Not for the faint of heart. If you like bike racing, rough roads, questionable weather and great beer, join us in Belgium, Northern France and the Netherlands for the CLASSICS!
NEW in 2020: Ride the Tour of Flanders Gran Fondo!
Over the course of the week, we’ll conquer the cobbles, catch premier pro race action, and immerse ourselves in the rich history and culture that define the Classics. You’ll start this epic trip by riding the Official Tour of Flanders Gran Fondo, the trip then continues the next day with live viewing of the Tour of Flanders on the Paterberg! Witness the sheer grit of the peloton as they battle to claim one of the oldest and most prestigious titles in the history of cycling.
After watching the pros in action in the Tour of Flanders, it’s your turn to test yourself in the toughest of the Classics races. We’ll spend the next 4 days riding the final 100 km of Gent-Wevelgem, then each of the Ardennes Classics: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold and La Flèche Wallonne, before returning to Roubaix. We’ll ride the Official Paris-Roubaix Gran Fondo, a gruelling 170 km with 28 cobbled sections! Finally, we’ll cap off a thrilling cycling week with VIP race viewing of the start, middle, and glorious Velodrome finish of the “Hell of the North,” Paris-Roubaix!
Have a non-riding partner who’d like to join you? No problem, bring them along - we have a full schedule specifically designed for non-riders. Race viewings, town visits, cultural tours - all managed by the one-and-only Jacinta! Check the “Non-Rider Options” tab for full details.
Bienvenue en France!
Our trip starts at Lille Europe Train Station where our staff will be there to welcome you. From the train station we’ll have a short transfer to our hotel.
Our staff will review the exciting week ahead in our Orientation meeting then we’ll enjoy a typical lunch at the hotel restaurant.
After lunch our mechanics will be on hand to help get the bikes set up, then we’ll head out onto the narrow lanes for our first taste of riding in Northern France.
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 9:30am at Lille Europe TGV Railway Station.
RIDE Tour of Flanders Gran Fondo
The first of our 2 Gran Fondos sees us on the Start Line in Oudenaarde for one of the top gran fondos in the world. Thousands of cyclists line up to ride the same routes that the pros will ride tomorrow - over the bergs that make the Tour of Flanders so unique and special.
The Gran Fondo route covers the same famous cobbled bergs as tomorrow’s pro race: Paterberg, Oude Kwaremont, Koppenberg and Muur van Geraardsbergen - you’ll ride them all! The atmosphere at the fomdo is fantastic - the Belgians love their cycling! We recommend the 174km route - but there are also 74km, 139km and 229km options.
LIVE Viewing: Tour of Flanders
Today is definitely one of those must-do, bucket list items for the passionate cyclist! Witness the pros fight it out on the Paterberg, one of the key climbs in the Tour of Flanders!
From our hotel we’ll ride to Flanders and test our legs on Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg. We’ll set up to watch the race on the Paterberg. Feel the atmosphere grow as the race approaches, enjoy a Belgian beer with sausage & pommes-frites and get ready to witness the locals go crazy if Greg Van Avermaet powers up the 20% climb near the front. Unforgettable!
Gent-Wevelgem: Ride the last 100km
Gent-Wevelgem is one of the Flemish Classics and always takes place on the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders. Recent winners include Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan (3 times winner) and Greg Van Avermaet. The race is also known as “Gent-Wevelgem - In Flanders Fields” in memory of the many WW1 battlefields that the route crosses. The route also goes through the famous Menen Gate in Ypres, a memorial to the missing soldiers from WW1.
We pick up the route in the last 100km where the field is usually blown apart on the main cobbled climbs - the Baneberg, Monteberg and Kemmelberg. The Kemmelberg is the most well-known and most challenging climb with sections of up to 23%. The run-in to the finsih in Wevelgem is flat with the wind usually playing a big part in the final outcome.
After the ride we’ll transfer to our hotel in Verviers in the heart of the Ardennes.
Amstel Gold Race: RIDE the last 100km
The Amstel Gold Race is always the first of the 3 Ardennes Classics. Think of Holland and you probably think of flat tulip fields and windmills. Not here - this is the Ardennes and our ride today is an endless rollercoaster of short climbs and steep descents.
Starting near Benzenrade, 15 climbs lie between us and the finish, 100km away in Valkenburg, the most famous being the Cauberg where Philippe Gilbert won the final sprint to take Amstel Gold victory in 2014. A spectacular start to our Ardennes campaign…
Fleche Wallone: RIDE the last 100km
From the Dutch Ardennes we move to the French speaking Walloon region of Belgium. Our challenge today is the last 100km of the Classic Fleche-Wallonne race. This is Philippe Gilbert territory and, later in the month, he’ll be looking to repeat his 2011 victory in front of his home crowd.
For us, it’s a chance to ride one of cycling’s most famous monuments - the Mur de Huy! It’s short, but with grades of up to 26%, this one hurts - and in the last 100km it features 3 times! Bonne route!
Liege-Bastogne-Liege: RIDE the last 100km
“La Doyenne” (The Old Lady) is of course the oldest of the classics - and for many, this is also the toughest of the classics. Again, we’ll tackle the final 100km. 7 major climbs lie in those final 100km with a total elevation gain of over 1750m.
Famous names such as the Cote de La Redoute and the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons preceed the final ramp up the Cote de San Nicolas - a 1km climb at an average of 11%!
Enjoy your final day in the Ardennes - Hell of the North and the cobbles are next!
From the Ardennes... to Hell
Our Ardennes rides are over and our attention turns towards the legendary cobbles that line the route between Paris and Roubaix.
A short drive takes us back to our first hotel where our mechanics will be on hand to get the bikes set up pro-style. This is our chance to ride a few cobbled sections before the 170km Paris-Roubaix Gran Fondo tomorrow (shorter distances are also available). Our ride leaders will be on hand to provide guidance on the best way to ride the cobbles before tomorrow’s big day!
RIDE Paris-Roubaix Gran Fondo
A dream come true for any avid cyclist - the opportunity to ride the classic of all classics - Paris-Roubaix! You will be participating in the Paris-Roubaix Challenge Granfondo along with hundreds of other passionate riders from around the world.
The Gran Fondo route covers the same famous cobbled sections as tomorrow’s pro race: Le Carrefour de L’Arbre, Trouee d’Arenberg and other stretches of the infamous cobbles lie in wait on the famous route to the velodrome in Roubaix.
LIVE Viewing: Paris-Roubaix!
You rode it yesterday so you now know what it’s all about - and you can now watch the pros with a new sense of appreciation. Life as a pro cyclist is tough and nothing comes any tougher than racing from Paris to Roubaix.
Our status as Official Tour Operator gives us privileged access to the VIP areas at the race start and at the race finish inside the famous velodrome. We’ll also witness the action on one of the cobble sectors - so get ready for drama and an action-packed afternoon. Crashes, spills, punctures, broken bikes, broken bones will all play a part in the outcome of this legendary race - and you’ll be there to witness it all - LIVE!
Unfortunately, our trip must come to an end. Our shuttle will take you to Lille Europe TGV Railway Station, arriving at approximately 8:00am. From here you can catch a high-speed train to Paris downtown or to CDG airport.