The most famous bike race in the world takes place every July in France. In 2011 you can see it LIVE and IN PERSON in the French Alps! Join us as we take on the legendary Alpine climbs of France’s Pro Tour firsthand. In 2011, the Tour will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in the French Alps. You’ll have a front row seat to see several of the tour’s stages as the racer’s struggle to summit these impressive mountains. There’s nothing quite like seeing it in person!
You’ll be staying right on the race route and only a short distance from many of the famous climbs in the Alps. It’s the perfect location to see the race. Plus, you have time to ride other famous routes, not featured in this year’s race.
As with most of our tours, we’ll be based in one location for the week, so you’ll be able to unpack for the week and think more about sharing stories with your fellow riders over a drink on the patio, than repacking your bags and transferring to the next hotel.
Trip Details & Map
Location: La Grave, France
Trip Length: 7 days / 6 nights
Trip Type: Road Biking
Price: US$3,669 per person, double occupancy
Daily Rides: 25 - 70 miles
Accommodation: Les Chalets de la Meije (click to learn more)
Notes: Due to the location, terrain and nature of this trip, it is not recommended for non-bike riding guests.
Daily Ride Overview
Day 1 (July 18, TdF Rest Day for the pro riders) : We’ll meet at the Grenoble train station in the early afternoon, then shuttle eastward into the mountains to our home for the week in La Grave. There’ll be time to get settled in, unpack a bit and assemble our bikes. For those who wish, we’ll take a short spin along the valley to flush out the legs from our travels and ensure that bikes are properly tuned for the week ahead. Before sitting down to a group dinner of regional specialities later in the evening, we’ll meet for a welcome drink and discuss the amazing riding that awaits us. Ride: approximately 30 km (18 miles).
Day 2 (July 19, TdF Stage 16, Saint Paul Trois Chateux to Gap) : With the spectacle that is the Tour, we’d like to provide you with an unrestricted chance to tackle one of the most famous climbs in cycling: Alpe d’Huez. The Tour won’t be on these slopes for a few more days, but by ascending this formidable climb today, you’ll be able to take in each of the 21 hairpins at your own pace and perhaps test your time against the pros. The record was set in 1997 at 37 mins 35 secs, so you can compare your time against it. Once at the top, you can celebrate with your fellow cyclists and soak in the glory of making it to the top. We’ll descend on a smaller, alpine road with incredible vistas of the valley floor below. For those of you who want more climbing in your day, you can add on Les Deux Alpes, a category 1 climb just across from Alpe d’Huez. Tonight’s meal will be together as a group. Ride: 76 km (46 miles) with 1933 m (6342 ft) of climbing; with Les Deux Alpes option: 96 km (60 miles) with 2631 m (8602 feet) of climbing.
Day 3 (July 20, TdF Stage 17, Gap to Pinerolo) : Ready to see the Pro Tour riders live?!? We’ll start our day by climbing east, over the Col du Lautaret, then descend down to the town of Briançon to see the race pass through town and start up the Col de Montgenèvre. For those wanting to test their legs on one of the legendary climbs of the Alps, there is the option to ascend the Col d’Izoard. The jagged cliffs and the 6.9% average gradient make this a spectacular climb. Additionally, the pros will be racing this col on the following day, so get a preview of what they have awaiting them. Dinner tonight will be on your own back in La Grave. Ride: 76 km (47 miles) with 1360 m (4463 feet) of climbing; with Col d’Izoard option: 113 km (70 miles) with 2486 m (8156 feet) of climbing.
Day 4 (July 21, TdF Stage 18, Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier) : The 100 year anniversary of the Alps and the Galibier in the Tour de France! It’s a historic day. Not only is it the 100th anniversary of the Galibier, but it is also the highest Tour finish ever! Our hotel is a mere 10 km (6 miles) from the base of the Galibier. We’ll be in prime position to tackle this epic climb on race day. For those who are in form and want to push themselves even farther, you may wish to get an early start and ride not just one, but both sides of the Galibier before the roads close for the race. The rest of us will have found a great vantage point on the side of the road to view the race and be waiting to congratulate you on your efforts. Don’t be fooled, even though just riding one side may not seem like too far of a distance, it’s formidable. The last kilometer tops out at over a 12% grade! Dinner will be as a group tonight in La Grave. Ride: 39 km (24 miles) with 1142 m (3737 feet) of climbing; riding both sides of the Galibier (to the Col du Telegraphe and back): 84 km (52 miles) with 2466 m (8091 feet) of climbing.
Day 5 (July 22, TdF Stage 19, Modane to Alpe d’Huez) : Alpe d’Huez on race day! Perhaps the most iconic of all mountains to be on for the Tour. Fans will have been gathering for more than a week, camping out on the mountain’s slopes, waiting to see their cycling heros. Today you’ll join them as you climb the crowded banks, across freshly painted pro names on the road. Don’t be surprised if you receive your fair share of cheers from the fans too. It’s not a day to set any records up this climb, but rather to absorb the entire spectacle that is the Tour. With only two days before the race’s finish in Paris and since today is the last full road stage, the action is sure to be heated. We’ll settle in at a good viewing location and cheer on our favorites as they race by. Back in La Grave this evening, we’ll swap stories over a group dinner. Ride: 80 km (49 miles) with 1933 m (6342 feet) of climbing.
Day 6 (July 23, TdF Stage 20, Individual Time Trial in Grenoble) : How are your legs feeling today? Well, there are two options available to you. If you’d like to see the time trial, we’ll be shuttling into Grenoble to take in a bit of this attractive French city before finding a great location to watch the riders race by. If you’d rather get in some more riding, we’ve got another spectacular bike ride for you today: climbing out of the Oisans Valley, we’ll ride up over the Col du Glandon, loop back and then ascend the challenging Croix de la Fer. Our route will be punctuated with alpine lakes, mountain refuges, and unforgettable vistas. Tonight, we’ll gather for one last dinner as a group and reminisce about the week’s accomplishments. Ride: 112 km (70 miles) with 3054 m (10,020 feet) of climbing. The time trial viewing is a non-riding option.
Day 7 (July 24, TdF Stage 21, Créteil to Paris) : We’ll enjoy one last alpine breakfast before saying “au revoir” to the mountains and shuttling back to Grenoble to say goodbye.
*please note that we reserve the right to make changes to this itinerary if deemed necessary
All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 6 dinners
Transfer to/from Grenoble train station at trip start/end
GPS bike units for each guest to use during trip
Accompanied route support every day with van support (when race conditions allow)
Snacks (energy bars, fruit, etc.) and drinks (hydration mixes, water, etc.) provided every day
2 experienced English speaking tour leaders
Secure bike storage