Ride from coast to coast and back again! Cross the magnificent Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and back, conquering classic Tour de France climbs the whole way.
Trip Difficulty Levels - What They Mean
Discover the sheer beauty of one of Europe’s most celebrated cycling terrains. We’ve designed an extra-challenging route starting in the renowned cycling hub of Girona. From Girona we cross the Pyrenees from east to west, conquering iconic Tour de France climbs like the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde and Port de Pailheres. A quick stop in San Sebastian to dip a toe in the Atlantic Ocean and then we tackle the mountains from a different angle. The 1800 km trek ends with a climb up the Rocacorba, playground to the Girona-based pro cyclists. Long after you return home, you’ll fondly remember the trademark cowbells that echo throughout the mountains. The perfect Pyrenean adventure!
Our trip starts at Barcelona airport where our staff will welcome you before the transfer to our hotel in Girona
After lunch, an orientation meeting and bike build-up we’ll head out on our warm-up ride. Our ride takes us over the famous Els Angels climb, a favorite with all the professional riders who live in Girona.
Through the Spanish Pyrenees
Today’s ride sees us follow the tyre tracks of so many great professional riders who have lived and trained in the Girona area.
The main highlight of the day is the spectacular 30km climb to the Coll de la Creueta. A firm favourite with the Vuelta a Espana, the Creueta is an hors-categorie climb and will prepare us well for the week ahead. From the top of the Creueta, enjoy the long descent to our hotel in the Spanish ski town of La Molina.
Across the border into France
One of our favourite rides today with the ascension of one of the top climbs in the Pyrenees - the HC Col de Pailheres.
From our hotel in La Molina we drop down to Puigcerda where we cross the border into France. The Port de Llo is our first climb in France but the big one comes after 75km in the village of Mijanes with the start of the Pailheres.
The Ariege Climbs
One of the most popular and most beautiful gran fondos in France is the Ariegeoise and today we have the opportunity to climb several of the Ariege climbs that frequently feature in the gran fondo.
Our route follows a classic Tour de France Ariege stage over the Port de Lers, Col d’Agnes, Col de Latrape and the Col de la Core. 4 categorized climbs and a total of almost 3000m of elevation gain - definitely a day for the climbers.
Classic Tour de France terrain
We continue heading westwards across the Pyrenees with another classic Tour de France route.
First up is the Col de Portet d’Aspet, followed immediately by the super-steep Col de Mente. A brief spell of flat roads takes us into Luchon where the classic Col de Peyresourde starts. A stop for crepes at the famous creperie on top of the Peyresourde will give us some much-needed energy for the final climb of the day to the Col d’Azet Val Louron.
Today’s ride doesn’t need much of an introduction. On the schedule today is the most famous climb in the Pyrenees, the hors-categorie Col du Tourmalet.
From our hotel in St Lary Soulan we ride down the valley to Arreau where the road kicks up signalling the start of the Col d’Aspin. Enjoy the views of the highest peaks in the Pyrenees from the top of the Aspin. A short descent from the Aspin takes us to Sainte Marie de Campan, the famous start of the Tourmalet.
The ride from the Col de Soulor to the Col d’Aubisque is one of the most spectacular rides in the Pyrenees. Riding along the cliff-face with the views of the Cirque de Litor is one of the highlights of the trip!
After the super-fast descent from the Aubisque we still have 2 more climbs to contend with before reaching our destination in Montory - the Cat. 2 Col de Marie-Blanque and the Cat. 3 Col d’Ichere.
One final day of riding and we can enjoy the sweet satisfaction of having ridden our bikes across the entire Pyrenees Mountain Range.
Of course we’ve still got a few climbs to go before we reach the Atlantic. First up is possibly the most challenging climb of the entire trip - the Hors-Categorie Col de Bagargui. From the Bagargui we have a couple of minor climbs before the final descent to the Atlantic.
We’ll round off the trip with a swim and celebration dinner by the Atlantic Ocean.
After crossing the Pyrenees, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic - we turn around and head back towards our starting point in Girona.
Our ride today follows a slightly different route than the outward journey before picking up the Puerto de Otxondo and the impressive Puerto de Izpegi that leads us back into France.
The first few km of the west side of the Col de Bagargui are particularly steep before we reach the first summit at the Col de Burdincurutcheta, followed by a short descent, then the last 7km push to the final summit. You’ll probably remember the last 4km of the Bagargui from the outward journey - now we can enjoy descending those super-steep 4km.
On the outward journey we descended the most challenging side of the Col d’Aubisque - today we have the opportunity to climb this Hors-Categorie mountain which has seen so many famous Tour de France summit finishes.
Get a picture at the summit with the famous oversize bikes - then enjoy the views descending the Cirque de Litor which eventually leads to the Col de Soulor. From the Col de Soulor it’s all downhill to Argeles-Gazost and a short, flat run-in to our hotel.
We’ve climbed the Tourmalet from La Mongie side, now it’s the turn of the more-challenging Luz St Sauveur side. Save something in the legs for the final couple of km which has ramps of over 12%!
Enjoy the thrilling descent from the Tourmalet towards La Mongie, then continue down to Ste Marie de Campan. In Ste Marie we start the climb to the Col d’Aspin - but we’ll turn off in Payolle for the beautiful road that takes us over the Hourquette d’Ancizan climb and down to our hotel in St Lary.
A classic Tour de France route
The western approach of the Col de Val Louron-Azet is one of our favourite climbs in the Pyrenees with spectacular views of the mountains that form the border with Spain off to our right.
The Col de Peyresourde is next before the long descent to Luchon. A rare section of flat follows until we reach St Beat and the start of the Col de Mente. From this side, the Col de Mente is a very challenging climb with an average grade of almost 9% and many sections over 10%.
Last up is the short, but super-steep Col de Portet d’Aspet with an average grade of 9.5% over its 4km length.
The Ariege Climbs
Another tough day in the saddle through the Ariege region which hosts the Ariegeoise gran fondo, one of the most popular fondos in France.
The first climb, the Col de Peguere, comes after 28km. Get ready for the “Mur”, the middle section of the climb - that features a 3km section with grades of between 10 and 15%.
The short Col de Saraille is up next. In Aulus les Bains the road kicks up once again announcing the start of the Hors-Categorie Col d’Agnes. The Port de Lers is the final challenge of the day before the long descent to our hotel in Tarascon. 4 categorized climbs and a total of more than 3300m of elevation gain - definitely a day for the climbers.
Back into Spain
Our last day in France, before we cross the border back into Spain. Another tough day with the main focus being another one of our favourite Pyrenean climbs, the Hors-Categorie Port de Pailheres.
From our hotel in Tarascon sur Ariege we take the spectacular road that runs along the ridge, 500m above the main road between Tarascon and Ax les Thermes. At the end of the ridge we’re faced with the Cat. 2 Col de Marmare before the short descent to Ascou and the start of the Pailheres.
From our hotel, high up in the Spanish Pyrenees, we immediately start the climb to the hors-categorie Coll de la Creueta. A firm favourite with the Vuelta a Espana, the Creueta is the last high climb in the Pyrenees and from there we start the long descent towards the Mediterranean, where the final surprise awaits…
As we approach Girona, in Banyoles we’ll turn off the main road onto a narrow road that signals the start of the famous climb to Rocacorba. Rocacorba is a prime testing ground for all of the Girona-based pro riders and will be the finish line of our epic journey across the Pyrenees - and back!
Unfortunately our epic journey must come to an end. We’ll transfer you to Barcelona Airport. Safe travels!