We had the pleasure of recently chatting with Santos Tour Down Under back-to-back champion, Daryl Impey, following one of his greatest seasons to date…
He started on a high by returning to Adelaide in January to claim an emphatic, down-to-the-wire victory over Richie Porte, and soon after went on to win both South African national road and time trial titles. Proudly sporting his country colours, he performed consistently well throughout the season – the biggest highlight being his incredible Stage 9 Tour de France victory.
Here, we spoke with Daryl about his success at the Santos Tour Down Under and his hopes for the 2020 edition, now fast approaching!
How did winning your second Santos Tour Down Under compare to your first in 2018?
The first was a little bit of a surprise to myself and the team. The second time I went knowing that I could win an event like the TDU, so I had a bit more confidence in myself and a team being built solely for the GC. It was a bit more special because it was the first time someone went back to back and being Hayman’s retirement race, made it even more special.
It was a huge, history making achievement to take the title for the second time this January. How does it feel to be the first Santos Tour Down Under back-to-back champion?
To be honest, I didn’t get caught up in all the hype about it being back to back initially. I just wanted to do my best and focus on the task at hand. After I had done it, it really sunk in and it was awesome to do the double. It’s nice to be the first at anything because you are known to have set the bar again and that’s a good feeling.
Surely you must dread Willunga Hill, after having to dig so deep both year’s to claim the title with the GC so down to the wire? How do you do it?!
I don’t really dread it, but rather I know I need to do my thing and hopefully it’s enough. I quite enjoy it, knowing I will give it my best and there is nothing else I can do. I try ride to my strengths and go from there. A lot relies on that ride up Willunga which has made it so iconic.
You obviously cope very well with pressure too, with the overall standings consecutively being so close, and using your speed strengths to take time bonuses each day on tour…not your standard race for overall victory that’s for sure. How much do the time bonuses really effect/shape the race and how do yourself and team go about handling the added pressure throughout?
There is no doubt I need a buffer and we work hard at what needs to be done. I put a fair bit of pressure on the team in the race and it is demanding, but with motivated guys we seem to do it very well every year. We select the days we need to nail but stage wins are what counts…you won’t win the TDU easily without a stage in the bag.
Your team, Mitchelton-SCOTT have now won the race an impressive 5 times in its history, and as an Australian born team, this is no doubt a very special race to perform highly at. Having been with the team since its establishment, to give these wins back to them and the hard-working team out on the road/behind the scenes must be a great feeling?
I work hard in December, but so do they. It is satisfying to pay them back with a win as I know they are working just as hard to help me as I am trying to win the race. I have been on both sides, so I know the workload and pressure on everyone. I have started to cope a lot better with that now. It is humbling that they believe in me.
You’re consistently on fine form at this event, as are the selected riders. How does this set you up for the remainder of the season and returning to peak form later year?
It is tricky because we start so early, but yes a good start can always take the pressure off the team and also myself. I like to hit the ground running, I have always had a good season which had a good start. I need to have a break shortly after the race to prepare for the European races but it’s nice to race in good weather and with great fans.
What do you love most about the Tour Down Under?
The fans and the weather!
Favourite stage to date?
Lastly, congratulations on rounding out your most successful season to date…what are your plans now for the off season and will you be returning for a hat trick?!
Yes, I am focused on trying to get back to TDU to go for the hat trick. It’s a big objective of mine!
All the best to Daryl and Mitchelton-SCOTT in January! We will be there once more with bells on avidly cheering as they fight it out for number three. Keen to jump on board? Head, here to register.
The Tour de France is the pinnacle event of cycling and one of the greatest, largest scale sporting events across the globe. The three week race travels across some of France’s most stunning, yet testing terrain, every year delivering an incredible display of world class sporting entertainment. With that, thousands of passionate cycling fans andsupporters from all over come in swarms to avidly cheer their countrymen and favourite riders on, throughout its 21 day course.
At Mummu Cycling, we thrive in creating a platform for like-minded fans and cycling enthusiasts to come to the Tour de France each year to experience its greatness at a whole new level. We are one of only six official Tour de France tour operators, which ensures we have unprecedented exclusivity and access to the race and its inner sanctum, allowing us to deliver once in a lifetime Tour de France experiences, with an added difference each July.
So what does it mean to be an Official Tour de France Tour Operator?
Exclusive access to the race from incredible hospitality zones.
With our official Tour operator license, comes a list of exclusive benefits and race hospitality invitations…
The Departure Village –
We take our guests right inside the bubble at Tour de France stage starts, into the official tour departure village and rider pre-race zone. Here, you’ll be kicking back over a coffee and local delicacies, enjoying the festive departure village atmosphere, while watching the riders sign on for the stage within close proximity. You’ll then have exclusive access to the team bus area, where riders tentatively prepare for the stage ahead. A unique opportunity that will allow you to see up-close, all the pre-race rituals, warm-up’s and routines, catch a glimpse of the latest high-tech, advanced equipment on display and if you’re lucky, get your photo with some of the sports biggest names. If you follow Mummu Cycling tour host, Stuart O’Grady’s path, it’s almost inevitable…
The Relais Etape –
The Relais Etape is one of our favourite hospitality experiences, located at a primelocation on course each day at the Tour de France and restricted to a limited number of exclusive invites. It’s a real day of ‘special treatment’ as you sit down to a divine three course long-lunch, paired with unlimited delicious local French wine, while watching the race from big screen entertainment, amidst some star-studded company. As the mood continues to rise, you’ll then witness the peloton fly by seemingly effortlessly, where you’ll by now be glowing with excitement, chanting support at your sporting heroes in full force.
The Relais Etape never fails to bring a buzzing, cheery atmosphere, that will have you leaving feeling like you’re well and truly within the Tour de France bubble.
The Izoard –
The Izoard is another outstanding hospitality zone we are privileged to have access to. Usually located at the stage finish line to ensure you witness the most thrilling of sprint finishes from prime viewing, or alternatively, placed conveniently up the slopes of a riveting Tour de France summit finish. Either way, when at the Izoard, you’re guaranteed to be positioned in the ideal location to view those champion race moments live, and once the race has passed, it’s all eyes glued to screen entertainment – Champagne and French canapé in hand…it doesn’t get much better.
Ride on the course
One of the best exclusivity’s of being an official tour operator is the incredible opportunity of riding on the offical race course, on closed roads, to the point where you’ll truly feel like you’re within the Tour de France.
Ride Depart Experience –
The Ride Depart experience will have you literally riding off the stage start line, as excited crowds of fans already line the streets in support, just hours ahead of the race itself and within the official Tour de France convoy. This is a truly surreal experience, difficult to justify in words alone.
D-Day Experience –
If the start isn’t enough, there’s also the finish and our D-Day tour operator experience.D-Day is another unique occasion that will have you riding the final part of the stage and take you right across the official finish line, arms held high is you so desire! Exclusive to official tour operator’s only, you’ll be every other fan’s envy as you pass the barriers at the flamme rouge andexperience what it’s like to cross the line of a Tour de France stage – again, only hours ahead of the pros. Lively fans will be avidly cheering as you make your way down the final stretch and to top off an unimaginable experience, you’ll then be able to step onto the leaders stage podium for a celebratory pose and photo, as well as hitting the interview booth following to get a taste of that ‘winners feeling’.
Our tour operators license not only guarantees unprecedented access to the race, but will also ensure VIP treatment throughout the Tour de France’s duration and our preparation phase. Included; first preference to reserved accommodation options that will have you as close to the action as possible, consistent, direct communication with Tour de France organisers (the ASO), as well as VIP access to parking and transport to-from the stage/s, enabling us to spend as little time ‘waiting around’ in traffic as is possible.
What else adds to the Mummu Cycling difference?
– Pro Tour Hosts and Guides
Key partner and ambassador, Stuart O’Grady plays a pivotal role in the design and delivery of all Mummu Cycling tours and having contended 17 Tour de France’sthroughout his professional cycling career, his extensive wealth of knowledge, experience, skill and countless connections within the cycling world ensure a differential, incomparable experience.
Using his insider access to the pro peloton, Stuart will arrange pro team meet and greets with some of the best World Tour teams on the circuit. This presents a rare opportunity to exclusively chat with the riders and gather some great insights from the ‘team behind the team’ of staff; from mechanics, to race directors, soigneurs and beyond.
To add to the arranged meet and greet, Stuart will on a consistently be catching up with ‘old friends and team mates’ of the peloton throughout the race’s course, introducing our guests along the way. To name a few, Phil Liggett and Jens Voigt, who will both unfailingly take the time to chat or grab a photo with Stuey and our guests on a regular basis.
Over the years, we have grown to establish strong connections with a number of other former pro riders, who now routinely act as tour hosts,ongoing ambassadors and guides on our tours. At the Tour de France, expect to be learning all the tricks of the trade from the likes of 2 x Giro d’Italia champion, Ivan Basso, Milan San-Remo winner, Matt Goss or lead-out specialist, Nick Gates. They’ll not only know all the Tour-famous roads and have a credible level of experience, but have countless race tales to tell, Tour de France memories and knowledgable race insights to share throughout the trip.
A fantastic benefit of joining us on tour is that we take care of almost everything for you, so, you’re left with little-nothing to think about, plan or prepare, and more time to simply ‘enjoy the ride’.
From the moment you arrive, we’ll be there to drive you to your arranged, reserved accommodation for the tour’s duration, booked well in advance and located in the most ideal location to meet tour itinerary needs.
Daily transport to and from the race will be covered – all you’ll need to do is worry about getting yourself to the van on schedule.
Luggage will be transported accordingly when moving on to our next hotel destination.
Ride routes are tentatively prepared in advance to ensure you see the best of the race while ticking off bucket list rides and along minimal traffic roads.
All rides are guided and supported by our experienced team. You willalways have a ride leader and a following support vehicle providing water, energy nutrition, snacks, spare clothing, in addition to mechanical equipment and assistance when needed.
– Not just for the riders
Our tours are not only designed for cyclists, but spectators alike. All Tour de France itineraries are designed to also suit spectating guests, wishing towitness the best of the Tour de France live, without the cycling factor. We will often run daily separate activities and additional events on the tour itinerary, while rides are on, to ensure our spectators get the most out of their experience at the Tour de France and the incredible regions we travel through.
– Meet new friends and likeminded people
Most guests leave our tours with new friendships, cycling companions and connections. At Mummu Cycling, we strive to create a friendly, comfortable and fun environment. It’s not all just about the race or the riding, but having an enjoyable, social experience while you’re at it!
Join us for the ride at the Tour de France, 2020 – here!
With the 2020 Tour de France now out, we’re busy planning our 2020 line-up of tours, set to be launched on our website, October 22nd!
While you wait…hear what 17 x Tour de France contender, Stuart O’Grady has to say about the route.
“It’s a brutal, brutal course, but good”, says Chris Froome.
“The hardest in six years!”…
This is the opening comment coming from a 4-time TDF champion…If Chris thinks it’s going to be hard, then God help the rest!
The organisers have created a course to hopefully give France their first victory since Laurent Fignon way back in 1984.
There’s only one TT and almost every stage is going to be a battle of concentration and courage, something that Alaphillipe, Pinot & Bardet have a lot of.
This edition starts off in the beautiful Côte D’Azur where I, along with many Pro riders called home for many years. It’s going to be an incredible backdrop for the first few stages taking in the coastline and the difficult surrounding climbs such as Col D’eze which features in Paris-Nice each year.
It is going to be a Tour De France for the climbers, taking in all 5 mountain ranges including 5 mountain top finishes that cover 29 categorised climbs!
The race will also return to Cornet de Roseland where I will have some shakey memories after having the biggest crash of my career, coming off at 90km/hr and hitting a barrier which broke nearly every bone in my torso.
The Tour De France 2020. It’s going to be epic! And I will be there to guide you on the greatest annual sporting event on the planet.
Join me and Mummu Cycling for a once in a lifetime journey inside the World’s Greatest Cycling Race.
Lock in your spot on a a 2020 tour by placing a simple, risk-free pre-booking deposit, HERE (before we go LIVE, Tuesday October 22nd). By doing so, a place on your tour of preference will be secure and you’ll go in the draw to be one of two to win premium FACTOR bike hire on your chosen Tour de France experience with Mummu Cycling!
The World Tour road cycling season has almost come to a close for 2019. With that, many professionals are now well and truly into ‘off-season’ mode, relaxing and enjoying the humming town of Girona. Come November, they’ll mostly be jumping back onto the bike to begin preparation for 2020!
We recently had a chat to a few of our Girona based pro friends to hear what their favourite cycling-related parts about the now cycling Mecca are….
Here’s what ‘the pros’ have to say –
“The best part of riding a bike in Girona is the company, there is a great community of people on and off the bike getting amongst some of the best roads in Europe.” – George Bennett, Team Jumbo–Visma
“Off season/ November is my favorite month of the year in Girona – the weather is warm enough to enjoy the riding, but not too hot that it’s uncomfortable, the roads are quiet and peaceful and the town has a nice quiet local vibe to it!!” Shane Archbold, Bora–Hansgrohe
“The people that you ride with in Girona and the united cycling community here make it, paired with the incredible riding and countless options; from the beach, to the mountains and flat roads – it really has it all.” – Sam Bewley, Mitchelton-SCOTT
“The training options and weather in Girona are two of the big draw cards. With great year-round weather and very few wet days, it’s easy to take it for granted. There are so many great routes to choose from when out training that you could easily ride one of Girona’s best rated rides every day of the week. You have options for flatter rides or if you’re looking to challenge yourself a bit, you can head inland towards the Pyrenees and ride some of the many longer climbs. When you’re not out on your bike, the city has plenty of character and is rich in history. Fantastic food and wine, cobbled streets that are dotted with squares and the river Onyar, which is famous for the many brightly painted houses lining it.” – Michael Hepburn, Mitchelton-SCOTT
November is fast approaching, so now is our final call to get you on board for what will undoubtedly be a long weekend to rave home about. Take their word for it and join us for the Girona ride…
When booking, use code: GIRONA5 to receive 5% off total tour price.
This year’s Giro d’Italia proved a huge success as we took to the final phase of the spectacular Italian Grand Tour to witness the best of live race action, while enjoying a taste of the incredible culture and riding ourselves along the way. To add, we were privileged to host such a fantastic, energetic group of guests throughout the week, ensuring a seamless, fun-filled time on tour.
Here, spectating guest, Nicole McIntosh shares some personal Giro d’Italia memories…
This year, my husband and I were fortunate enough to travel with Greenedge Travel, Mummu Cycling to the 2019 Giro and enjoy an up close and personal experience with Mitchelton-SCOTT.We have some truly precious memories of our time which ticked off some bucket list items for us.
Firstly, I was so very impressed with the Mummu Cycling staff, many of whom have been professional cyclists and trainers themselves.Their knowledge of the professional peloton is superb and their warmth and friendliness were greatly appreciated.As a spectator, I was always treated equally to the cyclists and my experience was as important to them as those on the bicycle.I was never left out or isolated from the action.Total inclusivity is what they do best.
Secondly, the unique bond the company has formed with Mitchelton-SCOTT is extremely special and we were given direct access to the team on several occasions.As a supporter of the team, I could not have asked for more insight, exclusivity and a glimpse into the life of a professional cycling team competing in a Grand Tour.The riders and staff themselves were welcoming and very giving of their time – given the importance of what they were trying to achieve on GC, this was extremely exciting to be a part of and incredibly worthwhile.Our visit to the team hotel on the second rest day of the Giro was quite a privilege and we were able to discuss tactics, tour the team bus and speak with the Sport Directors.A truly extraordinary life experience!
Thirdly, my most memorable moment, was the opportunity granted to ride in one of the team cars of Mitchelton-SCOTT on Stage 19 – an iconic day taking in the amazing Passo San Boldo!This was simply one of the best days and came as such a surprise for the spectating crew.I was warmly and genuinely welcomed by Dan and Craig from the team and spent a fantastic day in their car learning about the intricacies of being a staff member for a pro cycling team, the nutrition and food required to fuel a cyclist for a day in the Giro, their general roles and their life on the road.However, the best part of this day was being able to listen to Race Radio as Esteban Chaves mounted his comeback with a stage win.I was also generously invited into the team hotel to watch the final four kilometres with the staff and witness not only a fantastic and well deserved win but their delight at being an integral part of this achievement – I felt incredibly lucky for this opportunity.You simply cannot get better than that!!!I don’t believe any other cycling company can offer this kind of unique and special experience.
Finally, the Mummu Team showed us some spectacular parts of Italy, gorgeous little villages, and brought together some fantastic people who we continue to keep in contact with.The Mummu guides provided us with a once in a lifetime experience with direct access to the professional cycling peloton and expert advice from those who have lived and breathed the life of a world class cyclist. Chapeau to you all!
Grazie Nicole for taking us back to what was an incredible time spent at the Giro d’Italia, with a great group of people.
If our Giro d’Italia experience is something that interests you for 2020, you can pre-book by placing a simple, risk-free booking deposit here to secure your place on tour and be the first to know when our complete tour itineraries go live. Spots are strictly limited, so we do recommend signing up to reserve your place ahead of launch. The 2020 official route will be revealed October 24th and our tours are set to go live closely following. Stay tuned!
The Belgian Classics phenomenon, born in 1965 grew up in Gistel living and breathing all things cycling as his father pursued a professional career on the road, eventually calling it quits following a podium finish at Amstel Gold.
Johan’s initial focus in his earlier racing days was on Cyclocross. Soon enough, however his talent on the road was discovered and he went on to race professionally from 1988 – 2004; his stellar list of palmares stacked from start to finish.
He transformed from early career ‘sprinter’, to Classics specialist in the 90’s and raced for some of the world’s best professional teams throughout, including; Lotto, Mapei and Quick Step, to name a few.
Johan was and to this day continues to be commonly regarded in the cycling world as the ‘Lion of Flanders’ due to his continued dominance in the Classics throughout his racing years and as a proud West Flanderian, the name is even more fitting.
Arguably, his greatest achievements were an admirable trio of victories at the prestigious Ronde van Vlaanderen and an additional hat trick at it’s cobbled counterpart – the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix. To have won two of the most sought after Classics on the calendar a very credible three times each, has certainly listed him right up there as one one of the finest Classics riders of all time.
To add his Classics success, he also claimed multiple Tour de France stage wins, in addition to two Team Time Trial victories, several Belgian National road titles and was crowned Road World Champion in 1996.
In 2020, Johan will be leading a group ride on our Spring Classics experience over the most iconic roads of Flanders past, many of which he has stormed to victory across in his past racing years and endured countless training hours over throughout his career.
He will then join us post ride to discuss his phenomenal period as a professional cyclist; no doubt sharing a story or two and some fantastic insight into the Spring Classics.
GreenEDGE Travel recently took to the streets of Spain, to witness the final week of La Vuelta a Espana live and get behind the team in their valiant fight for stage success.
The seven day tour, hosted by former GreenEDGE team member, Stuart O’Grady, proved a huge success, from the trip’s day one team ‘meet and greet’, to the spectacular final showdown in the heart of Madrid.
Our guests well and truly hit the ground running on arrival to Spain, checking in to their accommodation in the history-rich Spanish city of Segovia, before enjoying a leisurely warm-up ride ahead of the evening’s activities, meeting the team on their well earned rest day.
Here, Sport Director, Julian Dean enlightened guests with a tour of the bus, followed by a Q and A with the riders, sharing some fantastic insights into the race and team operations. Guests then had the unique opportunity to chat with the team in a relaxed environment, before rounding out the evening superbly with dinner at the hotel, joined by Julian.
Come day two, it was time to take a step into the race at the stage 17 start in Aranda de Duero. Here, the perfect platform for guests to explore the start area, catch a glimpse of our ‘pre-race’ routines and wish the riders well, ahead of a wind-prominent stage ahead.
Following the excitement of the stage depart, guests were off for their own ride adventure along the outskirts of the stunning vineyard-dotted, undulating roads of Aranda de Duero. The challenging conditions had riders glued to the wheel of tour host, Stuart O’Grady, eventually completing the ride exhausted, yet elated and ready for an afternoon of deserved wine tasting and tapas at boutique local winery, Dominio de Cair, owned by the famous Luis Cañas.
Next up, it was time for guests to grasp a real taste of mountain madness and the incredibly lively atmosphere the mountain stages never cease to deliver at the Vuelta. First up, riders battled over the testing slopes of Puerto de Navacerrada, in time to see the race splinter to pieces over the other side, and support the team in full force as they crested its summit, pain-faced.
Meanwhile, our spectating contingent joined the team in the support car for the day. A special experience that had them placed in the heart of the action at numerous feed zones throughout the stage, witnessing firsthand what goes on behind the scenes on race day.
The group went on to reconnect at the finish in Becerril de la Sierra to see what was a thrilling battle for Stage 18 honours, placed a mere 100m from the line. They then had the opportunity to chat with some of our riders to hear all the inside scoop on yet another incredibly demanding stage at La Vuelta.
The following day, the GreenEDGE Travel team were up bright and early, on route to Stage 19, where they would be tackling the final run into the unique medieval city of Toledo. Rain, wind and rolling terrain, had riders fighting hard to the finish – a daring cobbled climb into the centre, the cherry on top to what was a testing morning out on the bike. Appreciation levels for the professionals, then only strengthened when it came to relaxing downtown over a typical Spanish ‘menu del dia’ while watching the drama-filled stage unfold and the sheer speed it was raced at. They then took to the streets of the technical finish, joining thick crowds of like-minded, excited fans to support the team in their final dash to the line.
Come the penultimate stage, GreenEDGE Travel riders were in for one last roaring fight up the Category 1, Puerto de Pena Negra, along the mountain-dominated stage 20 route. Brutal conditions, deemed it no easy feat, however all eventually arrived to its summit, shattered, yet incredibly satisfied – another bucket list climb conquered. Post ride, the afternoon was spent at the final sprint point of the day, watching the stage action from the warmth of a local restaurant, over typical Spanish cuisine and a few deserved beverages, while the riders heroically continued to click down the final vertical metres of this year’s relentless Vuelta in grim settings.
An action-packed week at La Vuelta supporting the team, came to an end as our guests hit the Spanish capital of Madrid to see the race come to a spectacular close from an incredible rooftop viewing location on-course. They then rounded out the tour on a high with a toast to the team post-stage to congratulate them on their efforts, followed by a final farewell group dinner to cheers to an incredible week together experiencing the best of La Vuelta’s final week, backing Mitchelton-SCOTT.
A word from tour host, Stuart O’Grady:
“What a way to finish off the year with GreenEDGE Travel at the Vuelta! It really was one of the best cycling tours I’ve been a part of, and a refreshing change to the incredibly addictive but busy Tour De France. We enjoyed a nice mix of rides, food & wine, roadside race viewing and finish line buzz, while taking in some of Spains great attractions and warm culture along the way. To top, the team were so welcoming throughout the week and made a very memorable occasion for our guests.
For those wanting a very typically Spanish and a little bit more of a “tranquilo” tour, get on board for next year – I honestly cant wait”!
With the complete 2020 Giro d’Italia route yet to be revealed, to keep the excitement alive, we’ve come up with some common denominators that you’ll no doubt experience while on a cycling tour in Italy, and in particular, at the Giro d’Italia!
The Dolomites –
Many would say, the Dolomites offer the most beautiful cycling playground across the globe. The Northeastern mountain range of Italy forms part of the Southern Limestone Alps and travels through to the River Adige in the West and the Piave Valley, East.
The Dolomites, are an absolute must-visit for adventurists, lovers of the outdoors and avid cyclists alike. Its surreal landscape is made up of a succession of peaks, all sporting unique ‘jagged’ edges, and surrounded by a combination of rolling valleys, gorges, endless green fields and forests.
Their sheer beauty offers the perfect contrast when cycling within, to the pain and suffering they will no doubt disperse! The many famous ‘climbs’ of the range are far from easy, yet an incredible challenge and absolutely worth it for the picturesque scenery and mind-blowing views atop.
Arguably, most famous to the Dolomites within the cycling world, is the iconic Sella Ronda loop, that tackles a selection of famous passes throughout its route, just shy of 70km in total, including; the 9.3km Gardena (6.4%), the 5.5km Sella (7.9%), the 13km Pordoi (6%) and the 5.8km Campolongo (6%). How’s that for a day’s climbing?
Another popular Dolomiti choice for cyclists, is the unforgiving Passo Fedaia. The 14km climb, offers little to no respite with its 7.6% average gradient, ramping up to a gruelling 18% along some sections. Again, worth every inkling of suffering, for the unsurpassed views on display at its summit. .
Stelvio territory –
Surely you’ve heard of the mighty Stelvio pass? An absolute icon world-wide, due to its incredibly unique 48 switchbacks and truly exquisite landscape. The 24 km climb (from Prato) reaches an incredible height of 2758m, assuring it the second highest paved road in the Alps. Averaging just over 7% for its duration, it’s by no means an easy feat, however its famous hairpin bends, for many assist in offering a nice platform for a little respite here and there. Counting down from 48, with each turn clearly marked, it may seem a long way, however once you’ve covered its sheltered lower slopes, and entered the more exposed final stages, you’ll be able to look up to see the summit and the unbelievable switchback slopes that lie ahead – a breathtaking experience, both visually and physically, as surely by now you’ll be a little out of breath!
Not far from the Stelvio is the not-so friendly, Gavia. From Ponte di Legno, it’s a challenging 17.3km long, averaging 7.9% and incredibly exposed for most of its final half. When the weather takes a turn, the Gavia is one to avoid! In this year’s Giro d’Italia, the climb was removed from the Queen stage (16), with avalanches and extreme weather deeming it high-risk.
The murderous slopes of the Mortirolo also loom nearby and for some, it’s referred to as the toughest climb across all three grand tours in professional cycling. From Mazzon, the climb averages a relentless 10.3% over 12.4km, reaching points of up to 18% along its course. Its continuous ‘steepness’ offers seldom opportunity to recover, making it a real battle in hell when not feeling 100%. Word of advice – come prepared and be committed to suffer – a lot! Although a challenge, the elation and sense of achievement at its summit certainly make up for the pain endured. A definite bucket list climb that ‘not so’ simply must be ticked…
Now we’re really talking ‘bella Italia’. The famous region is commonly passed through along the Giro d’Italia route, showcasing its stunning, rolling, vineyard-dotted, olive grove lined roads, particularly famous for its Chianti wine. How does a day or two riding along picture-perfect undulating roads, rewarded superbly with a glass of Chianti under the Tuscan sun sound? Not bad, we say and something you’ll almost certainly be in for on a Giro d’Italia cycling tour in Italy.
Carnic Alps –
They border Austria and are home to the relentless Monte Zoncolan, considered as difficult or even more so, than the Mortirolo and another one of cycling’s toughest ascents encountered on the professional circuit. Averaging 11.5% over 10.5km, it’s no wonder! The lethal climb has appeared six times at the Giro d’Italia, most recently in 2018 when Chris Froome stole the show and tore the legs off competitors on Stage 14. Here’s hoping it’ll be back in 2020.
Treviso/Monte Grappa –
Home to Italy’s best prosecco, Treviso is a definite, yes when visiting Italy. The famous province’s stunning surroundings are vineyard prominent, as the original area of the famous sparkling wine. Also known for the Italian favourite dessert of tiramisù – the perfect reward following the nearby testing Monte Grappa climb, popular within the cycling world and part of the Veneto region. The unique climb offers an incredible nine varying routes to its 1775m high summit. Famously known as a World War 1 battleground, featuring a memorial at its peak and outstanding panoramic views to add.
The Italian lakes –
Let’s not forget the crystal clear waters of Italy’s most spectacular lakes. Lake Garda and Lake Como to name a few, may ring a bell. Known for their idyllic settings, and both occasionally visited along the Giro d’Italia’s route. Como, part of the Lombardy region was a popular stop-off point along this year’s 2019 route with the Stage 15 finish along its shores. Home to the famous Madonna de Ghisallo climb and the tourist-favourite, charming lake-front town of Bellagio at its base – it’s a place you’ll be reluctantly leaving.
DIVINE FOOD AND WINE
If you’ve never experienced ‘authentic’ Italian cuisine, then you’re certainly in for a treat. The Italian’s certainly do food incredibly well, and are most famous for their to-die-for flawlessly cooked pasta of all shapes, sizes and flavours; gnocchi, spaghetti and carbonara to list a few…Then, there’s their renowned, exemplary pizzas, crusted perfectly to ensure just the right amount of crunch and thinness to its base, with a selection of divine ‘typical Italian’ toppings. The combination simply cannot be replicated in other parts of the world, no matter how hard they try.
The list of traditional favourites then goes on, as they absolutely excel in many other areas.Prosciutto, polenta, risotto, are a few popular specialties, and of course, their sensational gelato and coffee to top. Simple, locally inspired, fresh and so delicious. To add – the outrageously inexpensive prices, and generous serving plates, make it all the more tasty.
To top outstanding cuisine, the Italians are known world-wide for their reputable selection of varying wines, from a number of popular regions. One of the first things you’ll notice in most parts of Italy is the phenomenal landscape, vineyard prominent in many regions. Again, you’ll be far from breaking the bank to treat yourself to a nice drop of Italian vino to pair with that pizza.
THE PEOPLE, CULTURE, HISTORY AND ART
Mama Mia! The Italian’s are an incredibly lively, passionate culture and when at the Giro d’Italia, you’ll absolutely experience their love for life and contagious energy when in amidst the atmosphere catching the action.
Steeped in the arts, architecture, music and food – they have it dialled. Something that really stands out, too is their ‘family life’ and significance of family in many aspects of life. An incredibly close, emotional culture and something you will undoubtedly witness in your travels through Italy.
Also, very rich in history…the entire country is prominently filled with ancient palaces, fortifications and archaeological parks; every city and small town holding it’s own stories and unique look – packed into stunning old buildings and churches, through to the countless cobbled alleyways that lie between them, ensuring it a place to endlessly explore by bike, foot or boat!
So many things to look forward to when travelling to Italy, (and this list could go on and on)…many of which you could well experience on a cycling tour in Italy, combined with the spectacular Giro d’Italia, depending on the Grand Tour’s varying annual route. Set to be announced later year, we’ll be working hard to release our tours shortly following. For now – stay tuned, if you haven’t already ‘pre-register‘ to secure your spot and head here, to read about what’s in store for the opening stages, set to take place in Hungary…
The opening nine stages of La Vuelta 2019 are now behind us and today’s rest day is understandably, very warmly welcomed by all, following an incredibly brutal start to the race. Let’s just say, the Vuelta is less predictable, has little structure to the route and is herby somewhat harder to control than it’s French and Italian counterparts.
This year, has proven no different with the route running straight for the hills, concluding the opening, drama-filled team time trial, that saw a surprising Astana claim victory and Miguel Ángel López step into the lead – competitors unable to match their shear speed, while multiple favourites’ chances were diminished with unforeseeable crashes, due to a mid-stage water spill along the course.
From there, there was certainly no ‘warming into it’, as the riders took to the undulating terrain along stage two, that saw Nairo Quintana take an impressive victory, eventually outwitting a select group of race favourites by attacking them 3km from the line and maximising the core group’s hesitation behind. The Columbian’s win, wasn’t enough to move into the lead, with race veteran Nicholas Roche taking second on the stage – his team, Sunweb’s strong opening team time trial assuring him the jersey.
Stage three marked the first sprint opportunity of the race, resulting in a spectacular outcome for the Irish, with Sam Bennett’s (Bora-Hansgrohe) turn of speed far too good for competitors to match, winning the stage by a bike-length in a perfectly timed dash to the line. The jersey remained in fellow Irishman, Roche’s hands, making it a day to go down in history for Irish cycling.
Stage four, saw another hectic sprint finish and a tight battle to the line by Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen and Stage three winner, Bennett. The photo finish declared Jakobsen winner by the slimmest of margins – the young Dutchman stealing his first Grand Tour victory of his short, but promising career.
Dark horse, Ángel Madrazo of Spanish contingent, Burgos-BH went on to take a very surprising stage five victory in what marked the first official summit finish of this year’s La Vuelta. The victory stemmed from a successful breakaway – Madrazo initially in the move with the sole focus of picking up points to extend his lead in the mountains classification. The Spaniard, however stormed on, combining forces with team mate Jetse Bol, to take an emotional, career standout win. Behind, it was all-go for the GC contenders – young Columbian, López, all too strong for competitors, putting in an explosive attack several kilometres from the line that saw him take a significant time gap and soar his way back into the leaders jersey.
Stage six had Bahrain-Merida’s, Dylan Theuns step into the Maillot Rojo, concluding a successful 11 man breakaway. Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) proving too strong for breakaway companions, stealing the stage, while Theuns moved into the lead. A crash-marred stage sadly saw the departure of a handful of riders, including previous race leader, Nicholas Roche. EF Education First taking the biggest blow, losing Rigoberto Urán, Hugh Carthy and ultimately, Tejay van Gaarderen, who went on to contend the following stage, but failed to finish due to injuries sustained the day prior.
The punishing gradients stage seven dished out, saw a dominant Alejandro Valverde win the stage, as he seemingly effortlessly powered away from the remaining core group of four, over the relentlessly steep final climb. The world champion, stamping his authority and showing his strengths once more on the harsher gradients, while the closely tailing, López grasped the lead back once more.
Stage eight resulted in a 21 rider strong breakaway success and yet another exchange of the leaders jersey, into the hands of Cofidis’, Nicolas Edet. The challenging, punchy course was tackled in treacherous weather conditions, eventually seeing Nikias Arndt of Sunweb take the stage victory, his speed simply too much for competitors in what resulted in a final sprint to the line.
Yesterday’s stage nine, marked quite likely one of the most challenging stages across the tour’s duration. With the start and finish points from Andorra, the 94km route was only up and down, proving a real test for contenders, and workhorses alike. As expected, the stage was all drama and action, with little to no respite for its entirety. A number of GC favourites suffered untimely mechanicals and crashes, including Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves, who’s misfortune, resulted in him ending the day almost five minutes back. Grim conditions and a gravel section leading into the final climb, then saw favourites, Roglic and López hit the deck, however luckily losses were limited as both riders fought their way back to contention, despite the incident.
The stage victory went to a very impressive Tadej Pogačar of UAE. The young gun attacked the remnants of the race, in the closing km, storming past Movistar’s Marc Soler as he reluctantly sat back to support team mate, Quintana. His strength too great, as he went on to claim an emphatic win atop Cortals d’ Encamp in brutal conditions. Movistar, not losing out, with Quintana’s strong performance moving him into the lead.
With the first phase behind us, every minute of today’s rest day will be greatly cherished, with the middle week set to be surprisingly even tougher, leaving the race well and truly wide-open. With all GC contenders having already pushed well above the limit to remain in contention, it should certainly prove an incredibly exciting second half!
“It’s been a very hard first week,” Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves said with a laugh. “The sad part is that the second week is going to be even harder.”
– Esteban Chaves (VeloNews)
“It’s been a very interesting Vuelta so far,” Arndt said. “We’ve had changes in the leader’s jersey, we’ve had a few sprint stages, we started with a triple-T, and we’ve had some hard days in the mountains. I’ve come to the Vuelta in good shape, so I have not suffered so much, but it’s true it’s been a very hard parcours so far.”
– Nikias Arndt (VeloNews)
For us, we’re well and truly ready to join La Vuelta madness in Spain with GreenEDGE Travel…primed and eager to support Mitchelton-Scott in full force through to the grand finale in Madrid. Vamos! www.greenedgetravel.com
It’s no surprise that the Giro d’Italia will be mixing it up once more with a unique ‘Grande Partenza’, following their 2018 depart in Israel and former starts in Sardinia, the Netherlands and Ireland.
In 2020, the Grande Partenza, will be hosted in Hungary, where the first three stages will go on to take place. Kick starting in its capital of Budapest with an opening Individual Time Trial, it will undoubtedly be quite the spectacle as the riders tackle a 9.5km course starting at one of the cities largest and most visited sights, ‘Heroes’ Square’. The route will then travel through the history-rich, medieval old-town streets, before completing the effort with a 4%, 1.5km climb into the visually spectacular Castle district. The short Time Trial will crown the first Maglia Rosa of 2020 with time gaps expected to be minimal.
From there, Stage Two will travel from Budapest to Györ as the riders race 193km over mostly flat terrain, with only a few minor climbs along the way, marking the first prime opportunity for the sprinters to earn early success and stamp their authority.
Stage Three, will prove even flatter than the day prior, covering 197km from Székesfehérvár to Nagykanizsa, along the shores of the picturesque Lake Balaton. Again resulting in an almost certain sprint battle to the line. By now, there will be clear idea as to who the ‘fast men’ of the 2020 Giro will be!
“This will be the 14th time that the Giro d’Italia starts from abroad and the first time from this part of Europe,” race director Mauro Vegni said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “There will be three stages on Hungarian soil that will allow riders to race in places that are still little known in professional cycling.
“When we choose the site of a Grande Partenza, the tradition and sporting passion of the area is one of the many aspects that we evaluate. We’re certain that many Hungarians will line the roads of the Giro making these days of sport unforgettable and unique.”
Mummu Cycling will be returning to the 2020 Giro d’Italia with bells on, following an incredibly successful 2019. Following the announcement of the exciting Hungarian Grande Partenza, we can’t wait to see what else the Giro will have in store…
Secure your place on tour with a risk-free booking deposit, here…As soon as the complete 2020 route has been revealed, our team will be working tentatively to create detailed itineraries. Your pre-booking deposit will ensure you receive our tour reveal’s first and don’t miss out on a spot. With our 2019 line-up, a sell-out, we’d recommend it. Andiamo!
There’s a place for everyone in a Mummu tour — riders of varying capabilities, spectators, and adventurists who want an extraordinary life experience.
We joined the Tour des Vins Mummu program within the 2019 Tour de France, my husband a cycling enthusiast and me, a seeker of unique/cool experiences (but definitely not a cyclist or in-shape human). Team Mummu accommodated our respective interests and capabilities and delivered the outcomes we each wanted. I gave cycling a shot and Mummu enabled me to ride to my capability limit and then kindly gave me a lift to catch up to the group … as a result, I enjoyed the cycling on my own terms within the Mummu safety parameters and without feeling pressured to keep up with the “real” riders or relegated to the sidelines.
Marcel, Stuart, Liam, Cedric, and Emily are each, in their own right, exceptional people; and as a team, well, simply incredible. And while I did not meet Paul, who answered my endless questions on the administrative side, in person, I can attest he too delivered exceptional customer care and service. From our first e-mail inquiring about the Mummu TdF tour through our farewell after the Stage 7 depart in Belfort, we knew we were in the hands of professionals committed to their mission, capable in their planning, and thorough in their execution.
Without question, each member of the Mummu team demonstrated attention to detail, listening and responding to group and individuals’ queries/dream experience requests, ensured safety precautions were communicated and followed, and delivered an incredible experience we remain “wowed” we got to live. Team Mummu puts the customer at the center of its thinking/planning/doing. I’m a tough customer with a high bar when it comes to “return on investment” of time and money. Mummu Cycling’s investment in producing an extraordinary project was evident and without question, they delivered a return on our investment.
All the better that we had a fantastic group of people to share the Tour des Vins cycling, TdF excitement & hospitality, and beautiful Alsace region with for five days. Book your trip now! You will be disappointed only if you wait too long and miss out on the experience you’ve been wanting to live.
Thanks again Team Mummu and the 2019 Tour des Vins crew!!
JC Walsh, Tour des Vins
A 35-yr. bucket list…truly, a dream come true for us – all thanks to you Mummu Cycling! What an unbelievable experience to be a part of the Grand Opening in Brussels. To riding the first 3 stages of the Tour…starting/riding the Tour from the actual start line (are you kidding me!!), to meeting Paul and Christian, having dinner with Jens, hanging in the shadow of Stuart as he chats with the many pro bikers, unbelievable Belgium meals, and being catered to for our ever last biking need – I cannot say enough about this once in a lifetime experience! We are still pinching ourselves!! Our expectations were exceeded in every way. Never dreamed we’d experience the Tour de France like we did, with you Mummu Cycling. Thank you!!
Julie Worthington, Grand Depart
I did the Tour de Vins with my son and the experience was absolutely amazing. The riding was fantastic, the hosts including Stuart O’Grady, Marcel, Liam, Cedric and Emily were unbelievable and the whole experience was unforgettable. We had enough access to the Tour and the riders that we felt almost like we were doing the Tour De France and not just spectators. Mummu took great care to mold the experience to the interests and abilities of the guests who were there that week, and they couldn’t have done a better job.
Scott Jensen, Tour des Vins
We recently joined Mummu Cycling for the “Pyrenees Pro Experience” with Stuart O’Grady as our host. This week in France with them was FANtastic. We got to experience the excitement of the TDF like you could not believe. Exclusive access to Start and Finish lines including a couple of really tough mountain stages, hospitality second to none, friendly team support crew and of course all the knowledge and expertise shared by one of Australia’s legendary sports stars. I highly recommend this trip if you are looking to experience a taste of the Tour with all the trimmings but not being too exhausted at the end of the day to still enjoy a little of what France has to offer after dark.
Scott Petrie, Pyrenees Pro
Our Tour Des Vins with Mummu was absolutely fabulous. Tim LOVED the riding! It was an amazing opportunity for him to ride the course on the morning of the stages, just before the professionals rode through. The experience of the Tour De France was wonderful for both riders and spectators. What a thrill to be up close to such a sporting event and to the athletes participating. No other world class sporting event offers that kind of access and with the involvement of Stuart O’Grady, Mummu provided exceptional opportunity to meet and see those athletes throughout. Beginning with our visit to Caveau Humbrecht and ending with our final dinner at Les Jardins de Sophie, we were impressed with the quality of food, wine and service offered. We haven’t yet managed to find croissants to rival those we had for breakfast at the hotel. We had an interesting and fun mix of people on the tour who helped to make it a highlight of our holiday. Thank you so much to all the Mummu gang for all the hard work you put into pulling it all together for us. Tim wants to know when we can do it again!
Helen Longwill, Tour des Vins
Had a great experience on the Mummu Pyrenees Ride Experience. Fantastic riding; we rode Hautacam, Soulor, Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden among others. Simply awesome routes and scenery, great climbs on tough enough but not ridiculous cols. Nick Gates and Siska did a great job of leading, supporting and looking after the group and our tour was well integrated into TDF when Le tour passed through. Will do it again sometime!
Mike Sumner, Pyrenees Ride
I came into the “Tour de Vin’s” unsure what to expect and also anxious of the cycling challenger that lay ahead. I left thinking “when can I do this again?”
This was a ball from start to finish, great organization from Marcel and the team (and that is not easy in the belly of the Le Tour Machine), with the cycling experience of riding sections of the course A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, especially the challenge of the stage 6 climb finish. Not to mention the food and accommodation, the new friends I met along the way, and the up close access to the stars of the tour, the cyclists and their teams.
Would not hesitate to do this again.
Adrian Brian Roch, Tour des Vins
Great time – well organised. Even turned on a Aussie winner for us. Thanks Mummu!!
Paul McGowan, Paris Weekender
Thank you to Mummu Cycling for an experience of a lifetime. My wife and I were on the Tour Des Vins experience on the TDF 2019. It was absolutely incredible!!!! The rides, people, staff, food, wine and of course the perfect locations to view the great race were amazing and it exceeded all expectations. Mummu Cycling really got us inside the bubble. A very big and special thank you to Stuart O Grady, Marcel Berger, Cedric, Liam, Emily and all the Team for making our experience so memorable. We have so many special memories and have made some life long cycling friendships.I would have no hesitations in recommending Mummu Cycling Tours to anyone.
It’s 5 Stars from us.
Thanks again Mummu Cycling.
Johnny and Samantha Silla, Tour des Vins
One day experience to “La Planche des belles filles”. It was great : hospitality, finish line, podium and some funny moments with the group of riders and the staff. I hope to do it again !
Brice Geisler, Pyrenees one day experience
There simply aren’t enough stars. Mummu is in a league of its own. I think that this was one of first times that Stuart, Marcel and the crew did the Tour de Vins as part of their broader program of tours and it was genuinely (putting aside childbirth and weddings etc) the best 6 days I have spent. Stuart O’Grady is part of the fabric of the Tour de France and treated accordingly. We all had the benefit of the esteem with which the international cycling community holds Stuart and we had access to former riders, the current peloton and behind the scenes areas that no-one could or should have expected. I have since been feverishly telling cycling friends to cancel their planned trips with other providers and sign up with Mummu instead. To Stuart, Marcel, Liam, Cedric and Emily my profound thanks. I am saving for my next Tour. (For anyone reading this who is considering another tour group ask them whether they can organise a chat with Peter Sagan).
Tim Longwill, Tour des Vins
Great organisation and an unforgettable event. Met lovely people and had a fantastic time.
Amir Ghahremani, Paris Weekender
With next year’s Tour de France route set to be revealed mid October, we’ll then be starting our own race to get our 2020 string of tours live! From the Grand Depart in Nice, through to the traditional final showdown in Paris. 🥂 🇫🇷
Join the race, and beat the crowds by simply placing a risk-free deposit to secure your spot early!
The Southern Hemisphere’s most talked about professional cycling event, the Santos Tour Down Under is set to take place for the 22nd time next January and willl certainly be returning with a bang, following the tour’s recent 2020 route reveal. The incredible event continues to grow and impress each year, increasingly becoming one of cycling’s most favoured events for the professionals and fans alike.
Unique to other World Tour events, with the sole base for the week being South Australia’s, Adelaide central. Not only assuring convenience and less travel between stages, but an incredibly lively atmosphere within the city that cannot be compared to. Offering a festival-like vibe city-wide; from the offical ‘City of Adelaide Tour Village’, located opposite the professional team’s hotel base, to the countless ‘cycling related’, humming pop-up shops located sporadically throughout the centre – all there to embrace the Down Under spectacle and the tribes of cycling enthusiasts the week brings. It truly is one big ‘party’ for fans and a consistent stream of entertaining activity throughout the week that only continues to build as the race takes shape.
To add to its stand-out differentials over other events across the season, the Santos Tour Down Under allows a level of access to the professional peloton that cannot be replicated. Perhaps it’s the relaxed nature and attitudes of the riders as their first real test of the season, combined with the laid-back Aussie culture and again, its one central hub for the entire race duration.
For cycling-keen spectators of the race, the experience is truly amplified when setting out on the bike to join the thousands of other like-minded, passionate fans cruising through the stunning, yet challenging surrounding hills of Adelaide, in pursuit of some live stage viewing. To ensure an unforgettable live race experience, the organisation continue to create spectator-friendly courses – many of the races stages, include ‘circuits’, that allow fans to witness the action firsthand – on some days, up to five times. This again, encourages crowds of committed viewers to line the streets in support mode; a constant stream of cheer, delight and excitement in the air.
If it’s not the hills calling, the exceptional coastline surely will be, where the flatland fans can enjoy coastal spins under the Aussie sun throughout the week, also just a short pedal out of the city.
To top a sensational cycling experience, the Challenge Tour provides the perfect platform for riders to tackle the Stage Four race route ahead of the pro peloton in a sportive-like event. Masses of cyclists continue to show up each year, bright and early to contest the challenge and see for themselves just how tough the pros have it. This year should prove no different, with a testing route from Norwood, to Murray Bridge on the cards, totalling 162km, with varying lesser distance options to choose from in between.
To ride or not to ride? It’s certainly not just a week for the avid cyclist, chasing hills and willingly enduring pain. When not watching the world’s best battle it out over Adelaide’s most daring terrain, there’s ample opportunity to scope out some of South Australia’s most reputed wine regions, and their many fabulous eateries. From McLaren Vale, to the world-famous Barossa and all that’s in between. The race will travel across some of Australia’s most visually stunning wine country and if you time it right, you could well be kicking back, watching them fly by over a crisp glass of local rosé.
When not wining, dining and race viewing amidst Adelaide’s surrounds, the buzzing CBD itself has a lot to offer; from the popular Rundle Mall, to the must-visit Adelaide central market, its charming Botanic Gardens and many highly regarded bars, restaurants and cafes, where great coffee is far from difficult to come by.
At Mummu Cycling, we are huge fans of the Santos Tour Down Under and the incredibly lively race experience it consistently delivers year after year, continuing to surprise us with its valiant efforts to return bigger and better each time. Taking into account the many attributes noted above that assure our love for the race and Adelaide, we have tentatively planned our 2020 tours to create a truly special Down Under experience!
We are thrilled to be returning with several immersive experiences that will ensure you are there to truly witness the best of it and make the most of each day on tour. Whether it’s the complete ‘8 day‘ adventure; from the furiously fast opening ‘Schwalbe Classic’ criterium around Adelaide’s city streets, through to the the nail-biting dramatic finale up the relentless slopes of the race-famous Willunga Hill. We’ll have you there to witness it all firsthand, at times over that much talked-about glass of SA wine, as well as embracing the best of a spirited Adelaide along the way.
If time is restricted, our 4 day tour will ensure you catch all the race-shaping, thrilling final stage action and beyond within the short span of a long weekend away and assuredly a weekend you’ll be raving home about!
To maximise your cycling experience, in 2020 we will have a fleet of world-class, incredibly lightweight Factor O2 carbon road bikes available to hire. The Santos Tour Down Under will be the very first tour that our custom fleet will make an appearance, and what better way to do it than on Australian turf, before the European season gets underway. Find out more on our strictly limited, brand new Factor bike fleet and hiring options here.
GreenEDGE Travelhit the recent Tour de France’s middle week to experience the best of the Pyrenees, as the team went head-to-head with some of the Tour’s most challenging and race-shaping stages.
The six-day experience had guests kick starting their week with a visit to the team hotel on the Tour’s first rest day, through to the thrilling Col du Tourmalet summit finish on stage fourteen.
Hosted by former team member, Matthew Goss, guests received unprecedented insight throughout. Suited to both riders and spectators alike, the trip offered a varying itinerary complete with great riding, race hospitality and incredible live stage viewing.
The team flew into the first Tour de France rest day on cloud nine, several days after the sensational stage nine victory of Daryl Impey. Six years on from his stint in the Maillot Jaune back in 2013, the win marked another highly momentous career achievement as his first ever individual Tour de France stage victory to add to team time trial success. Concluding some very challenging opening stages to the race, legs were weary and the rest day was warmly welcomed, yet the mood remained bright and motivation high.
GreenEDGE Travel guests timed their arrival to perfection, joining the team late afternoon for a meet and greet in a relaxed environment and stunning outdoor setting in Albi. Here, the riders and staff took some time to discuss their opening week and share thoughts and ambitions for the mountainous stages that loomed. Guests then had the opportunity to ask questions and chat with the riders one-on-one before enjoying dinner at the team hotel to close out a fantastic day one on tour.
Stage eleven rolled around briskly and the GreenEDGE Travel riding contingent took to the start in the buzzing centre of Albi, to enjoy the ‘Ride Depart’; an exclusive Tour de France tour operator asset that allows guests the opportunity to ride off the official stage start line, just hours ahead of the race and on closed roads. A privileged experience, that ensures ‘fans’ witness firsthand what it feels like to be ‘within the barriers and on course’ at one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Enthused supporters and an electric atmosphere from the start gun, made for a ride to remember; our guests absorbing every km, before completing their ride mid-stage to settle in for some stage viewing from the shade of our roadside marquee, over a picnic lunch. Here, they awaited the race to pass, all set to support Mitchelton-SCOTT in full force.
The following day, our guests ventured in to the heart of Toulouse city to meet the team ahead of the stage twelve start. Here, they had access to the official ‘departure village’ while they awaited the team’s arrival, allowing time to explore the atmospheric village and its festivities. Later, making their way to the team bus zone to visit the riders ahead of the stage, seeing firsthand how the team operates ‘pre-race’ and riders’ different preparation routines. From there, it was time to wish them well before departing to the stage finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, by bike or transfer.
On arrival, it was all-go and excitement was gradually building as Simon Yates’ breakaway move looked certain to succeed. Guests enjoyed all the action from the Izoard finish-line hospitality, where live coverage, beverages and French canapés ensured the prime combination for some thrilling race viewing. Tension and question continued to build as Yates and his remaining two breakaway companions approached the final km’s in hot pursuit of stage honours. The talented climber eventually claimed a dramatic victory, taking his competitors by surprise, as he out-sprinted them in a furious dash to the line, securing the team’s second stage success of this year’s Tour de France. How special, for GreenEDGE Travel guests to be right in the thick of it, to witness such an exhilarating, momentous victory for Yates and team.
Next up, it was all about the race against the clock, as riders hit the undulating roads of Pau for the stage thirteen individual time trial. Today, GreenEDGE Travel guests would be enjoying the best of it, within the Tour de France’s most talked-about hospitality zone, the Relais Étape. A special experience that had them indulging in a delicious three-course lunch, paired with local French wine, all while watching the stage action live from its mid-course location and big screen entertainment. A day to pick up and move on from for the team, yet a day our guests will be remembering for a while.
From there, it was all mountain-madness as the tantalisingly tough Tourmalet awaited. The iconic ascent has featured a frequent 78 times since it’s welcoming to the Tour de France in 1910. However, this year marked only the third time the climb’s summit would crown a stage winner.
GreenEDGE Travel riding guests departed from Lourdes alongside Matt Goss, nerves high as the daunting climb grew closer. From the base, all initial worry and concern forgotten as they joined the thousands of other enthusiastic fans riding and lining the slopes of the Tourmalet; passion and excitement flooding the air. 19km later and a valiant effort from our guests, they reached the 2115m high summit and were able to enjoy the ‘finish-line’ exclusive tour operator experience that allowed them to ride from the flamme-rouge and cross the stage finish line itself. Topped off superbly with a trip to the official podium to capture the moment; smiles bright and arms held sky-high. From there, they descended part way down the climb to the Izoard hospitality zone, where they would be settling in for an afternoon of mountain-madness and riveting summit finish viewing: Primed, ready and raring to support the team as they too took on the Tourmalet.
Overall, a fantastic six days for GreenEDGE Travel: the team’s second tour stage victory was witnessed live, sporting heroes were met and well-wished, Tour de France race hospitality was experienced at best, and iconic cols were conquered. Thank you all for your appreciated ongoing support throughout the Tour de France and across the season!
Just like that, the Tour de France has been and gone. What a race and what an adventure! For us, it’s been one busy month on the road embracing the circus that it is, enjoying every minute of the word’s biggest bike race and it’s never-ending madness. Our super team of staff have worked tirelessly to deliver back-to-back memorable Tour de France experiences to our guests throughout, and we’re walking away exhausted, yet over the moon in what we’ve achieved. Nine unique tours, 228 guests and 19 staff, from the Brussels Grand Depart right through to the final showdown in Paris. Chapeau all!
The final week of this year’s Tour de France proved incredibly exciting as the race hit the Alps and the mightiest of mountain passes awaited. The week was full of surprises as legs began to tire and some of the stars started to fade, while others grasped the opportunity to shine. Unpredictable, as always, the Alps went off with some shocking weather conditions, resulting in quite the bizarre Stage 19 close and an unexpected passing on of the Yellow jersey to the shoulders of Egan Bernal. The young Columbian confirming the Maillot Jaune and proving his worth the following day in the penultimate, shortened 60km stage. From there, it was all about enjoying the final hurrah into the beautiful city of Paris and we were right there to take in every moment.
Continue on to read all about our final week at the Tour de France…
THE FINAL WEEK – From the Alps through to Paris
Our last week on tour was busier than ever as we welcomed three new groups to kick start their Alps experiences. An Alps Pro tour, led by Stuart O’Grady and Matt Goss to take guests right inside the pro tour bubble, onto an Alps Ride experience that had Nick Gates zapping some legs up famous TDF cols, as well as the ZiXing Sports Tour de France group from China; a bespoke tour powered by Mummu Cycling from the Alps through to Paris. Meanwhile, our Best of LeTour crew continued on from their first week in the Pyrenees.
On the opening day of the closing week, it was all about embracing the last Tour rest day. Our Best of Le Tour gang, decided that rest days really are the best days, as they set out for a day of wine tasting from Montpellier and its picturesque vineyard dotted surroundings. Several tastings later, we’d picked up an appetite and sat down to a delicious long lunch, over wine and great company.
Over in Avignon, our Alps Pro and Ride trips were busy getting underway. First stop for the Pro group with Stuey, a visit to the team with the man in Yellow – Deceuninck Quick-Step Cycling Team. As the hottest squad on demand at the Tour at the time, with Julian Alaphilippe still in the lead, we were very lucky to squeeze in a visit. Thank you team and to Stuey for arranging the special pitstop!
While the Pro crew were getting starry eyed, our ‘Ride’ guys and girls were busy preparing for today’s warmup spin led out by Nick Gates and new addition to the team, Drops womens cycling professional cyclist, Lucy Shaw.
The following day, it was all-on as we took to different phases of Stage 16!
Our ZiXing sports group hit the road early to tackle most of the days Stage route, finishing with the ‘D day’ finish line and podium experience to cap off a top day out. A big effort from all in very challenging conditions.
Stuey, Gossy and the Alps gang also hit the finish and podium in Nimes, following a solid ride in from Avignon. Fond memories for both, as this year’s Tour marked six years since both former professionals stood on the top step together following an incredible victory in the TTT with GreenEDGE in Nice.
While they were busy clicking snaps on the podium, our Alps Ride and Best of Le Tour groups were sweating it out in the heat, destination Pont du Gard. On arrival, time to kick back over a bite before seeing the race blitz by. Our Best of crew then setup camp outside the stunning ancient Roman aqueduct to watch the remainder of the stage over a big screen, cold beer in hand. The Alps Ride tour, opting for the less relaxed option, battling it out in the heat by bike back to watch the finale over a beverage at the hotel. Fantastic to see Caleb Ewan take another thrilling sprint victory!
The next morning, we we were up at em’ bright and early – for most of our tours, Mont Ventoux bound! The legendary ascent has delivered many-a spectacular Tour de France summit finish and crowned some very reputable champions at its peak. Although not in this year’s tour, we decided to include it in our itineraries, being a big bucket list climb for many.
The 19km ascent, reaching over 1900m in elevation is relentless from the get-go with its viscous, demanding gradients. Its unique landscape had us traveling from stunning lower vineyard lined surroundings, onto its shaded forest-covered middle slopes, before reaching the final third that left us out in the wide-open, with nothing but the road and the daunting top of the ‘bald mountain’ looming in the distance.
The day’s hot conditions made what was a challenging ride already, even tougher. So to see our guests courageously battle their way up its leg zapping slopes was very impressive and a special day to be out there supporting them on.
From there, we flew down the other side to arrive at the charming town of Vaison-la-Romaine to catch some Stage 17 race action and enjoy a well deserved burger and beer, before hitting the road, Alps bound.
Meanwhile, Stuey and Gossy had their Alps Pro guests on the Pont du Gard Stage 17 start-line raring to go for their ‘Ride Depart’ experience. A very special stage to ride ahead of the race on closed roads, all while enjoying the stunning surroundings of the historic monument.
Our Best of Le Tour spectators also hit the unique Start Village, spending the morning lapping up the pre-race atmosphere, meeting their favourite riders and kicking back over a brew while watching the riders sign on for their 17th day on tour!
From there is was mountains galore and the climbing legs were whipped back out of the bag, all set to conquer the famously tough, lengthy Col du Galibier. Brutal, but with unsurpassed views that only improved throughout the duration of the climb, making every inkling of suffering along the way all the more worth it.
Our Alps Ride guests were out the door early to also tackle the Col du Lautaret as a bit of a ‘warm-up’ climb ahead of the looming 2645m high Galibier. Safe to say, they finished the day’s efforts shattered, yet pretty chuffed with a few more Alps epics ticked off the list and some TDF stage viewing to settle in for following.
Once all groups had summited, we set off to our Stage 18 viewing destinations for the day. Alps Ride and ZiXing sports group set up camp at the prime roadside viewing spot under the shelter of our Mummu marquees, 8km from the summit on the Lautaret corner, where the atmosphere was alive and the mood was high!
While they were busy getting right amongst the thick of the Tour mountain magic, our Alps Pro and Best of Le Tour guests had descended further down to the Relais Etape, where they settled in for an afternoon of delicious food, unlimited beverages and race coverage. All while lapping up the fun, games and festivities of our favourite hospitality zone.
Both fantastic Stage 18 setups that had us all in awe as the pro’s flew up the climb, all guns blazing; the head of the breakaway fighting for the stage victory, the GC contenders going into battle mode for precious seconds and the remnants of the peloton slogging it out weary-eyed to ensure they were in the safety zone ahead of time cut. From there, it was champagne showers as we applauded Nairo Quintana’s impressive solo victory and toasted to another fab day out on tour.
The good times continued to roll for our Mummu on tour crew the following day as our Best of Le Tour and Alps Ride groups came and conquered the iconic Alpe d’Huez and absolutely aced it! As one of the Tour’s most famous, legendary climbs with its 21 hairpin bends and incredible views, we decided this one simply could not go amiss. Big ups to our guests who fought it out to its summit, weary legged but ecstatic to be there and thrilled to check off another bucket list ascent.
Over in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, our Alps Pro guests were busy meeting a few cycling legends, led by their tour hosts and fellow cycling stars, Stuart O’Grady and Matt Goss. Cheers guys for teeing up a chat with Bradley Wiggins – very special to meet one of cycling’s greatest! The list didn’t end there, with words from Simon Clarke, Andy Schleck and Daryl Impey to follow. Thank you all for taking the time out of your schedules pre-stage.
Following some time lapping up the departure village, they set out to tackle the challenging Col de la Madeleine in fiery conditions. Another Alps favourite, commonly described as ‘beautiful but heartbreaking’. A battle for our guests, no doubt. Well done all for toughing out yet another epic!
The extreme heat, soon quickly took a turn, as we transferred closer to the Tour de France action and watched wide-eyed as the drama unfolded on Stage 19. A very bizarre contrast in weather extremes…Oh the Alps! Safe to say, the TDF 2019 has been well and truly full of surprises.
From there, most of our tours set to the penultimate Stage 20 start in Albertville to enjoy one of the final Stage starts and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere, before kicking back to watch what was a short, but very entertaining final mountain stage that saw an impressive Vincenzo Nibali overpower the rest, to claim honours. Our Alps tours, went on to enjoy their final group toasts to close out a huge week in the mountains, while our Best of Le Tour and ZiXing sports group, set off via coach transfer for the grand finale!
Finally, we made it to Paris, welcoming our Paris ‘weekender’ guests to join us in seeing Stage 21 live along the iconic Champs-Elysées. To start the morning right, we ditched the road bikes for the townies and hit the streets of the spectacular Paris on a city bike tour.
Soon enough, it was go-time and we were there, located right in the thick of the action, on the final stretch to the line where we were able to witness firsthand the thrill and beauty combined of the Tour de France’s traditional closing stage. How incredible to then see young Aussie sprint sensation, Caleb Ewan take a sensational third stage win in a fighting dash to the line. Toasts all-round followed to cheers to an amazing evening, and one very memorable Tour de France adventure!
We’re now heading home, exhausted yet satisfied and incredibly proud of what we’ve delivered at this year’s Tour. A BIG thank you to our dedicated, incredibly hard-working team of staff on the ground and back in the office, and of course, to our many guests who arrived and left smiling, making our jobs a whole lot easier and enjoyable along the way!
Interested in joining us in 2020? Reserve your spot on tour, here.
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.
Mummu Cycling are thrilled to announce that we have officially partnered with Factor Bikes. The exciting new collaboration has allowed us the opportunity to warmly welcome a fleet of the most advanced, lightweight road bikes to our tours, in the Factor O2.
Factor Bikes have over the years proven themselves to excel in innovative bicycle engineering, delivering some of the world’s most sought after, advanced machines that have won an applaudable run of professional cycling events since their establishment in 2007.
The O2 is designed to deliver a ‘high-performance ride capable of satisfying the demands of the fastest riders in the ProTour peloton’ (FACTOR). Its impeccable design, incredible transfer of power, paired with it’s feather-light frame and carefully selected components, ensure ‘the dream’ ride and absolute perfection when it comes to climbing, complemented flawlessly with it’s credible ability to murder a descent.
The inclusion of ‘Factor Bikes’ to Mummu Cycling tours will ensure our guests’ experience is amplified, as they take to the most iconic climbs across Europe, in line with the world’s most prestigious cycling events. The O2 will have them ‘dancing about the mountains and storming down descents’ on similar technology to some of the word’s best professional cyclists, including the French outfit; Ag2r-La Mondiale, led by key Tour de France contender, Romain Bardet.
The Factor O2 is powered by SRAM Force eTap AXS, delivering the ultimate ride experience with a combination of; the Force Flattop chain, Force crankset and the XG-1270 cassette, featuring optimal electronic shifting. Its incredible 12 speed range will ensure Mummu Cycling guests can use up to 24 gears, providing the dream platform to tackle some of Europe’s most epic ascents with ease!
The Mummu Cycling Factor O2 fleet will be officially launched next January at the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under and from then will be available to ride on all tours throughout Europe. Painted a stealth grey with custom ‘Factor Yellow’ Mummu Cycling features, they’ll be difficult to miss; Fast and easy on the eye.
The exact model was recently revealed and is currently being ridden at the Tour de France by Mummu Cycling ambassadors, Stuart O’Grady and Nick Gates, alongside Managing Director, Marcel Berger. From there, it will be all-go for January! Find out more about hiring a Factor O2 on tour, from our Bike Hire page, here.
As the first rest day of the 2019 Tour de France is now upon us, we can take a moment to sit down and reminisce on what was a very surreal week one on tour with our opening, Le Grande Depart and Tour des Vins experiences.
Teeing off from the roads of one of cycling’s post passionate nations, Belgium and in its capital of Brussels, we knew from the start we’d be in for something special. To add, it would be the 50th year since the legendary local, Eddy Merckx won his first Tour de France of many, and the 100th year since the prestigious Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) was born.
The trip started on a high, as we enjoyed a warm-up ride around the outskirts of Brussels city and its parks, before joining the masses of excited fans for the official opening ceremony in the central, Grand Palace square. Said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful squares; the setting and stunning stage backdrop, certainly made for a grand opening.
From there, it was onto one of Brussel’s finest wine bars to toast to tour beginnings, over great wine, food and fantastic company, including surprise guest, Jens Voigt, courtesy of tour host Stuart O’Grady. One thing to note when joining Mummu Cycling on tour, is that Stuey knows ‘almost everyone’ at the Tour de France. Having successfully contended 17 tours throughout his lengthy professional career, he’s continually catching up with fellow former ‘legends’ of the peloton. These connections, certainly make for some special moments on tour for our guests. Earlier afternoon it was the voice of cycling, Phil Liggett who stopped in his tracks in our hotel lobby to chat with Stuey and our guests.
The day before offical kick-off, we enjoyed a morning adventure out in Huy to tackle the relentless, Mur du Huy ascent and its surrounding roads, famous to the Ardennes Classic, Fleche Wallone. A tough challenge, that left us a little weary, but exhilarated for our afternoon’s activity, meeting the UAE Team Emirates crew.
The meet and greet was led by great mate of Stuey’s, Neil Stephens – now current directeur sportif and decorated former pro rider himself. Neil shared some fantastic insight as to what goes on behind the scenes the day before the Tour de France; the countless hours and thought that goes into preparation, in addition to the team’s aspirations for the race. To add, a sneak peak at the stellar line-up of Colnago race bikes and the team’s incredibly orderly equipment storage setup. From there, it was classic ‘just follow Stuey’ time as he made his way by the Team Katusha Alpecin zone and bumped into another ‘old friend’ Eric Zabel – also a current director and former pro racer, well known for his killer turn of speed.
Concluding a jam-packed opening few days, excitement levels were high and we were well and truly ready for the show to begin! Our day three began with a ‘Ride Depart’ – an exclusive privilege that comes with being a Tour de France tour operator. To do it on Stage One, in the heart of the Belgian capital – rolling off the start line, ahead of the race on closed roads, lines of ecstatic crowds cheering us on the whole way, was truly insane and an experience that cannot be justified in words alone.
Following a 35km adventure that went from lapping up the atmosphere, to sitting on Stuey in the zone, we packed up and set off on route to the Muur van Geraardsbergen – one of Belgium’s most iconic, cobbled climbs. Let’s just say, the fans were well and truly fired up and we parked ourselves right in the thick of it! Incredible to see the pro’s blitz up there at a mind blowing pace, soon after – the first yellow jersey of 2019 now in sight.
From there, we were back on the road, Brussels bound to catch the opening Stage finish. Bonus, gaining access to jump onto the closing 4km run-in to see the final stretch to the line and anticipate what was to come for the riders. We then witnessed live, the thrilling, edge of the seat finale that saw a very impressive, Mike Teunissen take a surprising victory, narrowly edging out crowd favourite Peter Sagan.
Next up, it was TTT day. For us, a morning ride around the course on closed roads, testing out the very brisk route for ourselves and discussing predictions and thoughts on the stage to come. Following a classic Belgian lunch of mussels and frites, we were on our way to see the action at the start. Surprise bonus, Stuey managed to get us right into the ‘warm-up’ team bus area, which had us watching the best professional cyclists in the world, warm-up for the unique event within close proximity.
To round-out a memorable Le Grande Depart experience, we hit the town of Binche to enjoy the Stage 5 official sign-on, some time in the buzzing start village; packed with coffee, local delicacies, treats and a few former stars of the Tour de France. To top it off, a wander through the team buses and the opportunity to meet a few of Stuey’s friends of the peloton, including Aussie favourite, Richie Porte and former team mate, Andy Schleck.
Next up, we were off to the Rhône-Alpes to begin our next, Tour des Vins. We hit the ground running and set the scene perfectly with a local wine tasting and delicious lunch, before setting out later afternoon to enjoy a leisurely warm-up ride around the scenic surrounding roads of our gorgeous mountain hotel, where we’d be conveniently based for the entirety of the trip. Concluding a relaxing day one, we sat back over a toast and a delicious degustation dinner at the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant. Not a bad start to what would be a busy four days getting amongst the Tour de France to follow!
The next morning, we set out on the bikes, led out by Stuey and in hot pursuit of the Stage four finish in Nancy. The stunning rolling ride left us smiling and so ready for some live Tour de France action. Our tour operator status, then allowed guests access into the Izoard hospitality zone, handily located right on the finish line. Following a few beverages and French canapés, we were more than set for the thrilling sprint finish to come that saw Italian speedster, Elia Viviani storm across the line to take stage honours.
Now that we’d had a taste of sprint action, guests were primed and ready to test out their climbing legs, and hit the hills of the undulous stage 5 route. The key hurdle of the day, the Cote du Haut Koenigsbourg.
Following a valiant effort up the climb and a stunning final run in along vineyard dotted rolling roads, we made it to our hospitality location for the day, the Relais Etape in Riquewihr. For us, the Relais Etape has to be one of the best days on tour for a Tour de France tour operator. Stage five’s experience proved that all too well as we were warmly welcomed with Alsace French wine and apéritifs to prepare us for the delicious three course lunch that followed, all while enjoying the Tour action from big screen TV’s and in great company! With 50km to go, the race came blitzing by, where we witnessed their sheer speed and power firsthand from the Relais Etape viewing points. From there, it was all eyes glued to the screens, anticipation in the air and the champagne bubbling, before toasting to the crowd favourite, green machine, Peter Sagan who took an outstanding sprint victory.
Next on the radar, was the gruelling La Planche des Belles Filles, that would hold the first summit finish of this year’s Tour de France. Pre-stage, our riding contingent hit the stage route nervously, the final climb the key challenge of the day, fast approaching. With the last 1km stretch up a steep ‘goat track’, there was no doubt in our minds that we’d be for a challenge! A battle for many, but motivation sky-high as the crowds roared and cheered excitedly for the Mummu crew, gearing up for the stage to follow. Our tour operator prestige, allowed us to climb right up to the official summit finish over the relentless final metres. We made it, depleted, yet incredibly elated!
From there, we enjoyed some time on the official Stage podium for a ‘winners’ snap, before hitting Izoard hospitality at the 1km to go mark. What an afternoon then spent chilling out watching the race and awaiting the tense final moments to come. Mindblowing to see live how quick the lead guys were motoring up there in hot pursuit of the finish.
To conclude another action-packed experience, we completed the trip with starry eyes, as we hit the Stage seven start village in Belfort. Following, Stuey’s lead we took to the ever busy, ‘fan-crazy’ Bora-Hansgrohe bus. As the man in green stepped out, courtesy of Stuey and his inner sanctum ‘connections’, he stopped in his tracks on route to ‘sign on’ for a quick g’day with Stu and a snap with our guests. Not a bad way to round out a fabulous five days on tour. Cheers all!
We’re now set for another week of adventure and Tour de France festivities, Pyrenees bound and primed for some mountain madness. Bring it on.
Pre-registration for 2020 is now open – join in on all the action next year, here!
Part Two of an interview with Mummu Cycling founder, Marcel Berger talking Tour de France. (Read Part One, here).
The Tour de France is your biggest event of the year and the 2019 trip line-up is bigger than ever with experiences ranging from 1 to 13 days and travelling from Brussels for the Grand Depart, right through to Paris – An experience for everyone no doubt? What are you most looking forward to?
The Tour de France is obviously the number one cycling event in the world, and also the number one annual spectator event in the world. Anyone who has an interest in cycling would probably like to go to the Tour at some point in their life. When we design our tours, we try to create an experience for everyone, catering for all budgets, abilities, passions and timeframes.
Our signature Pro Experience Tours offer a true insider experience; the ability to ride (or not) and really see the Tour de France from a different angle and one that you will never get through the television.
In 2019 we are excited to introduce Ride Experience Tours, catered towards a more avid cyclist who is keen to strive for a KOM on Europe’s most challenging climbs whilst also seeing the race when it comes through, in the Mummu way of course; getting as close to the race as possible, rather than just standing on the side of the road.
Our other experiences include more relaxing coach tours, shorter food and wine experiences, stage hospitality and more.
This year is really very exciting for us. We will have in excess of 250 guests on the ground across all of our trips, led by a staff of 25!. It really is a logistical masterpiece putting it all together and very satisfying once completed.
I am most looking forward to the little moments. At the 2018 Tour de France, that little moment came when we were in the departure village. Geraint Thomas had just taken yellow and when he was on his way down to the podium to sign on at the start of the stage, he stopped in his tracks, pulled the brakes on, turned around and said ‘g’day Stuey’ and then went on to say hello to our clients. It’s those little moments that I suppose I’m most looking forward to, and other moments that we hope to create like that.
I’m also really looking forward to delivering our Ride experience tours, new to 2019. I’m very keen to see how some of our clients who really want to challenge themselves, now get to sit behind a super fit, former pro in Nick Gates and really extend themselves. This will be a very different type of experience to what we deliver in our Pro experience tours and I’m excited to see how they play out.
And not to forget, our new corporate clients, the International Cycling Executives (ICE) who will be coming on board with us this July, as well as another very exciting new prospect in bringing a group of Chinese nationals to the Tour de France for the first time!
What does it mean to be an official Tour de France operator and how does this status help in delivering the best possible fan experience?
The reason why we’re an official tour operator is because we strive on delivering our guests to the best possible place to experience the Tour de France and as an Official Tour Operator, we have the ability to do just that. We then combine this with our experience, networks and hosts to deliver something truly special.
It is a huge honour to partner and work closely with the A.S.O. (organisers of Tour de France and other major events) and we respect what they do, they respect what we do and over the years we have, and will continue to work very closely together to ensure the best experience possible is delivered to our clients.
Your favourite aspect/s of joining your team and clients on tour – Obviously you can’t come on every trip, so when you do and see the hours of planning come to fruition, how is it?
Seeing it come together is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do, but at the same time it’s just being able to see the reaction on the faces of our clients. A lot of the time our clients don’t know what they don’t know – they think they know what it’s like to be at the Tour de France, but they haven’t yet experienced it! Our ability to deliver them an experience firsthand creates child-like excitement and reactions and is probably the most rewarding part of what we do.
Also, the Tour de France is just a massive reunion of all the people that work in cycling. Everyone that works in the sport comes to France in July, and we end up seeing people that we haven’t seen from other parts of the world for a very long time – that’s also very exciting.
Best personal memory/s on a Mummu Cycling tour to date?
One of the best moments ever on tour was actually at the Spring Classics. It was the first year Stuey delivered the Spring Classics with Mummu Cycling and it was the year that Greg Van Avermaet won Paris-Roubaix. We were all standing in the hospitality in front of the velodrome at the end of the race and we happened to be standing right next to Greg’s partner. Greg, after the race came into the hospitality and handed us the rock to hold while he did an interview. Our clients within an hour of the race finishing, were holding the Paris-Roubaix champions rock! It was cool. You certainly don’t get that opportunity very often.
Another amazing memory was at last year’s Tour de France. We had two brothers out of Melbourne that were with us on tour. Their ultimate dream was to ride up Alpe D’Huez and they’d been talking about it and training for it for a very long time. We led them up the infamous Alpe d’Huez on the morning of the race. They rode up to the top and back down to our race viewing location and started crying with emotion, thankful for the experience. That’s what it’s all about – bringing dreams to life and creating memorable experiences.
The European summer and the spectacular Tour de France are now very fast approaching and we’re in for a very exciting, yet busy July! Final places remain on tour. Jump on board, here.
GreenEDGE Travel recently took to the spectacular streets of Italy to witness the Giro d’Italia’s final week of racing live in support of Mitchelton-SCOTT.
Concluding a few early race setbacks and retargeted goals for the team in the Grand Tour’s opening weeks, the fresh, optimistic, encouraging faces of our GreenEDGE Travel guests were welcomed with open arms; the 19 person strong group, all avid, long-time supporters of the team.
The eight-day experience, suited to both riders and spectators, offered an itinerary mixed with scenic, to challenging rides; from the stunning outskirts of Lake Como, to the picturesque, yet daunting Dolomites. Paired with live race viewing from stage starts, mid-race locations and exciting sprint finishes. Included was the thrilling Queen Stage finale that followed the epic Mortirolo pass, contested in truly punishing conditions.
Guests officially connected with the team on the final rest day in Bergamo for a ‘meet and greet’, including a welcome from the riders, followed by a Q and A session discussing their race happenings so far, obstacles overcome and aspirations for the closing week that lay ahead. All fantastic insight for our guests, as big-time supporters of the team and passionate cycling followers.
Guests officially connected with the team on the final rest day in Bergamo for a ‘meet and greet’, including a welcome from the riders, followed by a Q and A session discussing their race happenings so far, obstacles overcome and aspirations for the closing week that lay ahead. All fantastic insight for our guests, as big-time supporters of the team and passionate cycling followers.
To add to the experience, they enjoyed a tour of the team bus, followed by some words from head sporting director Matt White and general manager Shayne Bannan, gathering a deeper understanding as to what goes on behind the scenes at a Grand Tour, and the countless hours our support team endure to ensure the best platform possible for our riders to perform at World Tour level.
Ahead of Stage 17, guests took to the stage start in Commezzadura to enjoy the start-line festivities and catch the team in preparation mode, where it was all warm-up’s, final briefings and pre-race banter ahead of another mountainous stage on the menu. This was a prime opportunity to see the team in the zone, undergoing their daily pre-stage routine. 17 days in and the mood was relaxed, positive and understandably for some, a little weary!
The focal point of the Giro d’Italia experience, came on Stage 19 when our trio of spectating guests took to the seats of the team cars to witness the action firsthand from the race convoy itself, to teaming up with our soigneurs and hitting the various feed zones across the stage route. The day proving all-go from the gun, with the determined Esteban Chaves on the attack and in the breakaway, eventually spectacularly battling it out up the final ascent to San Martino di Castrozza, storming across the line to claim an emphatic, emotional stage victory. What a day to be alongside the team to witness the elation and celebrations that followed. A memory and experience that will undoubtedly last a long time for our guests.
For the riding contingent of the group, also an incredibly momentous, action packed day, taking on the stunning hairpin lined Passo San Boldo by bike and then setting up camp atop, embracing the electric atmosphere, as excited crowds of fans dotted each bend in cheer and excitement; our guests getting right in the thick of the madness as they awaited the race to hit its slopes. Applause and encouragement was in full steam, as Chaves stormed up the climb at the head of the race. It was then all eyes glued to big screen entertainment, joining the locals at the summit bar to see the thrilling final moments of the race and cry out in delight and triumph as he crossed the line a champion – prosecco and ‘Saulit’s’ for all.
The closing highlight came on the final Giro d’Italia stage in Verona when riders rounded out a huge three weeks, packed with a roller coaster of emotion; from tough times and initial disappointment, to stage success and some fighting performances. The final, consisting of one last race against the clock around a 17 km fast, fiery circuit around the city streets. Guests were able to ride a hot lap of the course on closed roads pre-stage to scope out what was in store for the riders and get a true feel for the final testing moments of suffering they’d without doubt be experiencing concluding a challenging 20 days of racing in the legs.
Once underway, it was all cheer and support for the team, followed by a final congratulatory toast alongside to round out the Giro and an incredible experience for all.
Overall, a fantastic 8 days at the Giro d’Italia for GreenEDGE Travel: bucket list climbs were conquered, many-a race making moment was witnessed and sporting heroes were met. Thank you to all for your positive energy and appreciated ongoing support throughout the trip and across the season. It has and continues to further fuel our motivation to strive for success!
Interested in joining the team at a race later in the year? Click here.
We are primed and so ready for the first Grand Tour of 2019 to commence and what will undoubtedly be three weeks of thrilling bike racing across Italy’s most relentlessly tough, yet stunning terrain.
The Giro d’Italia is by many considered the hardest (profile wise) of the lot with cruelly challenging stages and endless gnarly Italian mountains on the menu.
The 2019 route certainly appears that way with a tough 7 summit finishes and some jaw-dropping, mountain-mad stages set to be tackled.
Here, we’ve created a list of top Category climbs, (plus a few others that must be noted) along this year’s route that will no doubt be providing some serious action!
Montoso – 8.8 km at 9.5%, 838m : Stage 12
The first Category 1 climb comes as late as Stage 12. Let’s safely assume, all hell could well break lose as the climbing specialists are unleashed, primed and ready to put the hammer down where it hurts! Although not overly lengthy, the Montoso is seriously steep; relentless from bottom to top.
Colle del Lys – 14.9 km at 6.4%, 947m : Stage 13
Consistently tough, aside from a 2km false flat section in the middle that may allow some time to breath – yeah right!
Colle del Nivolet – 40.5 km at 4.7%, 1907m : Stage 13
Painfully long and at an altitude that will undoubtedly have some lungs bursting as soon as the pressure is put down. The Col del Nivolet will be no easy feat, as it just keeps going up, up and up. Its stunning surroundings, views and final approach to the picturesque Lago Serrù may help ease the suffering a little…
Verrogne – 13.8 km at 7.1%, 980m : Stage 14
The Verrogne is making its first appearance in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Relatively long and irregular in nature with a sequence of steep ramps, countered by easier sections.
Colle San Carlo – 10.5 km at 9.8%, 1031m : Stage 14
Claimed to be the secondest hardest climb of the 2019 edition, we’re expecting fireworks up here! Inconsistently steep with harsh spikes varying between 9 and 11%, ensuring a rare moment of respite and undoubtedly one hell of a battle. Its last appearance was as late as 2006.
Madonna del Ghisallo – 8.6 km at 5.6%, 482m : Stage 15
Although not Category 1, the Madonna del Ghisallo is worth a mention. Well regarded as a ‘Sacred’ climb, however this doesn’t change the fact that it’ll be another difficult obstacle to be battled over in Stage 15.
Passo Gavia CIMA COPPI – 16.5 km at 8%, 2618m : Stage 16
The Passo Gavia is this year’s CIMA COPPI – the highest point faced throughout the race. An iconic climb, famous to the race and lengthy, but consistent. Who will reign King this year?!
Passo del Mortirolo – 11.9 km at 10.9% 1320m : Stage 16
A crucial part of the Stage 16 ‘Queen Stage’ of this years Giro and directly following the Gavia; the murderously tough Mortirolo will be a test for the best and we’ll assuredly be in for some serious race action as the climbers and key contenders battle it out over the leg burning, viciously steep ascent. By many, considered to be the hardest climb of the Giro and dreaded by almost all .
Passo di San Boldo – 6.3 km at 6.8%, 429m : Stage 19
Not Category one but famous for its various unique hairpin turns submerged into the road to make tunnels. Spectacular to ride over and certainly more challenging than it appears on paper with a daunting final section laid with steep ramps to the summit.
Cima Campo – 18.7 km at 5.9%, 506m: Stage 20
This Category 2 is the first of an incredibly challenging succession of penultimate stage climbs and some serious Dolomites madness! The race will face the climb as early as 8.5 km into the stage and from there it’s all ON. The Cima Campo is steady but long. With some serious challenges looming soon after, however it may be ridden a little more cautiously by most.
Passo Manghen – 18.9 km at 7.6%, 1443m : Stage 20
The Passo Manghen is brutal – exhaustingly lengthy and consistently gaining steepness throughout to eventually hit the final 6km at an excruciating 10% average. Its rare appearance in the Giro may shock the legs of many and although it comes relatively early on in the stage, this could be one of the final opportunities for contenders to take the bull by its horns and go all-in for the win!
Passo Rolle – 20.6 km at 4.7% 969m : Stage 20
There’s no rest for the wicked in this stage as the 20.6km Passo Rolle follows soon after. Although long, its steady gradient will seem easy following the relentless Passo Manghen that’s just been tackled.
Passo Croce D’Aune – 11.1 km at 5.5%, 605m : Stage 20
Not overly difficult to begin, with a fairly consistent 6.5% gradient, countered by 4km of false flat in its middle section. The final, however is a different story with ramps reaching up to a gruelling 16%! No doubt providing the perfect platform to launch any final attacks for those that have anything left in the tank…this will be one of the last opportunities to make a move, and if contenders are close, it’ll inevitably be a true spectacle to watch!
Monte Avena – 6.9 km at 7.3%, 536m : Stage 20
The final hurrah to the finish is the Monte Avena and we have no doubt that there will be some tired but pleased legs approaching it in knowing it’ll be the last sufferfest up hill for this years Giro, with only the race against the clock remaining in Verona for the following and final stage.
For the leaders of the race, however there will be no time or moment to relax until the top and although not an overly challenging climb, after a huge 3 weeks of racing and an incredibly tough stage, who knows who might falter or charge ahead…here’s hoping (for us spectators) that it’ll be one nail-biting fight to the finish!
We will be living and breathing the pure excitement each one of these challenging, yet spectacular climbs bring to the race in its final week with GreenEDGE Travel, backing Mitchelton-SCOTT in their bid for Pink!
Miss the memo? It may be too late to make the Giro, but good news is the Tour de France is hot on its heels and will undoubtedly be just as momentous an experience. GreenEDGE Travel will be taking it to the Pyrenees to back the team at the TDF 2019 and soak up some incredible race action throughout. Learn more, here.
Hear from Mummu Cycling founder and managing director, Marcel Berger on all things Mummu; from the unique company name, to its beginnings, his journey into the cycling world and big aspirations for the future…
What is ‘Mummu’, the story behind the name and how it came about?
At Mummu, our number one core value is ‘knowledge is power’. We truly believe that the more you know, the more powerful you can be.
That’s the reason we surround ourselves with ‘the best of the best’. Being the likes of the UCI, the ASO, Stuart O’Grady, Gossy etc. We align ourselves with professionals because we believe that having experience around us allows us to deliver what we do best.
Mummu is a Babylonian god of technical skill, knowledge and power. So when we discovered Mummu, it resonated with what we believe in. So, we combined the two together and it resulted in our company name.
I do also like the fact that initially no one can spell it or pronounce it which means everyone remembers it!
(Note: Pronounced ‘Moo-Moo’).
Tell us about your career background and how you initially stepped into the cycling world?
I didn’t choose to get into cycling. I entered into the cycling world in 2009 at a meeting with then Commercial Manager of the UCI, Nicole Gruber. Nicole gave Mummu the opportunity to work with the UCI on creating experiences for cycling fans, teams and federations at world championships.
This eventually grew into Mummu being awarded the exclusive travel services contract for the UCI globally for four years. During this time, Phil Anderson approached us to help run his cycling tour company, which we did from 2009 through to 2013, hosting over 1,000 guests during this period.
So, in a way cycling almost fell in our laps and from that we’ve now worked in every capacity of the sport. Mummu areathlete managers,commercial managers, event managers, have worked with and represented national federations, grand tours, professional teams and obviously as well, the fans.
This gives us an advantage in being able to do what we do now, which is give fans the greatest experience possible at a cycling event, because we know every element of that event, we know the best place to stand, how the race works, how to get into certain areas, what’s important and how to manage your time and we now try to combine that into an ideal experience for cycling fans.
How did your past experiences and years in the sporting industry help in achieving this?
For me, personally I started working in hospitality and events from the age of 12. I was an assistant stage manager from the age of 14, I set up my first cafe when I was 17 and a cocktail bar when I was 19. I worked in some of the best cocktail bars throughout London during my late teens-early twenties and then some of the best restaurants in Australia following. I then went on to manage several night clubs and beyond. I spent a lot of time in the world of ‘serving people’, which is probably the best way to describe it.
When I returned from overseas, I thought I should probably go to university and ended up studying Entrepreneurship, which in 2004 was very new. That led me to setting up a corporate health company for 7 years where we would help large corporate organisations with their entire corporate health program for around 5-6000 employees. After existing that business I spent time consulting to sports organisations in commercial roles – from football clubs to national federations and predominantly based around finding them more money.
One day, I got tapped on the shoulder and was asked to work for a sports travel company and thought sure, why not – I don’t know a lot about travel, but I’ve travelled a bit and like sport. I very quickly found out that sports travel is not easy and the travel industry in particular is a very difficult business to be in, due tolow margins and increasing technology. But what we found in working there and working across all the biggest sports in the world; from the NBA, to the NFL, Olympics, cricket world cup, through to the rugby world cup, was that fans of sport want more than just a ticket, they want to experience more than just a seat in a stadium and that really encouraged and led me into what we do now, which is giving people more than just a cycling tour.
Anyone can go and stand on the side of the road at the 140km mark of a 170km stage, but not everyone can be chaperoned by someone who won that stage ten years prior and then have team directors stopping to say hello mid race. Then having the connection to be able to have the biggest cyclists in the world step off their team buses ahead of the race to say hi and let us know what they have planned for the day. So, that whole experience really drove me to where I am now.
The Stuart O’Grady factor – How did this relationship come about and how has Stuart’s partnership with the company contributed to the Mummu Cycling difference?
Iserendipitously met Stuey at a luncheon in 2016. I had hosted a table at a Matty Hayman/Mitchelton-Scott luncheon just after he’d won Paris-Roubaix. Stuey was a guest on stage and I was really impressed with how he spoke and of course having been the first winner of Paris-Roubaix, thought it be the perfect opportunity to join forces and lead our Spring Classics tour.
I approached Stuey and asked him if he’d be keen on hosting our Classics tour and he agreed. We ended up running a successful Classics tour, followed by the Giro, onto the Tour de France and from there it’s now grown into a successful partnership and I thoroughly enjoy working with such a champion of the sport to create the number one cycling tour company. We both also have a passion for supporting retired cyclists to continue in the sport that they love in a role that’s not a director or the media. And that’s just as important to what we do, as running cycling tours.
Elaborate on the Mummu Cycling difference and your key differential attributes to other tour operators?
When travelling with Mummu Cycling, we put everything into getting our guests closer to the race and closer to the world of pro cycling than any other tour operator. We give people an insight into what it’s like to be a professional cyclist without having to do the hard work (sic). We do it with a smile and give people that level of knowledge that you wouldn’t normally get if you were just standing on the other side of the fence.
This is combined with experienced staff, vast networks, great hotels, awesome riding, food and wine to create a memorable experience like no other.
Your pro connection is a huge advantage. How/why have you established these connections over the years, with the likes of (in addition to Stuart) Matt Goss, Baden Cooke and Nick Gates coming on board as tour hosts?
It’s two-fold. Firstly, our ambassadors can offer an experience that simply can’t be offered elsewhere. We always find pro’s that are relevant for the tour they are leading; meaning we’ll have Stuey come on tour for Roubaix and the Tour de France, Matt Goss for Milan San Remo & the Giro and Baden for the Tour, being a Green jersey winner. It always helps to have a pro on board that understands the specific race back to front and can give our guests a unique insight.
A number of these pro’s, particularly in their first few years out of racing are also often looking for other avenues to stay involved in the sport. Quite frankly, we give them that platform and opportunity to engage with their fans in a fun and exciting way where they can experience the race from a different, refreshing angle on the ‘fan’ side of the fence, which they seem to love and enjoy.
GreenEDGE Travel – Powered by Mummu Cycling, established early last year, delivering the ultimate Mitchelton-Scott team experience. Elaborate on GreenEDGE Travel and your hopes for the future?
GreenEDGE Travel is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time with team owner, Gerry Ryan. I truly believe that GreenEDGE is a pioneer in the world of cycling – being the first Australian team and the way they’ve excelled to the level of success that they’re at right now. Along the way, they’ve generated a huge fan base and have done it in a fun, engaging way. They’re certainly not your average, at times boring and robotic pro cycling team. They’re out-there, exciting and can have a bit of a laugh in true Australian fashion along the way, which lends itself to in a way being able to somewhat join them in their journey, and that’s what GreenEDGE Travel is all about. It’s about travelling along with them as their core fan base as they strive for success, just like we experienced at La Vuelta and Giro d’Italia in 2018!
This year, we’ll deliver all three Grand Tours, as well as a very exciting training camp towards the backend of the year where cyclists will be able to come and experience what it’s like on the Mitchelton-SCOTT number one road team in the world, learn a few things, as well as enjoy a few laughs.
Since your establishment in 2010, you’re only continuing to grow and develop each season. What are your biggest aspirations for the future of Mummu Cycling?
Mummu Cycling doesn’t want to be the biggest cycling tour operator, but we want to be the best. So right now we want to continue to offer experiences at the level we currently do, to as many people as we can at all major cycling events around the world. At the same time, we’re also excited about introducing other types of cycling experiences. We are working with our ambassadors on a number of weekend experiences in their home towns where they can actually show you what riding around their local and old training grounds is like. We then have several fantastic training camps in the pipeline that we’re working with pro teams on creating, and a few other secrets up our sleeves. So that’s what we’re excited about right now – the growth.
I suppose all we can say is that some people may not know about Mummu Cycling now, but I can definitely say they will in the next two years!
Stay tuned for Part Two of the interview, talking all things Tour de France.
Here, we had a chat with Mel Coleman who joined us at last year’s Tour de France on our Alps, Pyrenees and Paris tours. Some incredible memories were taken away and countless goals achieved for Mel as she went from beginner cyclist to Tour de France mountain conqueror!
Following last year’s Tour and numerous requests from guests to create a trip that covers both the Pyrenees, and Alps in one-go, we have since designed the ultimate Tour de France experience, the ‘Best of Le Tour’ which covers both mountain regions, as well as the always-spectacular grand finale in Paris…
Tour de France Talk with Mel Coleman
Last year you joined us on Tour and took on both the Alps and Pyrenees. What was it that drove you to tackle both in one go?
The Tour de France was what got me into cycling, I really wanted to fully immerse myself in the whole experience to learn as much as possible. I like to throw myself head first into challenges and this one was so rewarding.
Top 3 memorable moments?
Riding through the sunflower fields and orchards, being cheered on by picnickers.
Making it to the top of the Galibier when only a few weeks earlier I was just getting up small overpasses back home.
Riding on the course, getting cheered by all the spectators – couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.
Top 3 most challenging moments?
The first day in the Alps when our warm up ride was the steepest and longest I had ever done – what had I got myself in to! The ride back down was so much fun though.
Too many pro riders to try and meet in the ride depart village!
Having to fly back home after finishing up in Paris.
The day I completed a ride. The ride was tough for me but the scenery was stunning, and we got to see the race in the luxurious VIP hospitality. I will admit there were a few tears of joy.
Every ride for me was tough as I’m a beginner cyclist, however I was so well supported that every day I got out there and every day I got better.
Funniest moment on tour?
When I somehow got a QOM for a Strava section on a ride!
Favourite Tour de France hospitality experience?
The Izoard hospitality area, up the Col du Portet in the Pyrenees – being able to see riders come up the mountain, then battle on up more switchbacks while we had to battle with another glass of champagne!
Did you meet the pro rider/s you were hoping to on tour?
Yes, Mat Hayman & Simon Gerrans were the top of my list and both were so lovely! I was gobsmacked half the time being so close to the riders. Being with Stuey gets you access and experiences like no one else
Overall take on your Tour de France experience?
I had the time of my life! Well organised, amazing crew – every minute was special.
Would you recommend the Alps/Pyrenees or both to others?
Without a doubt, both! Almost a year on and I’m still telling people how spectacular it was.
Up for 13 days of Tour de France bliss? Learn more, here and get in quick as limited places remain!
Offering a wide range of tours to suit just about everyone, from your avid cyclist, to your ultimate-fan and operated annually in conjunction with the world’s biggest bike race, the Tour de France. Our tours travel from the Grand Depart, right through to the spectacular Champs-Elysées finale in Paris; all hosted and designed by 17 x Tour de France contender – now key partner of Mummu Cycling, Stuart O’Grady.
With Stuart in tow,
the Mummu Cycling ‘difference’ has certainly been bolstered. His extensive
palmares, wealth of knowledge, experience, skill and countless connections
within the cycling world play a pivotal role in ensuring a differential, once
in a lifetime experience.
This is just one of many attributes that make up the Mummu Cycling difference at the Tour de France.
The Mummu Cycling Difference:
Mummu Cycling is one of only six ASO approved, official Tour de France tour operators. This ensures privileged access to a selection of VIP hospitality locations throughout the race; from stage starts, to finishes and premium mid-race viewing locations. Our tour operators license will also assure we can guarantee; fantastic reserved accommodation options, access to the ‘inner’ race, premium live race viewing and the best daily ride program.
Pro Team Access
using his insider access to the pro peloton, will arrange pro team meet and
greets with some of the best World Tour team’s on the circuit. This presents an
incredibly unique opportunity to exclusively chat with the riders and gather
some great insights from the ‘team behind the team’ of staff; from mechanics, to race directors, soigneurs and beyond.
To add, using our
tour operator departure village access, you’ll have the chance to explore the
team bus ‘pre race’ area and see your
favourite riders in action while you’re at it. A rare occasion to be in such
close proximity to the professionals in ‘preparation mode’; from ‘warm-up’s, to
interviews, or the more relaxed race village pre-race coffee.
With our official Tour operator
license, comes a list of exclusive benefits and race hospitality invitations.
We’ll maximise these benefits daily; whether that’s sipping
coffee and enjoying local delicacies while rubbing shoulders with the pro’s
ahead of the stage, to enjoying the best of live race action atop a famous Tour
de France ascent, champagne and French canapé in hand. Or indulging in a
multiple course, gourmet lunch amidst some big Tour de France names, all while
watching the race in style over big screen entertainment and awaiting the
thrilling sprint finale to come…It doesn’t get much better.
At Mummu Cycling, we strive to have
the best of the best guiding and hosting our tours. To ensure that, we have
former professional cyclists that know the roads like the back of their hands,
having raced along the same routes throughout their pro careers, step in as our
pro tour ride guides.
At the Tour de France, expect to be
learning all the tricks of the trade from the likes of former yellow jersey
wearer and stage winner, Stuart O’Grady, Green Jersey winner, Baden Cooke or
lead-out specialist, Nick Gates. They’ll not only know all the Tour-famous
roads and have an extensive level of experience, but have countless race tales
to tell, Tour de France memories and knowledgable race insights to share
throughout the trip.
Ride the Course
A major highlight on tour that falls under our tour operator license advantages is riding on the offical race course. This is a truly surreal experience; to ride off the stage start line, just hours ahead of the pro peloton along the race route and on closed roads. Crowds of fans lining the streets; anticipation, delight and excitement in the air. If you don’t already feel part of the Tour de France inner sanctum, by now, you surely will.
Primarily focused around arguably the biggest Classics of the lot, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, we had three separate tour options; The full 11 days – kicking off from Flanders, right through to Roubaix, with a dose of the Ardennes in between. Or alternatively, 4 days at the start, or latter, depending on the favoured Classic.
It all started on a crisp Spring day in the stunning Belgian city of Ghent. Sunshine, smiles and some serious excitement in the air as we welcomed our crew for the week and got set to hit the narrow cobbled lanes and countless bike paths surrounding the charming, historic city. Hosted and led by former Classics phenomenon, Stuart O’Grady, alongside fellow Aussie former professional, Nick Gates…it’s fair to say, our guests were in great hands.
Following a cruisy warm-up spin to shake-off the travel and get the legs into gear, it was preparation time for the first big challenge of the tour, the Ronde van Vlaanderen Cyclo (Gran Fondo) the following day. This would deem the perfect opportunity to ride the many iconic cobbled sectors and bergs so famous to the race, in amongst an impressive 16,000 other keen goers.
Come ‘race’ morning, our crew took to the start, nervous, but smiling and eager to hit the road. Many tough km’s were endured and plenty of time was spent battling it out in the pain cave, but that didn’t stop our riders from finishing on cloud 9, ecstatic to have made it round and all smiles after an epic day out amongst the Ronde madness. As the day before the ‘real Ronde’, the atmosphere was full of pure excitement, passion and anticipation and we got to absorb the best of it.
The cobbles were now conquered and a good drop of Belgian beer, fresh frites and some serious race action was calling. Following a decent nights rest, we were up an at em’ nice and early to get set for another big day, this time on the other side of the fence, spectating. Now was the time to live and breathe the incredible Ronde van Vlaanderen and witness the world’s best cyclists show us how it’s done to perfection. Our base for the day was on the epic, Oude Kwaremont; a famous, incredibly challenging and often race-shaping cobbled climb. The prime place to watch as the pro men and women would face it multiple times throughout the day, ensuring some thrilling live action and roaring, passionate crowds! To be right there in the thick of it was a surreal experience.
The following day, we set out for some more cobbled adventures. Inspired by the pro’s and beaming confidence now that we’d had a good taste of the terrain, and learnt some of the tricks of the trade from Stuey. For today, it was all about the Muur van Geraardsbergen, an iconic Flanderian cobbled climb; short but brutal. By now, the legs were certainly feeling the burn, and the grimaces were well and truly out. Nonetheless, everyone had a great crack and even stuck it out for a few rep’s. Once you get the cobble-adrenaline rush, it’s difficult to deny!
On return, we set off for a very special, exclusive lunch with the ultimate King of cycling, Eddy Merckx. Widely regarded as the most successful cyclist of all time and incredibly respected in the sporting world – what an honour to sit down over lunch, in his home country and hear all about it.
As a small token of our appreciation, Stuey and Mummu Cycling owner Marcel Berger presented Eddy with a little taste of Australia in a magnum of 2007 Penfolds Grange. Thank you Eddy!
The next morning, we set off bright and early for a change of scene; East bound to tackle the trio of Ardennes Classics. First up was La Flèche Wallonne, where the murderously steep Mur de Huy dangerously awaited us. With gradients reaching up to a leg stabbing 26%, this 1300m kicker is no joke! A challenge, no doubt, but our crew aced it and still managed to complete the day grinning, despite the grim conditions thrown at us.
Come race day for the pros, we’ll undoubtedly be feeling their burn. RESPECT.
Next up for Day 5, was the iconic Liège-Bastogne-Liège, lined with countless challenging, punchy roads; the race-famous gnarly ascents of La Redoute, La Roche aux Faucons and Saint-Nicolas all on the menu. Challenge accepted as the sun came out to play and the mood was high! Another day, another Classic. ✔️
The final Ardennes Classic to conquer, was Amstel Gold. An absolute treasure to cross over into the Netherlands, greeted with clear blue skies and pristine, smooth roads. So very appreciated, following our back-to-back days battling over the rough, sporadic roads of Belgium.
We set out to ride the finale of the race and although grateful for the conditions, it was no easy feat, with a number of relentless kickers thrown in the mix and some serious suffering endured throughout. However, with Haribo fuel, Amstel beer awaiting (+ nachos for Stuey) and great company on the road, we made it through another day all smiles.
Glad we enjoyed the smooth roads while we could, as the pavé of Paris-Roubaix was now well and truly calling…the Hell of the North coming in hot!
The next day, we made our way across to France to do some much anticipated course recon ahead of the Paris-Roubaix challenge ride that lay before us the following day.
The ‘test ride’ had us brimming with excitement, adrenaline and some real nerves in understanding the immense pain and challenge that awaited. Nonetheless, by now we were so ready to rock them 🤘.
To top, we were also able to visit the famous velodrome and the special Roubaix showers, alongside 2007 champion, Stuey . Some incredible memories here for him and an honour to be there alongside!
Another highlight of the day was meeting the Astana pro team staff for a Q & A session. Great to get some insight into the time and preparation that goes into preparing for the Queen of the Classics and such a prestigious race. One thing’s for certain is that the mechanics have their work cut out for them on this one!
Next up – RACE DAY. Well let’s just say, ‘the race before the race’…
A nice early start had us rugged up and raring to go carve up the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. For many, a dream come true to ride the epic roads of the ‘Hell of the North’ in race format and alongside a former winner of the race, in Stuey.
It was a massive challenge for all and a huge effort to have everyone arrive into the iconic Roubaix velodrome, exhausted but ecstatic to be there and to have battled through. A great day all round which left us more ready than ever for the big show the next day.
The real ‘race day’ did not disappoint… As expected, it was one hell of a show and we were right there in the midst of it, lapping up every second. We experienced some incredible Trouée d’Arenberg pavé action before moving on to the Roubaix velodrome hospitality zone to witness the spectacular finale that saw an outstanding Philippe Gilbert storm across the line to take an emphatic victory over Nils Politt. A true champion and very deserving winner. Chapeau!
To top off a surreal day at Paris-Roubaix, we also had the opportunity to move from our hospitality zone on the final corner approaching the velodrome, right into the heart of it. Surreal to witness the thrilling battle in such close proximity and then experience the elation and incredibly passionate emotion from Gilbert and his team. Just one of many amazing moments to take home for the memory books.
A special thank you to all of our guests on tour for making this trip such a success and a true delight to run. Your positive attitudes, genuine love and excitement for the Classics, and easy going natures ensured an outstanding trip was had and one we’re certainly heading home smiling about.
Secondly, big up’s to our ever-impressive, hard-working team of staff on the ground for impeccably running the show from start to finish. And then to the team behind the team back in the office for the hours of planning and preparation that set it up for such success.
Now it’s time for some much needed rest, before we start counting down the days to our Spring Classics 2020 adventures.
Registration is now open. Don’t miss out on what’s bound to be another hell of a ride! Sign up, here.
The Pyrenees will feature in the middle week of this year’s Tour de France and will roll off a mostly sprint dominated opening week, followed by some punchier stages through the Vosges Mountains. Concluding the first Tour rest day, the race will set off from Albi through to the stunning city of Toulouse which will host the start of the following day’s Stage 12 and the Tour’s first true taste of Pyrenees mountain madness.
At this stage in the race, it’s inevitable that the General Classification and climbing specialists will be absolutely itching to unload and go head-to-head up the Pyrenean passes. No doubt, a real spectacle to see as the race will remain wide open. This is the week we’ll get a real incentive as to who will take ownership of the tour standings, unafraid to put the Pyrenees and their opponents in their place. Perhaps also some prime opportunities for the less targeted, dark horses to have a crack and take time where they can…Whatever happens, it’s assuredly going to be all-action in the Pyrenees!
The real Pyrenees test lies between Stage 12 to 14; three back-to-back crucial days for GC hopes. Stage 12’s testy 202km route will travel from Toulouse, onto the challenging ascent of the Col de Peyresourde. The 15.3km climb will have the race well and truly on, likely split to bits before the stage route hits the slopes of La Hourquette d’Ancizan, where another lengthy 10.3 km grovel lies ahead, before descending into Bagnères-de-Bigorre and what is expected to be a thrilling, fast finish to the line between the key overall contenders.
From there, the riders will head to Pau for Stage 13 where a relatively short, yet undulating 27km awaits. This race against the clock will prove vital; a real opportunity for specialists, such as Thomas, Dumoulin and Froome to make their mark and gain as many precious seconds as allows. For their lesser competitors, a day to bring out their best performance in the hope of minimising losses and remaining in close contention.
The following day, all hell could well break loose with the Tour-prominent Col du Tourmalet on the cards. As the most frequently climbed race in Tour history, its relentless nature will come as no surprise to the race. This year’s edition, however marks only the third occasion for the race to finish at its 2115m summit. Fatigue will no doubt be well and truly set in by now, as the peloton will first face the 13km Col du Soulour before eventually hitting the base of the daunting 18.6km long Tourmalet. Expect fireworks, as who wouldn’t want to win atop the legendary Tourmalet and make Tour de France history as the third rider to claim honours atop? We’ll safely assume a breakaway could well be on the hunt for victory, and regardless of its success or failure, the GC contenders will be in full battle mode in their own race for glory and precious seconds, prepared to leave it all on the line ahead of the Tour’s final rest day that follows.
Mummu Cycling will be settling in for all the Pyrenees action this July, running two 7 day tours; Pro and Ride. The Pro tour, hosted by 17 x TdF contender himself, Stuart O’Grady, will be all about travelling right inside the race, enjoying the best of Pyrenees-famous rides and climbs, but also taking time to get amongst the madness, viewing key live stages and kicking back in Tour de France hospitality zones while at it. The Ride tour will also be about catching some epic Pyrenean TdF moments, but more of a ‘ride’ focus with big km days and some serious climbing on the cards. Led by former pro, Nick Gates, he’ll certainly have you up for a challenge.
This year, we decided to really up our Tour de France game and design the ultimate, see-it-all experience. We’ve had many former clients sign up for multiple TdF trips, or even the entire three weeks, jumping from one of our tours to the next. So to provide the option to join the TdF for a longer period on a single tour experience and get a real taste of the best of it, travelling beyond just 1 or 2 key areas, was what we decided to do. Following some tentative planning, we decided that the perfect amount of time would be 13 days on tour and the prime opportunity to see and experience the most famous regions visited by Le Tour every year.
Our Best of Le Tour experience truly embraces the best of the race and with some significant distances covered throughout its duration, we decided an important factor would be to travel in comfort, upgrading from our usual van transport, to a luxury coach. That way, when the Tour moves regions, we will travel alike the riders on board their comfortable team buses!
We will pass through the most prominent of Tour de France regions; setting off from the picturesque Pyrenean mountains, through to Provence, onto the iconic Alps and completing the tour on a high with the final run in to Paris.
Throughout the 13 day tour, we will see a succession of 7 LIVE stages.
Stage 12 finale into Bagnères-de-Bigorre. With two challenging Pyrenean climbs on the radar for today’s stage, it could well prove a very exciting final and we’ll be there to witness the thrill of it.
Stage 13 Individual Time Trial in Pau. This will undoubtedly be a critical stage for GC contenders and a key opportunity for time trial specialists to shine.
Stage 14 Col du Tourmalet Summit Stage finish. One word for today – EPIC. It’s going to be a real race-maker.
Stage 18 Col du Galibier roadside viewing. As one of the most iconic, challenging climbs of the TdF – expect fireworks and the chance to embrace the electric mountain atmosphere among other passionate TdF fans.
Stage 17 Pont du Gard race viewing. Witness the peloton pass by one of the best preserved three-tiered bridges in the world, the Pont du Gard.
Stage 20 Albertville Stage depart. Here, we will enjoy VIP departure village access. It will be the prime opportunity to meet favourite riders, cruise the team bus area and enjoy local delicacies, croissants and coffee in the village before watching the pro’s roll out in style.
Stage 21 VIP grandstand viewing for the final spectacular showdown on the iconic Champs-Elysées. Likely an exciting sprint finale and most importantly, the moment we see the 2019 Tour de France champion officially cross the line to take honours, followed by the final podium ceremony!
To add to incredible Stage viewing and absorbing the very best action-packed Tour de France race moments within arm’s distance, we will also be taking to the most talked about sections of road and conquering a few cols ourselves along the way. How’s Col du Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez for a line-up?
It won’t be all hard-work, logging miles and cheering our hearts out, however – We are in France, after all and will be travelling through some incredible regions throughout.
We’ll visit history rich French monuments along the way including; Pont du Gard, Arc de Triomphe and beyond. As well as travelling through numerous other must-see towns including; the famous for its Mediterranean cross road, Montpellier, Orange and Avignon.
While we’re in Avignon, we’ll be enjoying a much deserved rest day and will be doing it in style with a river cruise along the stunning Avignon river, topped with a 4 course gourmet lunch and reputable local wines to pair. When in France, wine not?
This will be just one, of many fantastic opportunities throughout the trip to indulge in the delicious French gastronomy, and embrace its culture-rich regions throughout.
If you’ve always dreamed of experiencing the Tour de France, this tour is the perfect opportunity to fulfil that dream and experience the best of the lot, in one go! It is a trip we are incredibly excited about delivering this July and a journey that will undoubtedly be one to look back on for a long time coming.
It’s ON in Belgium as the stream of back-to-back cobbled classics are now well underway. With Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix on the horizon, it’s all-go. Bring the action.
Here, we’ve crafted a short list of favourites to watch out for…
(Note: There are far too many notable hitters and contenders to list – this is a start)!
10. Zdeněk Štybar – Deceuninck – Quickstep
This Czech cyclist seems to have it all. He’s a former multiple World Cyclocross champion and transferred his skill and talent exceptionally to the road. He’s won stages at the Tour de France, through to La Vuelta and is almost always at the pointy end of the Classics. Most notably, he won Strade Bianche in 2015, and has podiumed at numerous monuments since, including Paris-Roubaix on several occasions. He’s stormed into the 2019 season with exceptional form, assuring he’s up for a great Classics run with an Opening Weekend victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Friday’s impressive E3 BinckBank Classic. Štybar’s on a roll and we have a feeling the momentum won’t end there!
9. Dylan Groenewegen – Team Jumbo-Visma
This young Dutch sprinter is all speed and well and truly made his mark on the pro scene in 2018 with some stellar victories; from Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, onto an applaudable two Tour de France stages. His turn of speed is exceptional and he’s certainly brought it right back to the 2019 season with a string of victories already to his bow, including two stages at Paris-Nice and most recently this week’s Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne.
8. Sep Vanmarcke – EF Education First
This guy seems to always be right on the mark! Consistently top 5 and with a list of 2nd’s and 3rd’s that must have him bursting for a big Classics victory. It’s a given that he’ll be right up there in the mix, but the question is – can he break the trend and take top step?
7. Philippe Gilbert – Deceuninck – Quickstep
Philippe Gilbert is a cycling phenomenon. He’s won it all; from the road world championships, to stages at all three Grand Tours and a lengthy string of prestigious Classics to add. When it comes to the Classics, the Belgian rider can certainly deliver the goods. He’s one of a select few to have won all three Ardennes Classics, as well as the Tour of Flanders in 2017. He will without doubt be right in the thick of the action, burning bridges alongside his impressive contingent of Deceuninck – Quickstep team mates. Will he be the strongest of the pack?
6. Matteo Trentin – Mitchelton-SCOTT
Matteo Trentin is the current European champion and has done the jersey proud so far, coming in very hot to the 2019 season, having already claimed three sprint victories at the Vuelta a Andalucía and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Known for his impressively quick kick and his 2017 La Vuelta domination, when he took a succession of four stage victories. He’s also notably won Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stages.
Throughout the Classics period, given his exceptional current form he will no doubt have the full backing of his Mitchelton-SCOTT team. Let’s see what they can do.
5. Yves Lampaert -Deceuninck – Quickstep
He’s the current Belgian National road race champion and a real Classics specialist, bringing yet another strong force to the dominating Deceuninck – Quickstep.
Lamparet has won the last two editions of Dwars door Vlaanderen and in 2017 claimed a stage of La Vuelta.
At just 27, he may well only just be getting started!
4. Oliver Naesen – AG2R La Mondiale
He may not be quite as decorated when it comes to results as some of the other’s on this list, but we have a feeling he could be in for a great 2019 Spring following his 2nd place at last week’s Milan-San Remo.
The former Belgian National champion has proven over the year’s he’s right there in the mix at the cobbled classics, ever-consistent and could well be further up the pointy end over the coming weeks. Time will tell…
3. Niki Terpstra – Direct Énergie
As the reigning champion of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Niki Terpsta will surely be returning with high hopes to reclaim his title.
The Classics specialist is one of few to have won both Flanders and Paris-Roubaix (in 2014) and has a string of other Classics victories and pro wins throughout his stellar career, including 3 Dutch National road race titles.
We’re used to seeing Terpstra on the attack alongside his Quickstep team mates, however this season he’s made a surprising move to the French contingent, Direct Énergie.
We have no doubt that he’ll be right up there as a key contender, but wonder if he will miss the strength of his Classics-strong former team mates?
2. Greg Van Avermaet – CCC team
What’s not to love about Greg Van Avermaet? He’s incredibly exciting to watch, always the aggressor and all-in for the win.
As the current (2016) Olympic road race champion, he can do it all….from one day races, to stage races. It’s during the Spring period, however that we really see his strengths shine as he takes to his home Belgian roads in dominating fashion, leaving many-a competitor for dead.
He’s won Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem, but is still yet to claim the Ronde and will without doubt be lining up next weekend hungry as ever for victory!
1. Peter Sagan – Bora-Hansgrohe
He’s the ultimate king of cycling and has almost done it all. Never to be underestimated, he will rise to the top when you least expect, outshining and outwitting his competitors time-after-time. An absolute treasure to watch and the ever-entertainer. We love Peter Sagan and don’t know of many who don’t!
The 3 x world champion has a list of palmarès far too long to list, however when it comes to the Classics we will note that he’s won Flanders (2016), Gent-Wevelgem 3 x and was last year’s Paris-Roubaix champion in a two-up sprint, beating Silvan Dillier to the line.
The exceptional all-rounder can win from pure bunch sprints, to breakaways, to solo and is not only out of this world strong, but incredibly race-smart too.
Following some early season illness and setbacks, it will be interesting to see how he fares over the coming weeks. For us, there’s no questioning it that he’ll be back firing!
Mummu Cycling will be there with bells on, absorbing the best action moments from the spectacular Ronde van Vlaanderen, through to Paris-Roubaix. We’ll be experiencing the sensational race atmosphere the Classics bring and see the 2019 monument winners crowned alongside tour host and former Paris-Roubaix winner himself, Stuart O’Grady.
Want to join us on tour? Register your interest for the 2020 Spring Classics, here and be the first to know when tour details are revealed!
Hear from our guest on tour in 2018, Stephen Carpenter as he shares his favourite memories from his time at the Tour de France on our Alps Pro Experience.
A fantastic recollection of what we can now look back on as a surreal week in the Alps, getting amongst the very best of the world’s most spectacular bike race.
Tour de France Memories, By Stephen Carpenter
In July 2018, I travelled with Stuart O’Grady and Mummu Cycling to follow the Tour de France through the French Alps. Put simply, this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The highlights are too many to list but there are some that stand out more than others.
On our very first day, having tested our bikes, we found ourselves having a private chat with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen on the steps of our hotel about how the race would unfold through the mountains. And then Phil and Paul joined us again at dinner. What a privilege! And Jens Voigt came over just to say hello to Stuart and the rest of us. We truly felt we were inside the bubble of the Tour de France.
The level of access to the tour we enjoyed was beyond belief. We stood next to the Maillot Jaune (Greg van Avermaet) as he was interviewed before Stage 10, met Simon Gerrans and then watched Chris Froome get ready. We followed the pros up the Category 1 Col de la Croix Fry and celebrated with drinks at the summit. This was only Day 2 and we were giddy.
And of course we rode our bikes through the most glorious country side, up the steepest climbs and down with Stuart next to us all the way. We rode ahead of the peloton for 40kms from the start of stage 11 from Albertville and people called out from the side of the road ‘we were the luckiest people they knew’. And after stopping to watch the peloton speed past, crammed into a French bar to watch and cheer the end of a stage, sharing stories with Stuart, Darren and Emily as if we were seasoned pros. We sprinted the last 20kms into Valence as part of a 60km ride along the closed roads of Stage 13, with families picnicking by the road and cheering us on.
We went on to ascend Alpe d’Huez and Col du Galibier, personal achievements that will always stay with me. At the top of Alpe d’Huez, I remember the overwhelming emotion of being at the very heart of the cycling world, the sense of extraordinary anticipation building as we waited for the peloton to arrive. And when it did, the excitement and atmosphere was like no other I have experienced. And as the icing on the cake, we raced down Alpe d’Huez chased by Australian legend Baden Cooke. We told Stuart we would take it slowly…
Space does not permit more anecdotes. Suffice to say I find myself often day dreaming of my experiences from this truly wonderful trip. It was a privilege to meet and be hosted so generously by Stuart and his team, and to spend time “inside the bubble” of the greatest sporting event in the world. I cannot recommend it more highly.
Thank you Stephen! It was a pleasure hosting you and an experience we also look back on very fondly. To find out more about what we have in store for our Tour de France Alps Pro, 2019 experience, head here.
On the 15th April, 2007 Stuart O’Grady took an emphatic solo victory at the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix stealing one of his greatest career victories and a memory that will be forever strong.
Here, we asked Stuey to share some thoughts from that special day…
What did Paris-Roubaix mean to you prior to winning? Was it a race you dreamed of winning from your early racing days?
Paris-Roubaix was a race that captured my imagination as a young kid. I loved the adventure, the craziness of it. The fact that it was known as the Hellof the North made it stand out and I dreamt of just racing it, not really winning it.As the years went by though, and after racing my first couple of editions with a French team, I began to understand the importance and the scale of the race, and then it became my dream to try and win it.
In 2007 did you go into the race thinking you could truly win and were you the team leader on the day? / Was that the plan?
I went in confident I could get a result. I was healthy, surrounded by an extremely strong and motivated team and I was rooming with the defending champion.
I was in the form of my life, similar to 2004 which was the best year of my career.
Fabian was the outright favourite and my roommate, so I was there to support him to win, but I was Plan B if he faltered. When the weather report came in that it was going to be “hot”, then things started to fall into my favour.
When and where did you make your winning move?
I made my winning move when I got into the early morning breakaway, because that set me up for the rest of the race. I had two team mates which basically did all the hard work along with the other guys in the break so I could sit back and use minimal energy. The real attack I launched with 25kms to go.
Up until then, did you feel like you were on a great day condition wise?
I had finished in the top ten in every race in Belgium in the lead up. I knew my form was great and I had been helping Fabian in those races and still running top ten. I just needed the stars to align for me and to give it everything.
When you were out solo initially what was running through your head?
It was a killer instinct attack. It wasn’t planned. I saw that everyone around me was really suffering and I just hit them when the opportunity arose. My first thought when I saw the 25kms to go sign, was “Holy shit… there’s a long way to go!”
At what point did you realise, this could actually be it?!
My goal was to get to the minute mark lead on the guys chasing me. Then I knew I could puncture and still maintain a lead if I got a quick wheel change. I also knew that then the 3 guys chasing would start conserving energy and start racing for 2nd. Theres a lot of things that go through your head, the main one was that I was just praying for no punctures. I also changed my tactic to go 85-90% on the cobbles but give it 100% once we hit the bitumen, because I also knew that behind they would attack themselves on the cobbles, then recover and eat and drink straight after on the roads.
How did you feel when you entered the velodrome?
Like I was living a dream, almost having an out of body experience. All those years of trying, the suffering, knowing that my wife, who was pregnant with our soon the be daughter and my son Seth were in the velodrome waiting was also flashing through my mind.
Its very hard to explain the emotions. It’s more relief that you’ve actually achieved something that’s been in the back of your mind since you began racing. Everyone has dreams, it’s what keeps you getting up to go training every morning, and when you realise that you are experiencing one at the time…. It’s just the ultimate feeling.
And then as you crossed the line as Paris-Roubaix champion?
To have my family there, my team mates roll in, Scott Sunderland the DS, just everyone. I just wanted to hug everyone. It was a mixture of disbelief, tears of joy. I don’t know. It’s impossible to describe really.
Post race celebrations must have been pretty special?
Obviously it was a massive night. But it was emotional as Lars Michaelsen who should’ve finished 2nd and next to me on the podium, crashed in the final. It was the last race of his career. His whole family were at the race and with us for the post race dinner.
So there were happy moments and some really sad ones also, as his dream of getting on the podium was shattered, his career had just ended, yet we had just won together also.
I had promised to take my wife and son to Disneyland the next day. I kept the celebrations up well, but good enough to make sure we were on that train the following morning also!
How did this victory shape and change your career?
It definitely changes not only your career, but your entire life. You are forever known as a Paris-Roubaix champion and at every race you’re expected to perform as you’ve won the hardest race on the planet. There’s pressure to perform again, which I did the following year finishing 5th, but overall it changes who you are as a person. You have a lot more respect in the peloton, which helps also.
Was it your most memorable race victory?
Winning the Olympic Games and Paris-Roubaix are impossible to separate.
They were both dreams and both very different events. I am very happy and proud thatI managed to achieve both.
What are you most looking forward to once again revisiting your stomping grounds on tour with Mummu Cycling this April?
I love the history, the stories, the adventure and the ridiculously toughcobbles. You have to experience the cobbles first hand to get a grip of just how hard it is. I still find it hard to believe that I won it when I go back and ride a section…
Top 3 favourites for the win this year?
Stybar, Sagan, Groenwegen
Of all cycling events, would you say Paris-Roubaix is right up there as a must-experience race day for fans? And what makes it so special and unique to other races?
It is the most unique cycling race on the planet. It is possibly one of the toughest,hardest sporting events in the World. The history, the culture, the myths of Paris Roubaix.
You either love it, or hate it.
I love it.
Can’t make the Classics this April? No worries, there’s always next year! Stuey will be returning in 2020 for more cobble-crazy adventures. Register your interest here to ensure you’re the first to know when trip details are finalised!