Will Simon Yates win La Vuelta?

2019 has been nothing less than sensational for Simon Yates. He’s gone from sitting pretty in pink leading the Giro d’Italia for 13 days straight back in May, to now rocking the Red at La Vuelta a España.

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Image: Getty Images

Following some fiery, dominating performances and all backed by an ever-impressive Mitchelton-Scott squad – he now leads the race by a mere 0.25 seconds to Spaniard Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.

2019 has been nothing less than sensational for Simon Yates. He’s gone from sitting pretty in pink leading the Giro d’Italia for 13 days straight back in May, to now rocking the Red at La Vuelta a España.

Following some fiery, dominating performances and all backed by an ever-impressive Mitchelton-Scott squad – he now leads the race by a mere 0.25 seconds to Spaniard Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.

WHAT’S TO COME?

Today, the daunting Pyrenean, La Rabassa climb looms as the race ventures from Lleida to Andorra. The Stage (19) is mostly flat leading in to the 17.5km climb up to the finish line at 2035m. With harsher gradients near the base, it could be an interesting battle from the start. Tension will no doubt be sky high as the General Classification contenders battle it out for time, or perhaps a breakaway will survive their chances and fight it out for stage honours!

  • La Rabassa: Average gradient – 6.3%, Maximum gradient – 11%, Length – 17.5km

Time may be running out to fight for the Maillot Rojo, but the penultimate Stage 20 could still prove a real game-changer. The Stage covers almost 4000m of vertical ascent over a mere 97.3km. Yes – we’re confidently predicting a drama-filled final showdown!

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The question is – Can Yates hold on?

We’re backing him!

Reserve your interest for our 2019 La Vuelta experiences HERE so we can keep you updated on trip itinerary and details before release.

A Pro Weekend in Girona

We are very excited to be taking our Pro Weekend’s to Girona, led by Australian, Mitchelton-Scott professional cyclist – Michael ‘Heppy’ Hepburn.

The 27 year old discovered Girona in 2012 and has since used the now cycling Mecca as one of his training bases throughout the European racing season.

Here, we had a chat with Heppy on all things Girona ahead of our PRO WEEKEND, November 16-18.

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Image: Kristof Ramon

Q & A with Heppy

  1. Why did you originally choose Girona as your European base back in 2012?

I’d visited Girona a couple of times the year before and was sold straight away. I had teammates & support staff already living here and I knew that was going to make the transition to the professional ranks a bit easier. When cyclists are searching for a base, the training and weather are two pretty important factors. Girona easily ticked both those boxes.

  1. Favourite ride?

The Coast loop. There are a bunch of different ways you can get out to the Costa Brava coastline, but the stretch of road between Tossa de Mar and Sant Feliu is one of the most beautiful roads that I’ve ridden around the world. The road twists left and right, up and down, always with great views of the Mediterranean Sea below.

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  1. Favourite restaurant?

Placa del Vi 7 & Txalaka.

Placa del Vi 7 is a nice night out and often a bit of a treat for us. Their dishes are tapas style sharing plates and often a bit different. They have an incredible selection of wines from around the globe and staff that are always welcoming. 

Txalaka is a very relaxed Basque style tapas restaurant. As well as the best pintxos in town, they have a great menu with delicious seafood. To drink, you must try the Basque sidra and Txakoli.

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  1. Favourite local ‘Catalan’ dish/es? 

Hard decision as the food in Girona is tough to beat. Meats and seafood are very popular among the locals and although they are usually cooked quite simply, they always nail it. I’m also a big fan of Patatas Bravas for an afternoon snack. Some people think they’re just wedges with sauce, but if you find the best places, they’re a lot more than that. Place del Vi 7 serves the best Bravas in town.

If you’re up for dessert, you must try Crema Catalana – a custardy dish, similar to creme brûlée. Although very tasty, one of the most satisfying parts is cracking the caramelised, glazed top.

  1. Coffee?

In the last few years we’ve been spoilt for choice in town. A bunch of coffee shops and eateries have popped up all over town and remind me of the coffee scene back in Australia.

A few suggestions to guarantee a good coffee:

  • Coffee and Greens
  • Federal Cafe
  • Espresso Mafia
  1. Why would you recommend Girona as a cycling holiday destination to others?

As I mentioned above, the training options and weather in Girona are two of the big drawcards. With great year-round weather and very few wet days, it’s easy to take it for granted. Unfortunately we get reminded pretty quickly when we head up north for the spring classics..

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. If you prefer something a bit different, there are countless back roads and gravel sectors to go off exploring. 

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.

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  1. What are you most looking forward to on your PRO WEEKEND in Girona with Mummu Cycling?

Girona really has it all for the bike enthusiast. The number of cycle-tourists visiting town in the past few years is a testament to this. I’m looking forward to showing off this beautiful town, on and off the bike, in a relaxed environment typical of Catalunya.

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Image: Getty Images – Tour de France, 2018

Michael is a double Olympic Silver medalist, as well as multiple world champion on the track and two-time stage winner in the Teams Time Trial at the Giro D’Italia. He recently successfully took on his debut Tour de France and ended on a high with a top ten performance in the Individual Time Trial.

For more details on how you can join Heppy in Girona on a PRO WEEKEND – head here.

More than a Training Camp – Mummu Cycling welcome the addition of ‘Pro Weekends’

Keen to climb with ease, master the descents and sprint with finesse? Mummu Cycling are excited to be bringing to you our latest, ‘Pro Weekends’. Led by current and former professional cyclists, these camps will provide the perfect platform to take your cycling to the next level.

Our hosts will be sharing first hand knowledge and guidance on technique, racing experience, training and nutrition advice, as well as assisting with any personal cycling goals throughout the weekend.

Taking place in the rider’s hometown – it will be the ultimate, intimate insiders weekend on the bike. Train from their own stomping grounds, where you will have the opportunity to summit the climbs that launched their careers and enjoy the best local knowledge and back roads of the area, all while taking in tips and advice from the best.

It won’t be all serious training – recovery is King, after all, as is a happy head. To ensure this, we will be delivering a premium experience and will be treating you to great food, wine and full ride support – BYO bike!

As an Official Tour de France operator, highly renowned for delivering World Class event based cycling tours, we are incredibly excited to be including our Pro Weekends to our product category and are confident that this addition to Mummu Cycling is only going to better and add to the Mummu Cycling difference that we strive to deliver.

Pro Weekend with Matthew Goss – Launceston, Tasmania

November 9-11

We are thrilled to be launching our Pro Weekends in Tasmania with former leading professional cyclist, Matthew Goss.

The double Giro D’Italia Stage successor and most famously, Milan San-Remo winner in 2011 has an extensive level of knowledge and a hard to to top skill set to add. Famous for his savvy sprint and impressive run of speed, Matt will no doubt be sharing a tip or two along the way.  He is still relatively fresh off his retirement from professional cycling in 2016 and is more ready than ever to get back out there and share his skill and experience with you.

From Launceston, Tasmania; famous for its incredible green, scenic roads – Matt will take you on some of his favourite training roads from his days as a professional and ensure a weekend to remember.

“Tasmania has a rich history of cycling and over the years has consistently punched above its weight with the number of professionals the apple isle has produced. I’d like to show everyone the roads and rides that helped myself and many others make it to the top of the sport,” said Matthew.

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Matt winning Milan-San Remo in 2011, edging out Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert. Image: TDWSport.

Pro Weekend with Stuart and Darren O’Grady – Adelaide, South Australia

December 7-9

Following what we predict will be a fantastic launch to our  Australian Pro Weekends in Launceston, we will be hitting the roads of Adelaide for a  ‘Weekend with the O’Grady brothers’ – Stuart and Darren.

Stuart is a former professional cyclist and competed for some of the biggest teams in the professional peloton throughout his lengthy, impressive career. He is an Olympic and Commonwealth Games Gold medallist, a 17 x Tour de France contender and of course, the 2007 Paris-Roubaix winner.

Stuey travelled the world for countless years, chasing the professional cycling calendar, however for him, there is no place quite like home. Following retirement in 2013, he now resides in hometown Adelaide, famous for its exceptional training grounds and where our O’Grady Pro Weekend will be held.

“I have ridden my bike all over the planet for the past 30 years. Although there are more beautiful places to ride in the World, Adelaide has to be one of the greatest cities overall to bike. It has everything from incredible coastlines to the rolling hills and vineyards that surround our city -Adelaide is my favourite place in the World to train,” Stuart said.

“Only minutes out of the city we have a huge choice of climbs to tackle, depending on what you feel like doing. Norton Summit is generally used for strength and power training, then you have the Corkscrew, Checkers Hill, Greenhill, Mount Lofty & Belair Roads to really give it a decent crack. Add into the middle of these iconic climbs and you have the twisting, turning, rolling Adelaide Hills. With little traffic, fantastic bakery’s and some cracking pubs, there really is something for everyone!

I prefer to train using ‘hours’- not ‘kilometres’, as riding through the Adelaide Hills is not easy. With the beauty comes the pain, but I have also learnt to ride a lot slower since retiring and actually enjoy the countryside. I hope you can join me in my own backyard for a fantastic cycling experience. Its time to kick off your training & start targeting your summer goals.”

Joining Stuey as a host, will be his brother Darren. Darren started racing when he was 16 and has represented South Australia on the track and road. He has ridden everything from the Crocodile Trophy (Mtn Bike) to Track Championships and many road races. Darren is a qualified spin instructor and bike mechanic and having also grown up in Adelaide, his local knowledge is difficult to be bettered.

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Stuart on his way to an incredible Paris-Roubaix victory in 2007.

Pro Weekend with Michael Hepburn – Girona, Spain

November 16-18

To add to our Australian Pro Weekends, we will be hitting the Northern hemisphere to the now booming cycling Mecca of Girona, famous for its ever-growing community of professional cyclists. It’s no surprise, as Girona seems to have it all for any lover of cycling. From its exceptional year-round great weather and incredibly versatile riding grounds – ranging from the gorgeous rolling Costa Brava coastline road to lengthy Pyrenean climbs, as well as it’s delicious traditional Catalan cuisine, great local wine and inner city charm. Who wouldn’t want to train there?

Leading our Pro Weekend in Girona will be current Mitchelton-Scott professional, Michael Hepburn. Michael is an Australian double Olympic Silver medalist in the Teams Pursuit, as well as a multiple track world champion and two-time stage winner in the Teams Time Trial at the Giro D’Italia. He recently successfully took on his debut Tour de France and ended on a high with a top ten performance in the Individual Time Trial.

He is currently in his seventh season with Mitchelton-Scott and has proved to be a huge asset to the team and its success. Michael has an exceptional work ethic and strength and is well known within the peloton as being a very loyal team mate and work horse for his leaders, having spent many a km driving the front of the peloton, laying it on the line for a team result.

Michael initially moved to Girona in 2012 and set his training base there for many seasons. He now spends his time when not on the road racing primarily in Andorra but still favours his Girona training grounds and its surroundings. His knowledge of the area is hereby fantastic and as a current professional, we are confident he will have a tale or two to tell from his racing experiences!

I’m looking forward to showing off this beautiful town and sharing my knowledge so you all can have a weekend you won’t forget in a hurry. Come ride the roads that I prepare for the biggest races on and let me show you my favourite places to wine & dine at after our rides,” Michael said.

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Michael riding into 10th place at his debut Tour de France (2018) in the Individual Time Trial. Image: Getty Images.

For further information and booking details on all of our Pro Weekend experiences, head here.

The Warriors of Spring

The recent Tour de France and its controversial Stage 9 ‘mini Roubaix’ has had us looking back to our Classics period and some hard to top experiences, in both riding and being part of the incredible atmosphere that Spring brings.

The Classics are one of a kind. How do you really understand just how tough it is until you experience It for yourself? Having the opportunity to ride some of the most famously brutal stretches of cobbles and the gnarliest of Belgian climbs is by no means a pleasant experience, but incredibly exhilarating and ensures a much deeper appreciation for the riders and the level of extreme suffering they will be putting themselves through come race day. It’s one thing to ‘ride’ over them – to then add high speed, unpredictable, often harsh conditions and an aggressive peloton constantly battling and shoulder bumping for position. It’s a whole new extreme.

Professional cyclists are hard as nails and Spring will only prove that further. The Classics ‘fight’ is inevitably always ‘on’ from the gun and there is rarely a moment to ‘sit back’ in the peloton. Nervous energy fills the air and tension is at its peak as riders brace themselves for what’s to come. The peloton is like a never ending swarm of bees as they circle around in the fight for front line, doing their best to keep their team leaders out of trouble. There’s no rest for the wicked and each sector or significant part of the course becomes a test for teams to ‘lead their leaders out’ to ensure prime positioning when hitting the sector or climb. Each team slowly uses up riders or unfortunately hear ‘crash’ on the race radio as riders get caught up in the chaos or bump a shoulder too many – man down. More often than not, you’ll see fallen riders pick themselves back up without so much as a second thought and charge back on their bikes in pursuit of the race; blood stained, ripped clothes the norm. They’re like warriors and when game face is on, this is war. Gradually the field whittles down, eventually leaving the strongest to battle it out for honours, providing jaw-dropping entertainment as they attack and attack until there can be no more. Adrenaline and elation pumping, the winner fists their arms into the air and a new legend is crowned.

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Image: Kristof Ramon

Once you’ve had a taste of the Classics by bike for yourself, you have your new level of appreciation for the riders and can go and truly be part of the Classics atmosphere. Rain, hail or shine – the crowds, the passion and the genuine love for the sport will always be there lining narrow road after road, flags held high, beer and frites in hand. In Belgium, they live and breathe cycling from a young age. The passion is almost comparable to being in Liverpool at a football game, except fans are road side rugged up in the cold and although they’ll likely only see their idols zip by once or twice, they’re grinning from ear to ear all day long, simply buzzing to be there.

Come the finish and no matter who wins or whatever the outcome, the atmosphere explodes and cheers of delight fill the air. Their appreciation and passion for cycling is impressive and to be part of it is an indescribable feeling.

You really haven’t experienced cycling yet until you have lived been part of the Spring Classics!

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Image: BelgaImage

In 2019 Mummu Cycling will be running a variety of Spring Classics experiences, led by 2007 Paris Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady. You will ride the most iconic cobbled sectors and Classics stretches, experience the sensational atmosphere for yourself and meet a legend or two along the way. Trips will range from 4 to 11 days and feature the famous Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix or alternatively, the Ardennes Classics.

One of a Kind – The Santos Tour Down Under

The Santos Tour Down Under is one of our favourite trips of the year and for many valid reasons. It’s in the prime of the Australian summer held in stunning Adelaide and as far as cycling spectating and atmosphere goes, it’s tough to beat.

Established in 1999 and UCI World Tour since 2008, it has only continued to grow and become bigger and better each edition and now stands as one of the most talked about bike races on the calendar. 

The TDU is unique in that it’s one of very few pro cycling events in the Southern Hemisphere and is also the first real test of the season, kick starting early-mid January. Riders arrive in Adelaide raring to go following an off season of training and preparation for the new year. This makes it all the more exciting as they rock up in fresh kit, some in different colours following team changes, others new faces of the peloton – a bundle of nerves. Time soon tells who’s been working the hardest and for many over the European winter. Not exactly easy jumping across to 40 + degree South Australian weather and racing the world’s best, but all the more impressive!

The Stages are a little shorter than standard World Tour events – mostly due to heat, racing in the middle of the day and taking into consideration that it’s the first real test of the year for many. The shorter stages and early season tension certainly make for some very entertaining bike racing – always a real spectacle to watch.

In terms of spectating, it has to be one of, if not the most spectator friendly event of the year. For one, the entire 6 day event is centred around the heart of Adelaide city, so stages are all within distance from the centre. This means riders and fans can have one central base throughout the week and also have the time between stages to soak up the incredible Adelaide roads by bike while cycling to and from stages, or alternatively explore the incredible region; from the world-famous wineries, to the gorgeous beaches or inner city hub. Compare this to the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia which are also phenomenal, must-do experiences but with most days being point to point, they certainly offer the odd logistical challenge!

Tour Down Under 2018 Stage 3 Glenelg

Secondly, the majority of stages are circuit based which enables fans to see the race go by from anywhere between two and as often as six times in one stage. This makes it incredibly spectator friendly and really helps create a buzzing atmosphere out on the roads for the riders.

The 2019 Tour Down Under is set to prove no different following the recent route announcement and will certainly provide some serious entertainment, as well as showcasing Adelaide’s most stunning areas; from the idyllic Adeliade hills, to the incredible coastline.

The most hyped about modification concluding the route announcement was their decision to make the usual penultimate, infamous Willunga stage, now the final stage of the Tour. Willunga Hill already holds a fantastic reputation for being famously brutal and almost every edition has played a huge part in the final General Classification standings, often coming down to mare seconds between the leading riders. It’s repeatedly a real display and so to change it up and have this rounding out the Tour will mean the TDU honours could likely be fought out until the very last km! Entertainment will be at its peak and the already booming Willunga Hill atmosphere will be at a whole new level.

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To add to the excitement – Three time World Champion, cycling phenomenon and crowd favourite, Peter Sagan has since confirmed his participation for the 2019 event. Famous for his exceptional talent and mind-blowing performances, we are sure he will be bringing his A game to Adelaide.

We now await rider announcements from other leading riders and teams, but if it’s anything to go by on former editions, there will no doubt be nothing less than a stellar line-up providing some spectacular bike racing. 

 

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2019 Stages:

Classic: East End Circuit (51 km)

Stage 1: North Adelaide to Port Adelaide (132.4 km)

Stage 2: Norwood to Angaston (149 km)

Stage 3: Lobethal to Uraidla (146.2 km)

Stage 4: Unley to Campbelltown (129.2 km)

Stage 5: Glenelg to Strathalbyn (149.5 km)

Stage 6: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5 km)

At Mummu Cycling we will be there with bells on offering both 4 and 8 day Tour Down Under experiences designed and led by Adelaide local and cycling legend Stuart O’Grady. Check them out and jump on board for what will certainly be a trip to remember, here! 

From the Pyrenees to Paris

PYRENEES PLEASE

For our final week on Tour we hit the Pyrenees with a BANG, kick starting our trip on the final Tour de France rest day in Carcassonne. Following a beautiful warm up ride on rolling, sunflower filled roads, we caught up with the Astana pro team. What a neat experience following their double stage success! Let’s just say the mood was high.

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The next morning we were back to Carcassonne to enjoy some time exploring the departure village before being led around the team buses by Stuart O’Grady, who just so happens to be ‘mates’ with everyone in the peloton – even the yellow jersey himself! Thanks to riders and staff for taking the time to chat with us and take a snap or two for the memory books.

We then got our own taste of the Pyrenean mountains tackling the challenging Pic de Nore climb – tough, yes but incredible views a top and fantastic to get a taste of what was to come.

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Next up was our Stage 17 experience. As the shortest stage in Tour de France history at 65km in length, this was a special one to be part of. We set out ahead of the race taking on the Col de Val Louron-Azet and half of the 16km brutally tough Col du Portet – steep, relentless and lined from bottom to top with excited spectators. An experience it was and fantastic to get a real understanding of the suffering to come for the riders.

We enjoyed the Stage from the best viewing spot on the mountain in the VIP Izoard where we were treated to incredible views, live race action, delicious French canapés and a rosé or two!

A special thanks to John Whitney from Cycling Plus magazine and Henry Iddon (photographer) for joining us on Tour for a few days, capturing some memorable moments and getting a taste of the Mummu Cycling difference. We look forward to reading about John’s experience!

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The next day, we took on the final 60km of the Stage 18 route – covering gorgeous rolling roads before eventually crossing the official line just hours ahead of the race and then enjoying some podium and behind the scenes action. What a moment and topped off with premium viewing of the finish right on the line in the official VIP area. Safe to say, they came through a few k’s quicker than us, but hey – who got there first?!

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To round out an incredible week in the Pyrenees,  we started our final day with an official roll off the Stage 19 start line in Lourdes, just metres from our hotel – what an experience being part of the actual Tour de France caravan and literally having the professional peloton chasing us down. The atmosphere and crowds were exceptional, cheering us on from km 0 as we tackled the first 40km on stunning undulating terrain. To top off a great ride and some team work to make our time cut, we set up road side for some lunch and watched the race blast by.

What a day and completed perfectly with a final group dinner in downtown Lourdes where we shared stories, memories to take home and enjoyed a few words of wisdom from Stuey.  Thank you to everyone who was part of our Pinnacle of the Pyrenees adventure – what a week!

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PARIS WAS CALLING…

At last, the day we’d all been waiting for had arrived – the Grand Finale into Paris! We welcomed our new guests with a morning town bike tour of the beautiful city, before freshening up ahead of the final showdown on the iconic Champs Élysées. Our viewing spot in the VIP Grand Stand was hard to beat, positioning us a mere 50m from the finish line. Atmosphere was alive and excitement was contagious as the riders approached the pavé for the first time. From there, it was all action, oo’s and aa’s as we watched on in awe as the hungry peloton sped up and down with ease, eventually concluding with a tight and entertaining bunch sprint as Alexander Kristoff stormed to Stage honours and Team Sky crossed the line arms held high. 

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Cheers to an incredible, action packed three weeks at the Tour de France and a big thank you to everyone who has been part of the Mummu Cycling ride – As Stuey would say, ‘It’s been EPIC’!

La Vuelta Training Guide

FEELING HOT HOT HOT

We will without doubt experience some warm days out at La Vuelta. If you’re in the middle of winter, we understand this may be a little difficult to wrap your head around! Try to include an indoor spin class or wind training session into your weekly schedule to get your body working in warmer conditions. Short-sharp sessions are also incredibly beneficial throughout the winter periods to maintain fitness and get in a solid workout in a timely manner. Easier said than done, when it’s dark by 6pm – yes, but you’ll certainly reap the benefits come September!

HYDRATION IS KING!

With the expected warm conditions, hydration becomes all the more important and vital to sufficiency and lasting the days on Tour. Practice making a conscience effort between now and La Vuelta to drink more fluids throughout the day, especially when exercising. Whether you’re in the Northern or Southern hemisphere – the same applies! Each day will be action packed on our trips and at times you’ll be jumping off the bike and straight into spectator mode. To make the most of each day – hydrate!

MASTER THE CLIMBS

Target a few longer climbs in your area (if you have access to). Aim to stay seated where possible to reserve energy and ensure you’re in a comfortable position for the climb. Many riders prefer to put their hands on the tops to put themselves in a slightly more up-right position when climbing. Give this a go and if not, stay in the hoods or mix it up throughout the climb.

During our La Vuelta experiences we will be tackling some tough, yet manageable climbs with varying gradients. Be ready for the odd steep pitch by selecting the right gear and being prepared to get out of the saddle where necessary. You should only need to get out of the saddle for a short period, to get through the ‘steeper’ section without loosing too much momentum. Sit back down as soon as allows, to ensure you reserve energy for the rest of the climb.

Don’t let the distance or average gradient of a climb daunt you. Some of these climbs may be a lot lengthier than what you’re used to, but trust us when we say, ‘you’ll be right’! You’re here for the experience, so take it km by km, at a pace within your comfort zone so you can soak up the incredible atmosphere and surroundings. 

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DESCEND WITH CONFIDENCE

  • There’s no such thing as a race downhill. Take your time on the descents and don’t worry about losing the rider in front – we will always regroup at the bottom. Try to relax, look ahead and enjoy the view where possible.
  • To prepare for some longer, sometimes twisty, hairpin descents – work on your technique. Mastering technique is crucial to gaining confidence and eventually a bit of speed. Ultimately, descending should be fun when done correctly!
  • Practice relaxing your upper body a little and only touching lightly on the brakes where needed. Brake (lightly) before entering the corner and not during the corner.
  • Choose your lines wisely. When descending with corners, the way your enter and exit each turn can dramatically make a difference to your descent and confidence. Aim to enter wide and exit wide.
  • When cornering, use your bike and weight to assist. Practice leaning your bike by putting your weight onto your inside hand and outside foot, while keeping the body upright. Your outside leg should be extended while your inside leg should be bent. The best way to really learn this skill is to kick back and watch the pro’s to see how it’s done from the best. You’d be amazed at how many pointers you can pick up! The other option is to get out into the hills with a more skilled descender and ‘follow their line’ as well as paying attention to technique and body positioning. 
  • When you start to feel comfortable, practice getting into the drops when descending. It may take some practice and getting used to, but once comfortable, it really is a much better position for descending more confidently and safely as you are lower and more stable. 

STRESS LESS!

Lastly – don’t stress if you haven’t been able to get in the training time you’d hoped or expected. Our trips are more about the experience and although the challenge is there, if you want it – our rides are manageable distances and we are more focussed on you having a great time. So relax, and do what you can – stress less!

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TOUR TALK WITH STUEY

Here we had a chat with Stuey on the action from the Alps and his Pyrenees predictions for the final week heading into Paris.

What went down in the Alps.

The Alps were just generally incredibly tough with brutal shorter stages  and a lot more aggressive racing. On the first mountain stage most GC riders want to stamp authority – it’s kind’ve like a bit of a tradition and even though Stage 10 wasn’t a mountain top finish, we saw the race super aggressive. Movistar went all in with their three best guys, but then the strength of the likes of Dumoulin and Team Sky overpowered and Movistar came in the big losers of the day. Sky again showed their strengths and what would likely be a pretty dominating Tour de France.

I guess the real favourites have shown their strengths. We saw Dumoulin is probably looking the strongest out of the rest so it should be really interesting to see him up against Thomas and Froome and what pans out. 

It’s definitely debatable what might happen with Team Sky – is it really team cohesion or Is there a bit of ‘I’m going to attack first to make Froome ride defensively’ OR is this just a big theatre production that they’ve set up – Thomas take yellow and the pressure off Froome, taking him out of the limelight and pressure off for week one. Does Team Sky just not want Froome in yellow as he’s had a lot of aggression from the public and they’re trying to deter all that by keeping Thomas in yellow for now? Who knows!

It has actually been very shocking to see the hate towards Team Sky out there – not even just the team on the roads, but the booing and whistling at team cars and support. Everyone loves to have a super hero and a villain and France have kind’ve just decided that Sky are their villains. Cycling has always been a pretty happy non-aggressive sport and I can’t ever remember feeling so tense in my career. 

As far as other favourites go – I guess Bardet showed form, but he’s also had some bad luck. The French are obviously dying for a bit of home glory and they’re rolling on the shoulders of Bardet which appears to be a bit heavy at the moment.

Yatesy is another one and now 30mins down which is very disappointing for Adam and the team. They came in with big objectives, not bringing Caleb Ewan along and now they’re scrambling around a little for a stage win. It just shows how brutal and relentless this Tour de France has been. It’s certainly one of the hardest I’ve seen. I remember In context having some easier transition days and now it seems to be a bit like a big bash game of cricket – people want full gas entertainment and soon as they’re rolling along and it gets boring, everyone seems to have a bit of an opinion on how the race should be ridden which can sometimes be a bit harsh!

To add to that, you can always tell how tough a tour is by the survival of the sprinters. This year, already at halfway into the race, many of the top sprinters were sent home and this just defines how hard the 2018 route is. Even on a transition day (like today – Stage 15 there are brutal winds and certainly no kicking back in the bunch taking it easy.

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Final week showdown – thoughts and predictions for the Pyrenees?

The Pyrenees are kind’ve bookended with two epic mountain stages. The first being the super short, fast stage where the the start and finish will be within 2 hours – it will be madness and has never been done before, so again it’s going to be really hard. A few teams will play poker and go all in to try and beat sky and isolate Thomas – in doing that they also expose themselves and risk losing everything, but I think most of the teams would prefer to risk it as at the moment they’re not really challenging Team Sky.

Stage 19 will also be hardcore. Especially after 2.5 weeks of racing and a 200km incredibly hard day on the cards – there’s not 100m of flat in the entire stage, so it’s going to be a real power of attrition to try to defend and try to win and for a lot of guys it will be about just getting into survival mode. They are all absolutely shattered by this stage. They will be knackered, without an ounce of freshness. Even the top ten guys are hurting – it’s just a nightmare for everyone to try and get through and to Paris!

The guys are kind’ve just dreaming of the Champs Elysées at this point, but know they’ll have one more almighty stage to get through and no one wants to not finish this close to the end.

The penultimate Stage 31km Time Trial will also be tough – again, there’s not a metre of flat. Everything is brutal…I remember when the profiles came out and I was just like ‘f**k that’s hard!! 

Thanks Stu for the words – we now look forward to catching all the action with our Pinnacle of Pyrenees guests this week. Bring it on!

Words from within the race –  Michael Hepburn, Mitchelton Scott

We’ve been lucky enough to get to know a few of the teams during our first week on Tour. Fantastic to get some insight from the riders themselves; the race, their preparations and a bit on what goes on behind the scenes.

Here, we had a quick chat with Mitchelton-Scott’s, Michael Hepburn. Michael – most commonly referred to as ‘Heppy’ is currently taking on his debut Tour de France.

The 26 year old, Brisbane born rider has been with the team since their inception and throughout his professional career has balanced his ambitions between the road and the track. He now carries a nice collection of Olympic and World Championship medals and since the 2016 Olympics has returned to full focus on the road.

Time Trial and Team Time Trial are his specialities, as well as his strengths as a committed domestique for the now highly GC focussed squad, backing the Yates brothers.

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Getty Images.

What does it mean to be riding your first Tour de France?

The Tour de France is the first bike race I ever heard of and I remember as a teenager watching TDF DVD sets for hours on end with my brother, so to finally be racing here is something quite special. There are a lot of races on the calendar right now but every rider is desperate to ride the Tour at some stage in their career.

You’re no Grand Tour stranger, having ridden the Giro d’Italia 4 times. How does the Tour (so far) compare to the Giro and/or other races?

It’s still early days in this race, but already you can feel the Tour is something different. Everyone’s shape is a little better, everyone’s a little more desperate for a result and that’s resulted in some hectic finishes with the finals starting a long way out. Sports fans from all around the world are looking at the Tour in July and it easily feels bigger than any other race.

The Team Time Trial was a real target for Mitchelton-Scott and you personally, being a big strength of yours. Well done on a great result, despite a few of the guys being a bit banged up from crashes the day prior. Were you satisfied with the performance?

All in all I think we can be really satisfied with our ride in Stage 3. We were involved in some crashes in the first two stages and unfortunately some of our big TTT drivers came down and banged themselves up. That’s racing and some other teams were in the same boat, but in the end we put in a really solid collective ride. We weren’t far off the front and of course winning would have been a magical feeling for us but we didn’t lose much time at all for Adam in the GC so we can be proud with the result.

What do you hope to achieve over the next few weeks before heading into Paris?

The main objective for us this year in the Tour is a result with Adam in the GC. We have some guys that are capable of going for a stage win at some stage but the primary focus is the GC. It’s a really well rounded team of domestiques, so we’ll be looking to support him whenever possible. A lot can happen in 3 weeks and from what we’ve already seen there’s never a dull day or moment to lose concentration.

FUN FACTS

Who’s your room mate on Tour? And don’t you get sick of each other after a while?!

I’m in the room with Mat Hayman here. He’s probably sick of me joking about his age but there are no problems from my side!

Cheekiest on the team?

At this Tour, Daryl Impey. Dazz is always good for a laugh and doesn’t mind geeing people up.

Grumpiest?

Anyone of us after we’ve had a filthy day or hit the deck. The 3rd week of a Grand Tour is when you really see people’s personalities. 

Most craved meal during a Grand Tour?

Patatas Bravas or a good burger. Luckily for us our chef Nicki is quite creative and will often spoil us with nice meals.

Miss (from home) the most?

Loved ones and my coffee machine.

Most looking forward to post TDF?

Not having to work off a schedule. Waking up when I want, eating when I want (not eating rice or pasta), having some super relaxed days and catching up with close friends from home.

We know you’re only 26, Heppy but do you think one day when you retire you’ll join Stuey and the guys on some Mummu Cycling tours? 😉

If I don’t have to suffer up the climbs – for sure!

Thanks for the chat Heppy and all the best for the final few weeks of your debut Tour!

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Michael (left) and team finishing the Stage 3 Team Time Trial in fourth place – Getty Images.

 

GreenEDGE Travel Giro Review + Gallery

Words by: Stuart O’Grady

Our first GreenEdge Cycling tour was an incredible experience. Mitchelton-Scott was leading the Giro and had won numerous stages when we assembled just out of Treviso in the North East of Italy. Our group, over the next 10 days, were bubbling with excitement, like kids in a candy shop, we were about to embark on a once in a lifetime, cycling experience.

We not only met the entire team, but we also ate dinner alongside the riders and were accompanied by team owner Gerry Ryan & General Manager Shayne Bannan. We had organised to stay in the same Hotel, so running into the guys became the norm’ & it also got us inside access into the Teams buses, trucks & staff.

The guys got to ride some of the most iconic climbs in Italy such as Colle della Finistré, Monte Grappa & the crazy steep Zoncolan. We rode over the same roads as the Pros with our fully supported vehicles then watched them race past live.

We even managed to get the guests into a Team Car to follow the ITT. These are some of the perks travelling with me as most of the Directors are friends and ex-team mates, so if I can make it happen, I will.

We explored the cities, ate together on the side of Lake Como or on a mountain pass as the Giro went by. It really was a fascinating trip. Even for myself who has seen everything there is to see on a bike, seeing it from the other side of the barriers was brilliant… And a lot more fun 😉

Grazie,

Stuey

 

2018 Spring Classics Gallery

Our epic 2018 Spring Classics gallery is now live. We think that this years tour raised the bar once again!

Our guests enjoyed a three hour lunch with 11 time Grand Tour winner and the undisputed KING of Cycling Eddy Merckx. They were guided through the Ardennes with none other than 2006 Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck and visited the team Mitchelton-SCOTT hotel where they were given an insight into the team’s preparations ahead of last Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, including a Q&A with Mathew Hayman, Luke Durbridge and Sports Director Matthew Wilson.

Guests were also able to participate in both the Flanders and Roubaix Sprotive events with our Roubaix Challenge riders lucky enough to ride it alongside the 2007 Paris-Roubaix Champion Stuart O’Grady! All part of the Mummu Cycling Difference!

Mummu Cycling Announces Official Partnership With Wahoo Fitness

Wahoo partners with Mummu Cycling

Mummu Cycling, one of the world’s leading cycling tour companies today announced a new partnership with Wahoo Fitness. A first for Mummu Cycling, the partnership will improve ride navigation with Wahoo’s aerodynamic ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computers on its tours.

Mummu has a goal of delivering unforgettable tour experiences for cycling fans across the globe and we are excited to have found a partner in Wahoo who shares our focus on enhancing user experiences,” said Marcel Berger, Mummu Cycling Managing Director. “Wahoo will be a huge asset to our tour delivery offering leading-edge turn by turn navigation and ride analysis and we are thrilled to become part of the Wahooligan family.

As part of the partnership, Wahoo will equip Mummu Cycling with its ELEMNT BOLT GPS computers, RPM Cadence and Speed sensors and TICKR Heart Rate Monitors, giving its guides and guests the chance to test the technology. Additionally, Wahoo will provide Mummu Cycling its KICKR smart trainers to showcase training programs for its riding tours.

Our guests often prepare for their Mummu experience in colder months and Wahoo will now offer them the ability to maintain their training indoors with Wahoo’s best-in-class, responsive and realistic indoor cycling trainers,” said Berger. “Stuart O’Grady and our other pro hosts Frank Schleck, Scott Sunderland and Baden Cooke are no strangers to indoor training and can now offer their training expertise to our clients using market-leading smart technology.

Mummu will be using the ELEMNT BOLT GPS Computers on its upcoming Spring Classics Tours hosted by 2007 Paris Roubaix winner, Stuart O’Grady. All existing guests for 2018 tours will gain access to O’Grady’s exclusive indoor training programs in the coming weeks.

About Mummu Cycling

Mummu Cycling has been working in the industry since 2010 delivering world-class, major event travel packages getting fans closer to the action to experience major cycling races like never.

As an Official Tour Operator for the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a Espana, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Santos Tour Down Under, Mummu Cycling pride themselves on offering the most exclusive VIP tours to cycling fans at an affordable price.

Mummu Cycling offer packages at all three grand tours as well as Tour Down Under and the Spring Classics. To view the full range of Mummu Cycling tours visit www.mummucycling.com.

About Wahoo Fitness

Located in Atlanta, GA., Wahoo Fitness has created a full ecosystem of apps, sensors and devices for the runner, cyclist and general fitness enthusiast. In addition to its growing range of GPS cycling computers, Wahoo Fitness’s award-winning line of Bluetooth Smart products include the KICKR and

KICKR SNAP, the world’s first smartphone powered indoor bike trainers as well as the TICKR family of chest-based wearables. Learn more about Wahoo’s full line of products at wahoofitness.com.

Spring Classics Belgian Beer Guide

The Tour of Flanders represents an unmatched opportunity to sample some of the best beers in the world.

Tour Flanders with Beers of Belgium

The 2018 Flanders Classics is an amazing chance to experience Belgium, a country steeped in history and rich culture. One of the more significant cultural icons that Belgians enjoy so much is something quite unassuming – a drink already savoured by people all over the world: beer. Beer has developed such a complex history and is so revered in Belgium that in 2016 Belgian beer was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

What makes Belgian beer so unique?

Belgian beer has become so well known around the world primarily because of the very unique styles that are native to the region. We thought we’d touch on a few that are far removed from the pale ales and lagers so commonly drunk by fans of beer!

Saisons, the French word for season, is a highly carbonated beer that is both fruity and spicy. Traditionally brewed for seasonal workers, it contained a low alcohol content, but over time the alcohol content has been elevated to that of other Belgian styles.

Lambic beers are another very unique type of beer that are for the most part brewed in Belgium. These beers utilise wild yeasts native to Belgium to create a finished product that is slightly sour and dry flavour profile. Occasionally fruit is added to these brews, a popular one being cherry (resulting in the fruit lambic referred to as Kriek).

Trappist beers, beers produced by Belgian monks are perhaps the most recognisable of the uniquely Belgian beer styles. Dubbels, tripels, strong pale ales and blonde ales are all common styles produced by Trappist monks – these beers are typically high in alcohol and use unique yeast to produce a spicy, fruity and highly complex flavour.

A rich, malty history

Belgium started building a reputation for beer in approximately 12th century as abbeys began brewing beer to raise money for fundraising purposes. This trend has continued today, where monks in monasteries are crafting beers destined to be sold to the public, the profits of which are used to help maintain the monastery. Of the 12 Trappist monasteries in the world, 6 of them exist in Belgium – these are Rochefort, Achel, Chimay, Duvel, Orval and Westmalle, some of which are open to lucky members of the public for tours.

Some of these monasteries, such as Rochefort and Chimay, also produce cheeses, which make ideal pairings for the beer made by the monks!

Experience some of the best beer in the world, today

The Tour of Flanders is an excellent opportunity to taste many of the beers that have ensured Belgium’s incomparable reputation as beer mecca. Our 2018 tours have SOLD OUT  so get in fast to learn more about the 2019 Belgian Classics, hosted by former paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady! Registrations are now open!

 

 

Mummu Cycling launches GreenEDGE Travel with Mitchelton-SCOTT

Tour with team Mitchelton-SCOTT and experience a cycling tour like a pro, with the pros!

Mummu Cycling is excited to announce the launch of GreenEDGE Travel, a new travel experience branch created in conjunction with team Mitchelton-SCOTT, giving unprecedented insights at some of the world’s biggest races.

GreenEDGE Travel Powered by Mummu Cycling

Already with 13 UCI victories and the current UCI WorldTour leader Daryl Impey, the 2018 season is shaping up to be an amazing year for Mitchelton-SCOTT and we want our fans closer to the action than ever before.

Unlike other operators, GreenEDGE Travel tours are designed and led by former GreenEDGE pros.

17-time Tour de France finisher Stuart O’Grady and two-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Matthew Goss will lead the inaugural GreenEDGE Travel tour at this year’s Giro d’Italia where team Mitchelton-SCOTT will be chasing their first Grand Tour victory with Colombian Esteban Chaves and Great Britain’s Simon Yates.

Mitchelton-SCOTT owner, Gerry Ryan is looking forward to the new opportunity for fans to interact directly with the team.

“Whether you are on tour as a spectator or a riding guest you’re guaranteed the experience of a lifetime,” Mr Ryan said. “The access to the team, the riders and the staff, coupled with the knowledge from our ex pros leading the tours is unprecedented and we are looking forward to hosting our first group in May.”

There is no one more qualified from the past GreenEDGE rider list than former road captain, Stuart O’Grady, to host the inaugural tour in Italy.

“For me getting the opportunity to share my experiences, knowledge and behind the scenes access from my twenty-year career is something I’m really excited about,” O’Grady said. “They are fully guided tours so I get the opportunity to sit around after the day’s rides with the group to chat about the day, how the race is evolving and what to watch out for but more importantly, having been on the circuit for so many years I can also share my local knowledge outside of cycling.”

Inaugural Tour: Mitchelton-SCOTT for Pink at the Giro d’Italia

Designed for riders and spectators, this 12-day tour will have you in the heart of the action for the final eight stages. We will dine at the team hotel, ride with Gossy, learn strategy from Matt White, gain backstage access to the team bus and warm ups and celebrate with the team in Rome. All of this whilst experiencing the beauty of Italian food, wine and culture in Treviso, Venice, Bergamo, Trentino, Como and more.

See our GreenEDGE Travel tours, powered by Mummu Cycling here www.greenedgetravel.com

 

About Mummu Cycling

Mummu Cycling has been working in the industry since 2010 delivering world-class, major event travel packages getting fans closer to the action to experience major cycling races like never.

As an official tour operator for the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a Espana and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Santos Tour Down Under Mummu Cycling pride themselves on offering the most exclusive VIP tours to cycling fans at an affordable price.

Mummu Cycling Managing Director, Marcel Berger is excited by this new concept in cycling travel.

“Mummu Cycling are thrilled to have been chosen to deliver never before seen access for GreenEDGE fans through our passion for cycling travel. GreenEDGE defines what it means to be Australian, pioneering, fun, professional and successful, and we look forward to delivering tours and experiences to fans which match these traits.”

Mummu Cycling offer packages at all three grand tours as well as Tour Down Under and the Spring Classics. To view the full range of Mummu Cycling tours visit www.mummucycling.com

For media enquiries please contact kcooke@mummucycling.com or taryn.kirby@greenedgecycling.com

The 2018 Giro d’Italia Tour

If you’ve ever wanted to experience Italy but were unsure as to how to go about doing so, Giro d’Italia might very well be the answer. Although the first stage of the tour begins in Jerusalem, our starting point at stage 13 captures everything good about Italy.

The later stages of the Giro d’Italia combine history, culture and cuisine, providing everyone who commits to the occasionally gruelling summit climbs to a host of uniquely engaging sights, tastes, and knowledge.

Food of the North

Riding through the top of Italy allows us to try some of the foods that Northern Italy is renowned for. Although a small country, the vastly different geographic regions of Italy result in altogether different cuisines depending where one eats. The terrain of Northern Italy makes pastures more suitable than fields, so much of the cuisine involves creamy and buttery sauces, such as pasta alfredo. Pastures also ensure cheese is plentiful in a variety of forms.

With little coastal areas to be found near the alps, fish is very much reserved for southern Italy, while Northern Italy favours beef soups and stews and veal cutlets.

Riding through world-changing history

Although we could populate paragraphs with the amazing food and wine of Italy, the Giro d’Italia offers something else entirely unique – the opportunity to ride through one of the sites where key battles were fought during World War 1. Monte Grappa became a battleground in 1917 after a push by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a push that was effectively halted by Italian defences. Two battles followed, the final one of which resulted in an Italian offensive that saw the Austro-Hungarian forces forced to retreat.

Our ride allows us to visit the Military Memorial Monument at Monte Grappa, a site that houses the remains of 12,615 soldiers – 10,332 of the 12,615 are still unknown. Inaugurated on 22 September 1935, the monument was designed by architect Giovanni Greppi in collaboration with sculptor Giannino Castiglioni and represents a very unique opportunity to be a part of something historically significant.

Experience Italy in all its glory

The Giro d’Italia is a special opportunity to take part in both Italy’s culture and history, while taking part in both tough climbs and relaxing days. If you think that this is the kind of experience you’ve been searching for, get in touch with the team at Mummu today to take part in our tour today.

Vin + Velo in the Pyrenees

Experiencing Carcassonne on our Pyrenees Tour de France Tour

Week three of the Tour de France is not only where the fight for yellow intensifies and the race is won and lost, but it also offers the incredible opportunity to visit an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site. While we’re in the Pyrenees, we’re granted the opportunity to see the fortified town of Carcassonne and sample all of the delicious produce that is produced around the area.

Cité de Carcassonne

The Cité de Carcassonne is one of the biggest attractions in France – the second after the Eiffel Tower in fact – due to its incredibly rich history and impressive scope. Its reputation has seen it even become a celebrated board game!

The Cité de Carcassonne, with its 3km of walls and 52 towers, is comprised of many individual buildings that have been updated constantly throughout its history, starting with the Romans transforming a Gaulish settlement into a fortified town, which was later rebuilt by the Visigoths. After being annexed to France, the citadel was again rebuilt to offer increased fortification.

With such an exciting backstory and so much area to explore, it’s not hard to see why Cité de Carcassonne is such a popular destination for keen travellers.

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Wine making in Carcassonne

While we’re in the area, time is spent wisely trying some of wines produced around the Carcassonne area. Although Languedoc-Roussillon (the province in which Carcassone lies) is rife with excellent wine growing territories, Carcassone in particular is positioned well to take advantage of some of the best vineyards and producers.  Excellent wine growing regions are found up north in the Minervois, and Corbières to the south, meaning that it’ll be easy to try a great variety of wines with dinner (and afterwards, too!).

Grape varieties in the region are diverse, including well known varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay, in addition to more traditional Rhône grapes such as Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, and Viognier. Dozens more are grown in the area, however, meaning you’ll never have your options limited.

Ready to begin the journey to Carcassonne?

If you think you’re ready to experience the historically and gastronomically rich place that is Carcassone (and participate in an absolutely amazing leg of the Tour de France!), make sure to get in touch with the team at Mummu today. We’d be very happy to offer more information about the tour and the area, in addition to some other great sights we get to experience along the way. We look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to view our Pinnacle of the Pyrenees Tour

experience the excitement of the pyrenees

Giro d’Italia 2018 Race Route Review from Stephen Farrand

Giro2018mapThe 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia appears to be a tough, testing but a classic-looking race. There are few innovations after the historic start in Israel but the mountainous route should ensure the Giro keeps its self-styled moniker of ‘the toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place’.

As previously announced, the race will start with three stages in Israel. The opening 9.7km time trial in Jerusalem on Friday, May 4 will shape the overall classification and perhaps even see Froome immediately in the pink jersey. It is followed by stages for the sprinters to Tel Aviv and Eilat on the edge of the Dead Sea, with time bonuses giving some of them a shot of taking the pink jersey.

Following the Grand Partenza in Israel, the race will transfer to Italy on an early extra rest day on Monday, May 7.

Sicily hosts the Giro d’Italia as it returns home, with two stages into the hilly centre of the island to Caltagirone and Santa Ninfa before an early mountain finish on the slopes of Mount Etna, climbing up to the 1,736-metre-high finish via a new road from the south via Ragalina. The 14.1km climb includes a four-kilometre section at eight per cent and so could cause problems.

After crossing the Straight of Messina by boat, the Giro d’Italia heads north via Calabria and Campania, with another mountain finish to Montevergine do Mercogliano on stage 8. The second weekend ends with the climb up to Campo Imperatore in the shadows of the mighty Gran Sasso, 19 years after Marco Pantani won there.

The central Apennines and heavy rolling country roads often throw up a few surprises and Froome would be wise to recon the four central stages that also include finishes in Gualdo Tadino and Osimo after the Monday rest day. The finish in the hilltop village of Osimo is near the home of the Michele Scarponi and comes after a steep climb like those often seen in Tirreno-Adriatico in the spring.

Two flat stages up the Adriatic coast and across the Po delta take the Giro d’Italia north to Nervese della Battalgia via Imola and Ferrara. Both include short climbs in the finale to make the sprinters suffer for a shot at success. The finish remembers the victims of World War I and is the last chance to recover for the overall contenders before the decisive final week.

The high mountains begin with the 181km 14th stage to Monte Zoncolan in Italy’s northeast. It includes four short but steep climbs before the final haul up double-digit gradient of the Zoncolan from Ovaro. The middle five kilometres rise at an average of 14.9 per cent, tough to handle even for the pure climbers.

Stage 15 to Sappada visits the Veneto Dolomites, climbs the Passo Tre Croci and has the steep and little-known Passo di Sant’Antonio and Costalissoio climbs in the finale. It seems perfect for a breakaway as the overall contenders begin to focus on the key time trial after the final rest day.

The 34.5km cronometro between Trento and Rovereto follows the valley roads and so will allow Froome to perhaps gain a chunk of time on many of his rivals. Without this stage he surely wouldn’t have decided to ride the 2018 Giro d’Italia. It will be up the other riders to take the race to the Briton in the mountains.

Stage 17 is the wine stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia with a finish in Iseo in the heart of the Franciacorta sparkling wine region, where Froome lived while at Barloworld. It is a rare chance for the sprinters left in the race.

Stage 17 and 18 take the rider east to the Alps with the finish up to Prato Nevoso (13.9km at 7 per cent) the first of the three final mountain stages. Pavel Tonkov and Stefano Garzelli won here in 1996 and 2000, while Simon Gerrans won a stage of the 2008 Tour de France in the ski resort during a rare visit of the Tour into Italy. The sudden transition from flat valley roads to a serious climb up the finish could cause some riders problems and suit others. This year, Dumoulin gained 43 seconds on Nibali on a similar finish to Oropa and took the maglia rosa.

Stage 19 is arguably the hardest stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia. The 181km include four major climbs with the dirt-road Colle delle Finestre also the Cima Coppi – the highest climb of the race. The fire track twists and turns up the side of the mountain at a constant gradient of 9.2 per cent. It is followed by the gentler road to Sestriere and then the 7.2km Jafferau climb from Bardonecchia. Mauro Santambrogio won here in 2013 before later being caught for doping, with Nibali taking second and going on to win the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

The mountain stages end on the final Saturday, with the 214km haul to Cervinia. The stage includes the 16km Col Tsecure and the 16km Col de Saint-Pantaleon. Both twist up the mountainside and both include steep sections at altitude near the summit.

Aru won in Cervinia in 2015 as he deposed Mikel Landa as Astana team leader that year. We could see the two clash again next year on the 19km climb that will confirm the overall winner of the race.

After the flight from Israel to Sicily transfers between stages during the three weeks of racing are limited. However, the riders face a final flight to Rome on Sunday morning for the final 118km parade stage around the capital. The 10 laps of an 11km circuit do not visit the Vatican but will showcase the beauty of ancient Rome by looping around the Coliseum and finishing on the Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The 2009 Giro d’Italia finished in the same spot, with Russia’s Denis Menchov winning overall despite a high-speed crash on the cobbled roads of the capital. The 2018 finish will be more of a celebration stage and a final chance for any sprinters still in the race. It could see Froome win his first-ever Giro d’Italia, complete his Grand Tour hat trick and set up his Giro-Tour double.

 

2018 Tour de France Route Review by Stuart O’Grady

2018-tour-de-france-route

 

This was the first time I have ever watched the announcement of the Tour De France, believe it or not.

It’s strange to think that a race that captivated my life for 17 years, I never felt any obligation or much interest in finding out exactly where we were going.

Because at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter. It all hurts!

Watching the race being unveiled tonight was a lot more exciting than what I thought. I guess its because I now understand how hard it actually is to complete any Grand Tour.

Before, I was super fit. Now I am not fit, I respect it so much more.

Grand Depart

The Grand Depart in the North West of France will see an extremely nervous peloton roll off the start line on the 7th of July.

The weather in this part of the World changes in a heart beat and we could see nice sunny skies change quickly into howling winds & rain.

The undulating coastline could already play a pivotal part in the outcome for a few riders.

Nerves, Team orders, pressure, weather conditions, spectators, stress, all the ingredients for a chaotic few days of Le Tour.

Just what the organisers planned for…

A TTT just 3 days into the TDF will show the effect of the new 8 rider limit for teams instead of the original 9 that has been for so many years. Will it make much difference? I don’t think so.

Will it make it harder to control the Tour. I don’t think so.

Will it make it safer? I honestly don’t think so.

It’s like taking 5000 spectators off Alp D’Huez.

It will always be chaotic. It will always be dangerous.

Going from 198 to 176 riders will only change the amount of rooms each team needs in a Hotel.

Let me add this straight away.

The French are doing everything they can to “get” a French winner. The French need a Frenchman to Win their home tour. So the TTT is very short. There is very little ITT and the stages suit the likes of Bardet, Barguil & Pinot. I really hope one of them does win soon.

But when the organisers throw in a mini Paris-Roubaix in, well that’s really throwing the cat amongst the pigeons. Magnify stress & chaos by 10. 15 sections of pavé over 154 kms… I think awesome. A select few will be thinking the same.

For the teams & mechanics especially, this is a nightmare. More than one rider will lose their TDF hopes on this one stage.

The Alps.

It kicks off with 3 mountainous stages, tough days to conquer after such a nerve wrecking start.

Think about it, its been Game on since the first stage and the peloton finally hit the first mountains after 10 days. The freshness has gone. The body will already be hurting big time. A quarter of the bunch will have bandages somewhere.

And now the “real” tour just begins.

Pyrenees

Then the final fight over the Pyrenees. I cant remember seeing a TDF so tough. Day in and day out.

Stage 17 is 65kms! Yes you read that right. It seemed only a few years ago the ITT was 65kms, now the guys will be facing one of the most incredible stages in Tour De France history. 2 hours of maximum pain & suffering. Everyone will be scared of this stage. No one has ever seen anything like this since they were in the Juniors. The sprinters will be really worried about the time delay, the GC guys will know that anything can happen.

Do not miss this!

Then we have the Tourmalet & Aubisque in one leg snapping stage  which is the start of  4 days of torture in the mountains.

Finally a 31 km undulating ITT to put the cherry on the cake.

If you’ve made it Paris, Congratulations boys…

You all deserve a massive pat on the back.

#vivreletour


2018 Tour de France Stages

Stage 1, July 7: Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile – Fontenay-le-Comte, 189km

Stage 2, July 8: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain – La Roche-sur-Yon, 183km

Stage 3, July 9: Cholet – Cholet (TTT), 35km

Stage 4, July 10: La Baule – Sarzeau, 192km

Stage 5, July 11: Lorient – Quimper, 203km

Stage 6, July 12: Brest – Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan, 181km

Stage 7, July 13: Fougères – Chartres, 231km

Stage 8, July 14: Dreux – Amiens Métropole, 181km

Stage 9, July 15: Arras Citadelle – Roubaix, 154km

Rest day, July 16: Annecy

Stage 10, July 17: Annecy – Le Grand Bornand, 159km

Stage 11, July 18: Albertville – La Rosière, 108km

Stage 12, July 19: Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs – Alpe d’Huez, 175km

Stage 13, July 20: Bourg d’Oisans – Valence, 169km

Stage 14, July 21: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Mende, 187km

Stage 15, July 22: Millau – Carcassonne, 181km

Rest day, July 23: Carcassonne

Stage 16, July 24: Carcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218km

Stage 17, July 25: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Saint-Lary-Soulan (Col de Portet), 65km

Stage 18, July 26: Trie-sur-Baïse – Pau, 172km

Stage 19, July 27: Lourdes – Laruns, 200km

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

Stage 21, July 29: Houilles – Paris Champs Elysées, 115km


Join me in 2018 as I host an experience to remember at what will be a Tour de France to remember.

Packages will be live Monday 23rd October but register here to be the first to book!

 

Mummu Cycling Announce Partnership with Stuart O’Grady

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The world’s premier cycling tour operator, Mummu Cycling and the most decorated cyclist in Australia, Stuart O’Grady OAM have announced a new partnership offering fans the exclusive opportunity to experience cycling’s biggest races side by side with the former champion.

The two-time World Champion on the track, four-time Olympic medallist, 2007 Paris-Roubaix winner and two-time Tour Down Under winner has partnered with Mummu Cycling to take their world class tours to another level of exclusivity.

Mummu Cycling Chief Executive Officer, Marcel Berger said the partnership will bring fans into the inner sanctum of the cycling world.

“The access Stuart will be able to provide for cycling fans through our tours is unprecedented. As a former winner of Paris-Roubaix, our clients will now have access to the famous showers, meet cycling royalty and access teams. We’re really excited to have him on board and even more thrilled with what it means for our clients,” Berger said.

“Not only will our tours help cycling fans tick the world’s biggest cycling races off their bucket list but they’ll now be able to experience them alongside the most decorated Australian cyclist of all time.”

On the eve of the ten-year anniversary of his Paris-Roubaix win, cycling legend Stuart O’Grady said he was thrilled to join Mummu Cycling.

“I’m extremely passionate about cycling so for me getting the opportunity to share my experiences, knowledge and behind the scenes access from my twenty-year career is something I’m really excited about,” O’Grady said.

“They’re also guided tours so I get the opportunity to sit around after the day’s rides with the group to chat about the day, how the race is evolving and what to watch out for but more importantly, having been on the circuit for twenty years I can also share my local knowledge outside of cycling.”

Mummu Cycling and Stuart O’Grady will kick off their partnership in March with their Spring Classics Tour where O’Grady will host cycling fans on an eleven-day tour through Belgium and Northern France. Cycling fans will have access to ride the course of famous races including Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders together with O’Grady in what will be the most exclusive tour on offer.

 

About Mummu Cycling

Mummu Cycling has been working in the industry since 2010 delivering world-class, major event travel packages getting fans closer to the action to experience major cycling races like never before.

As an official tour operator for the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a Espana and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Mummu Cycling pride themselves on offering the most exclusive VIP tours to cycling fans at an affordable price.

In 2017 Mummu Cycling will be offering fans VIP guided tours with Stuart O’Grady to Spring Classics and Tour de France. Tours are available now with further information at www.mummucycling.com

 

About Stuart O’Grady OAM

Stuart O’Grady OAM is a retired Australian professional road and track bicycle racer who rode as a professional between 1995 and 2013.

A former two times World Champion on the track, O’Grady and Graeme Brown won a gold medal in the Men’s Madison at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He rode in 6 Olympic Games, from Barcelona in 1992 through until The London Games in 2012, winning four medals in total. O’Grady also won Paris–Roubaix in 2007, the first Australian to do so.

Stuart O’Grady competed in the Tour de France a record equalling 17 times, his first was in 1997 and contended for the points classification in the Tour de France known as the green jersey, finishing second in the 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005 races. He wore the yellow jersey of general classification leader for 9 days total in 1998 and 2001.

Achievements:

6 x Olympic Games

17 x Tour de France

17 x Paris Roubaix

3 x Commonwealth Games

2 x World Champion

www.stuartogradycycling.com.au for more information on Stuart and his partnership with Mummu Cycling

 

For further details, please contact: enquiries@mummucycling.com

2017 Tour de France route review

2017-route-map

The route for the 2017 Tour de France was released yesterday to a full house in Paris, a very different route to previous Tours as race organisers look to take note from the Giro and Vuelta by including shorter, sharper mountain stages that will make for exciting racing every day! With a time trial to start the tour, current World time trial champion Tony Martin will be favored to take the first yellow jersey of this years race in his home country of Germany.

The race starts in the city of Dusseldorf, celebrating 30 years since the race last began in Germany. In the first stage time trial look out for Tony Martin, Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin as the winner will likely hold onto the yellow jersey for the next few days. Don’t discount Luxembourg time trial champion Bob Jungels as his motivation will be high to wear the yellow jersey as the race makes its way south into his home country after a short stay in the Ardennes region of Belgium. When the race hits France on stage 4, it will pass through the Vosges mountain region, the first real test for the GC contenders.

Some punchy stages await, and you would be a brave sole to bet against 2 time World Champion Peter Sagan from taking a stage win over the next few days. Race organisers have included all five French mountain ranges in this years tour, the first time since 1992, in a bid to make the race exciting and unpredictable. The first mountain range the tour visits will be the Vosges as the riders fight to the top of La Planche des belles Filles on stage 5, the same finish as stage 10 of the 2014 tour where Vincenzo Nibali was victorious. Can he mark himself as one of the favorites for this year’s race by repeating his victory?

There will be a few flat stages before the race hits the Jura mountain range and its first rest day, so the likes of Mark Cavendish, Brian Coquard and German duo of Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel will look to make the most of these sprint stages. They will pass through the beautiful Burgundy vineyard region as they leave the stunning medieval city of Troyes. Sprint teams including Quick Step, Lotto Belisol and Dimension Data will have to keep an eye out for an attempt to break the stage open on these windy roads. The rest day will see the peloton transfer by plane to the west of the country as they make their way towards the Pyrenees.

The highlight of the second week of the tour will be the 2 Pyrenean stages. This year’s race will bypass the famous Col du Tormalet, instead climbing lesser known Pyrenean climbs including Col des Ares and Col de Mente before a final ascent to Col de Peyresourde, finishing on the runway of Peyradgudes. The final 200m will be selective as the road kicks to 16%. The next stage will be just as action packed. Taking inspiration from the Vuelta’s short mountain stages, stage 13 will be 100km long, the shortest Pyrenean stage in the Tours history as they face 3 category 1 climbs on their way from Saint-Girons to Foix. Will we see Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contodor attack Chris Froome and Team Sky like they did in this year’s Vuelta?

As the tour makes its way east to the Alps, we will see the race head to the Massif Central , which will ensure there is no easy stages for the GC contenders before they arrive at the second and final rest day of the Tour in Le Puy en-Velay.

The final week of the tour sees the peloton head into the Alps, with a penultimate time trial in Marseille the 3 days in the Alps will be crucial for the pure climbers like Nairo Quintana, Contador and hometown favorite, Roman Bardet. We can expect Bardet to be primed for an assault on the final week of the tour as the rest day and stage 16 depart are just outside his home town of Brioude. We will see the race climb some iconic passes of tours past on their way to the ski station of Serre-Chevalier including the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Galibier. The queen stage of this year’s tour sees the first summit finish atop Col d’Izoard, will the winner today determine the overall winner or will the final time trial see a change to the final wearer of the maillot jaune?

9 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages and 2 individual time trials gives ample opportunity for riders of all shapes and sizes to vie for a stage win or one of the four famous jerseys of the tour. The tour will visit 3 other countries, 34 different regions of France, all 5 mountain ranges and cover a total of 3,516km, culminating in the final sprint along the famous Champs Elysees, can German sprinter Andre Greipel make it 3 victories in a row on the famous avenue?

As the Official Tour Operator for the 2016 Tour de France, Mummu Cycling has been working closely with the A.S.O. to design a range of Tour de France Tours that will get you closer than ever before to experience what is sure to be an exciting tour.

Register today and one of our expert staff will contact you to discuss our options.

By Phil Skerman

Travelling with Mummu

By Laurence Guttman

Travelling with Mummu has been one of the most enjoyable, exciting and challenging holidays I’ve ever had. Enjoyable because I’ve seen the best of France – its vibrant culture, its delectable food, its incredible scenery, its amazing architecture and history. Exciting because I’ve been up close and personal with the world’s best cyclists competing in the world’s greatest sporting event. And challenging because I’ve been afforded the opportunity to ride some of cycling’s most mythical, most difficult and most beautiful climbs.

 

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From the very first day in Béziers, we were able to ride out our jet lag and get to know one another on some magnificent roads. One of the first things I noticed were the friendly and accommodating drivers – only passing when it was completely safe to do so, and all with a wave and a smile!

The experience on our first day was eclipsed the next by riding the final 50km of Stage 10 ahead of the peloton. I must admit, I felt like a bit of a fraud being cheered on by thousands upon thousands of roadside fans. But that in no way stopped me enjoying what I’m sure will be an experience I remember forever. The atmosphere along the roads of the Tour is hard to describe – it’s infectious and joyous. Everyone is smiling, laughing, excited. It’s really electric. Crossing the finish line into Revel, I was like a school kid, quietly dreaming of winning the stage.

This experience was repeated the next day when we got to ride into the finish at Montpellier. We then witnessed the stage finish. It was awesome to see Sagan in green win ahead of Froome in yellow, 6 seconds clear of the peloton. What a finish!

Rubbing shoulders with the pros and other personalities of the sport was also incredible. We had the chance to meet some of the riders, such as Adam Hansen, Simon Gerrans and Adam Yates – all friendly and happy to have a quick chat. The Badger – Bernard Hinault – was also spotted around and about. We were given tours of the race village, including a close look at the bikes, equipment and buses. The riders work hard but they also ride in style, both on and off the bike.

There were so many other amazing things (Ventoux, riding the velodrome in Aigle, witnessing the ITT to name a few), non-cycling enjoyment and new friendships that made this trip great. I could go on but I don’t want to make you too jealous!

I’ve experienced all this with a tour operator that is professional, easy going and fully aware of what its customers require for the perfect cycling holiday. Travelling with Mummu has been a pleasure and I haven’t had to think about anything other than what meal to choose and which gear to select.

2017 Giro d’Italia

By Laurence Guttmann
We’ve just witnessed one of the most thrilling conclusions to the Giro d’Italia in its history. Just a few days ago, it looked like the ‘human coat hanger’, Steven Kruijswijk, would claim a surprising yet deserving victory. With only three stages remaining, Vincenzo Nibali languished in fourth place, 4:43 down – almost an eternity in a grand tour. In a devastating show of strength, panache and experience, and with a little luck (which is always necessary), Nibali managed to overrun Kruijswijk, Valverde and Esteban Chavez, to claim his second Giro d’Italia title. In the end, he wasn’t a surprising victor but it was a very surprising, and thrilling, victory.

The peloton on stage seventeen of the 2012 Giro d'Italia
The peloton on stage seventeen of the 2012 Giro d’Italia

With the excitement of the race still bubbling briskly, it seems timely to look ahead to next year. The 2017 Giro d’Italia will be the 100th edition of the event – a milestone that will be celebrated by organisers, riders and fans. As such, we can expect to see the most iconic climbs of the Giro’s history to be tackled by cycling’s greatest.

It’s always been a great race but the Giro d’Italia has often been viewed as the second grand tour after the Tour de France. While numerous GC contenders have attempted the Giro-Tour double, it’s not since Pantani in 1998 that it was last achieved. These days, the ‘double’ is generally considered too hard (although that doesn’t stop people trying – Contador attempted it just last year). As a result, some of the best riders have skipped the Giro to save their legs for the Tour. But next year, the celebratory allure of the centenary should attract the best. As Chris Froome said, “I know that 2017 will be a historic Giro and this will be an extra incentive to think about it.”

Alberto Contador on stage twenty of the 2015 Tour of Italy
Alberto Contador on stage twenty of the 2015 Tour of Italy

Alongside Froome, Contador, having shelved his retirement plans for another year, is likely to race, as is defending champion Nibali. And, like a snowball, all of the best will be drawn to the event. Nairo Quintana won’t want to miss the fight. Richie Porte will be looking to finally string three weeks together. The ever-green Alejandro Valverde and the new kid on the block, Esteban Chaves, will want to improve on this year’s exploits. And Steven Kruijswijk will be back for revenge.

We can also speculate about which of Italy’s famous mountain passes will be included. Like the riders, we can expect to see a best-of compilation of climbs from the Giro’s extensive back catalogue. To continue the music metaphor, the Stelvio is the greatest hit – when included, its 48 hairpins almost always come near the end of the race and therefore go a long way to deciding the winner. Other chart toppers include the Passo di Mortirolo, the Passo di Gavia, Monte Zoncolan, Blockhaus, Marmolada, Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, Plan de Corones, Colle delle Finestre and Mount Etna. It will be impossible to fit them all in but Giro organisers will do their best and you can be sure there will be a lot of climbing.

The climbs, the riders and the spectacle can only truly be appreciated in the flesh. Mummu Cycling will be offering a range Giro d’Italia cycling tours for the 2017 edition. Being present at the 100th Giro d’Italia will be a truly memorable event for any cycling fan. Get in touch with Mummu Cycling today to organise your dream Giro cycling tour.

Chaves! You little legend.

Esteban Chaves, born in the 17th of January 1990 and weighing in at just 55kg’s, he remains modest and humble despite all his recent successes!

Last weekend Esteban cemented his name as a general classification contender, outriding previous Giro/TdF winner Vincenzo Nibali and all-time great Alejandro Valverde to win the queen stage of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. An outstanding performance by the 26-year-old Colombian, who started his professional career at the young age of 21, back in 2010. He rode with two Colombian teams before signing to Orica Greenedge in 2014, who quickly set about developing the young Colombian into a general classification contender.

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Fast forward to the 2016 Giro d’Italia and this young man is sitting in 2nd place overall! After 15 stages of arguably the toughest event on the cycling calendar he is in a great position to contest for the Pink Jersey.

Stage 14 of this year’s Giro was the one stage I managed fight off the sleep demons, and watch a complete stage (not just next day highlights). With over 5000m of climbing and 5 categorized climbs, it was a brutal stage! Not to mention the altitude the stage was raced at, well over 2000m covering a total of 5400m of climbing alone. As with many of the Colombian riders, Esteban lives at altitude back home in Colombia, and spends the majority of his time training above 3000m. It was interesting to see which riders had done the work at altitude and which riders possibly spent too much time racing at sea level. Valverde for instance, has raced everything this calendar year spending little time at altitude, whilst his teammate Quintana has gone back to Colombia and won’t even race till July due to his massive altitude training block. In short to win at altitude you need to train at altitude and Chaves has done just that!

After his win on stage 14, the Queen stage of the 2016 Giro, Esteban made sure to thank absolutely everyone, from all the staff in the offices, to the riders at other races and the whole family that is Orica Greenedge. It was a pleasure to watch someone so grateful, modest and undeniably talented win such an important stage and move up in the General Classification.
However, things have not always been smooth sailing for Chavez, in 2013 his future was in serious doubt after a crash during the Trofeo de Laigueglia in Italy in February that year. In the crash, he suffered brain trauma, and fractures in his right collarbone, the petrous and sphenoid bones (at the base of the skull) and his right cheekbone was damaged, his sinuses and numerous abrasions. Another diagnosis revealed a fractured jaw, broken inner ear bones, and torn quadriceps. It was later discovered that his axillary nerve was torn apart and the suprascapular nerve partially so from his arm being pulled so far back”. He spent 5 weeks off the bike and his first ride back could only muster a mere 40min of riding. Shortly after his accident he was then contacted by Orica Greenedge who put their trust in the young Colombian’s ability to recover, hence the reason Esteban is has been so grateful towards Orica Greenedge.

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Esteban’s win has really brought back my love for cycling, and grand tour racing. It’s great to see a rider, so modest, passionate, humble, thankful and courageous win! No matter how the rest of the Giro d’Italia pans out, it has been a massive turning point in the career of Esteban Chaves, all eyes are now on him. I certainly hope Chaves can hold a podium place at this year’s 2016 Giro d’Italia or even somehow manage to claw back the two minutes to Kruijswijk from Lotto Jumbo. All the best for the rest of the race and your future Esteban we at Mummu Cycling love your attitude and the way you race and we hope you make it to the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.

The Angliru a Story by David Winter from Glasgow

submitted climbmybbike.com on 22/07/2014

After seeing the velta struggling up the Angliru in 2013 I decided to head out and have a go in July 2014 as my father in law stays in Oviedo anyway and is a great excuse for a “family” holiday. Immediately after collecting my hire bike from the local shop I headed straight for the climb. Riding through wonderful gorges and typical stunning mountain scenery and with light courteous traffic with very few tourist traffic all putting you into a false scence of security. After a gentle climb to la Vega where the Angliru starts, the gradient is not too bad for the first 5k only ramping to about 10% or so. Then it is followed by a flattish section for a k or so but then you look up and see truly what lies ahead. A good contrast would be if you have ever seen The Lord of the Rings and when Frodo and Sam see the fiery hell of Mordor mountain up close for the first time would not be too far off. From there the climb ramps up to 21% and doesn’t let up for a K or so. It does back of the gradient but only to 12% min and this does not last long. The gradient only ramps up from here on with little mercy. My computer registered 21% a number of times before the mighty 23.5 % part. Then all is calm after a few more hairpins with a fantastic view.

Angliru

The rise of the Vuelta a España

By Laurence Guttmann

Recently, the Vuelta a España has come of age, and like a young adult learning from past mistakes and discovering their place in the world, it is finding its feet and establishing itself as a truly grand Grand Tour in the process.

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Dumoulin was a revelation of the 2015 Vuelta

For much of its history, the Vuelta has been third of the three grand tours by various metrics:
• The last to begin each year (since 1995 at least).
• The last to inaugurate (in 1935).
• The least international (for example, 23 of the first 25 finishers were Spanish in 2004).
• The most interrupted (along with the two World Wars, there were also breaks in the 30s and 50s).
• The least mythologised (you probably know Ventoux and the Stelvio, but do you know Lagos de Covadonga, La Farrapona and Puerto de Pontón?).
Last but not least…anymore
Its late start in the calendar year has caused problems in the past; think rider fatigue combined with less motivation compared to the Giro and the Tour. But combine more exciting routes with a longer season, and the race’s tardiness is less and less a problem. Some say it offers grand tour riders who failed to fire earlier in the year a chance to salvage their season, such as 2014 when both Froome and Contador raced after crashing out of the Tour. While there may be some truth in that, the Vuelta is not simply a consolation; last year’s edition included the top four finishers of the 2015 Tour de France (Froome, Valverde, Nibali and Quintana).

Spicing things up
For the seasoned fan, the Vuelta has become the most exciting of the three grand tours. Not long ago, lengthy flat stages through nowhere – there to attract the sprinters – were the norm. It was boring. Now, the race is anything but. With 10 summit finishes spread throughout the three weeks in 2016, the racing will be spectacular. And with the penultimate stage ending atop the Alto de Aitana (22.3km, 5.5% with sections of 12%), fans can expect fireworks until the very end (just like last year when Aru took the maillot oro from Dumoulin on the final mountain stage).

Its proximity to the UCI Road World Championships has also been a boon for the race, as riders use it as a final tune up. While not there to win the overall, those eyeing the Worlds certainly animate the race. One of the most notable examples of this occurring was Tony Martin’s long-range solo breakaway on stage 6 in 2013 – attacking from the gun, he averaged nearly 45km/h for 175km, only to be caught 20 metres from the line.

Vuelta Route 2016

Riding in Spain
If you ever have the opportunity to ride in Spain, don’t think twice. As one of Europe’s most mountainous countries, its landscape is truly breathtaking. Add to that a rich and varied culture, beautiful cities and towns, perfect weather and delicious food, and you have everything you need for the perfect cycling holiday.

While not in the 2016 edition, the Angliru – which first featured in 1999 – is worth mentioning as it has quickly become part of Vuelta folklore. It is a 12.5km climb that averages just over 10%. That alone would make it tough enough but a relatively tame first half means the last 6km averages over 13% with sections above 20%. You can ride it, along with some other great climbs, on the 2016 Mummu Vuelta trip.

Mummu Cycling Launches Official 2016 La Vuelta Tour.

Mummu Cycling is excited to announce its appointment as VIP Official Tour Operator for cycling’s Grand Tour, La Vuelta a España. Mummu Cycling is offering guests from around the globe the opportunity to get up close and personal with the fastest growing cycling tour on the planet.

In 2016, cycling fans can enjoy the warm climate, dramatic landscapes, late night tapas and Spanish hospitality over 7 exciting days from Saturday 27 August to Friday 2 September. Never before have cycling fans been able to test themselves on the steep ascents of the Spanish Asturias, Cantabiras and Basque Country climbs minutes before the pros, go behind the rope to access team compounds and experience the exhilarating racing of the final of three Grand Tours, la Vuelta.

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“We are excited to add the third Grand Tour, la Vuelta a España to our tour calendar for 2016. Our clients have enjoyed the premium access, friendly service and “once in a lifetime” experience of our Tour de France tours, and the team are proud to have extended our relationship with the A.S.O. to offer Spain as another premium cycling destination“ said Marcel Berger, Chief Executive Officer of Mummu Cycling.

“We’re happy to announce the extension of our relationship with Mummu Cycling by appointing them VIP Official Tour Operators of La Vuelta España. We’ve had a close relationship with Mummu Cycling since 2010, their premium services are warmly welcomed by the A.S.O and La Vuelta”. Said Charles Ojalvo, The Director of Sponsorships and Public Relations, Unipublic.

The 2016 La Vuelta will see an epic battle over 3,277km between the world’s best cyclists and may include the likes of Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and last year’s surprise Estaban Chaves. Mummu’s 2016 La Vuela Tour will take in six official stages including Stage 10’s mythical climb up to the Lakes of Covadonga with guests able to test their legs on the same climb the following day.

Since 2010, Mummu Cycling has delivered incomparable touring experiences to its global cycling clients. Working with the most elite teams in cycling, Mummu Cycling has held official partnerships in travel and operations with the UCI, Phil Anderson, GreenEDGE and the recent 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. 2016 has seen Mummu Cycling expand on this experience to offer cycling fan an experience like no other at major cycling events.

Join Mummu Cycling at the 2016 La Vuelta a España and experience the beauty of Spain on two wheels.

Further to the Vuelta España, Mummu Cycling have expanded their offerings further into 2017 offering a full range of tours to all the major events!

For all enquiries please contact Phil Skerman at enquiries@mummucycling.com

Corporate Travel incentive Programs

In the past, the majority of organizations have chosen to drive employee engagement and improve performance by awarding particularly successful staff with cash bonuses and the like. However, more recently businesses have begun offering non-cash rewards such as travel incentive trips to their employees, to great effect.

Chamonix

The experience that an incentive travel program provides is something that cold, hard cash can’t offer. When cash rewards are given, employees often treat this as part of their salary and end up spending their bonuses on bills or living expenses. However, when you provide incentive trips to your employees, you’re providing them with lifetime experiences and which further enhances their personal development.

Stress is the main cause of employee dissatisfaction. Fortunately, this can easily be managed through travel incentive programs.

“According to a CCH Human Resources Management study, nearly 40% of employees “feel more productive and better about their job” and more than 50% of employees feel more “rested, rejuvenated and reconnected to their personal life” when returning from vacation”.

Research has shown the benefits of travel incentive programs far outweigh the benefits of cash incentive programs. Travel incentive programs create lasting impressions and help to lift your employee’s spirits, in turn providing far better results for the employer. On the other hand, cash bonuses can create tense situations, where employees consider a bonus as part of their annual salary.  This creates two problems, the first being employee dissatisfaction if one year they do not receive the cash bonus. The second and most important point being, cash incentives provide no real benefits to the employer.

Get more out of your staff by rewarding them with incentive based trips!

Mummu Cycling Kit Available Soon

We would like to thank The Pedla for such excellent service and quality garments. Our stock will be arriving soon but we will be taking pre orders on the Mummu Cycling Kits on the inquiry form below. Available for purchase will be The Mummu Cycling Jersey, Bib Shorts, Gilet, Arm Warmers and Leg Warmers (not in picture). *We will be shipping internationally. 

gk gene

Mr Roubaix

By Laurence Guttmann

 

When you’re really fit, you rarely get a flat tyre because you’re more lucid. I had a puncture once, in 1970, and then never again in 10 years. The other secret is confidence. I often started with the idea that I was going to win. I missed my chance once or twice but no more than that.

-Roger de Vlaeminck

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De Vlaeminck was stylish on and off the bike

 

As we approach the 114th edition of the Paris-Roubaix, much will be written about who will win the historic race that is known variously as the Queen of the Classics, l’Enfer du Nord and a Sunday in Hell. But it’s important also to look back at what and who has made this race the extraordinary event that it is.

 

From 1969 to 1982, the name Roger de Vlaeminck was almost synonymous with Paris-Roubaix and vice versa. In that 14-year period, de Vlaeminck, also known as Monsieur Paris-Roubaix, won the race four times (‘72, ‘74, ‘75 and ‘77), came second four times and, besides his DNF in 1980, never placed worse than 7th. He also did well in many other races (he is one of only three to have won all five Monuments) but his consistency in Paris-Roubaix is special.

 

With his big sideburns, Brooklyn Bubblegum jersey and bright blue Gios, he oozed style. On the bike he was smooth – over the cobbles, he rode with his hands on the hoods, his elbows dropped and his back flat. He came from a cyclocross background and somehow managed to meld the smoothness required in that discipline with the speed and position of a time-trial specialist.

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Pros and amateurs alike often partake in secret training but de Vlaeminck took this to another level. He explains it best:

I used to get up at 5am. When it was good weather I went out behind a Derny with my lights on. I used to meet Godefroot to go training and I’d already ridden 120 kilometers. I used to pretend that I was tired because I’d just gotten out of bed and try to persuade him we should have a shorter ride together. I don’t know if I fooled him but I needed to bluff the others to raise my own morale.

Rumour has it, he even pretended Godefroot had woken him and would make him wait while he got his kit on.

 

His preparation for the race itself was also unique in its extremity. Again, the man describes it best himself:

I knew how to get ready for Paris–Roubaix. I used to ride three days of 350 kilometers a day in the week before. I used to ride Gent–Wevelgem and then ride another 130 kilometers having just changed my jersey. One year I rode 430 kilometers in a day. I needed that, that sort of training, to start the race in a good frame of mind.

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De Vlaeminck and Merckx presumably discussing a steep hill
What makes his dominance of the race even more impressive is that his career ran more or less parallel with Merckx’s. They competed every year from 1969 to 1977. In that period, de Vlaeminck took all four of his victories while Merckx ‘only’ took two of his three. And while statistics don’t tell the whole story it goes some way to explaining why de Vlaeminck took the moniker Monsieur Roubaix.

 

Continuing with statistics, one man it could be argued is the contemporary Monsieur Paris Roubaix is Tom Boonen. He too has won four editions and has the chance to go one better this year. Although you won’t hear de Vlaeminck offering much praise. On Tommeke’s 2012 victory, he was less than complimentary;  “I knew beforehand that he would be next to me [as the only other four-time winner]. Tom cannot help it that this time he had no opposition. They were not second, but third-rate riders.” And with that, he says it like he rode it – hard and fast.