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Holiday based around watching the tour and riding famous climbs

salsamuffin204salsamuffin204 Posts: 27
edited September 2016 in Pro race
Thinking about a holiday to France next year. I'd love to ride the famous alps (again) and see one or two mountain stages of the tour.

I've ridden in the alps before and seen a stage finish of the tour before but never together and both were over 10 years ago.

Looking for any tips from those who have done similar trips before in the past. Will the crowds and traffic of the tour compromise my cycling (the cycling itself is probably more important to me)? Is it feasible to ride up for example Alpe D'huez or Galibier on the morning of the race and watch the riders go by then ride back down?

All thoughts, experiences, and advice very welcome.

Thanks in advance.


  • Yes. They'll stop people riding up a while before the race arrives at the foot of the climb. Aim to be going up the Alpe for example in the morning and you'll be well clear
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Obviously its feasible as you can see From t crowds at the side of the road.
  • Fenix wrote:
    Obviously its feasible as you can see From t crowds at the side of the road.

    Yeah just looking to avoid easy pitfalls etc from those who've done it before.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,737
    Staying somewhere that isn't a start or finish town will make it easier with prices/availability as well.
  • Yes, it's possible. I would recommend the Pyrenees, rather than the alps... there is a raw and unspoilt beauty about the Pyrenees... the Alps are a bit too commercial. The Tour does the Tourmalet every single year... in the area Soulour, Aubisque, Marie Blanque, Peyresourde, Aspin, they are all worth climbing. Towns and villages are a bit less glam than in the alps, but also cheaper
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    You do need to be aware of the roads being closed hours earlier - but on a bike you can whizz around usually. Take extra kit though - we had snow in the alps one tour.
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,729
    If you go to the Alps for a week, do the climbs on the off days and watch the race on the race days. Don't combine the two as a lot of the spectator have been in position for days often very drunk, the roads are really busy, and it'll be one of the least pleasant thing you could do!
  • I've never done the Alps but I did ride about 30 miles of stage 2 of the Tour 2014 whilst the roads were closed to cars to get to the spot I'd picked out to watch on a recce ride a couple of months before, crowds all in situ. And it was an amazing experience, people cheering me and others doing the same thing on, cow bells ringing as we went up the climbs.
    Not sure if drunk French crowds would be as friendly and jovial, but one of my top experiences riding a bike.
  • Wife and I did exactly this this year.

    The thing I would suggest is as has been mentioned above, do your cycling and spectating separately. We stayed about a 30-45 min drive away from 3 different stages this year in the alps, we were there for 4 days beforehand and did some cycling on those days, then spectated the 3 stages. I much preferred doing it that way around as:

    a) Your in your civies and can be much comfier, warmer and better prepared for the weather.
    b) Riding down afterwards is a nightmare. I saw some truly awful riding going on and was very thankful I wasn't havind to ride down again amongst the drunken hords and terrible cyclists.
    c) The days you ride are quieter.

    Accommodation prices were silly in the start/finish towns, if you are driving you will have your car anyway so you can pick a location to stay in that is well placed for the climbs you want to do and the stages. You can usually find plenty of info about road closures etc nearer the time online, and the tour in general is very well organised you shouldn't have any problems.
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