Ride the magnificent Pyrenees on the less travelled Atlantic to the Mediterranean route, 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. To complement our traditional east/west route across the Pyrenees, we’ve created a route that celebrates the Pyrenees crossing from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. With all the major iconic climbs included, like the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde and Port de Pailheres, you also get to climb the Jaizkibel, made famous by the Clasica San Sebastian pro race.
The 932 km trek ends at the top of Rocacorba, used by the pro riders living in Girona to test themselves before the Tour de France. Long after you return home, you’ll fondly remember the trademark cowbells that echo throughout the Pyrenees mountains. The perfect Pyrenean adventure!
Welcome to Spain!
Our trip starts at Bilbao airport where our staff will welcome you before the transfer to our hotel in San Sebastian.
After lunch, an orientation meeting and bike build-up we’ll head out on our warm-up ride. Our ride takes us over the Jaizkibel climb, made famous by the Clasica San Sebastian pro race.
Into the Pyrenees
Today we leave the shores of the Atlantic and start our trek across the Pyrenees.
Our route winds through the French Pre-Pyrenees before crossing back into Spain for the first couple of climbs - the Puerto de Otxondo and the impressive Puerto de Izpegi that leads us back into France.
Next up is the Hors-Categorie Col de Bagargui, one of the most challenging climbs of the trip. Enjoy the stuning views from the top of the Bagargui before the long downhill to our hotel in Montory.
The descent from the Col d’Aubisque to the Col de Soulor 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!
Before we reach that, you still have to climb the Cat. 2 Col de Marie-Blanque and the Cat. 3 Col d’Ichere - followed by the HC climb up to the Col d’Aubisque itself. Pray for a sunny day today so we can enjoy the views on this spectacular ride.
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 we head out to Luz St Sauveur where the road kicks up signalling the start of the Tourmalet. Enjoy the views of the highest peaks in the Pyrenees from the top before dropping down the other side to Sainte Marie de Campan.
From there, it’s a steady rise to Payolle where we take the road to Hourquette d’Ancizan, with it’s rolling green pastures and free wandering horses and cattle.
From our hotel in St Lary-Soulain we continue to head eastwards across the Pyrenees with another classic Tour de France climbing day
First up is the Col de Val Louron Azet, followed immediately by the Col de Peyresourde. Don’t forget to stop at the top for crepes!
We’re only half way through the day as we’ve still got to climb the steep Col de Mente and finish with the super-steep Col de Portet d’Aspet.
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 Col de Peguere (including the super-steep Mur de Peguere), Col de Saraille, Col d’Agnes and Port de Lers. 4 categorized climbs and a total of more than 3000m of elevation gain - definitely a day for the climbers.
Across the border into Spain
One of our favourite rides today with the ascension of one of the top climbs in the Pyrenees - the Hors-Categorie Port de Pailheres.
From our hotel in Tarascon sur Ariege we hit two Cat. 2 climbs before hitting the HC Port de Pailheres at just over 15km long and over 1000m of elevation gain.
Finally there’s the last little Cat. 3 climb up the Col des Hares before we drop down to our hotel in Spain.
The Spanish Pyrenees & Girona
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 20km climb to the Coll de la Creueta. A firm favourite with the Vuelta a Espana, the Creueta is an hors-categorie climb and comes at the beginning of the day.
We’ll finish the trip with a climb up to Rocacorba, a prime testing ground for the Girona pros.
Unfortunately our trip must come to an end. We’ll transfer you to Barcelona Airport. Safe travels!