Tour de France 2011
Our tour commences on the morning of the 17th July in Montpellier, which also happens to be the venue for the stage finish that evening. With many of our guests freshly arrived, we take the opportunity in the morning to have a relaxed group introduction session, followed by bike assembly, where you will be ably assisted by our guides, whose mechanical expertise may come in handy in both assembling you bikes and throughout the tour. After a light lunch we will head out for a gentle ride, taking advantage of the only ‘coastal’ part of our tour, along mostly flat roads, allowing for jet-laged legs and minds to adjust to riding on the right hand side of the road, and providing something more of an orientation to the area and each other. Late afternoon will then see us make our way to the stage finish area in Montpellier, where a sprint finish is expected. This will be the first of five chances we have to see the race up close, meaning plenty of Tour watching and a good chance to ride some of the spectacular (and some of the gruelling!) parts of this years Tour de France. That night we will have a group dinner, and enjoy our evening in this great and historic city.
Today, following breakfast we will make a fast trip in the cars start on the road towards Provence, to the town of Sault at the foot of the famous Mont Ventoux. An easy two and a half hour drive will see us settled in to our amazing accommodation for the next two nights, a provincial castle set in a lavender farm on the windswept plains below Mont Ventoux. We will make it the days ride to climb the easy side of the Ventoux, from Sault, still encountering the famous “lunar landscape” of the summit of the Ventoux, and hopefully making the most of the afternoon breeze to help push us up the climb. A great time to take out the cameras, stop at the Tom Simpson memorial, and savour this unique and challengin “Giant of Provence.”
There are in fact 3 paved ascents that are possible on the Ventoux, and the most famous, and commonly used in the Tour is the climb from the town of Bedoin. Rated as one of the most challenging climbs in the world, we will get another chance at reaching the instantly recognisable summit of the Ventoux. A trip to the Ventoux would not be complte without attempting the climb from this side, fully supported by your guides, and with the option of a short lift in the van for those not tempted to climb or decend the entire mountain. Again there will be more time for photographs before we head off down the long decent to a lunch stop, before finishing the day riding the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque, returning towards our accomodation.
Today we will make a post breakfast transfer from our chateau in Provence to the ski-resort of Les Deux Alpes, where we will be for the next three nights. After lunch we have several options for the afternoons ride, depending on how our legs are feeling after yesterdays challenge. The are no shortage of famous and less famous climbs in the area, and your guides will be more than happy to see that you are able to “bag some cols” as well as visit some of the fantastic smaller climbs and villages off the beaten path. Les Deux Alpes also provides plenty for those that want a day off the bike, with hiking, skiing, tennis and cinema just some of the options. Of course, with the lure of Alpe d'Huez within easy cycling distance, many of you might be tempted to take it on straight away! Your Cousins travel guides are there to support you on your rides, and make sure that everyone feels that they have experienced the type of riding, sightseeing and tour watching they came for.
Today, after a relaxing morning, we again take to the hill sides, this time of the Alpe d'Huez to see what will no doubt be a climactic finish. Today's stage is the last hilltop finish of this years tour, and on cycling's most famous climb, we are bound to see some exciting racing. With the Alpe itself now familiar territory for guests, Cousins will set up a comfortable base, some way up the climb, where guests can relax and wait for the riders to come passed, or the more adventurous can get amongst the masses at the summit for the finish. Over 1 million people have been thought to line the roads for this stage in previous years, so seeing the Tour come past on the Alpe d'Huez is an unmissable experience, and one that will be enjoyed by all.
- 8 nights accommodation with daily breakfast (except in Grenoble where breakfast will be on board the TGV to Paris!)
- 5 Dinners
- Experienced French speaking cycling guides and hosts
- All transfers
- Support vehicle and transport
- Exclusive knicks and jersey
- A lot of fun and as much or little riding as you like!
- Small group tour with maximum ten cyclists
- $250 voucher to spend at your nearest Bike Force Australia shop