miles)
Day 4: Shuttle to the base of the Col d'Aspin, then ride
Highlights: Pedaling the Col d'Aspin and the Col du TourmaletToday's ride takes us ahead of the Tour to begin, then follows them after they pass. We'll watch the race as the peloton motors over the Col d'Aspin. Once they pass we continue on up the Col du Tourmalet, the single most famous pass of the Tour. It was here in 1910 that the Tour organizers challenged the riders with this nearly impossible route, prompting the eventual winner Octave Lapize to spit, "assassins" at them as he wheeled his bike over the summit. (We'll see how you feel about this climb after you do it!) Once we've conquered the Tourmalet we'll pedal on toward Lourdes, offering a shuttle to those who wish. Dinner is together this evening. Daily Mileage: 50-100 km (31-62 miles)
Day 5: Loop ride out of Lourdes into the Pyrenees
Highlights: Spectacular rural rides and climbs in the PyreneesThis is a rest day for the racers between stages 16 and 17. If there is anyone who wants to ride an entire stage of the 2010 Tour we'll provide an early shuttle to Pau where you can ride Stage 17 (this is tomorrow's stage) in its entirety (or you can try!) Those who are not so ambitious can ride a loop out of Lourdes and over the Col du Soulor or back up the Tourmalet to watch the stage finish there. Optional dinner included. Daily mileage: Estimated 90-174km (56-109 miles)
Day 6: Watch the Stage Start in Pau
Highlights: See the Racers up Close at the beginning of Stage 17We shuttle then pedal into Pau to see the race start this morning. Here's your chance to take pictures and to get some autographs. After watching the stage start we'll shuttle then pedal to the top of the Tourmalet to see the final mountain top finish or pedal back to Lourdes to watch the grand finale on television. Today's stage will very likely determine who the 2010 Tour winner will be! We'll enjoy our final dinner together this evening. Daily Mileage: Estimated 60-100km (38-60 miles)
Day 7: Our ride ends today
Highlights: Transfer to Pau or ToulouseOur Tour experience ends after breakfast this morning, but the Tour is still underway. Stage 18 heads to the Bordeaux wine country today. Maybe you'll follow them? Or perhaps you are headed on to Paris for the finish on Sunday. Whatever your plans, thanks for joining us. Bon Voyage!
HighlightsStages 14, 15, 16 and 17, Col d'Aspin, Col du Portet d'Aspet, Col de Marie-Blanque, Toulouse, St Girons, Col de Tourmalet, Col d'Aubisque, Col de Soulor, Lourdes, Pau
Includes7 days, 6 nights accommodation, 6 dinners with wine, 6 breakfast, tour end shuttle to Pau or Toulouse
Begin/EndCarcassonne / Lourdes
Arrive/DepartToulouse or Pau
Total Distance405 - 579 km (252 - 360 miles)
Daily Distance50 - 174 km at your option (31 - 109 miles)
What to ExpectFirsthand race excitement, dramatic mountain scenery and pleasant rural rides
Mountain riding, shuttles for those who wish
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
I must say I had the experience of a lifetime. The trip was great and even more than I expected it to be. ExperiencePlus! did a wonderful job of putting us at the right places at the right time and we can't brag enough on our wonderful guides.
Jim S., Broken Arrow, OK