David Olle and Emma Colson

An Australian company, Topbike has a fully equipped European base and its own fleet of high quality hire bikes and E-bikes.

We specialise in quality cycling tours with small groups and are famous for looking after our clients.

+61 (0) 3 9419 2040
+61 415 866 061 (mobile)
PO Box 1717 Collingwood VIC 3066 AUSTRALIA
holiday@topbike.com.au
- SINCE 1997 -

2018 Tour de France:
PARIS 'Follow Le Tour'

TDF Ride to Paris | July 20-30 2018

With this year’s TdF we have eight days of race viewing, covering stage starts, finishes and KOMs.  We’ll be starting near the alps, before venturing into the Pyrenees.  We’ll have the opportunities to climb the famed Cols of Tourmalet, Peyresourde and Aspin amongst many others.  With a mix of luxury accommodation and traditional hotels, haute and provincial cuisine, we’ll finish with a ride around Paris.

Follow the largest annual sporting event in the world and enjoy the French countryside and culture along the way…

2018 TDF - Topbike Tour de France - Ride to Paris July 20-30 2018

The 2018 Tour de France will be the 105th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling’s three Grand Tours.

From our start in Grenoble we’ll hit the race most days, along with fitting in plenty of riding.  Up to 1,000k and up to 15,000m vertical, in total for the complete tour.  We’ll move from Lanarce in central France, to Camon in the Pyrenees, Arreau deeper in the Pyrenees, with one ‘one-nighter’ at Buzancais, on the road to Paris.

With a group limited to 13 places only, this will be a tour for riding and relaxing and following Le Grand Boucle without spending hours every day waiting for, and chasing the race. With a small group you’ll receive personal and attentive care for the length of the tour.

Tour Price: $7290 (AUD) per person
[Places are limited to 13 clients in total (with 3 staff).]

Rides will average 60-100k, along with >1000m vertical, per day. Extra k’s available on request!

11 Days/10 Nights
July 20-30 2018 *
  • Destination

  • Tour Start / Finish

    Grenoble - Paris
  • Pick Up

    July 20 - Pickup 9.00am: Grenoble Railway Station
  • Drop Off

    July 30 - Drop off 10.00am: Paris Hotel Etoile
  • Cycling Fitness/Experience

    Any + E-Bikes Available
1

Friday, July 20: Stage 13 | Bourg d’Oisans - Valence, 169km

9.00am, we’ll meet at Grenoble railway station.  We’re meeting earlier than usual, because the race passes through Grenoble early afternoon.  We’ll transfer to our accommodation in Lanarce (drive 3.5h).  After everyone arrives and we have assembled bikes, we’ll ride over to Valence, for today’s stage finish. Post stage we’ll take a lift home in the Topbike vans and dine inhouse tonight, with a meal prepared by our hosts.  The chef is most famous for her ‘poêlée de cèpes’, which we all know and love (and as soon as I can work out the translation, I’ll let you know what it is).  And, if this is your thing, they produce their own Foie Gras (amongst many other things) on site.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: After three days in the Alps, the Tour will leave the mountains to head to flatter terrain. The favourites should enjoy a well deserved break. They will leave the control of the race to the sprinters for whom it’ll be the only possibility to shine during this second week of racing.

Accommodation

‘Logis de France’ Hotel, with spa.

Dining

In-house

Ride: < 100km, < 1500m vertical

Terrain: Lots of small climbs that become more significant as the day progresses.

2

Saturday, July 21: Stage 14 | Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteuax - Mende, 187km

Cracker of a stage today, or at least the final three kilometers into Mende are, averaging more than ten percent. After Mur de Huy and the Mûr de Bretagne in the first week, the rouleurs get another chance today. These stages are amongst the most difficult to pick, as all the best team’s planning goes out the window when the roads bends above 10%, particularly when the peloton has already covered 175k. As for us, we’ll be riding 65k south-west to Mende, to take up a strategic position near the finish, and enjoy all the Tour de France has to offer. Post race we’ll return to our hotel in the Topbike van. Tonight we’ll again dine inhouse.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The foothills of the Massif central are never kindly. The passage through the Ardèche gorges, already demanding, will be followed by an even tougher exploration of the Causses and Cevennes areas. In other words, only the strongest will be able to battle it out for victory on the heights of Mende. The most offensif of contenders should have the last word.

Accommodation

‘Logis de France’ Hotel, with spa.

Dining

Dinner inhouse tonight

Ride: < 100km, < 1500m vertical

Terrain: Lots of small climbs

3

Sunday, July 22: Stage 15 | Millau - Carcassonne, 181km

We’re moving house today, which has its perks. Both the stage start and finish towns are not far off our chosen autoroute. So we may decide to ride into the start town, then once the circus is on its way, we’ll get on ours, on the autoroute. From here it could be a picnic and view en route, or maybe a mad dash to the finish. We could even try for three (plus!) views. It’s normally pretty challenging to see the Tour de France more than once in a day, but this stage makes it a little easier.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: With a dominant view over the Montagne Noire, the Pic de Nore which will appear for the first time on the map of the Tour, offers a spectacular panorama over the “départements” of Aude and Tarn. It’ll be the highest place (1,205m) of a stage again made for breakaway riders or for green jersey candidates who can play their part in the mountains.

Accommodation

Chateau in the Pyrenees.

Dining

Magnificent Restaurant inhouse (Michelin listed)

Ride: ... < 50km

Terrain: ...

4

Monday, July 23: Rest Day |

After yesterday’s easier efforts, we’ve got a grand mountainous loop planned for today. We’ll tackle the major climb of TdF 2013’s stage 8, the first Pyrenean hilltop finish from that tour. From Camon, it takes 70k to get to the top of Pailheres, and another 20k to reach the top of the next peak. From there it is ‘mostly’ downhill, and 160k, in total, to return. Heading south through Quillan, at Axat we’ll turn right into the Gorges de St Georges, before turning right again to confront the Port de Pailheres (14.9 km, 8.1 % avg, 1207m asc, 2001m). Once on top we can enjoy a picnic lunch, with views south to Spain. After the descent we’ll turn right, straight up Le Chioula (1669m, 7k, 500m asc) and head for home through the Plateau de Sault. Alternately we could choose the option to stay at the Chateau, and take it easy by the pool? Probably one to call on the day. Tonight we’ll dine inhouse once more.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The recent starts in Carcassonne have honoured offensive riders ready to battle it out whatever their pedigree. In 2014, it was while heading to Bagnères-de-Luchon that Michael Rogers found a place among a large breakaway group that he eventually dominated in the final part of the stage to go and capture his only victory on the Tour. Two years later, the voyage from Carcassonne to Montpellier ended with an outstanding final in the wind involving Chris Froome and Peter Sagan. The Slovakian had the last word.

Accommodation

Chateau in the Pyrenees.

Dining

Magnificent Restaurant inhouse (Michelin listed)

Ride: 160k, >3000m vertical ascent

Terrain: beautiful scenic ride, even over the one BIG bastard climb, followed by a little one.

5

Tuesday, July 24 : Stage 16 | Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218km

Time to move house. And as today’s stage passes very close to our current accomm, we’ll hit the road early and get right on track. We’ll endeavor to ride as much of today’s stage as possible (at 218k, it’s a biggie) and even more appealing, the first two thirds is relatively flat. Flat, that is, compared to the end of the stage, and what’s coming over the next few stages. Post stage we’ll continue on, deeper into the Pyrenees, to Arreau. Here our hotel has had the Tour de France pass its doors many, many times.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: Following a rest day, this long stage should inspire good climbers who might have lost all hopes in the general classification. Positioned at the end of the stage, the Col du Portillon could prove to be decisive both on its climb as well as on its descent towards Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Pyrenees

Dinner

Restaurant inhouse

Ride: < 140k, < 2500m vertical ascent

Terrain: beautiful scenic ride through the Pyrenees, aiming for some hills towards the end, max elevation of 1349m.

6

Wednesday, July 25 Stage 17 | Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan/Col-de-Portet, 65km

At 65k, this is the shortest non-split road stage of the last 30 years. Stacked into those little figures are three big climbs, with the Montée du Peyragudes – where Chris Froome lost time in 2017 – and the Col de Val Louron-Azet, followed by the final summit finish of the race, to Saint-Lary-Soulan/Col de Portet – an unrelenting climb averaging nearly nine per cent for its 16km length. The start of the stage is barely 30k from our door, while the finish is just 11k down the road. You could almost ride today’s stage twice, before the start.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: 65 kms: a distance that will certainly surprise. It will indeed be the shortest normal stage of the last thirty years. Its format will be dynamic for what should prove to be a “dynamite stage”. The finish will be brand new. With a climb of 16 kilometres at an average gradient of over 8% and an altitude of 2,215 m, the Col de Portet has all the assets to become a new Tourmalet.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Pyrenees

Dinner

Restaurant inhouse

Ride: 100k, < 2000m vertical ascent*

*depending on where we go!

7

Thursday, July 26 Stage 18 | Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau, 172km

Today’s start in Trie-sur-Baïse is 55k due north (away from the hills) from our base. We’ll ride to Trie-sur-Baïse for the stage start. Here we’ll watch the TdF circus assemble, watch the riders leave the safety of the buses, head to the sign on, and take to the road. Later we’ll return to Arreau by bike (or van if you prefer), and catch the last part of today’s sprinter’s stage on the tele in a bar. This is the last stage for the sprinters before the grand finale in Paris, so if the green jersey is still up for grabs then don’t bet on a breakaway.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: It’ll be a stage that offers an interlude in the Pyrenees sequence of the 2018 Tour. It’ll be an opportunity for sprinters to get back into action. At least for those who will still be up for it after two demanding stages in the mountains.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Pyrenees

Dinner

Restaurant inhouse

Ride: 110k, < 1500m vertical ascent

Terrain: , gentle descent following the river to start. The opposite to get home.

8

Friday, July 27: Stage 19 | Lourdes to Laruns, 200km

Here we have the queen stage of the race, the 200km stage between Lourdes and Laruns features some of the Tour’s great climbs in the Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet, and Col d’Aubisque. With a time trial on the agenda for the following day, this is the last chance for the climbers to impose themselves on the race, especially those who can also take advantage of the descent to the finish in Laruns. Our hotel is at Km65 of today’s stage, at the base of Aspin. Quite a bit of choice today, stay close and watch the peloton go up Aspin? Or ride over to Tourmalet, and spend the day on one of the most famous climbs in cycling? The agony of choice!
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: There are no miracles in cycling but the start in Lourdes represents a last opportunity to change the general classification by pushing hard on the pedals in a direct confrontation. It’ll be in the frightening Aspin-Tourmalet-Bordères-Soulor-Aubisque sequence that the destiny of the Yellow Jersey could still be played.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Pyrenees

Dinner

Restaurant inhouse

Ride: < 80k, < 3000m vertical ascent

Terrain: lots of choices including Tourmalet...

9

Saturday, July 28: Stage 20 | Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette, 31km (ITT)

Today we’ll pack up and get on the road, in the direction of Paris. We’ll drive to Parnac, where we’ll saddle up and complete the rest of our journey by bike, into our hotel in a small town in central France. We will stop, en route, to take in the final ITT stage, on the tele in a bar. The stage : As was the case in 2017, the penultimate day of the Tour will see the race decided in a time trial. The 31km length of the test means that there is even less individual time trialling than last year, again beating the record for the lowest number of individual time trial kilometres in the race’s history. However this final time trial is tougher than the 2017 stage in Marseille, with a tough, rolling parcours, and a 900m climb averaging 10.2 per cent just three kilometres from the finish.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The only individual time-trial of the 105th edition measures 31 kilometres. But the geography of the Basque Country doesn’t make it one for pure time-trialists and should suit the puncher type riders. If the hierarchy for the podium is not established, the climbers who are still fresh at the end of the Tour will have their card to play.

Accommodation

Hotel in central France

Dinner

Excellent Restaurant inhouse (Michelin listed)

Ride: < 70k, < 500m vertical ascent

Terrain: beautiful scenic ride, over the plains of central France.

10

Sunday, July 29: Stage 21: Houilles to Paris, 115km

We’ll ride out of Buzancais, on roads the TdF has used in days gone past. After 90k we’ll pick up our riders and complete the drive up to Paris. After arriving at our hotel, located less than 500m from the Champs Elysees, we can promenade up the road to view the ultimate spectacle, the end of the three week race that laps a nation (and the only sporting event that you need to get a haircut during the course of). It culminates with its final laps on one of the world’s most famous boulevards, as the sprinters have their final battle, and hopefully it will be another win for the Aussies. Dinner locally tonight, in our regular Parisian restaurant.

Accommodation

Hotel in Paris

Dinner

Excellent Parisian Restaurant we have used for 10+ years.

Ride: < 90k, < 750m vertical ascent

Terrain: again, a beautiful scenic ride, over the plains of central France.

11

Monday, July 30: Day 11 | PARIS - "Au Revoir!"

PARIS

We’ll have an early start, hitting the road for a brisk morning’s ride around Paris. The best way to see this beautiful city, all before breakfast.
We’ll take in the Arc de Triomphe, Place de Concorde, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Montmarte, Sacre Couer and a coffee at the bar where the movie ‘Amelie’ was filmed. Back to our hotel for breakfast, before packing up and onto further adventures.
If we do everything planned, there’ll have been:
8 Days of race viewing, incorporating, 1 stage start, 3 stage finishes, a roadside viewing and 3 KOMs. We’ll also have ridden up to 1000k, climbed many mountains, including the famous Port de Pailheres, Portet del’Aspet, Col de Mente, the Peyresourde, Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet. I think that’s enough for anyone! After enjoying breakfast together, for all of those not staying on, it’s pack-up time and off to further destinations, au revoir.
NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time. Please note all distances are approximate and subject to change.

105th Tour de France

The route

Running from Saturday July 7th to Sunday July 29th 2018, the 105th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,329 kilometres.
  • 8 flat stages
  • 5 hilly stages
  • 6 mountain stages and 3 altitude finishes (La Rosière, Alpe d’Huez, Saint-Lary-Soulan col de Portet)
  • 1 individual time-trial
  • 1 team time-trial
  • 2 rest days

Mountain Climbs

The 2018 Tour de France will include a total of 25 mountain climbs or hills and altitude finishes ranked in second, first of HC class. The geographic distribution will be as follows:
  • 11 in the Alps
  • 4 in the Massif central
  • 10 in the Pyrenees
On the last three editions of the race, the total was as follows: 25 in 2015, 28 in 2016 et 23 in 2017.

Distinctive aspects of the race

ALMOST 100 % FRENCH

Except for a short visit of around 15 kilometres in Spain during stage 16 between Carcassonne and Bagnères-de-Luchon, the 105th Tour de France will never go out of the borders of France. 36“départements” will be travelled through and the Basque country that hadn’t been visited since 2006 will once again be on the map of the Tour.

THE COBBLES RETURN

During the 9th stage, Arras > Roubaix, there will be 21.7 kilometres of cobbled roads. The riders will take on a total of 15 sectors with lengths varying from 500m to 2.7 kilometres.

TIME-TRIALS: TTT AND ITT

Like it was the case last summer in Marseille, the winner of the 105th edition should be crowned after the 20th and penultimate stage, a time-trial between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette on a distance of 31 kilometres. After a three-year absence, a team time-trial of 35 kilometres will also be on the menu during stage 3 in Cholet.

176 AT THE START

Based on a decision taken by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), each one of the 22 teams taking part in the Tour will, in 2018, be formed of 8 riders. There will therefore be a total of 176 riders present at the Grand Départ in Vendée Pays de la Loire.

3, 2, 1 BONUS …

It’ll be an innovation: from the Grand Départ until and including the 9th stage, 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds will be awarded to the first three who reach a specific kilometre of the course determined in advance. It will have no incidence however on the points classification.

… AND 10, 6, 4 EXTRA BONUS

More conventional: 10, 6 and 4 bonus seconds will be taken off the overall times of the first three of each normal stage of the Tour (except for time-trials).

There will be 9 locations or stage cities visited for the first time out of 39:

  • Fontenay-le-Comte (finish of stage 1)
  • Mouilleron-Saint-Germain (start of stage 2)
  • Sarzeau (finish of stage 4)
  • Dreux (start of stage 8)
  • La Rosière (finish of stage 11)
  • Trie-sur-Baïse (start of stage 18)
  • Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (start of stage 20)
  • Espelette (finish of stage 20)
  • Houilles (start of stage 21)

2018 Topbike Tour de France PARIS | July 20-30 2018

TDF Stages 13 - 21

From our start in Grenoble we’ll hit the race most days, along with fitting in plenty of riding.  Up to 1,000k and up to 15,000m vertical, in total for the complete tour.  We’ll move from Lanarce in central France, to Camon in the Pyrenees, Arreau deeper in the Pyrenees, with one ‘one-nighter’ at Buzancais, on the road to Paris.
(*NB: Locations shown above are approximate only.)