And just like that, the Pyrenees have been and gone. A week of adventure, friendly new faces, action and Tour de France madness!
Our Mummu team have been busier than ever, with four unique tours operating simultaneously, offering differing experiences throughout the Pyrenees.
The week kicked off with a warm welcome in Toulouse to our Pyrenees Pro guests, set to take on the Pyrenees and step into the Tour de France bubble with Stuart O’Grady. Deeper into the mountains, we had Nick Gates greeting our Pyrenees Ride guests, prepped for a little more suffering and a huge week of conquering famous Pyrenean cols.
Matt Goss had by now also arrived to prepare for a six day GreenEDGE Travel Pyrenees experience, that would allow guests to get right behind Mitchelton-SCOTT as they undertook their second week of racing. Bonus – a first rest day team meet and greet; including a chat with the riders, staff and a tour of the bus before enjoying dinner at the team hotel to kick start their tour.
Down the road, Stuey and the pro crew were busy meeting Bahrain Merida, including the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Rohan Dennis. Very special for our guests to dive straight onto the scene and gather some great insight into ‘life on tour’ and the team behind the team. Also, very interesting to hear the varying ‘rest day’ methods preferred by different riders on the team. For some, rest is best and others, too much rest is detrimental to their performance the next day, with the body switching into ‘relax mode’ – and understandably so!
Meanwhile, it was all mountains for our Ride contingent who hit the slopes of the famous Hautacam ascent to get their first real taste of mountains and a fine slice of pain while at it. Safe to say, they were in for a tough week!
The following day, our Best of Le Tour 13 day experience tee’d off with a bang in the city of Lourdes. A very exciting prospect for us at Mummu Cycling as we take on our first coach tour that will take guests right through to the grand finale in Paris; enjoying the best of the Pyrenees, Alps and Paris in one-go. We were lucky to be greeted by only friendly, happy faces and following some time to settle, went on to explore the scenic surrounding roads of Lourdes on bike paths, and back-roads before settling in for a welcome dinner, and toast to a big few weeks ahead!
Back East, GreenEDGE Travel and Pyrenees Pro returned to the buzzing start town of Albi, to enjoy the Ride Depart experience; an incredible asset we enjoy regularly throughout the tour as an offical tour operator of the race. The mood was high, and smiles were bright as riders set out off the start line along the Stage 11 route, absorbing the electric, excited atmosphere and taking on each cheer from the many fans lining the streets awaiting the race to come. An experience for us that never gets old. From there, we set up roadside to enjoy a picnic lunch before seeing the guys cruise past, seemingly effortlessly. We then took off in time to catch what was a spectacular sprint finale in Toulouse’s beautiful city centre – our Aussie contingent delighted to see Caleb Ewan take honours.
While some guests were lapping up every second of the Tour de France live, our Ride guests were busy getting stuck into the Pyrenean cols, ticking off the Col d’Aubisque and Col du Soulor in very grim conditions. Challenge accepted, they said and admirably battled it out to complete the day exhausted, but satisfied!
The next day, our four tours united to form the Mummu peloton into the Stage 12 finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre – some tackling a few more vertical metres than others, but all arriving smiling and buzzing to step into some TDF madness. And that we did, as we rolled through the 1km banner together to enjoy our Tour operators finish line asset experience, which allows us to ride the final km, cross the finish line and icing on the cake, step onto the stage podium. From there, it was all eyes on the screens and the stage action as the pros battled over the roads we’d just ridden, including the final Hourquette D’Ancizan ascent that saw the breakaway splinter to three and hold it through to the finish in a quick 30km downhill dash to the line, resulting in a fantastic battle for honours. An especially great day for GreenEDGE Travel guests and Mitchelton-Scott fans to see Simon Yates up for the win!
Next on the radar, was the Stage 13 Individual Time Trial in Pau, where all groups met again following a morning ride in. On arrival, it was all about relaxing in the Relais Etape 12km into the challenging, undulating course, in awe of the the pros as they flew on by in TT mode. What a spectacular finale to then see the unstoppable Frenchman in Yellow soar across the line to take a surprising TT victory and extend his lead even further.
To close out a great week In the Pyrenees, we tackled the almighty Tourmalet on RACE DAY. With the daunting 19km climb (2115m of elevation) on the radar, it was all nerves pre-ride as we all set out along a scenic route from Lourdes. Our ‘hardcore’ Ride guests, again clocking up some extra klicks and another ‘warm-up’ ascent over the Luz Ardiden.
When approaching the base, all fear was forgotten as enthused fans covered its sidelines, their faces ridden with excitement, chanting cheers of encouragement. The further up we went, the thicker the atmosphere got and we were there lapping up every second!
Come 1km to go, it was all-on as we regrouped and stepped across the road block to enjoy our tour operator finish-line experience. To do this on a stage like today, on a summit finish and across the peak of one of the Tours most famous climbs, was truly EPIC.
From there, we enjoyed some podium time before descending a little further back down the mountain to our base for the day. The Izoard hospitality zone, for some, and for others a Mummu Marquee setup roadside to really get right up and close to the action. Beers, cheers and good times followed as we enjoyed the mountain ambience and watched the riders suffer their way up; from the heat of the race to the battling remnants of the grupetto. Some even taking up our offer of a cool coke as they went.
What a day, what a week! Thank you to all of our smiling guests for making our jobs a breeze, and to the countless hours our busy team of staff on the ground and back in the Melbourne office have been putting in to ensure each day at the Tour de France is ticked off smoothly.
Onto the Alps we go!
Want to join in on all the fun next year? Pre-registration for 2020 is now open! See details, here.