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9 Day Classic Climbs Cycling Tour in France, Andorra, and Spain
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 9 Day Classic Climbs Cycling Tour in France, Andorra, and Spain

Oloron-St-Marie - Soulour - Aspin - Peyresourde, France ; Bonaguia, Spain ; Massana, Andorra ; Catalonia - Barcelona, Spain

Pyrenees Cycling Tour in France, Andorra, and Spain

A fantastic ride through the beautiful forested French, Spanish, and Andorran Pyrenees finishing by winding your way through the Catalanyan climbs into the stunning town of Girona. Tour de France merges with the Vuelta with the riding highlights including some of the most famous mountain passes of both races history; Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde, Portillon, Bonaigua, Ordino, pulled together using extensive local knowledge. There will also be plenty of time to soak up the history of this fascinating region.

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to Point
  • Starts in: Bordeaux, France
  • Ends in: Barcelona, Spain
  • Difficulty level: Moderate (Cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometime,31-45 miles per day), Challenging (Cyclist needs to have high level of fitness, must be an active rider, the terrain includes really challenging climbs/or 46-80 or more miles per day)
  • Total distance: 500 - 680 kilometers / 310 - 422 miles
  • Type of bike: Road bike

Meet the instructors

Jen & Stuart
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Highlights

  • 7 days of cycling
  • Cycle into the historic city of Girona
  • Experience the beautiful principality of Andorra
  • Ride the highest pass in the French and Spanish Pyrenees
  • Mechanical support and support vehicle
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 12 participants
Airport transfer included: Barcelona–El Prat Airport
Airport transfer included: Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport
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Accommodation

Polka Dot Cycling wants this trip to be as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible, which means using quality hotels. You will be staying mainly in superior three and four star accommodations and they aim for a "fabulous" rating on booking.com

Polka Dot Cycling prefers to use more personal and authentic hotels on their trips, to give you a real feel for the area but they aim for comfort and quality above all else. They vet the accommodations very thoroughly before they use them on trips. This means no nightmare hotels so you can get a good night's sleep.

Program

Overview

As always, Polka Dot Cycling have structured the route with lots of flexible ride options available every day, including some lighter days and an optional rest day as well as optional extra climbs everyday for those that want more riding, thanks to the best in the business guide to rider ratio and van support. This will allow you to ride as much or as little as you like.

Are you fit enough?

This route has a mixture of shorter and longer climbs, with shallower inclines, but there are a few punchy climbs to offer a challenge, with plenty of flats and descents too. This means that a reasonable level of fitness would help you get the most enjoyment from this trip. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your physician and if you wish to talk to Polka Dot Cycling about this issue, please call or email them.

If you are struggling to handle the riding, they will encourage you to make use of the minibus that is what they are for. They reserve the right to make alterations to the route if you have concerns regarding your health and safety. During the week, they are intending for you to have an enjoyable tour, not go home in a heap!

Navigation

Due to Polka Dot Cycling's insistence that the guides cycle on the road with customers, offer support and advice, they are also able to help you navigate the routes. This means minimal effort on your part to stay on track.

They also make sure to provide the routes on downloadable Garmin / Wahoo files and you will also have daily handouts with route profiles, maps and directions to help you, just in case. This also will have the lead guide’s phone number so you can always contact them whilst out on the road, if needed.

Guides and support

Polka Dot has a high standard for our guides, meaning they must be experienced in the mountains but also approachable for you needs. They have a standard 1:5 guide client ratio which means you will always have someone available to help you; whether with technical help, advice, or just an encouraging word.

You'll have support minibuses out on the road which is fully stocked with carb drink and energy food that will help you keep up your energy and also give you a lift if you need it. You will never be far from someone to look after you.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Bordeaux, France

Arrive at Bordeaux Airport (BOD), meet a Polka Dot Cycling representative, and transfer to your hotel, in Oloron-St-Marie in the heart of the Pyrenees (two and a half hours transfer). On arrival, you will build the bikes, check in, and then take a short ride, if you wish, to spin out those legs.

Please make sure you arrive into Bordeaux Airport (BOD) by 12 p.m. to get ready for the transfer at 1 p.m. Oloron is at the start of the famous chain of climbs such as Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, and Peyresourde so it is a great place to get straight into tour history.

Day 2: Aubisque - Soulour, France

Start with a gentle ride up the valley from Oloron to Lurbe Saint Cristau where you have the option to carry on, on a gentle rise to the start of your first climb of the week, the Aubisque or take the route over the much feared Marie Blanque!

The Aubisque features regularly in the Tour when it comes to this area. It’s a stunning climb with quite a spectacular balcony road connecting it to the Soulor, which from this side is quite a short climb. Both are a great introduction to Pyrenean riding. If you’ve chosen the Marie Blanque route, it will be a bit more of sharp start but great climb to conquer!

  • Distance: 90 kilometers (95 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2130 meters (2680 meters for optional climbs)

Day 3: Tourmalet - Aspin, France

The hardest day of the trip, but that’s good as it comes after you have found your legs, but still fresh! The Col de Tourmalet is the Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrenees and this side is the much quieter, and in Polka Dot Cycling's opinion, prettier side, with the road snaking up above you to the famous monument at the top of climb at 2300 meters. It’s a climb on most people’s bucket list.

After this, you will then climb the very steady Aspin before descending down to the lovely ski town of St Lary Soulan. If you’ve not had enough, then there is Pla d’Adet rising above the town with it’s far reaching views as the optional climb today.

  • Distance: 88 kilometers (110 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2560 meters (3640 meters for optional climbs)

Day 4: Azet - Peyresourde, France

A lighter day today to follow yesterday. You will take the scenic route over the Azet and down to the lake to connect with the Peyresourde. The Azet was used in the 2019 edition of the tour as well as the Peyresourde. The Peyresourde starts very steadily and is quite a straight climb up the top. Nothing too steep and great views down to Luchon from the summit. This climb has featured quite a bit in the tour recently, finishing up the steep climb to Peyregudes from the Peyresourde.

You then have the option to descend to the beautiful spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon for a relaxing afternoon or take on the Port de Bailes climb.

  • Distance: 44 kilometers (75 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2130 meters (2680 meters for optional climbs)

Day 5: Portillon, France - Bonaguia, Spain

The optional climb comes in the morning today, to give those that wish to time to further explore Luchon. An early start at 8 a.m. will get you back in plenty of time to do the rest of the day. Superbagneres is a ski station high above Luchon, often used as a stage finish in the tour. It’s quite a long climb by Pyrenees standards at 18 kilometers.

After picking up the rest of the group around 11 a.m., you will then ride into Spain over the Portillon, a short 9 kilometers climb before taking on the Tourmalet of the Spanish Pyrenees, the Bonaguia. Rising to the same height as the Tourmalet, this climb ensures you have done the two highest passes in the Pyrenees. A quiet climb away from the crowds. Tonight, you will stay in the Spanish town of Llvarsi.

  • Distance: 92 kilometers (125 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2370 meters (3600 meters for optional climbs)

Day 6: Rubio, Spain - Massana, Andorra

A short hop over the Rubio at the start of today and then we ride into Andorra from the South, through to the lovely ski town of Massana, your home for two nights. It’s climbing all the way into this principality but easy climbing and chance to take in the subtle changes in culture and architecture.

The optional climb today, is a turn off before Massana and the windy climb of Bixterra used as the penultimate climb in this years Vuelta.

  • Distance: 92 kilometers (114 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2140 meters (3030 meters for optional climbs)

Day 7: Ordino - En Camp, Andorra

A big Vuelta day today following the climbs of Stage 9 of this year’s race. It takes in all the famous climbs in Andorra. The standard route today is a loop starting with the En camp climb. An 11 kilometer climb with lots of hairpins up through a beautiful forest.

This is shortly followed by the equally windy Ordino climb. Nothing too steep, just lots of hairpins and lovely views before returning to Massana for another night. The optional climb today is up to the ski resort of Arcalis. A 20 kilometer rising up to one of the highest points in Andorra. A great very quiet climb.

As you are staying in Andorra one more night tonight, you also have the option of a rest day to explore the region at your leisure or just relax for the day.

  • Distance: 46 kilometers (92 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 1415 meters (2595 meters for optional climbs)

Day 8: Catalonia, Spain

First thing this morning, you will be transferred to the town of Ripoll (one hour), the start of your riding. Time for a quick coffee while unpacking the bikes and then you will take a quiet route over the undulating hills, passing through very typical Catalan villages and the training ground of many pros that live in Girona.

You will ride past the lake at Banyoles, where you have the option to ride the famous 11 kilometers climb of the Rocacorba, used by the pros as preparation for racing and Grand Tours. Tonight, you will be staying right in the historic centre, which is amazing to wander around. You should arrive mid afternoon so there will be time to explore the town before heading out in the evening for your farewell meal.

  • Distance: 83 kilometers (113 kilometers for optional climbs)
  • Climbs: 2180 meters (3300 meters for optional climbs)

Day 9: Departure at Barcelona, Spain

After breakfast, transfer to Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) (one and half hour transfer). Please book your flight to depart after 1 p.m. Kindly note that Polka Dot Cycling will be doing one transfer for everyone at around 9 to 10 a.m. depending on flight times.

Barcelona is a beautiful city steeped in architectural and artistic history. You may decide to take the opportunity to stay on for a few days and explore this wonderful city. If you do, Polka Dot Cycling's advice would be to leave your bike box at left luggage in the airport (pre-booking required) and travel into the city by train.

Instructors

Jen Caldicott

Stuart Caldicott

Location

This cycling tour will take place in the French, Andorran, and Spanish Pyrenees.

Food

Breakfast and a three-course evening meal is included with local wine. For lunch, Polka Dot Cycling provides ride food with a full range of snacks and energy drinks along with quiches, baguettes, fruit, cakes, sweets (like the infamous Haribo), cereal bars, nuts, crisps, and more.

On this trip, you will eat like a pro! With the constant use of energy, Polka Dot Cycling knows that the best way for people to be comfortable and keep their energy up; they must eat "little and often". This means no bloating, discomfort, and loosing energy.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 7 days of cycling
  • Services of experienced guides
  • Mechanical support (including inner tubes, tyres, spare wheels, and a minibus on hand to ensure you have enough drinks and snack)
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • Ride food
  • Airport transfers
  • A welcome pack including Polka Dot Cycling jersey, Garmin files, printed maps, and profiles, plus local information

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel, medical, or bike insurance
  • Additional drinks or minibar costs (including beers, soft drinks, and coffees during the ride)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airport

Please book your flight to arrive at Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (BOD) in France and depart at Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN) in Spain. Polka Dot Cycling ask that you arrive before 12 p.m. so that you can get to the first hotel with enough time for bike set up, dinner, and the briefing about the trip and next day.

Polka Dot Cycling also ask that you book your departure from Barcelona Airport and book flights after 1 p.m. so that they will have time to transfer you in the morning. They can arrange transfers to and from other airports for a supplementary charge, which is costed on a case by case basis.

Airport: Barcelona–El Prat Airport Airport transfer included: Barcelona–El Prat Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport Airport transfer included: Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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