A Grand Start for Mummu Cycling at the Tour de France

As the first rest day of the 2019 Tour de France is now upon us, we can take a moment to sit down and reminisce on what was a very surreal week one on tour with our opening, Le Grande Depart and Tour des Vins experiences.

Teeing off from the roads of one of cycling’s post passionate nations, Belgium and in its capital of Brussels, we knew from the start we’d be in for something special. To add, it would be the 50th year since the legendary local, Eddy Merckx won his first Tour de France of many, and the 100th year since the prestigious Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) was born.

The trip started on a high, as we enjoyed a warm-up ride around the outskirts of Brussels city and its parks, before joining the masses of excited fans for the official opening ceremony in the central, Grand Palace square. Said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful squares; the setting and stunning stage backdrop, certainly made for a grand opening.

From there, it was onto one of Brussel’s finest wine bars to toast to tour beginnings, over great wine, food and fantastic company, including surprise guest, Jens Voigt, courtesy of tour host Stuart O’Grady. One thing to note when joining Mummu Cycling on tour, is that Stuey knows ‘almost everyone’ at the Tour de France. Having successfully contended 17 tours throughout his lengthy professional career, he’s continually catching up with fellow former ‘legends’ of the peloton. These connections, certainly make for some special moments on tour for our guests. Earlier afternoon it was the voice of cycling, Phil Liggett who stopped in his tracks in our hotel lobby to chat with Stuey and our guests.

The day before offical kick-off, we enjoyed a morning adventure out in Huy to tackle the relentless, Mur du Huy ascent and its surrounding roads, famous to the Ardennes Classic, Fleche Wallone. A tough challenge, that left us a little weary, but exhilarated for our afternoon’s activity, meeting the UAE Team Emirates crew.

The meet and greet was led by great mate of Stuey’s, Neil Stephens – now current directeur sportif and decorated former pro rider himself. Neil shared some fantastic insight as to what goes on behind the scenes the day before the Tour de France; the countless hours and thought that goes into preparation, in addition to the team’s aspirations for the race. To add, a sneak peak at the stellar line-up of Colnago race bikes and the team’s incredibly orderly equipment storage setup. From there, it was classic ‘just follow Stuey’ time as he made his way by the Team Katusha Alpecin zone and bumped into another ‘old friend’ Eric Zabel – also a current director and former pro racer, well known for his killer turn of speed.

Concluding a jam-packed opening few days, excitement levels were high and we were well and truly ready for the show to begin! Our day three began with a ‘Ride Depart’ – an exclusive privilege that comes with being a Tour de France tour operator. To do it on Stage One, in the heart of the Belgian capital – rolling off the start line, ahead of the race on closed roads, lines of ecstatic crowds cheering us on the whole way, was truly insane and an experience that cannot be justified in words alone. 

Following a 35km adventure that went from lapping up the atmosphere, to sitting on Stuey in the zone, we packed up and set off on route to the Muur van Geraardsbergen – one of Belgium’s most iconic, cobbled climbs. Let’s just say, the fans were well and truly fired up and we parked ourselves right in the thick of it! Incredible to see the pro’s blitz up there at a mind blowing pace, soon after – the first yellow jersey of 2019 now in sight. 

From there, we were back on the road, Brussels bound to catch the opening Stage finish. Bonus, gaining access to jump onto the closing 4km run-in to see the final stretch to the line and anticipate what was to come for the riders. We then witnessed live, the thrilling, edge of the seat finale that saw a very impressive, Mike Teunissen take a surprising victory, narrowly edging out crowd favourite Peter Sagan. 

Next up, it was TTT day. For us, a morning ride around the course on closed roads, testing out the very brisk route for ourselves and discussing predictions and thoughts on the stage to come. Following a classic Belgian lunch of mussels and frites, we were on our way to see the action at the start. Surprise bonus, Stuey managed to get us right into the ‘warm-up’ team bus area, which had us watching the best professional cyclists in the world, warm-up for the unique event within close proximity.

To round-out a memorable Le Grande Depart experience, we hit the town of Binche to enjoy the Stage 5 official sign-on, some time in the buzzing start village; packed with coffee, local delicacies, treats and a few former stars of the Tour de France. To top it off, a wander through the team buses and the opportunity to meet a few of Stuey’s friends of the peloton, including Aussie favourite, Richie Porte and former team mate, Andy Schleck. 

Next up, we were off to the Rhône-Alpes to begin our next, Tour des Vins. We hit the ground running and set the scene perfectly with a local wine tasting and delicious lunch, before setting out later afternoon to enjoy a leisurely warm-up ride around the scenic surrounding roads of our gorgeous mountain hotel, where we’d be conveniently based for the entirety of the trip. Concluding a relaxing day one, we sat back over a toast and a delicious degustation dinner at the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant. Not a bad start to what would be a busy four days getting amongst the Tour de France to follow!

The next morning, we set out on the bikes, led out by Stuey and in hot pursuit of the Stage four finish in Nancy. The stunning rolling ride left us smiling and so ready for some live Tour de France action. Our tour operator status, then allowed guests access into the Izoard hospitality zone, handily located right on the finish line. Following a few beverages and French canapés, we were more than set for the thrilling sprint finish to come that saw Italian speedster, Elia Viviani storm across the line to take stage honours. 

Now that we’d had a taste of sprint action, guests were primed and ready to test out their climbing legs, and hit the hills of the undulous stage 5 route. The key hurdle of the day, the Cote du Haut Koenigsbourg.

Following a valiant effort up the climb and a stunning final run in along vineyard dotted rolling roads, we made it to our hospitality location for the day, the Relais Etape in Riquewihr. For us, the Relais Etape has to be one of the best days on tour for a Tour de France tour operator. Stage five’s experience proved that all too well as we were warmly welcomed with Alsace French wine and apéritifs to prepare us for the delicious three course lunch that followed, all while enjoying the Tour action from big screen TV’s and in great company! With 50km to go, the race came blitzing by, where we witnessed their sheer speed and power firsthand from the Relais Etape viewing points. From there, it was all eyes glued to the screens, anticipation in the air and the champagne bubbling, before toasting to the crowd favourite, green machine, Peter Sagan who took an outstanding sprint victory.

Next on the radar, was the gruelling La Planche des Belles Filles, that would hold the first summit finish of this year’s Tour de France. Pre-stage, our riding contingent hit the stage route nervously, the final climb the key challenge of the day, fast approaching. With the last 1km stretch up a steep ‘goat track’, there was no doubt in our minds that we’d be for a challenge! A battle for many, but motivation sky-high as the crowds roared and cheered excitedly for the Mummu crew, gearing up for the stage to follow. Our tour operator prestige, allowed us to climb right up to the official summit finish over the relentless final metres. We made it, depleted, yet incredibly elated!

From there, we enjoyed some time on the official Stage podium for a ‘winners’ snap, before hitting Izoard hospitality at the 1km to go mark. What an afternoon then spent chilling out watching the race and awaiting the tense final moments to come. Mindblowing to see live how quick the lead guys were motoring up there in hot pursuit of the finish.

To conclude another action-packed experience, we completed the trip with starry eyes, as we hit the Stage seven start village in Belfort. Following, Stuey’s lead we took to the ever busy, ‘fan-crazy’ Bora-Hansgrohe bus. As the man in green stepped out, courtesy of Stuey and his inner sanctum ‘connections’, he stopped in his tracks on route to ‘sign on’ for a quick g’day with Stu and a snap with our guests. Not a bad way to round out a fabulous five days on tour. Cheers all!

We’re now set for another week of adventure and Tour de France festivities, Pyrenees bound and primed for some mountain madness. Bring it on.

Pre-registration for 2020 is now open – join in on all the action next year, here!

Talking Tour de France with Marcel Berger

Part Two of an interview with Mummu Cycling founder, Marcel Berger talking Tour de France. (Read Part One, here).

best of 13 tour de france, lcl

The Tour de France is your biggest event of the year and the 2019 trip line-up is bigger than ever with experiences ranging from 1 to 13 days and travelling from Brussels for the Grand Depart, right through to Paris – An experience for everyone no doubt? What are you most looking forward to?

The Tour de France is obviously the number one cycling event in the world, and also the number one annual spectator event in the world. Anyone who has an interest in cycling would probably like to go to the Tour at some point in their life. When we design our tours, we try to create an experience for everyone, catering for all budgets, abilities, passions and timeframes.

Our signature Pro Experience Tours offer a true insider experience; the ability to ride (or not) and really see the Tour de France from a different angle and one that you will never get through the television. 

In 2019 we are excited to introduce Ride Experience Tours, catered towards a more avid cyclist who is keen to  strive for a KOM on Europe’s most challenging climbs whilst also seeing the race when it comes through, in the Mummu way of course; getting as close to the race as possible, rather than just standing on the side of the road. 

Our other experiences include more relaxing coach tours, shorter food and wine experiences, stage hospitality and more. 

This year is really very exciting for us. We will have in excess of 250 guests on the ground across all of our trips, led by a staff of 25!. It really is a logistical masterpiece putting it all together and very satisfying once completed. 

I am most looking forward to the little moments. At the 2018 Tour de France, that little moment came when we were in the departure village. Geraint Thomas had just taken yellow and when he was on his way down to the podium to sign on at the start of the stage, he stopped in his tracks, pulled the brakes on, turned around and said ‘g’day Stuey’ and then went on to say hello to our clients. It’s those little moments that I suppose I’m most looking forward to, and other moments that we hope to create like that. 

I’m also really looking forward to delivering our Ride experience tours, new to 2019. I’m very keen to see how some of our clients who really want to challenge themselves, now get to sit behind a super fit, former pro in Nick Gates and really extend themselves. This will be a very different type of experience to what we deliver in our Pro experience tours and I’m excited to see how they play out. 

And not to forget, our new corporate clients, the International Cycling Executives (ICE) who will be coming on board with us this July, as well as another very exciting new prospect in bringing a group of Chinese nationals to the Tour de France for the first time!

What does it mean to be an official Tour de France operator and how does this status help in delivering the best possible fan experience?

The reason why we’re an official tour operator is because we strive on delivering our guests to the best possible place to experience the Tour de France and as an Official Tour Operator, we have the ability to do just that. We then combine this with our experience, networks and hosts to deliver something truly special. 

 It is a huge honour to partner and work closely with the A.S.O. (organisers of Tour de France and other major events) and we respect what they do, they respect what we do and over the years we have, and will continue to work very closely together to ensure the best experience possible is delivered to our clients. 

club Tour de France

Your favourite aspect/s of joining your team and clients on tour – Obviously you can’t come on every trip, so when you do and see the hours of planning come to fruition, how is it?

Seeing it come together is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do, but at the same time it’s just being able to see the reaction on the faces of our clients. A lot of the time our clients don’t know what they don’t know – they think they know what it’s like to be at the Tour de France, but they haven’t yet experienced it! Our ability to deliver them an experience firsthand creates child-like excitement and reactions and is probably the most rewarding part of what we do. 

Also, the Tour de France is just a massive reunion of all the people that work in cycling. Everyone that works in the sport comes to France in July, and we end up seeing people that we haven’t seen from other parts of the world for a very long time – that’s also very exciting.

Best personal memory/s on a Mummu Cycling tour to date?

One of the best moments ever on tour was actually at the Spring Classics. It was the first year Stuey delivered the Spring Classics with Mummu Cycling and it was the year that Greg Van Avermaet won Paris-Roubaix. We were all standing in the hospitality in front of the velodrome at the end of the race and we happened to be standing right next to Greg’s partner. Greg, after the race came into the hospitality and handed us the rock to hold while he did an interview. Our clients within an hour of the race finishing, were holding the Paris-Roubaix champions rock! It was cool. You certainly don’t get that opportunity very often.

Another amazing memory was at last year’s Tour de France. We had two brothers out of Melbourne that were with us on tour. Their ultimate dream was to ride up Alpe D’Huez and they’d been talking about it and training for it for a very long time. We led them up the infamous Alpe d’Huez on the morning of the race. They rode up to the top and back down to our race viewing location and started crying with emotion, thankful for the experience. That’s what it’s all about – bringing dreams to life and creating memorable experiences. 

tour de france cycling tour

The European summer and the spectacular Tour de France are now very fast approaching and we’re in for a very exciting, yet busy July! Final places remain on tour. Jump on board, here.

GreenEDGE Travel Giro d’Italia Experience

GreenEDGE Travel recently took to the spectacular streets of Italy to witness the Giro d’Italia’s final week of racing live in support of Mitchelton-SCOTT

Concluding a few early race setbacks and retargeted goals for the team in the Grand Tour’s opening weeks, the fresh, optimistic, encouraging faces of our GreenEDGE Travel guests were welcomed with open arms; the 19 person strong group, all avid, long-time supporters of the team.

The eight-day experience, suited to both riders and spectators, offered an itinerary mixed with scenic, to challenging rides; from the stunning outskirts of Lake Como, to the picturesque, yet daunting Dolomites. Paired with live race viewing from stage starts, mid-race locations and exciting sprint finishes. Included was the thrilling Queen Stage finale that followed the epic Mortirolo pass, contested in truly punishing conditions. 

GreenEDGE Travel Giro d’Italia Experience KRAMON photo

Trip highlights:

Guests officially connected with the team on the final rest day in Bergamo for a ‘meet and greet’, including a welcome from the riders, followed by a Q and A session discussing their race happenings so far, obstacles overcome and aspirations for the closing week that lay ahead. All fantastic insight for our guests, as big-time supporters of the team and passionate cycling followers. 


Guests officially connected with the team on the final rest day in Bergamo for a ‘meet and greet’, including a welcome from the riders, followed by a Q and A session discussing their race happenings so far, obstacles overcome and aspirations for the closing week that lay ahead. All fantastic insight for our guests, as big-time supporters of the team and passionate cycling followers. 

To add to the experience, they enjoyed a tour of the team bus, followed by some words from head sporting director Matt White and general manager Shayne Bannan, gathering a deeper understanding as to what goes on behind the scenes at a Grand Tour, and the countless hours our support team endure to ensure the best platform possible for our riders to perform at World Tour level. 

Ahead of Stage 17, guests took to the stage start in Commezzadura to enjoy the start-line festivities and catch the team in preparation mode, where it was all warm-up’s, final briefings and pre-race banter ahead of another mountainous stage on the menu. This was a prime opportunity to see the team in the zone, undergoing their daily pre-stage routine. 17 days in and the mood was relaxed, positive and understandably for some, a little weary! 

The focal point of the Giro d’Italia experience, came on Stage 19 when our trio of spectating guests took to the seats of the team cars to witness the action firsthand from the race convoy itself, to teaming up with our soigneurs and hitting the various feed zones across the stage route. The day proving all-go from the gun, with the determined Esteban Chaves on the attack and in the breakaway, eventually spectacularly battling it out up the final ascent to San Martino di Castrozza, storming across the line to claim an emphatic, emotional stage victory. What a day to be alongside the team to witness the elation and celebrations that followed. A memory and experience that will undoubtedly last a long time for our guests. 

For the riding contingent of the group, also an incredibly momentous, action packed day, taking on the stunning hairpin lined Passo San Boldo by bike and then setting up camp atop, embracing the electric atmosphere, as excited crowds of fans dotted each bend in cheer and excitement; our guests getting right in the thick of the madness as they awaited the race to hit its slopes. Applause and encouragement was in full steam, as Chaves stormed up the climb at the head of the race. It was then all eyes glued to big screen entertainment, joining the locals at the summit bar to see the thrilling final moments of the race and cry out in delight and triumph as he crossed the line a champion – prosecco and ‘Saulit’s’ for all.

The closing highlight came on the final Giro d’Italia stage in Verona when riders rounded out a huge three weeks, packed with a roller coaster of emotion; from tough times and initial disappointment, to stage success and some fighting performances. The final, consisting of one last race against the clock around a 17 km fast, fiery circuit around the city streets. Guests were able to ride a hot lap of the course on closed roads pre-stage to scope out what was in store for the riders and get a true feel for the final testing moments of suffering they’d without doubt be experiencing concluding a challenging 20 days of racing in the legs. 

Once underway, it was all cheer and support for the team, followed by a final congratulatory toast alongside to round out the Giro and an incredible experience for all. 

Overall, a fantastic 8 days at the Giro d’Italia for GreenEDGE Travel: bucket list climbs were conquered, many-a race making moment was witnessed and sporting heroes were met. Thank you to all for your positive energy and appreciated ongoing support throughout the trip and across the season. It has and continues to further fuel our motivation to strive for success! 

Interested in joining the team at a race later in the year? Click here.

Challenging Climbs of the 2019 Giro d’Italia

We are primed and so ready for the first Grand Tour of 2019 to commence and what will undoubtedly be three weeks of thrilling bike racing across Italy’s most relentlessly tough, yet stunning terrain.

The Giro d’Italia is by many considered the hardest (profile wise) of the lot with cruelly challenging stages and endless gnarly Italian mountains on the menu.

The 2019 route certainly appears that way with a tough 7 summit finishes and some jaw-dropping, mountain-mad stages set to be tackled. 

Here, we’ve created a list of top Category climbs, (plus a few others that must be noted) along this year’s route that will no doubt be providing some serious action!

@Kristof Ramon

Montoso – 8.8 km at 9.5%, 838m : Stage 12

The first Category 1 climb comes as late as Stage 12. Let’s safely assume, all hell could well break lose as the climbing specialists are unleashed, primed and ready to put the hammer down where it hurts! Although not overly lengthy, the Montoso is seriously steep; relentless from bottom to top.

@Getty Images

Colle del Lys – 14.9 km at 6.4%, 947m : Stage 13

Consistently tough, aside from a 2km false flat section in the middle that may allow some time to breath – yeah right!

@EPA

Colle del Nivolet – 40.5 km at 4.7%, 1907m : Stage 13

Painfully long and at an altitude that will undoubtedly have some lungs bursting as soon as the pressure is put down. The Col del Nivolet will be no easy feat, as it just keeps going up, up and up. Its stunning surroundings, views and final approach to the picturesque Lago Serrù may help ease the suffering a little…

@Will_Cyclist

Verrogne – 13.8 km at 7.1%, 980m : Stage 14

The Verrogne is making its first appearance in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Relatively long and irregular in nature with a sequence of steep ramps, countered by easier sections.

@RCS Sport

Colle San Carlo – 10.5 km at 9.8%, 1031m : Stage 14

Claimed to be the secondest hardest climb of the 2019 edition, we’re expecting fireworks up here! Inconsistently steep with harsh spikes varying between 9 and 11%, ensuring a rare moment of respite and undoubtedly one hell of a battle. Its last appearance was as late as 2006.

Madonna del Ghisallo – 8.6 km at 5.6%, 482m : Stage 15

Although not Category 1, the Madonna del Ghisallo is worth a mention. Well regarded as a ‘Sacred’ climb, however this doesn’t change the fact that it’ll be another difficult obstacle to be battled over in Stage 15.

@Graham Watson

Passo Gavia CIMA COPPI – 16.5 km at 8%, 2618m : Stage 16

The Passo Gavia is this year’s CIMA COPPI – the highest point faced throughout the race. An iconic climb, famous to the race and lengthy, but consistent. Who will reign King this year?! 

Passo del Mortirolo – 11.9 km at 10.9% 1320m : Stage 16

A crucial part of the Stage 16 ‘Queen Stage’ of this years Giro and directly following the Gavia; the murderously tough Mortirolo will be a test for the best and we’ll assuredly be in for some serious race action as the climbers and key contenders battle it out over the leg burning, viciously steep ascent. By many, considered to be the hardest climb of the Giro and dreaded by almost all  .

@Tim de Waele

Passo di San Boldo – 6.3 km at 6.8%, 429m : Stage 19

Not Category one but famous for its various unique hairpin turns submerged into the road to make tunnels. Spectacular to ride over and certainly more challenging than it appears on paper with a daunting final section laid with steep ramps to the summit.

Cima Campo – 18.7 km at 5.9%, 506m: Stage 20

This Category 2 is the first of an incredibly challenging succession of penultimate stage climbs and some serious Dolomites madness! The race will face the climb as early as 8.5 km into the stage and from there it’s all ON. The Cima Campo is steady but long. With some serious challenges looming soon after, however it may be ridden a little more cautiously by most. 

@Bettini Photo

Passo Manghen – 18.9 km at 7.6%, 1443m : Stage 20

The Passo Manghen is brutal – exhaustingly lengthy and consistently gaining steepness throughout to eventually hit the final 6km at an excruciating 10% average. Its rare appearance in the Giro may shock the legs of many and although it comes relatively early on in the stage, this could be one of the final opportunities for contenders to take the bull by its horns and go all-in for the win! 

Passo Rolle – 20.6 km at 4.7% 969m : Stage 20

 There’s no rest for the wicked in this stage as the 20.6km Passo Rolle follows soon after. Although long, its steady gradient will seem easy following the relentless Passo Manghen that’s just been tackled. 

Passo Croce D’Aune – 11.1 km at 5.5%, 605m : Stage 20

Not overly difficult to begin, with a fairly consistent 6.5% gradient, countered by 4km of false flat in its middle section. The final, however is a different story with ramps reaching up to a gruelling 16%! No doubt providing the perfect platform to launch any final attacks for those that have anything left in the tank…this will be one of the last opportunities to make a move, and if contenders are close, it’ll inevitably be a true spectacle to watch!

@Sirotti

Monte Avena – 6.9 km at 7.3%, 536m : Stage 20

The final hurrah to the finish is the Monte Avena and we have no doubt that there will be some tired but pleased legs approaching it in knowing it’ll be the last sufferfest up hill for this years Giro, with only the race against the clock remaining in Verona for the following and final stage. 

For the leaders of the race, however there will be no time or moment to relax until the top and although not an overly challenging climb, after a huge 3 weeks of racing and an incredibly tough stage, who knows who might falter or charge ahead…here’s hoping (for us spectators) that it’ll be one nail-biting fight to the finish!

@Getty Images

We will be living and breathing the pure excitement each one of these challenging, yet spectacular climbs bring to the race in its final week with GreenEDGE Travel, backing Mitchelton-SCOTT in their bid for Pink!

Miss the memo? It may be too late to make the Giro, but good news is the Tour de France is hot on its heels and will undoubtedly be just as momentous an experience. GreenEDGE Travel will be taking it to the Pyrenees to back the team at the TDF 2019 and soak up some incredible race action throughout. Learn more, here.

The story behind Mummu Cycling, from Managing Director Marcel Berger

Hear from Mummu Cycling founder and managing director, Marcel Berger on all things Mummu; from the unique company name, to its beginnings, his journey into the cycling world and big aspirations for the future…

managing director, Marcel Berger

What is ‘Mummu’, the story behind the name and how it came about?

At Mummu, our number one core value is ‘knowledge is power’. We truly believe that the more you know, the more powerful you can be.

That’s the reason we surround ourselves with ‘the best of the best’. Being the likes of the UCI, the ASO, Stuart O’Grady, Gossy etc. We align ourselves with professionals because we believe that having experience around us allows us to deliver what we do best. 

Mummu is a Babylonian god of technical skill, knowledge and power. So when we discovered Mummu, it resonated with what we believe in. So, we combined the two together and it resulted in our company name.

I do also like the fact that initially no one can spell it or pronounce it which means everyone remembers it!

(Note: Pronounced ‘Moo-Moo’).

Tell us about your career background and how you initially stepped into the cycling world?

I didn’t choose to get into cycling. I entered into the cycling world in 2009 at a meeting with then Commercial Manager of the UCI, Nicole Gruber. Nicole gave Mummu the opportunity to work with the UCI on creating experiences for cycling fans, teams and federations at world championships. 

This eventually grew into Mummu being awarded the exclusive travel services contract for the UCI globally for four years. During this time, Phil Anderson approached us to help run his cycling tour company, which we did from 2009 through to 2013, hosting over 1,000 guests during this period. 

So, in a way cycling almost fell in our laps and from that we’ve now worked in every capacity of the sport. Mummu are athlete managers, commercial managers, event managers, have worked with and represented national federations, grand tours, professional teams and obviously as well, the fans. 

This gives us an advantage in being able to do what we do now, which is give fans the greatest experience possible at a cycling event, because we know every element of that event, we know the best place to stand, how the race works, how to get into certain areas, what’s important and how to manage your time and we now try to combine that into an ideal experience for cycling fans.

How did your past experiences and years in the sporting industry help in achieving this?

For me, personally I started working in hospitality and events from the age of 12. I was an assistant stage manager from the age of 14, I set up my first cafe when I was 17 and a cocktail bar when I was 19. I worked in some of the best cocktail bars throughout London during my late teens-early twenties and then some of the best restaurants in Australia following. I then went on to manage several night clubs and beyond. I spent a lot of time in the world of ‘serving people’, which is probably the best way to describe it. 

When I returned from overseas, I thought I should probably go to university and ended up studying Entrepreneurship, which in 2004 was very new. That led me to setting up a corporate health company for 7 years where we would help large corporate organisations with their entire corporate health program for around 5-6000 employees. After existing that business I spent time consulting to sports organisations in commercial roles – from football clubs to national federations and predominantly based around finding them more money. 

One day, I got tapped on the shoulder and was asked to work for a sports travel company and thought sure, why not – I don’t know a lot about travel, but I’ve travelled a bit and like sport. I very quickly found out that sports travel is not easy and the travel industry in particular is a very difficult business to be in, due to low margins and increasing technology. But what we found in working there and working across all the biggest sports in the world; from the NBA, to the NFL, Olympics, cricket world cup, through to the rugby world cup, was that fans of sport want more than just a ticket, they want to experience more than just a seat in a stadium and that really encouraged and led me into what we do now, which is giving people more than just a cycling tour. 

Anyone can go and stand on the side of the road at the 140km mark of a 170km stage, but not everyone can be chaperoned by someone who won that stage ten years prior and then have team directors stopping to say hello mid race. Then having the connection to be able to have the biggest cyclists in the world step off their team buses ahead of the race to say hi and let us know what they have planned for the day. So, that whole experience really drove me to where I am now. 

 The Stuart O’Grady factor – How did this relationship come about and how has Stuart’s partnership with the company contributed to the Mummu Cycling difference?

I serendipitously met Stuey at a luncheon in 2016. I had hosted a table at a Matty Hayman/Mitchelton-Scott luncheon just after he’d won Paris-Roubaix. Stuey was a guest on stage and I was really impressed with how he spoke and of course having been the first winner of Paris-Roubaix, thought it be the perfect opportunity to join forces and lead our Spring Classics tour. 

 I approached Stuey and asked him if he’d be keen on hosting our Classics tour and he agreed. We ended up running a successful Classics tour, followed by the Giro, onto the Tour de France and from there it’s now grown into a successful partnership and I thoroughly enjoy working with such a champion of the sport to create the number one cycling tour company. We both also have a passion for supporting retired cyclists to continue in the sport that they love in a role that’s not a director or the media. And that’s just as important to what we do, as running cycling tours. 

C+TdF18_189

Elaborate on the Mummu Cycling difference and your key differential attributes to other tour operators?

When travelling with Mummu Cycling, we put everything into getting our guests closer to the race and closer to the world of pro cycling than any other tour operator. We give people an insight into what it’s like to be a professional cyclist without having to do the hard work (sic). We do it with a smile and give people that level of knowledge that you wouldn’t normally get if you were just standing on the other side of the fence. 

This is combined with experienced staff, vast networks, great hotels, awesome riding, food and wine to create a memorable experience like no other.

Your pro connection is a huge advantage. How/why have you established these connections over the years, with the likes of (in addition to Stuart) Matt Goss, Baden Cooke and Nick Gates coming on board as tour hosts?

It’s two-fold. Firstly, our ambassadors can offer an experience that simply can’t be offered elsewhere. We always find pro’s that are relevant for the tour they are leading; meaning we’ll have Stuey come on tour for Roubaix and the Tour de France, Matt Goss for Milan San Remo & the Giro and Baden for the Tour, being a Green jersey winner. It always helps to have a pro on board that understands the specific race back to front and can give our guests a unique insight.  

A number of these pro’s, particularly in their first few years out of racing are also often looking for other avenues to stay involved in the sport. Quite frankly, we give them that platform and opportunity to engage with their fans in a fun and exciting way where they can experience the race from a different, refreshing angle on the ‘fan’ side of the fence, which they seem to love and enjoy.

file3-3

GreenEDGE Travel – Powered by Mummu Cycling, established early last year, delivering the ultimate Mitchelton-Scott team experience. Elaborate on GreenEDGE Travel and your hopes for the future?

GreenEDGE Travel is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time with team owner, Gerry Ryan. I truly believe that GreenEDGE is a pioneer in the world of cycling – being the first Australian team and the way they’ve excelled to the level of success that they’re at right now. Along the way, they’ve generated a huge fan base and have done it in a fun, engaging way. They’re certainly not your average, at times boring and robotic pro cycling team. They’re out-there, exciting and can have a bit of a laugh in true Australian fashion along the way, which lends itself to in a way being able to somewhat join them in their journey, and that’s what GreenEDGE Travel is all about. It’s about travelling along with them as their core fan base as they strive for success, just like we experienced at La Vuelta and Giro d’Italia in 2018!

This year, we’ll deliver all three Grand Tours, as well as a very exciting training camp towards the backend of the year where cyclists will be able to come and experience what it’s like on the Mitchelton-SCOTT number one road team in the world, learn a few things, as well as enjoy a few laughs.

file5-2 (1)

Since your establishment in 2010, you’re only continuing to grow and develop each season. What are your biggest aspirations for the future of Mummu Cycling?

Mummu Cycling doesn’t want to be the biggest cycling tour operator, but we want to be the best. So right now we want to continue to offer experiences at the level we currently do, to as many people as we can at all major cycling events around the world. At the same time, we’re also excited about introducing other types of cycling experiences. We are working with our ambassadors on a number of weekend experiences in their home towns where they can actually show you what riding around their local and old training grounds is like. We then have several fantastic training camps in the pipeline that we’re working with pro teams on creating, and a few other secrets up our sleeves. So that’s what we’re excited about right now – the growth. 

I suppose all we can say is that some people may not know about Mummu Cycling now, but I can definitely say they will in the next two years!

Stay tuned for Part Two of the interview, talking all things Tour de France.

Beginner Cyclist to Tour de France Mountain Conqueror!

Here, we had a chat with Mel Coleman who joined us at last year’s Tour de France on our Alps, Pyrenees and Paris tours. Some incredible memories were taken away and countless goals achieved for Mel as she went from beginner cyclist to Tour de France mountain conqueror!

tour de france alps

Following last year’s Tour and numerous requests from guests to create a trip that covers both the Pyrenees, and Alps in one-go, we have since designed the ultimate Tour de France experience, the ‘Best of Le Tour’ which covers both mountain regions, as well as the always-spectacular grand finale in Paris…

Tour de France Talk with Mel Coleman

Last year you joined us on Tour and took on both the Alps and Pyrenees. What was it that drove you to tackle both in one go?

The Tour de France was what got me into cycling, I really wanted to fully immerse myself in the whole experience to learn as much as possible. I like to throw myself head first into challenges and this one was so rewarding.

Top 3 memorable moments?

  1. Riding through the sunflower fields and orchards, being cheered on by picnickers.
  2. Making it to the top of the Galibier when only a few weeks earlier I was just getting up small overpasses back home.
  3. Riding on the course, getting cheered by all the spectators – couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

Top 3 most challenging moments?

  1. The first day in the Alps when our warm up ride was the steepest and longest I had ever done – what had I got myself in to! The ride back down was so much fun though.
  2. Too many pro riders to try and meet in the ride depart village!
  3. Having to fly back home after finishing up in Paris.

Favourite ride?

The day I completed a ride. The ride was tough for me but the scenery was stunning, and we got to see the race in the luxurious VIP hospitality. I will admit there were a few tears of joy.

Hardest ride?

Every ride for me was tough as I’m a beginner cyclist, however I was so well supported that every day I got out there and every day I got better.

Funniest moment on tour?

When I somehow got a QOM for a Strava section on a ride!

Favourite Tour de France hospitality experience?

The Izoard hospitality area, up the Col du Portet in the Pyrenees – being able to see riders come up the mountain, then battle on up more switchbacks while we had to battle with another glass of champagne!

Did you meet the pro rider/s you were hoping to on tour?

Yes, Mat Hayman & Simon Gerrans were the top of my list and both were so lovely! I was gobsmacked half the time being so close to the riders. Being with Stuey gets you access and experiences like no one else

Overall take on your Tour de France experience?

I had the time of my life! Well organised, amazing crew – every minute was special.

Would you recommend the Alps/Pyrenees or both to others?

Without a doubt, both! Almost a year on and I’m still telling people how spectacular it was.

Up for 13 days of Tour de France bliss? Learn more, here and get in quick as limited places remain!

The Mummu Cycling Difference at Le Tour de France

As an official leading Tour de France tour operator, Mummu Cycling strive to deliver once in a lifetime, unique cycling holiday experiences with an added difference each July.

Offering a wide range of tours to suit just about everyone, from your avid cyclist, to your ultimate-fan and operated annually in conjunction with the world’s biggest bike race, the Tour de France. Our tours travel from the Grand Depart, right through to the spectacular Champs-Elysées finale in Paris; all hosted and designed by 17 x Tour de France contender – now key partner of Mummu Cycling, Stuart O’Grady.

With Stuart in tow, the Mummu Cycling ‘difference’ has certainly been bolstered. His extensive palmares, wealth of knowledge, experience, skill and countless connections within the cycling world play a pivotal role in ensuring a differential, once in a lifetime experience.

This is just one of many attributes that make up the Mummu Cycling difference at the Tour de France.

The Mummu Cycling Difference:

  • Official Operator

Mummu Cycling is one of only six ASO approved, official Tour de France tour operators. This ensures privileged access to a selection of VIP hospitality locations throughout the race; from stage starts, to finishes and premium mid-race viewing locations. Our tour operators license will also assure we can guarantee; fantastic reserved accommodation options, access to the ‘inner’ race, premium live race viewing and the best daily ride program.

mummu cycling tours
  • Pro Team Access

Stuart O’Grady, using his insider access to the pro peloton, will arrange pro team meet and greets with some of the best World Tour team’s on the circuit. This presents an incredibly unique opportunity to exclusively chat with the riders and gather some great insights from the ‘team behind the team’ of staff;  from mechanics, to race directors, soigneurs and beyond.  

To add, using our tour operator departure village access, you’ll have the chance to explore the team bus ‘pre race’ area and see your favourite riders in action while you’re at it. A rare occasion to be in such close proximity to the professionals in ‘preparation mode’; from ‘warm-up’s, to interviews, or the more relaxed race village pre-race coffee.

mummu cycling team
  • Race Hospitality

With our official Tour operator license, comes a list of exclusive benefits and race hospitality invitations.

We’ll maximise these benefits daily; whether that’s sipping coffee and enjoying local delicacies while rubbing shoulders with the pro’s ahead of the stage, to enjoying the best of live race action atop a famous Tour de France ascent, champagne and French canapé in hand. Or indulging in a multiple course, gourmet lunch amidst some big Tour de France names, all while watching the race in style over big screen entertainment and awaiting the thrilling sprint finale to come…It doesn’t get much better.

  • Pro Guides

At Mummu Cycling, we strive to have the best of the best guiding and hosting our tours. To ensure that, we have former professional cyclists that know the roads like the back of their hands, having raced along the same routes throughout their pro careers, step in as our pro tour ride guides.

At the Tour de France, expect to be learning all the tricks of the trade from the likes of former yellow jersey wearer and stage winner, Stuart O’Grady, Green Jersey winner, Baden Cooke or lead-out specialist, Nick Gates. They’ll not only know all the Tour-famous roads and have an extensive level of experience, but have countless race tales to tell, Tour de France memories and knowledgable race insights to share throughout the trip.

  • Ride the Course

A major highlight on tour that falls under our tour operator license advantages is riding on the offical race course. This is a truly surreal experience; to ride off the stage start line, just hours ahead of the pro peloton along the race route and on closed roads. Crowds of fans lining the streets; anticipation, delight and excitement in the air. If you don’t already feel part of the Tour de France inner sanctum, by now, you surely will.

You can view our full range of Tour de France packages HERE

One Hell of a Spring Classics adventure

That’s a wrap for our Spring Classics tours for 2019 and what a ride it was! 

Primarily focused around arguably the biggest Classics of the lot, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, we had three separate tour options; The full 11 days – kicking off from Flanders, right through to Roubaix, with a dose of the Ardennes in between. Or alternatively, 4 days at the start, or latter, depending on the favoured Classic.

It all started on a crisp Spring day in the stunning Belgian city of Ghent. Sunshine, smiles and some serious excitement in the air as we welcomed our crew for the week and got set to hit the narrow cobbled lanes and countless bike paths surrounding the charming, historic city. Hosted and led by former Classics phenomenon, Stuart O’Grady, alongside fellow Aussie former professional, Nick Gates…it’s fair to say, our guests were in great hands.

spring classics 2019

Following a cruisy warm-up spin to shake-off the travel and get the legs into gear, it was preparation time for the first big challenge of the tour, the Ronde van Vlaanderen Cyclo (Gran Fondo) the following day. This would deem the perfect opportunity to ride the many iconic cobbled sectors and bergs so famous to the race, in amongst an impressive 16,000 other keen goers. 

spring classics tour 2019

Come ‘race’ morning, our crew took to the start, nervous, but smiling and eager to hit the road. Many tough km’s were endured and plenty of time was spent battling it out in the pain cave, but that didn’t stop our riders from finishing on cloud 9, ecstatic to have made it round and all smiles after an epic day out amongst the Ronde madness. As the day before the ‘real Ronde’, the atmosphere was full of pure excitement, passion and anticipation and we got to absorb the best of it. 

The cobbles were now conquered and a good drop of Belgian beer, fresh frites and some serious race action was calling. Following a decent nights rest, we were up an at em’ nice and early to get set for another big day, this time on the other side of the fence, spectating. Now was the time to live and breathe the incredible Ronde van Vlaanderen and witness the world’s best cyclists show us how it’s done to perfection. Our base for the day was on the epic, Oude Kwaremont; a famous, incredibly challenging and often race-shaping cobbled climb. The prime place to watch as the pro men and women would face it multiple times throughout the day, ensuring some thrilling live action and roaring, passionate crowds! To be right there in the thick of it was a surreal experience. 

spring classics at mummu cycling

The following day, we set out for some more cobbled adventures. Inspired by the pro’s and beaming confidence now that we’d had a good taste of the terrain, and learnt some of the tricks of the trade from Stuey. For today, it was all about the Muur van Geraardsbergen, an iconic Flanderian cobbled climb; short but brutal. By now, the legs were certainly feeling the burn, and the grimaces were well and truly out. Nonetheless, everyone had a great crack and even stuck it out for a few rep’s. Once you get the cobble-adrenaline rush, it’s difficult to deny!

On return, we set off for a very special, exclusive lunch with the ultimate King of cycling, Eddy Merckx. Widely regarded as the most successful cyclist of all time and incredibly respected in the sporting world – what an honour to sit down over lunch, in his home country and hear all about it. 

As a small token of our appreciation, Stuey and Mummu Cycling owner Marcel Berger presented Eddy with a little taste of Australia in a magnum of 2007 Penfolds Grange. Thank you Eddy!

2019 spring classics

The next morning, we set off bright and early for a change of scene; East bound to tackle the trio of Ardennes Classics. First up was La Flèche Wallonne, where the murderously steep Mur de Huy dangerously awaited us. With gradients reaching up to a leg stabbing 26%, this 1300m kicker is no joke! A challenge, no doubt, but our crew aced it and still managed to complete the day grinning, despite the grim conditions thrown at us.

Come race day for the pros, we’ll undoubtedly be feeling their burn. RESPECT.

spring classics team

Next up for Day 5, was the iconic Liège-Bastogne-Liège, lined with countless challenging, punchy roads; the race-famous gnarly ascents of La Redoute, La Roche aux Faucons and Saint-Nicolas all on the menu. Challenge accepted as the sun came out to play and the mood was high! Another day, another Classic. ✔️

The final Ardennes Classic to conquer, was Amstel Gold. An absolute treasure to cross over into the Netherlands, greeted with clear blue skies and pristine, smooth roads. So very appreciated, following our back-to-back days battling over the rough, sporadic roads of Belgium.

We set out to ride the finale of the race and although grateful for the conditions, it was no easy feat, with a number of relentless kickers thrown in the mix and some serious suffering endured throughout. However, with Haribo fuel, Amstel beer awaiting (+ nachos for Stuey) and great company on the road, we made it through another day all smiles.

Glad we enjoyed the smooth roads while we could, as the pavé of Paris-Roubaix was now well and truly calling…the Hell of the North coming in hot!

mummu cycling tour

The next day, we made our way across to France to do some much anticipated course recon ahead of the Paris-Roubaix challenge ride that lay before us the following day. 

The ‘test ride’ had us brimming with excitement, adrenaline and some real nerves in understanding the immense pain and challenge that awaited. Nonetheless, by now we were so ready to rock them 🤘.

To top, we were also able to visit the famous velodrome and the special Roubaix showers, alongside 2007 champion, Stuey . Some incredible memories here for him and an honour to be there alongside!

Another highlight of the day was meeting the Astana pro team staff for a Q & A session. Great to get some insight into the time and preparation that goes into preparing for the Queen of the Classics and such a prestigious race. One thing’s for certain is that the mechanics have their work cut out for them on this one!

classics spring

Next up – RACE DAY. Well let’s just say, ‘the race before the race’…

A nice early start had us rugged up and raring to go carve up the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. For many, a dream come true to ride the epic roads of the ‘Hell of the North’ in race format and alongside a former winner of the race, in Stuey. 

It was a massive challenge for all and a huge effort to have everyone arrive into the iconic Roubaix velodrome, exhausted but ecstatic to be there and to have battled through. A great day all round which left us more ready than ever for the big show the next day.

tour down under

The real ‘race day’ did not disappoint… As expected, it was one hell of a show and we were right there in the midst of it, lapping up every second. We experienced some incredible Trouée d’Arenberg pavé action before moving on to the Roubaix velodrome hospitality zone to witness the spectacular finale that saw an outstanding Philippe Gilbert storm across the line to take an emphatic victory over Nils Politt. A true champion and very deserving winner. Chapeau!

To top off a surreal day at Paris-Roubaix, we also had the opportunity to move from our hospitality zone on the final corner approaching the velodrome, right into the heart of it. Surreal to witness the thrilling battle in such close proximity and then experience the elation and incredibly passionate emotion from Gilbert and his team. Just one of many amazing moments to take home for the memory books. 

surreal day at Paris-Roubaix

A special thank you to all of our guests on tour for making this trip such a success and a true delight to run. Your positive attitudes, genuine love and excitement for the Classics, and easy going natures ensured an outstanding trip was had and one we’re certainly heading home smiling about.

Secondly, big up’s to our ever-impressive, hard-working team of staff on the ground for impeccably running the show from start to finish. And then to the team behind the team back in the office for the hours of planning and preparation that set it up for such success.

Now it’s time for some much needed rest, before we start counting down the days to our Spring Classics 2020 adventures.

Registration is now open. Don’t miss out on what’s bound to be another hell of a ride! Sign up, here.

Tour de France, 2019 primed for action in the Pyrenees 

The Pyrenees will feature in the middle week of this year’s Tour de France and will roll off a mostly sprint dominated opening week, followed by some punchier stages through the Vosges Mountains. Concluding the first Tour rest day, the race will set off from Albi through to the stunning city of Toulouse which will host the start of the following day’s Stage 12 and the Tour’s first true taste of Pyrenees mountain madness.

At this stage in the race, it’s inevitable that the General Classification and climbing specialists will be absolutely itching to unload and go head-to-head up the Pyrenean passes. No doubt, a real spectacle to see as the race will remain wide open. This is the week we’ll get a real incentive as to who will take ownership of the tour standings, unafraid to put the Pyrenees and their opponents in their place. Perhaps also some prime opportunities for the less targeted, dark horses to have a crack and take time where they can…Whatever happens, it’s assuredly going to be all-action in the Pyrenees!

The real Pyrenees test lies between Stage 12 to 14; three back-to-back crucial days for GC hopes. Stage 12’s testy 202km route will travel from Toulouse, onto the challenging ascent of the Col de Peyresourde. The 15.3km climb will have the race well and truly on, likely split to bits before the stage route hits the slopes of La Hourquette d’Ancizan, where another lengthy 10.3 km grovel lies ahead, before descending into Bagnères-de-Bigorre and what is expected to be a thrilling, fast finish to the line between the key overall contenders.

From there, the riders will head to Pau for Stage 13 where a relatively short, yet undulating 27km awaits. This race against the clock will prove vital; a real opportunity for specialists, such as Thomas, Dumoulin and Froome to make their mark and gain as many precious seconds as allows. For their lesser competitors, a day to bring out their best performance in the hope of minimising losses and remaining in close contention.

GERAINT VICTORY tour de france

The following day, all hell could well break loose with the Tour-prominent Col du Tourmalet on the cards. As the most frequently climbed race in Tour history, its relentless nature will come as no surprise to the race. This year’s edition, however marks only the third occasion for the race to finish at its 2115m summit. Fatigue will no doubt be well and truly set in by now, as the peloton will first face the 13km Col du Soulour before eventually hitting the base of the daunting 18.6km long Tourmalet. Expect fireworks, as who wouldn’t want to win atop the legendary Tourmalet and make Tour de France history as the third rider to claim honours atop? We’ll safely assume a breakaway could well be on the hunt for victory, and regardless of its success or failure, the GC contenders will be in full battle mode in their own race for glory and precious seconds, prepared to leave it all on the line ahead of the Tour’s final rest day that follows.

Tourmalet battle

Mummu Cycling will be settling in for all the Pyrenees action this July, running two 7 day tours; Pro and Ride. The Pro tour, hosted by 17 x TdF contender himself, Stuart O’Grady, will be all about travelling right inside the race, enjoying the best of Pyrenees-famous rides and climbs, but also taking time to get amongst the madness, viewing key live stages and kicking back in Tour de France hospitality zones while at it. The Ride tour will also be about catching some epic Pyrenean TdF moments, but more of a ‘ride’ focus with big km days and some serious climbing on the cards. Led by former pro, Nick Gates, he’ll certainly have you up for a challenge. 

See our full line-up of 2019 Tour de France experiences, here. Limited places remain!

The Best of Le Tour – A Tour de France trip that has it all!

This year, we decided to really up our Tour de France game and design the ultimate, see-it-all experience. We’ve had many former clients sign up for multiple TdF trips, or even the entire three weeks, jumping from one of our tours to the next. So to provide the option to join the TdF for a longer period on a single tour experience and get a real taste of the best of it, travelling beyond just 1 or 2 key areas, was what we decided to do. Following some tentative planning, we decided that the perfect amount of time would be 13 days on tour and the prime opportunity to see and experience the most famous regions visited by Le Tour every year. 

Our Best of Le Tour experience truly embraces the best of the race and with some significant distances covered throughout its duration, we decided an important factor would be to travel in comfort, upgrading from our usual van transport, to a luxury coach. That way, when the Tour moves regions, we will travel alike the riders on board their comfortable team buses!

We will pass through the most prominent of Tour de France regions; setting off from the picturesque Pyrenean mountains, through to Provence, onto the iconic Alps and completing the tour on a high with the final run in to Paris.

PARIS FINALE copy

Throughout the 13 day tour, we will see a succession of 7 LIVE stages. 

  • Stage 12 finale into Bagnères-de-Bigorre. With two challenging Pyrenean climbs on the radar for today’s stage, it could well prove a very exciting final and we’ll be there to witness the thrill of it.
  • Stage 13 Individual Time Trial in Pau. This will undoubtedly be a critical stage for GC contenders and a key opportunity for time trial specialists to shine.
  • Stage 14 Col du Tourmalet Summit Stage finish. One word for today – EPIC. It’s going to be a real race-maker.
  • Stage 18 Col du Galibier roadside viewing. As one of the most iconic, challenging climbs of the TdF – expect fireworks and the chance to embrace the electric mountain atmosphere among other passionate TdF fans.
  • Stage 17 Pont du Gard race viewing. Witness the peloton pass by one of the best preserved three-tiered bridges in the world, the Pont du Gard.
  • Stage 20 Albertville Stage depart. Here, we will enjoy VIP departure village access. It will be the prime opportunity to meet favourite riders, cruise the team bus area and enjoy local delicacies, croissants and coffee in the village before watching the pro’s roll out in style.
  • Stage 21 VIP grandstand viewing for the final spectacular showdown on the iconic Champs-Elysées. Likely an exciting sprint finale and most importantly, the moment we see the 2019 Tour de France champion officially cross the line to take honours, followed by the final podium ceremony!

Tour de France 2015

To add to incredible Stage viewing and absorbing the very best action-packed Tour de France race moments within arm’s distance, we will also be taking to the most talked about sections of road and conquering a few cols ourselves along the way. How’s Col du Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez for a line-up? 

ALPS RIDE 2

It won’t be all hard-work, logging miles and cheering our hearts out, however – We are in France, after all and will be travelling through some incredible regions throughout. 

We’ll visit history rich French monuments along the way including; Pont du Gard, Arc de Triomphe and beyond. As well as travelling through numerous other must-see towns including; the famous for its Mediterranean cross road, Montpellier, Orange and Avignon. 

tour_img-720745-148

While we’re in Avignon, we’ll be enjoying a much deserved rest day and will be doing it in style with a river cruise along the stunning Avignon river, topped with a 4 course gourmet lunch and reputable local wines to pair. When in France, wine not?

This will be just one, of many fantastic opportunities throughout the trip to indulge in the delicious French gastronomy, and embrace its culture-rich regions throughout.

52474505_2483179495029001_7472727698964480000_o

If you’ve always dreamed of experiencing the Tour de France, this tour is the perfect opportunity to fulfil that dream and experience the best of the lot, in one go! It is a trip we are incredibly excited about delivering this July and a journey that will undoubtedly be one to look back on for a long time coming.

Join us for the ride of your life! 

Find tour details, here.

Our Cobbled Classics hit list

It’s ON in Belgium as the stream of back-to-back cobbled classics are now well underway. With Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix on the horizon, it’s all-go. Bring the action.

Here, we’ve crafted a short list of favourites to watch out for…

(Note: There are far too many notable hitters and contenders to list – this is a start)!

10. Zdeněk Štybar – Deceuninck – Quickstep

This Czech cyclist seems to have it all. He’s a former multiple World Cyclocross champion and transferred his skill and talent exceptionally to the road. He’s won stages at the Tour de France, through to La Vuelta and is almost always at the pointy end of the Classics. Most notably, he won Strade Bianche in 2015, and has podiumed at numerous monuments since, including Paris-Roubaix on several occasions. He’s stormed into the 2019 season with exceptional form, assuring he’s up for a great Classics run with an Opening Weekend victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Friday’s impressive E3 BinckBank Classic. Štybar’s on a roll and we have a feeling the momentum won’t end there!

Image: Tim de Waele

9. Dylan Groenewegen – Team Jumbo-Visma

This young Dutch sprinter is all speed and well and truly made his mark on the pro scene in 2018 with some stellar victories; from Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, onto an applaudable two Tour de France stages. His turn of speed is exceptional and he’s certainly brought it right back to the 2019 season with a string of victories already to his bow, including two stages at Paris-Nice and most recently this week’s Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne.

Groenewegen Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

8. Sep Vanmarcke – EF Education First

This guy seems to always be right on the mark! Consistently top 5 and with a list of 2nd’s and 3rd’s that must have him bursting for a big Classics victory. It’s a given that he’ll be right up there in the mix, but the question is – can he break the trend and take top step?

Sep van Tim de Waele
Image: Tim de Waele

7. Philippe Gilbert – Deceuninck – Quickstep

Philippe Gilbert is a cycling phenomenon. He’s won it all; from the road world championships, to stages at all three Grand Tours and a lengthy string of prestigious Classics to add. When it comes to the Classics, the Belgian rider can certainly deliver the goods. He’s one of a select few to have won all three Ardennes Classics, as well as the Tour of Flanders in 2017. He will without doubt be right in the thick of the action, burning bridges alongside his impressive contingent of Deceuninck – Quickstep team mates. Will he be the strongest of the pack?

Yuzuru Sunada
Image: Yuzuru Sanada

6. Matteo Trentin – Mitchelton-SCOTT

Matteo Trentin is the current European champion and has done the jersey proud so far, coming in very hot to the 2019 season, having already claimed three sprint victories at the Vuelta a Andalucía and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. 

Known for his impressively quick kick and his 2017 La Vuelta domination, when he took a succession of four stage victories. He’s also notably won Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stages.

Throughout the Classics period, given his exceptional current form he will no doubt have the full backing of his Mitchelton-SCOTT team. Let’s see what they can do.

Getty Images Matteo Trentin
Image: Getty Images

5. Yves Lampaert -Deceuninck – Quickstep

He’s the current Belgian National road race champion and a real Classics specialist, bringing yet another strong force to the dominating Deceuninck – Quickstep.

Lamparet has won the last two editions of Dwars door Vlaanderen and in 2017 claimed a stage of La Vuelta. 

At just 27, he may well only just be getting started!

Sunada Yves
Image: Yuzuru Sunada

4. Oliver Naesen – AG2R La Mondiale

He may not be quite as decorated when it comes to results as some of the other’s on this list, but we have a feeling he could be in for a great 2019 Spring following his 2nd place at last week’s Milan-San Remo. 

The former Belgian National champion has proven over the year’s he’s right there in the mix at the cobbled classics, ever-consistent and could well be further up the pointy end over the coming weeks. Time will tell…

Oliver Nasesan Bettini photo
Image: Bettini Photo

3. Niki Terpstra – Direct Énergie

As the reigning champion of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Niki Terpsta will surely be returning with high hopes to reclaim his title.

The Classics specialist is one of few to have won both Flanders and Paris-Roubaix (in 2014) and has a string of other Classics victories and pro wins throughout his stellar career, including 3 Dutch National road race titles. 

We’re used to seeing Terpstra on the attack alongside his Quickstep team mates, however this season he’s made a surprising move to the French contingent, Direct Énergie. 

We have no doubt that he’ll be right up there as a key contender, but wonder if he will miss the strength of his Classics-strong former team mates?

Ronde Van Vlaanderen 2018: Terpstra wins
Image: BrakeThrough Media

2. Greg Van Avermaet – CCC team

What’s not to love about Greg Van Avermaet? He’s incredibly exciting to watch, always the aggressor and all-in for the win.

As the current (2016) Olympic road race champion, he can do it all….from one day races, to stage races. It’s during the Spring period, however that we really see his strengths shine as he takes to his home Belgian roads in dominating fashion, leaving many-a competitor for dead.

He’s won Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem, but is still yet to claim the Ronde and will without doubt be lining up next weekend hungry as ever for victory!

Yuzaru Sunada Greg Van
Image: Yuzuru Sunada

1. Peter Sagan – Bora-Hansgrohe

He’s the ultimate king of cycling and has almost done it all. Never to be underestimated, he will rise to the top when you least expect, outshining and outwitting his competitors time-after-time. An absolute treasure to watch and the ever-entertainer. We love Peter Sagan and don’t know of many who don’t!

The 3 x world champion has a list of palmarès far too long to list, however when it comes to the Classics we will note that he’s won Flanders (2016), Gent-Wevelgem 3 x and was last year’s Paris-Roubaix champion in a two-up sprint, beating Silvan Dillier to the line.

The exceptional all-rounder can win from pure bunch sprints, to breakaways, to solo and is not only out of this world strong, but incredibly race-smart too.

Following some early season illness and setbacks, it will be interesting to see how he fares over the coming weeks. For us, there’s no questioning it that he’ll be back firing!

Parigi Roubaix 2018 - 116th Edition - Compiegne - Roubaix 257 km - 08/04/2018 - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) - Silvan Dillier (SUI - AG2R - La Mondiale) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2018
Image: Bettini Photo

Mummu Cycling will be there with bells on, absorbing the best action moments from the spectacular Ronde van Vlaanderen, through to Paris-Roubaix. We’ll be experiencing the sensational race atmosphere the Classics bring and see the 2019 monument winners crowned alongside tour host and former Paris-Roubaix winner himself, Stuart O’Grady. 

Want to join us on tour? Register your interest for the 2020 Spring Classics, here and be the first to know when tour details are revealed!

Tour de France Alps memories – As told by Stephen Carpenter

“You either love it, or hate it. I love it” – Paris-Roubaix talk with Stuart O’Grady

On the 15th April, 2007 Stuart O’Grady took an emphatic solo victory at the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix stealing one of his greatest career victories and a memory that will be forever strong.

Here, we asked Stuey to share some thoughts from that special day…

ROUBAIX (FRA), 15/04/2007 SPORT / CYCLISME / WIELRENNEN / 105ieme PARIS - ROUBAIX / 105de PARIJS - ROUBAIX / STUART O'GRADY / PICTURE BY VINCENT KALUT & NICO VEREECKEN - MOTARD PIERRE VELAERTS ©PHOTONEWS
Image: Vincent Kalut & Nico Vereecken

What did Paris-Roubaix mean to you prior to winning? Was it a race you dreamed of winning from your early racing days?

Paris-Roubaix was a race that captured my imagination as a young kid. I loved the adventure, the craziness of it. The fact that it was known as the Hell  of the North made it stand out and I dreamt of just racing it, not really winning it.  As the years went by though, and after racing my first couple of editions with a French team, I began to understand the importance and the scale of the race, and then it became my dream to try and win it.

In 2007 did you go into the race thinking you could truly win and were you the team leader on the day? / Was that the plan?

I went in confident I could get a result. I was healthy, surrounded by an extremely strong and motivated team and I was rooming with the defending champion.

I was in the form of my life, similar to 2004 which was the best year of my career.

Fabian was the outright favourite and my roommate, so I was there to support him to win, but I was Plan B if he faltered. When the weather report came in that it was going to be “hot”, then things started to fall into my favour.

When and where did you make your winning move?

I made my winning move when I got into the early morning breakaway, because that set me up for the rest of the race. I had two team mates which basically did all the hard work along with the other guys in the break so I could sit back and use minimal energy. The real attack I launched with 25kms to go.

2007-PR-vesemann-ogrady-can

Up until then, did you feel like you were on a great day condition wise?

I had finished in the top ten in every race in Belgium in the lead up. I knew my form was great and I had been helping Fabian in those races and still running top ten. I just needed the stars to align for me and to give it everything.

When you were out solo initially what was running through your head? 

It was a killer instinct attack. It wasn’t planned. I saw that everyone around me was really suffering and I just hit them when the opportunity arose. My first thought when I saw the 25kms to go sign, was “Holy shit… there’s a long way to go!”

At what point did you realise, this could actually be it?!

My goal was to get to the minute mark lead on the guys chasing me. Then I knew I could puncture and still maintain a lead if I got a quick wheel change. I also knew that then the 3 guys chasing would start conserving energy and start racing for 2nd. Theres a lot of things that go through your head, the main one was that I was just praying for no punctures. I also changed my tactic to go 85-90% on the cobbles but give it 100% once we hit the bitumen, because I also knew that behind they would attack themselves on the cobbles, then recover and eat and drink straight after on the roads.

How did you feel when you entered the velodrome?

Like I was living a dream, almost having an out of body experience. All those years of trying, the suffering, knowing that my wife, who was pregnant with our soon the be daughter and my son Seth were in the velodrome waiting was also flashing through my mind.

Its very hard to explain the emotions. It’s more relief that you’ve actually achieved something that’s been in the back of your mind since you began racing. Everyone has dreams, it’s what keeps you getting up to go training every morning, and when you realise that you are experiencing one at the time…. It’s just the ultimate feeling.

paris_roubaix_2_hi

And then as you crossed the line as Paris-Roubaix champion?

Priceless. 

To have my family there, my team mates roll in, Scott Sunderland the DS, just everyone. I just wanted to hug everyone. It was a mixture of disbelief, tears of joy. I don’t know. It’s impossible to describe really.

Post race celebrations must have been pretty special?

Obviously it was a massive night. But it was emotional as Lars Michaelsen who should’ve finished 2nd and next to me on the podium, crashed in the final. It was the last race of his career. His whole family were at the race and with us for the post race dinner.

So there were happy moments and some really sad ones also, as his dream of getting on the podium was shattered, his career had just ended, yet we had just won together also.

I had promised to take my wife and son to Disneyland the next day. I kept the celebrations up well, but good enough to make sure we were on that train the following morning also!

cdeb4b5e552f4f253f2c3b66af96efdd

How did this victory shape and change your career?

It definitely changes not only your career, but your entire life. You are forever known as a Paris-Roubaix champion and at every race you’re expected to perform as you’ve won the hardest race on the planet. There’s pressure to perform again, which I did the following year finishing 5th, but overall it changes who you are as a person. You have a lot more respect in the peloton, which helps also.

Was it your most memorable race victory?

Winning the Olympic Games and Paris-Roubaix are impossible to separate.

They were both dreams and both very different events. I am very happy and proud that  I managed to achieve both.

What are you most looking forward to once again revisiting your stomping grounds on tour with Mummu Cycling this April?

I love the history, the stories, the adventure and the ridiculously tough cobbles. You have to experience the cobbles first hand to get a grip of just how hard it is. I still find it hard to believe that I won it when I go back and ride a section…

Top 3 favourites for the win this year?

Stybar, Sagan, Groenwegen

Of all cycling events, would you say Paris-Roubaix is right up there as a must-experience race day for fans? And what makes it so special and unique to other races?

It is the most unique cycling race on the planet. It is possibly one of the toughest,hardest sporting events in the World. The history, the culture, the myths of Paris Roubaix.

You either love it, or hate it. 

I love it.

SPO-PR07-001_600

Can’t make the Classics this April? No worries, there’s always next year! Stuey will be returning in 2020 for more cobble-crazy adventures. Register your interest here to ensure you’re the first to know when trip details are finalised! 

Giro 2019: Coast to Coast tour with Matt Goss

This May, we are incredibly excited to be hitting Italy to explore its finest regions and embrace the best of the spectacular Giro along the way.

Our Giro Coast to Coast Tour – May 12th-20th will be all about the inevitable early race action that will without doubt have us on the edge of our seats daily, avidly watching the word’s best battle it out on some of cycling’s greatest and most challenging terrain.

A major highlight will be having former professional cyclist, Matt Goss as tour host. Matt rode for numerous leading pro outfits throughout his very successful career, including; CSC, HTC Highroad and GreenEDGE. He stormed onto the scene from a very young age, dramatically winning the iconic monument of Milan-San Remo at just 24. 

To add, he won two emphatic sprint finish stages at the Giro in 2010 and 2012. Let’s just say, Italy holds some very special memories for Matt and we share a mutual excitement in having him host our 2019 Coast to Coast experience.

His extensive wealth of knowledge when it comes to the race, the riders, tactics and onto the regions we’ll travel through, major climbs and stage starts/finishes. You name it – he’ll be there for the entirety of the trip sharing stories, advice and insight into the race.

MATTHEW GOSS WINS STAGE NINE OF THE 2010 GIRO D'ITALIA
Matt winning Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia in 2010. Image: Graham Watson

Throughout the 9 day trip, we will be experiencing a cumulation of 6 LIVE stages, including:

  • Stage 2 – Finish into Fuecchio
  • Stage 3 – Stage depart in Vinci
  • Stage 4 – Mid-stage viewing
  • Stage 7 – Viewing on the La Svolte di Popilo climb
  • Stage 8 – Finish in Pesaro
  • Stage 9 – Individual Time Trial in San Marino

To add to some incredible race action, we will truly be seeing a slice of everything Bella Italia has to show; Starting from the stunning Tirreno Coastline, we will travel through to beautiful Tuscany and its rolling, picturesque vineyard dotted hills, to the charming walled town of Lucca, home to many pro cyclists today. 

piazza-anfiteatro lucca 2

From there, we will be moving through to the outstanding olive groves of Lazio where our visit to the home of world famous Sabina Olive Oil must be noted. In Lazio, we will tackle the famous 22km Monte Terminllo climb, iconic to the race and peaking at 1884m in altitude – certainly no easy feat!

Monte Terminillo, Italy
Image: Fotoreporter Sirotti

Next up, following some much needed R&R and perhaps a big serving of fine Italian pasta, we’ll be heading South to admire the dazzling emerald-turquoise coloured lake Turano.

bruna-branco-1270470-unsplash

lago del turano rieti lazio italy hd wallpaper Inspirational Lago del Turano Rieti Lazio Italy HD Wallpaper 2880x1800

By now, we’ll have had some magical mountain moments and will be ready to set back to the Coast – this time, East bound.

We’ll make a pitstop for some Stage viewing and for the game riders, tackle the Le Svolte di Popoli. The climb is lethal and will no doubt be dishing out some serious time in the pain cave for each metre endured of its 7.5 km length. All worth the effort, nonetheless as we’ll then kick back and see the pro’s battle it out. Fireworks expected! To reward our efforts, we’ll be enjoying a local winery tasting, over a bite in Popili as we take in the remainder of the race action and hear Gossy’s stage predictions for the day.

Fabio Aru, Giro  lana-abie-581814-unsplash

The following day, we will make our way, partly on course to the stage finish in Pesaro and get set for what is expected to be an entertaining sprint finish. Hear from the expert sprinter himself, your tour host Matt Goss on how the best in the business deal with the pressure, risk and thrill of being a world class sprinter at a race as prestigious as the Giro.

To conclude the tour on Cloud 9, we’ll be riding and experiencing the San Marino Individual Time Trial and seeing the kings of aero do their thing in style. Perhaps a few GC shake-up’s?!

Giro Simon Yates
Image: TDW Sport

Last but certainly not least, we’ll enjoy a team meet and greet with Matt’s former team, Mitchelton-SCOTT on the official Giro rest day. The prime opportunity to meet riders and their hard-working support staff & ask any questions on hand.

We can’t wait to get Italy bound and would love to have you join us for the ride. It’s never too late for an adventure!

Learn more, here.

GreenEDGE Tour de France
Image: AFP

 

Cols of the Tour de France. Our ‘Must-Do’ bucket list

Dream of one day taking on the biggest, toughest, most iconic climbs that each year shape the spectacular Tour de France?

Our Pyrenees and Alps ride experiences will be all about making Tour de France dreams a reality and conquering those mountains. Led by ace ride guides and designed to allow you to experience the best of the bergs!

Here, we’ve created a Cols of the Tour de France ‘must-do’ bucket list.

IMG_7408

PYRENEES

Hautacam: 15.8km – 6.8%

We’ll tackle the Hautacam as part of the famous ‘Hautacam loop’, including 1499m of climbing.

Lengthy at 15.8km, and an average gradient of 6.8%, but with several pinches at 10% – it will be no easy feat, but will certainly get the climbing legs into gear! Be sure to take in the exceptional panoramic views of the Argeles Valley and the Val d’Azun as you make your way to the summit of the ‘Hors Categorie’ climb.

Col du Soulor: 19.4km – 5.2%

This one is a real Tour de France classic and one of the famous ‘Circle of Death’ climbs. Relentless in length, however a leg-friendly steady gradient for most of the journey up to its peak at 1474m.

Col d’Aubisque: 16.6km – 7.2%

At just over 16km in length, averaging 7.2% and rising to 1,709m – we’re confident there will be some weary, yet satisfied legs at the summit! The pain and suffering will be rewarded superbly atop with its sensational peak views.

PYRENEES RIDE COL DAUBISQUE

Col d’Aspin: 12.8 km – 5%

Another Hautes Pyrenees favourite and a very prominent ascent in Tour de France history, having appeared in the race a significant 70+ times since 1910. Usually considered the ‘warm up’ climb ahead of it’s giant neighbour – the Col du Tourmalet. Not to worry – also to come!

Col de Spandelles: 16.2km – 5.9%

Col de Spandelles is a stunning, quiet road shaded by trees allowing an blissful climb away from the scorching heat during the thick of the Tour de France. This Cat 1 is challenging, but manageable and oh so enjoyable.

Luz Ardiden: 13.4km – 7.6%

The Luz Ardiden is famous for its incredible 25 hairpin bends and spectacular views of the Haute Pyrenees grand peaks. You’ll be able to glide up here with its steady gradient and long stretches between bends, before taking in the views atop and catching a glimpse of your next daring summit – The Col du Tourmalet.

PYRENEES RIDE LUZ ARDIDEN

Col du Tourmalet: 18.6km – 7.5%

At 2115m in elevation, it is officially the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenees. The challenging ascent has made a regular appearance throughout Tour de France history and will no doubt be providing yet another nail-biting, entertaining fight for Stage 14 honours atop.

We will be there in the thick of the Tour de France atmosphere, riding the climb ahead of the pro’s and kicking back roadside at the top, anticipating who will conclude the day King of the Tourmalet!

PYRENEES RIDE 3

ALPS

Led by former pro and Tour de France ‘lead-out’ legend himself, Nick Gates – this one’s set to be a great one.

Mont Ventoux: 21.4km – 7.6%

Mont Ventoux literally means ‘Windy Mountain’ and the name speaks for itself. To add – it has been nicknamed by many as ‘The Bald Mountain’ due to its interesting, barren Provencal landscape once above the tree line. 

The lengthy climb travels up to 1912m and is widely known throughout the cycling world as being a real physical challenge. If you reach breaking point, just think back to that one time Chris Froome had to jog to the summit finish line…

Tough, yes but the elation and incredible feeling atop will certainly make It all the more worth it.

ALPS PRO VENTOUX

 

Col du Lautaret (to Col du Galibier):10.5km – 5%

We will be using the scenic, steady Col du Lautaret as a warm-up for the Galibier to follow. The perfect chance to soak up some incredible glacial views and liven up for the real challenge beyond!

Col du Galibier (from Col du Lautaret): 8.5km – 7%

Here’s your chance to conquer one of cycling’s greatest, the Col du Galibier – where many-a legend has treaded and suffered to its summit. Brutal in nature and not just for its steady 7% gradients, but its ever-changing, often harsh conditions. The superb surroundings and amazing views at the summit, alongside that sweet taste of conquering an ‘epic’ certainly make up for the time spent In the pain cave to get there!

 

Alpe d’Huez: 15.2km – 8.1%

The legendary Alpe d’Huez awaits! This has to be the most iconic of Tour de France climbs and has appeared many times throughout its history. Most famous for its unique 21 hairpins and sensational views along the way. At 15.2km in length (to the official TdF summit finish line) and rising up to 1860m – this climb is unreal.

For any cycling bucket list – it is an absolute MUST do.

ALPS RIDE ALP D

 

 

Col de la Madeleine: 26.3km – 6.2%

Daunting in distance and climbing up to 2,000 metres in elevation, the Col de la Madeleine is no easy ride. It’s incredible green, scenic journey to the summit, however will make the time fly on by and you’ll be rewarded atop with views of not one, but three famous French Alps peaks; The Glandon, Croix de Fer and Galibier. Take it all in!

Col du Glandon: 21.3km – 6.9%

Prepare yourself for the ride of your life to conquer the last big bucket list climb of the trip – the Col du Glandon. Challenging, lengthy and just under 2000m, yet stunningly beautiful. So much so, you may even stop hearing your legs scream and focus on your gorgeous surroundings.

ALPS RIDE GLANDON 1

 

Join us for the ride of your life this July where you’ll be challenged daily tackling cycling’s most epic of climbs, all with a slice of the spectacular Tour de France along the way! See trip details, here: *Pyrenees , *Alps

Former pro, Nick Gates – All In for the Alps

At this year’s Tour de France we’re going bigger and better than ever, with a whole new ‘ride’ trip category for the avid cyclists out there, daring to be challenged and up for conquering some cols!

Our Alps Ride Experience goes one step above, with former Australian pro rider, Tour de France contender and well known lead-out specialist, Nick Gates hosting the tour. 

Although he’s been retired since 2008, he’s fit, fast and primed for some serious ride time!

Gates’ successful professional career began back in 1996 where he certainly kicked things off with a bang, winning the Commonwealth Bank Classic and storming into the Green & Gold national championships jersey with an impressive victory in the road race.

Gates went on to spend many seasons with various German outfits, and played a crucial lead-out role to one of the world’s then fastest men, Robbie McEwen. His selfless, consistent efforts to support his team mates ensured a valued reputation within pro cycling and his ticket to several Tour de France’s among numerous other Grand Tours throughout his career. In 2003 he joined the Silence Lotto team and turned his focus to playing a key support role to another Aussie great, Cadel Evans.

He ended his 12 year long career on an all-time high with a victory in his own hometown race in Townsville, with the support of long-time team mate and friend, McEwen.

Since retiring, he has remained avidly immersed in the sport which has only emphasised our excitement to have him on board with us this season. Bring on the Alps!

e1a1d6337862a04956dfc213001d2339
Robbie McEwen donning the Maglia Rosa at the Giro d’Italia (2005), closely supported by righthand man – Nick Gates.

NICK GATES Q & A

  • Career highlight/s?

A career highlight was being Australian road champion and wearing the champ jersey for a season in Europe. Winning the Commonwealth Bank classic was also a big highlight. Also being involved in the World Road Championships in which Australia won silver!

  • Favourite Tour de France moment?

Rolling down the start ramp in the centenary TDF under the Eiffel Tower was a very special moment.

  • As a pro what were your biggest strengths?

My strength was being a team player prepared to sacrifice my chances for the team.

  • And Weaknesses/Fears? 

Many, but we don’t like to admit those!

Alpe d’Huez always had a mythical feeling.

  • What are you most looking forward to in leading our TdF Alps experience this July? 

I’m excited to take guests over these iconic climbs and to be able to give them a little insight from a riders point of view.

  • You’re famously known as Aussie sprint sensation Robbie McEwen’s key and loyal leadout man. How did you cope with the pressure of leading out a world class sprinter?

Whether you ride on the front for hours to bring back a breakaway so it becomes a bunch sprint, or whether you are in the train, you have to be on a very good level, because people are depending on you.

  • Your love for cycling remains, right?! What do you enjoy most about it now you’re on the ‘other side of the fence’?

I think my love for cycling will always be there. I don’t train like I used to but certainly still enjoy riding my bike. It’s great to be able to roll out for a ride without a routine, or training session and just enjoy it.

  • What would be your best ‘training’ advice to someone preparing for the Alps?

Anyone who is coming on the Alps tour I would suggest you try and ride as many climbs as you can in the lead up to the tour so you’re not struggling each day and can really enjoy the moment. It’ll be worth it!

Join Nick for some serious French Alps adventures and a taste of the Tour de France, here.

GreenEDGE Travel – Tour Down Under experience success

This year’s Tour Down Under saw GreenEDGE Travel guests undergo the ultimate fan experience as they joined the team for their final three days on tour; escalating from Daryl Impey’s emphatic stage four win, to his history making back-to-back overall victory. All topped with the perfect retirement race for Mathew Hayman which rounded out the experience on an all-time high.

This year’s Tour Down Under saw GreenEDGE Travel guests

GreenEDGE Travel:
GreenEDGE Travel was launched in March, 2018 in conjunction with Mummu Cycling and was established to provide a platform for supporters to truly engage with the team, allowing insider access at WorldTour events and unprecedented insights from riders and staff, ensuring the optimum fan experience.

To add, GreenEDGE Travel experiences are led and designed by former members of the team, providing a natural and familiar feel to the trip, coupled with an extensive wealth of knowledge from their own racing days.  

2018 proved a huge success with the likes of Stuart O’Grady and Matthew Goss acting as Tour leaders throughout the season. A standout being GreenEDGE Travel’s debut, Giro d’Italia tour which saw Simon Yates and the team soar to a whole new level of performance in their outstanding bid for Pink; resulting in a one-of-a-kind fan experience.   

A first-time Tour Down Under:
The Tour Down Under was a first-time event for GreenEDGE Travel and went on to deliver above and beyond expectation.

As an Australian outfit, creating an experience in the Southern Hemisphere was inevitable and deemed the perfect opportunity to give Australian fans the unique chance to jump on board and join the team in its efforts to secure a double victory on home soil.

The trip would be hosted by former professional, Matt Goss; most famously known for his Giro d’Italia stage victories and Milan-San Remo title in 2011.

Trip Highlights:
Highlights throughout the action-packed three days included joining the team on Stage Four – and what a way to come on board, subsequently seeing the team soar to its first Stage success of the race. 

The excitement of the day began with pre-stage antics as guests joined the team ahead of the stage start in the exclusive rider preparation zone. Here, the prime occasion to see riders and staff preparing for the stage ahead; potentially crucial, with the iconic Corkscrew climb on the horizon and the key focus for the team to ensure Impey the best shot at a result. 

Despite a few pre-race jitters, riders were friendly, relaxed and collected ahead of their days work; happy to share insight into the race, and thoughts from within the peloton. To top rider comments, it proved a fantastic opportunity to chat to team staff, with a prominent point of interest for many, being the roles of the team mechanics and the perks and stresses of the ‘team behind the team’ ahead of the race. 

From there, our guests got to experience firsthand the thrills of riding in an official team car to the feed zone to service riders mid-stage. 

They certainly timed it to perfection, with the team working tirelessly throughout the stage to allow Daryl Impey a clear run to take the stage. Daryl’s strength, unbeatable turn of speed and race smarts, proving simply too good come the finish, as he stormed to a dramatic stage four victory and neared closer to the general classification lead.  

For our guests to directly witness the emotion and passion following a victory, is the epitome of ‘the dream’ team moments we hope to share through GreenEDGE Travel. Fair to say, they were ecstatic.

Another prominent highlight throughout the trip, was enjoying an exclusive meet and greet, followed by a Q and A session with team members; Lucas HamiltonMichael Hepburn and Alex Edmonson, alongside Sport Director Matt White. Each rider shared personal career aspirations and goals for 2019 and some great insight into the race itself, allowing a deeper understanding into their own roles throughout the race and guests the chance to engage with them along the way. 

Michael Hepburn:
“It was great to spend some time and engage with GreenEDGE Travel guests throughout the Tour Down Under, particularly away from the race in a more relaxed setting. GreenEDGE Travel is a unique platform for fans but also for the team to get to know our best supporters. It’s always pretty motivating meeting people who have been backing the team since day one – and we’re beginning to realise, there are quite a few out there!”

White then went on to elaborate on the race itself; talking tactics, plans, threats and predictions for the final weekend of Tour Down Under action and his hopes to direct the team to secure the overall victory. 

The evening, hosted by Stuart O’Grady, didn’t end there with a delicious dinner, completed with discussions throughout the duration of the evening from Goss and fellow, former GreenEDGE team mate Baden Cooke.

To conclude the three-day experience, guests set out to Willunga to view the Grand Finale in style from a stunning course, roadside hospitality setting at Penny’s Hill winery, which saw the race fly by a total of five times throughout the day. It had cheering, atmosphere and race viewing from the big screens, topped with great food and wine. 

A euphoric ending it was, with Impey’s courageous final fight up Willunga, sealing the overall victory and ensuring a dream scenario for Hayman to retire from the sport. All in all – a very momentous occasion and one we hope our guests will remember for a long time… 

A word from tour host, Matt Goss:
“Spending time with the GreenEDGE travel guys was a great experience. I had a ball with them and enjoyed giving an insight to the racing as well as meeting some old friends that we were lucky enough to catch up with and hear some of their thoughts on the TDU! I can’t wait for the next trip with our guys at the Giro!” 

Interested in joining the team at the Santos Tour Down Under on a GreenEDGE Travel experience in 2020? Register your interest, here.

SPRING FEVER – 11 days of ‘Classics’ with Stuart O’Grady

The ‘Spring Classics’ are arguably the most prestigious one day races on the international World Tour cycling calendar, taking place each season throughout March-April.

Widely known for their sheer brutality in nature, travelling over some of Europe’s most challenging terrain; from the cobbles of North Belgium to the pavé from Paris to Roubaix, onto the relentlessly steep climbs of the Ardennes and beyond to Italy. Without fail, each Classic delivers bike racing at its highest level – where the aggressors shine and the strongest riders persistently come out on top. 

On the contrary, for the spectator, the Classics are a much more pleasant experience. Each year, the entirety of the Classics period brings thousands of die-hard fans and with that, incredibly electric atmospheres. There’s rarely a dull moment, no matter the weather; every cobbled berg and pavéd sector religiously lined with cheerful crowds, excitement and the smell of fresh frites in the air!

There’s simply nothing like the thrill of experiencing a Spring Classic and this April, we’ll be lapping it up for 11 straight days.

OUR HOST

Hosted by the Classics master himself; Paris-Roubaix 2007 champion, Stuart O’Grady.

SOG Hero

Having spent nearly 20 seasons racing professionally and one of a select special few to have earned one of the most sought after trophies in cycling, the Roubaix rock – Stuart’s knowledge and expertise when it comes to the Classics is simply unbeatable. He will not only be hosting the 11 day tour, but will be out there on the roads with guests, sharing tips on how to tackle the cobbles, race tactics or predictions and will no doubt have many-a story to share from his own pro days and in particular his momentous Paris-Roubaix victory. 

30072706_2030835776930044_7392032544183505758_o

Bonus – as a former winner, his prestige will allow guests VIP access into the famous Roubaix showers, amongst many other highlights throughout the trip.

RIDE

30072943_2030823983597890_6536491211283184115_o

Throughout the 11 days, we will be tackling a total of five Classics courses by bike, to truly see for ourselves just how tough the pro’s have it. Note – expect a bumpy ride!

Kicking off with the famous Ronde van Vlaanderen (RVV) – we’ll be in for some serious adventure, as we take on the RVV Cyclo (sportif ride) a day prior to the official race. This is the perfect opportunity to ride all of the most talked about Flanderian bergs and sectors, including the likes of; The Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and the gruelling Paterberg. 

Concluding the Tour of Flanders, we will be setting off for the Ardennes to conquer the trio of Ardennes Classics. We will ride the race routes of Flèche Wallone, tackling the infamous Mur de Huy while we’re at it. Followed by the oldest Classic there is (having been held since 1892) – Liege Bastonne Liege and finally we’ll venture across to the Netherlands for Amstel Gold, contesting a few rep’s of the unforgiving Cauberg while we’re at it!

From there, it will be all about the pavé as we hit Northern France for the Queen of Classics – Paris-Roubaix. Alike Flanders, we will also take on the Paris-Roubaix challenge ride ahead of race day, allowing the unique chance to experience the famous pavéd sectors in a race-like environment. Guests will undoubtedly arrive to the finish exhausted, depleted, yet high on adrenaline and ecstatic following one ‘hell of a ride’!

30171741_2030822833598005_7132199994130467751_o

EXPERIENCE

We will be experiencing the two most talked about, thrilling monuments of cycling; The Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix LIVE, joining the thousands of other die-hard fans and the sensational atmosphere they bring.

29873229_2030836130263342_4627813093863163670_o

At the Tour of Flanders, we’ll be hitting the iconic Oude Kwaremont – a prime position to catch all the best action and our chance to see the peloton battle it out 3 times over the brutal Belgian berg. Expect plenty of cheer and perhaps a few beers!

To round out our trip on an absolute high, we’ll be catching the best of the ‘Hell of the North’ 2019 alongside Stuart O’Grady. Starting our day on the relentless Trouée d’Arenberg pavé sector, to see up close just how quick the pro’s fly by – teeth gritted, elbows out and all. We will then, using our VIP operator access make our way to the official hospitality area perfectly placed on the final corner into the finishing Roubaix Velodrome. We’ll kick back to watch the remainder of the race on the big screens over lunch and drinks, before using our VIP access to step into the inner circle of the famous Roubaix velodrome and experience a Grand Finale LIVE like no other! If it’s anything like previous years, it’ll undoubtedly be a jaw-dropping, nail biting, absolute spectacle to see. 

Could we see Peter Sagan do the double?

29983621_2030831800263775_5038207169834562294_o

MEET

Having Stuart O’Grady as your host, inevitably means you will meet a fellow cycling legend or three throughout the trip. 

In 2019, we are delighted to be once again joining the greatest cyclist of all time, Eddy Merckx for an exclusive lunch. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience for guests to hear all about the phenomenal career of Eddy ‘The Cannibal’ Merckx and chat over lunch to cycling’s ultimate great.

30168027_2030810576932564_3722921992469731079_o

Throughout the trip, we will also be enjoying a meet & greet with a Pro Team ahead of race day; a fantastic insight to see how a pro team operates ahead of a Classic. From rider pre race day antics, to mechanics avidly preparing equipment and team directors finalising race day plans.

30171494_2030833736930248_3640731319945259755_o

You really haven’t experienced the best of cycling yet until you have lived and breathed the Spring Classics. There are still several places remaining on our 11 day ‘Cobble Classics with Stuart O’Grady’ tour – Join us this April for one hell of a ride!

 

Santos Tour Down Under – That’s a Wrap!

It’s hard to believe that yet another Tour Down Under has been and gone. It was sad to say our goodbyes, but what a time we had! We’ve now arrived home exhausted, yet full of incredible memories and grateful for many new friendships made.

To refresh your memory, here’s a run down of our TDU


Our 8 day tour kicked off with an absolute bang as guests arrived in time for some serious crit action ahead of the always entertaining, Down Under Classic. To start, our riders set out on a cruisy beach ride to test out bikes and get the legs into gear for the big week ahead.

Led by local and lead ride guide for the week – Darren O’Grady, it was all about back roads, bike paths and banter as we got to know each other. 

Following the ride, we were off to the Classic and a fiery start it was – and not just the weather! Attacks were dropped from the gun, but eventually concluded in a tight, drama filled sprint finish to see Aussie sprint sensation Caleb Ewan storm to the win. 

Untitled design-26

The following day was a rest day for the riders, ahead of the official Tour start. For us – the perfect opportunity to get some ride time in with the pro’s. Thanks to Stuart O’Grady, we joined Team Sunweb on their ‘recovery’ spin out to Glenelg. Recovery for some?! Amazing to think how quick these guys go on their easy days…

On return, we had a quick turn around before setting off to McLaren Vale to the famous winery, D’Arenberg. Most famous for its cube-shaped building, abstract interior, panoramic views and outstanding selection of wines – we were in for a great time!

We started with a wine tasting in the ‘cube’, followed by a long lunch of beautifully presented, delicious dishes. 

This was a fantastic way to really gel as a group, get to know each other and relax. As although a cycling experience, we also aim to deliver a holiday and include a touch of culture and additional fun along the way.
Untitled design-27

Day 3 – Race ON! Today, the Santos Tour Down Under games well and truly begun and what a cracking start it was! Scorching hot, but smiles all around as excited fans and packs of mini pelotons filled the streets in pursuit of the race. 

Our riders ventured out via the stunning Gorge road towards the mid race circuit in Houghton. All was well and merry, until we hit the gruelling, short, yet far from sweet Torrens Hill. Following a solid battle to the top, we had an easy roll to our picnic set up for the stage on the circuit. 

Spoilt for choice with a selection of cheese, crackers, fruit and filled rolls from Everyday Gourmet Platters, we were happily replenished by the time the race rolled through. It was then all about getting our cheer on and picking out favourite riders, anticipating between ourselves who would be the eventual stage victor. No surprise to see Italian speedster Elia Viviani sprint his way to the win and claim the tours first leaders jersey.

Untitled design-28

Day 4 was all about the infamous Checker Hill. The outrageously steep little climb is very well known in Tour Down Under history and not only for its brutality, but the incredible atmosphere it attracts. 

We were game and set out along the official race route, ahead of the stage to set up camp and await the pro’s. Firstly, it was all about tackling it ourselves! Painful, yes but incredibly elating atop, leaving us ready and excited for the race to roll through. Sure enough, the peloton danced up the climb, grimace free – putting our pain faces and struggles to shame, yet leaving us in awe of their strengths.

Our New Zealand Mummu Cycling contingent were thrilled to see kiwi Patrick Bevin conclude the stage on top!

Untitled design-29

The following day was a busy one with another solid ride and day of stage viewing on the cards, a separate Corporate ride out to the stage with Piper Alderman (led by Matt Goss), as well as our 4 day tour guests arriving in to town to get amongst the action.

For our 8 day riders, we cruised out of town over the Adelaide-famous Norton Summit climb – providing a great opportunity for anyone who felt they needed it to have a nudge and test their climbing legs. Led by former professional cyclist, Nick Gates – let’s just say he gave them a good run!

Following a bit of climbing, we made our way across to the race circuit for the day in Uraidla, that would be tackled 6.5 times. Once riding the lap ourselves, it was evident that today’s stage would be tough and potentially a real game changer, with a number of harsh kickers and another scorching hot forecast on the horizon.

The Mummu marquee and another delicious picnic lunch awaited us, conveniently located within reach of the stage finish and metres from a big screen. So we kicked back in style and settled in for a big day of bike racing! Our predictions proved correct, as the race exploded with a few laps to go, as we sat watching on the edge of our seats and enthusiastically cheered them through on bell lap.

It was fantastic to see eventual victor Peter Sagan guts it out over the final climb and win in a gripping, close sprint lunge to the line!

Untitled design-31

The day didn’t end there, as that evening we welcomed our new guests with a cocktail function, hosted by Stuart O’Grady, alongside Matt Goss at the fabulous Velo Precinct and what a success it was! Plenty of laughs were had throughout the night as guests met and mingled, followed by a fantastic Q & A session with Stuart and Matt – discussing all things TDU, including; race happenings and tactics, followed by their own career highlights and stories.

Untitled design-25

Day 6 was all action! Starting on a high with VIP access into the pre start riders area within the TDU race village. This went above and beyond expectations for our guests as they were able to meet, chat with and grab a few snaps to prove it with their favourite riders ahead of the day’s stage. As an added bonus, we were the only group there and were led through by former professional (and team mate to many of the riders), Matt Goss – meaning the pro’s were relaxed and happy to share a few words. Thank you Richie Porte, Peter Sagan, Daryl Impey, Mat Hayman, George Bennett and the Mitchelton-SCOTT crew for your time and valuable insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a World Tour bike race!

We left grinning from ear to ear and set for another big day ahead. First up, we hit the Stage start to send the riders off, before hitting the road with the Corkscrew our target for the day! For our riders, it was all up to start as we rolled out over the old freeway climb. Well warmed up and happy with our efforts atop, we enjoyed beautiful rollings road before reaching Corkscrew and (thankfully) descending the challenging hairpin lined climb through the ecstatic TDU crowds that excitedly awaited the stage ahead. We eventually made it to the Mummu marquee where we’d set up for another roadside picnic to enjoy the best of the action to come.

It was fantastic and thrilling to see the leaders blitz through at commendable speeds which resulted in another nail biting finish, seeing last year’s Tour winner Daryl Impey come out on top and soar a few seconds closer to the lead, behind Paddy Bevin.

Untitled design-32

An incredible day on tour was topped off superbly with a memorable GreenEDGE Travel evening at the Hilton, hosted by Stuart O’Grady and joined by special guests from Mitchelton-SCOTT; Lucas Hamilton, Michael Hepburn and Alex Edmonson. As well as team Directeur Sportif Matt White and former GreenEDGE team mates, Matt Goss and Baden Cooke.

Over the course of the night, we enjoyed a delicious meal paired with South Australian wine, while hearing the inside race scoop and stories from within the peloton as told by the Mitchelton-SCOTT crew – all following their big win with Daryl Impey in Stage 4.

Following a fantastic chat with the team, Baden and Matt took the stage to go back a few years and share some great race memories, careers highlights and laughs along the way. Thank you all!

Untitled design-33

On Day 7, our riders were up and at em’ and out the door before sunrise to tackle the ‘Challenge Tour’ sportive ride along the official TDU stage 5 route. They had a HUGE ride and even bigger grins on completion as they rolled through to the finish in Strathalbyn with a few more clicks in the legs – exhausted, yet satisfied.

Meanwhile, our non riders hit the start line in the beautiful beach suburb of Glenelg to watch the stage depart, before jetting across to the finish to enjoy some Spanish tapas over a few vinos and some stage viewing on TV while awaiting the eventual drama-filled finale.

50517245_2434825959864355_6537899131795406848_n

The trip ended on an absolute high for the final stage out at Willunga. 

To begin, our riders enjoyed a gorgeous tap out to McLaren Vale and up the iconic Willunga Hill before joining the rest of the crew at the stunning Penny’s Hill winery along the stage circuit route, setting us up in a prime race viewing location to see the riders pass by 5 times throughout the day.

For us, it was all about great wine, delicious food and electric bike racing as we went from seeing the peloton zip by to kicking back in our tent with race screenings – wine in hand, of course!

We were expecting a final showdown and the riders certainly delivered. Congratulations to the King of Willunga – Richie Porte for making it rain once more up the final climb and taking the stage win. And a huge well done to the now history making, dual Tour Down Under race winner, Daryl Impey for bringing home the overall title in incredible fashion, led by a very strong Mitchelton-SCOTT team. 

Untitled design-34

To top – what an absolute treat to see Mathew Hayman end his remarkable career on Cloud 9! Chapeau and as the boys said – Merci Hayman. We will miss his smiling face in the peloton, but very much look forward to seeing him in action on the other side of the fence. 

50885279_2200386486679868_3481971575035527168_o
@GettyImages

All in all – what a fantastic 8 days on tour for us and all involved. Thank you to our incredible guests who arrived and left smiling, making our our jobs easy and enjoyable in delivering this experience. Secondly, thank you to our dedicated team of staff on tour and back in the office for ensuring all went to plan and above and beyond. And of course, to Stuart O’Grady, our GreenEDGE Travel tour host Matt Goss, riders and the Santos Tour Down Under organisation for once again putting on one hell of a race down under!

Interested in joining us in 2020? It’s never too early to start planning! Register your interest, here.

The Final Weekend Showdown – Jayco Herald Sun Tour

The Aussie summer of cycling is now well underway and has us feeling very enthused to get back at it, on tour.

First up for 2019, we’re heading South for The Santos Tour Down Under, closely followed by the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne.

Former champion of the Sun Tour, Stuart O’Grady will be taking a trip down memory lane early February (2nd – 3rd) to lead our Jayco Herald Sun Tour Weekender experience and witness what is predicted to be one serious final showdown of racing.

Stuart_OGrady_2007SunTour_Stage7_2

We will be arriving at prime action time to experience the ‘Queen’ Stage first-hand and soak it all up as some of the world’s best cyclists battle it out up the iconic Arthurs Seat.

The race last visited the challenging climb back in 2016 and included three ascents throughout the Stage. In 2019, they’re taking it to another level with the peloton facing the daring ascent a cruel five times.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 7: Team Sky lead out front up the Arthurs Seat climb on Stage 4 on the final day of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2016 on February 07, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. PHOTOGRAPH BY Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Image: Getty Images

Although not overly long at 3km, it averages a relentless 8% and following the opening three days of racing, as well as some predicted hot Aussie summer conditions – it will no doubt be causing some serious damage to the race and could well be a real game-changer to the final standings.

The 129.4km stage will depart from Cape Schanck, before approaching the undulating, picturesque Mornington Peninsula which travels into the base of the climb. They will then tackle four laps of a 16km circuit, before taking on the ascent for one last hurrah to fight it out for the stage victory in what is certain to be a dramatic summit finish.

For us at Mummu Cycling, we’ll be enjoying a slightly more relaxed ride than the peloton, setting out from Frankston, via Mornington and along the Esplanade that hugs the coastline to Dromana, where we will hit Arthurs Seat ourselves, followed by a full lap of the course. This will allow the chance to get a real taste as to what the pro’s are in for and the stage that lies ahead. To emphasise this, we’ll tackle the climb once more – just to really get the legs firing! The reward atop will be well worth a bit of suffering, as we then kick back at the summit finish-line over some drinks and a bite, enjoy the views and await the peloton from VIP hospitality.

The following day, the race will conclude with a thrilling circuit race right in the heart of Melbourne, around the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens and alongside the Yarra River. 

The 89km stage will consist of 22 laps of a challenging 4km circuit that will certainly be no easy feat for the eventual winner. Included in each circuit in the final km, lies the steep kicker of Anderson St hill. Could we see a sprinter storm to an emphatic final stage victory, or will it be one for the breakaway? And ultimately, who will be heading away with the Yellow jersey on their back…

With the likes of Mitchelton-SCOTT, Team Sky, Trek-Segafredo and EF Pro Cycling all set to hit the start-line, alongside some hot young Aussie talent – it’s sure to be a great one.

2018hststg2-074
Image: Jean-Pierre Ronco

At Mummu Cycling, to prepare for another big day of bike racing at its best, we’ll be setting out on bikes ahead of the race for a famous ‘Beach Road’ lap before returning to the Botanic Gardens to participate in Ride Melbourne. This will place us right in the heart of the race course and will provide the perfect opportunity to cut some laps ahead of the pro’s.

We will then relax and enjoy a roadside picnic, within close proximity to the finish line, ensuring prime positioning for a day of serious race entertainment.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour
Image: Con Chronis

Join us for the ride and what we’re confident will be an unforgettable weekend! Head here for further details.

Cobbles for Beginners by Sam Bewley

The cobblestones of the Arenberg forest in Paris-RoubaixClassic Cobbles – they’re the pointy, slippery, almost always uneven and sporadically placed stones that fill some of the most famous stretches, sectors and bergs of professional cycling.

The gnarly cobblestones never fail to put on a show throughout the Spring Classics, most commonly used as sections of the race to put the hammer down and light the race up. For spectators, it’s a true delight to watch as the peloton battle it out across them – the leaders gliding over them, technique and style a master class. 

For any newcomer, the cobbles can seem a little daunting when preparing to ride them for the first time. It’s certainly no easy feat or click of the fingers and for anyone, takes practice and time to perfect. 

When it comes to the cobbles, a little advice goes a long way, so here we’ve had a chat to pro New Zealand rider Sam Bewley of Mitchelton-SCOTT…

Sam has been professional since 2009 and a key member of the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad since 2012. He has a string of Olympic, Commonwealth and World championships medals to his bow from his successful period as one of New Zealand’s best Track Teams Pursuit riders. 

Since turning his full focus to the road, Sam has excelled in his role and has helped the now leading World Tour team to many victories, from one-day races to Grand Tours.

Sam is no stranger to the cobbles, having raced the monumental Spring Classics for many back-to-back seasons as a professional; from the iconic Ronde van Vlaanderen to Paris-Roubaix and beyond. 

He is now back in New Zealand avidly preparing for the season ahead and is set to tackle the Classics once more this Spring! 

image3
Image: Getty Images

COBBLES FOR BEGINNERS BY SAM BEWLEY

  • #1- It is important to make sure that your bike is cobble ready as comfort  on the cobbles is much harder to achieve than on the normal roads. Spend some time preparing your bike. The key things you’re looking for is comfort through your hands/arms and through the bike in general. Start with adding an extra layer of bar tape to your handle bars. This can feel strange at first, but you won’t regret it once you hit the cobbles. Secondly is your tyres and tyre pressure – ideally you want to use 28mm tyres, 25mm is the minimum. Play around with different tyre pressures or do some research. You want them softer than normal. For the cobble climbs of Flanders 6-7bar can be fine but for Roubaix you would be looking at anything from 4.8 – 6bar depending on the weight of the rider.
  • #2- Learn what you are riding. If you have a loop planned or are riding the Flanders or Roubaix Gran Fondo’s, study what sections you will be riding. This will help you to understand what you are in for as the length and roughness of each section can vary quite a lot. This will help you prepare mentally for what is coming and help you to know when to save energy for those tougher sections.
  • #3- Once you get to the cobbles – look for the best line. There are often a few different places you can ride on any particular section and there is normally one or two lines that are better than the others. On the climbs of Flanders, you might find the edge of the road a nicer place to ride, whereas at Roubaix, you will usually find the centre of the road is best. As tempting as it can be to head for the dirt on the side of the sections, it is often the worst place to ride. There is a higher chance of punctures with the rocks and it can be dangerous over there with big holes and lips. It is always safer to stay in the middle even if you feel you are bouncing all over the place.
  • #4- Gear selection. It is too easy and almost natural to slip into riding a bigger gear and drop the cadence lower than you normally would. It is important to make sure you keep your cadence high and in your natural sweet spot. This may seem counter intuitive, but after a few sections you will appreciate the energy you have saved by avoiding grinding those bigger gears.
  • #5- Enjoy it! Riding the cobbles is a really cool and unique experience. For those die hard cycling fans some of your greatest memories of watching bike races will be from Flanders and Roubaix, so get out there and enjoy the experience. Pretend you’re Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellera or Mat Hayman and enjoy something very unique!

Paris-Roubaix
Image: Tim De Waele

Interested in giving the cobbles a crack this Spring, while enjoying the best of World Tour cycling along the way at the Spring Classics?

Check out our trip line-up here and join us for the bumpy ride!

2019 La Vuelta Route Reveal

The official La Vuelta route has recently been confirmed by organisers for 2019 and appears unsurprisingly challenging, including 8 uphill finishes and some relentlessly tough stages.

The 74th edition will take place from August 24th – September 15th, departing from Salinas de Torrevieja with an opening Team Time Trial and finishing in Madrid, concluding a total of 3,272.2km of racing. 

ae797

The opening three stages will remain in the Costa Blanca area of Eastern Spain before heading to the province of Alicante and onto Valencia, Teruel, Castellón, Tarragona and Barcelona. This first week will certainly be bringing some heat with several sprint stages and three back-to-back summit finishes to really get the GC battle stirring.

On Stage 9, however – just ahead of the first rest day, the games will truly begin as the peloton travel back to the mountainous Andorra, which proved to be a real game-changer to the race in 2018. The ascent dominated stage will include a succession of viciously challenging mountain passes, including a new edition to the race – Coll d’Engolasters and an additional 4km of dirt track, just to ensure fireworks are firing!

Concluding the rest day, riders will briefly cross into France to tackle a 36km individual Time Trial into Pau, also a stage host of the Tour de France.

41572286_2016799025038616_1234730224889888768_o
@GettyImages

The race will then return to the Peninsula via Navarre, onto the Basque Country, Cantabria and Asturias. Included will be a combination of sprint stages and mountains, with some familiar and new ascents on the menu – the Santuario del Acebo and Alto de La Cubilla to name a few.

Throughout the final week, the race moves to the central region of Spain, from Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leòn, and onto Madrid for the spectacular Grand Finale.

The final bid for GC honours will take place in the Gredos and Guadarrama mountains, and could well prove a real opportunity for a late race shake-up. Included is the brutal La Morcuera, which will be tackled not once but twice! The famous ascent was featured in the 2015 edition when Fabio Aru dramatically stole the lead from Tom Dumoulin on the penultimate Stage 20.

As the last Grand Tour of the season, La Vuelta never fails to put on a real spectacle with the professional peloton in full force and primed for serious battle. Paired with the Spanish heat, sensational atmosphere and incredibly challenging terrain – the 2019 edition will be one not to miss!

Yates you Can

_103417574_yates_getty1

Defending champion, Simon Yates’ confirmation of return will not be officially determined until later season concluding the Giro D’Italia. However, now that the challenging route has been revealed, we have a strong feeling he’ll be back to fight it out for Red with all guns blazing.

Concluding La Vuelta route launch late December, Yates (stated by GreenEDGECycling) said, “There’s some spectacular summit finishes, some that I know already and it looks really difficult.

“I think in general the route looks good, with a team time trial at the start we have a really good strong team there and also the stage to Andorra I know the roads really well, which we saw this year. 

“With the individual time trial I am slowly improving year on year and I think I am at a level now were I am not afraid of the time trials. For the rest of the stages, there’s many mountains and from what I have seen from the route there’s a lot longer climbs which is good. 

“Watching the video tonight from the race this year, it brings back really good memories and it’s good to see that the Vuelta 2019 look as hard as always.”

41903738_2023716597680192_7924554951378862080_o
@GettyImages

We’re backing Yates and will be there alongside him and the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad with GreenEDGETravel.

Join us on an experience like no other, that will allow you inside access to the defending champions and to truly feel part of the team as they fight it out for a consecutive victory!

Stay tuned for our La Vuelta 2019 GreenEDGETravel experience complete trip itinerary set to go live and on sale next week.

 

Jayco Herald Sun Tour Talk with Former Winner, Damien Howson

We recently announced the exciting news that we will be hitting the Australian Jayco Herald Sun Tour in 2019 for the final weekend of racing and what will no doubt be a thrilling few days, including a brutal summit finish up Arthurs Seat.

The 5 day event, held from January 30-February 3rd is set to be a real spectacle with the likes of Richie Porte, a stellar Mitchelton-SCOTT line-up and other promising names of pro cycling set to battle it out for victory and join the highly prestigious race honour roll. Included are the names of; Chris Froome, Esteban Chaves, Sir Bradley Wiggins and our own Stuart O’Grady back in 2008.

The pro peloton will be no doubt be bringing their A games, using the race as final prep before jumping abroad for the European season. It will be no easy feat, with a hungry selection of young Australian talent also bringing their best, ready to perform and show it to the big guns – Expect some serious fireworks! 💥

f756a1ec0b8de3ebb2fd17322735f8218e4c91d6
Image: AFP

Here, we had a chat with 2017 tour winner, Damien Howson on all things Herald Sun Tour and thoughts on what’s to come in 2019!

It was a huge accomplishment and a real stand-out career performance winning the overall tour back in 2017 – Were you expecting to and what did it mean?

It was a special win for me as my first in my professional team colours, but also it’s an iconic event in Australia with many world-class winners pre and post my win in 2017. It’s a race I have always seemed to do quite well in, finishing on the podium in the last 3 editions and a few other top 5’s prior to that.

Mitchelton-SCOTT have won the race 4 times in the last 5 editions, only beaten by Chris Froome in 2016. You’ll no doubt be returning to do the same – with yourself or a team mate? What are your personal aspirations for the 2019 Tour?

Yes it’s a race like all races throughout the season where the team tries to produce great results, but it’s also a home race in Australia which offers a lot of opportunity to newer and younger team members.

Do you think Richie Porte is going to be a real threat for the overall victory at the race? Who else do you think will be key contenders?

Of course – Richie is a rider able to win most races on the calendar and I’m sure he would like to start the season well and add his name to the honour roll, but we also have a strong team on the start-list with many guys hoping to be around the mark.

What Stage are you most looking forward to?

I think the race as a whole looks great; from one of my personal favourites of Arthurs Seat, to a city race in the heart of Melbourne that should be well perceived by the public.

And Stage you’re most dreading?!

I dont dread any stage – the weather is normally fantastic, the route is always creative and showcases Australia in both urban areas, but also the beautiful countryside.

Do you think a lot could change on the Arthurs Seat stage?

In the past, this climb has always proven a difference, but it’s only one difference that can be made on this climb – there are so many other ways the race can take shape beforehand.

With the European season just around the corner following the Herald Sun Tour – Is it used by yourself and other professionals as key preparation for the season abroad?

Yes, for sure the Sun-Tour offers a great exposure to racing with a more calm atmosphere. It’s nice to race the young Australians trying to make a name for themselves, but also other professionals with a similar approach for the year ahead.

What are your key goals and targets for the 2019 season?

I’m personally trying to have another strong and consistent season, with many of the worlds biggest races mixed in with others to deliver some results and/or utilise them as a stepping stones to support our leaders in the likes of Grand Tours.

untitled-3792
Image: Con Chronis

Keen to join us for the final showdown and see Damien amongst other big names of the pro peloton battle it out for victory? Hosted by Australian cycling legend, Stuart O’Grady – you will ride/drive the official Arthurs Seat race loop, enjoy VIP hospitality at the summit finish line, entry into Ride Melbourne, a final stage on-course picnic, dinner with Stuey and more! Click here for further details.

Mathew Hayman Celebration Luncheon

This week we came together at Melbourne’s Crown River to celebrate the incredible career of one of Australia’s most respected and decorated cyclists, Mathew Hayman. Perhaps most famous for his highly emotional, sensational Paris-Roubaix victory in 2016 when he made his dream a reality.

Following 19 years of professional level cycling, Mathew will be retiring from competition at the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under with the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad with whom he has been a key member of since 2014. 

His friendly face, positive attitude, dedication to the sport, and year’s of experience within the peloton will certainly be missed on the racing scene, so it was welcomed news when it was confirmed by team owner, Gerry Ryan that Mathew would be continuing with the outfit in a new role, following his retirement from racing. 

The luncheon was hosted by Matthew Keenan, with words from special guests: Stuart O’Grady, Matt Goss, Baden Cooke and Koen de Kort. All four former/current professional riders joined Mathew on stage in a panel discussion to share many-a memory from their racing days together and career highlights from his extensive journey and time in the pro peloton. 

Baden, Matt Goss and Stuart have all been ambassadors and tour hosts for Mummu Cycling in 2018 and will continue to be next season, so it was great to have all three riders there as special guests. .

205A0528

When event host, Matthew Keenan got chatting to Hayman, some fantastic career moments were shared. A very memorable story that came up and certainly brought a smile to the room, was that at his first ever club race in Canberra, he didn’t so much as take a step out of the car. He’d seen a rider warming up, doing efforts and that was that – too nervous to get out and contend the race! Funnily enough, it turned out that rider was Michael Rogers! Let’s safely assume the Canberra Club Championships were never won easy.

Another highlight was having both Australian Paris-Roubaix champions; Hayman (2016) and O’Grady (2007) share race memories and talk all things Roubaix. Both names are and always will be prominent forces in Australian cycling, having won the highly prestigious monument throughout their careers. 

205A0601

Concluding a lengthy career with many years at professional level, Mathew has achieved some impressive personal, team and National victories along the way, including Gold in the 2006 Commonwealth Games road race. Over the seasons, he has gathered quite a number of treasured jerseys from his time on the circuit. We were honoured and lucky enough to have a selection of these on display throughout the event.

205A0029

To add to many career memories shared and tales told, over a delicious lunch – the live auction of “money can’t buy” experiences and memorabilia was a huge success. A total of $14,000 was raised with proceeds going to the Jonathan Cantwell Family fund.

All in all, it was a very special occasion to be part of. At Mummu Cycling we were honoured to be the event organisers and now eagerly await the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under to see Mathew officially sign out from the sport on a high. 

Chapeau Mathew!

To view the complete gallery – head here.

205A0374

A special thanks to our event partners: Crown Casino, Team Mitchelton-SCOTT, GreenEDGE Travel, Bike Exchange, Mercedes-Benz Toorak, Jellis Craig and all guests who’s contribution and attendance helped ensure a fantastic event.

205A0015

GreenEDGE Travel has created a highly unique opportunity to join the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad and Mathew at the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under as they aim to match their 2018 success and round out a stellar career in the process. We’re picking a toast or two will be had! *For more information, head here.

‘Tis the season to plan out your 2019 ride adventures…

With December now in full swing, we’re starting to feel festive, cheery and very excited for the 2019 season that lies ahead.

Here – we’ve come up with 12 trip ideas for 2019 that may tickle your fancy this Christmas, gift the dream cycling experience to a loved one, or at least get you planning next year’s escapades!

1. Up for some fun in January? It’s not too late to Tour Down Under. Join us on an 8 or 4 day Tour Down Under experience to soak up the best race action, hit the Adelaide hills for some adventure and kick back over a Barossa vino or two in between… Sure to be one hell of a good time Down Under!

2. “Paris is always a good idea,” said Audrey Hepburn and we strongly agree… Just think – The Tour de France Grand Finale along the iconic Champs-Elysées. It’s an absolute must-do experience for any lover of cycling! To be in amongst the sensational atmosphere, lined with excited crowds of fans watching the world’s best cyclists at battle, just metres away from our premium viewing spot – is indescribable. Who will bring the 2019 Maillot Jaune home and who will reign final King of the Champs-Elysées in 2019?

3. French cuisine, wine and gourmet cycling with a dash of the biggest cycling event across the globe – The Tour de France, sound like you? Our Tour des Vins will be all about mixing it up with a bit of both. Based between the stunning Rhone and Alsace regions, renowned for their incredible vineyards and gorgeous French landscape. We’ll be catching the best early live race action, while embracing the stunning countryside and French delicacies along the way!

4. Four days of Flanders FUN – this one’s all about the Ronde. Here, you will have the chance to ride the Flanders sportive ahead of race day, allowing you the unique opportunity to conquer the cobbles on closed roads ahead of the pro’s. The famously brutal Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg all lie ahead for what is sure to be one serious cobbled adventure! Following a big day out, you’ll be in for another incredible day of spectating as you join the sensational Spring atmosphere and electric crowds, for one of the biggest day’s in cycling – the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

5. How about a taste of all things Tour de France? Our ‘Best of Le Tour’ coach tour will take you on a 13 day journey from the Pyrenees, through to Provence, onto the iconic Alps and rounding out in Paris for the final showdown along the Champs-Elysées. You’ll ride through France’s most stunning regions, enjoy premium live TdF spectating and immerse yourself in the sights, while enjoying the best gastronomic delights of the countryside along the way!

6. Following Daryl Impey’s epic win in this year’s Tour Down Under – the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad will certainly be aiming for a consecutive victory. They’ll be bringing their A game and included in their team lineup is the legendary, Mathew Hayman. The 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner will be rounding out his impressive career at the race and what better way to complete over 18 years of professional racing! This GreenEDGETravel experience, hosted by former professional and Aussie sprint sensation – Matthew Goss, will ensure inside access to the team and the opportunity to truly feel part of the stellar squad on their fight for glory.

7. The BIG start. The Tour de France Grand Depart for 2019 is set to be a real spectacle, kicking off from the Belgian capital of Brussels. If you haven’t experienced the spectacular Spring Classics, this could be the perfect opportunity to get a taste. Coupled with the Tour de France – you’ll be in for the ride of your life!

8. Roubaix ROCKS. Keen to see who will claim the 2019 Paris-Roubaix rock? We do, and we’ll be there in VIP hospitality at the famous Roubaix Velodrome to see yet another legend born. It’s the ‘Hell of the North’ and a truly spectacular, must-do day on the cycling calendar. You will be hosted by former champion, Stuart O’Grady who will be sharing precious victory memories and advice along the way. To add, you’ll have the opportunity to conquer the famously tough pavé sectors yourself ahead of the race, in the Paris-Roubaix Challenge ride.

9. Pyrenees please! They’re charming, green and incredibly scenic. Add in the spectacular Tour de France, and there’s something seriously charismatic about the Pyrenees. We’ll be there in 2019, catching the best Pyrenean action moments, including the famous Col du Tourmalet summit finish. Race ON!

Prefer to click k’s for days and conquer many-a Pyrenean mountain? We also have a ‘ride’ focussed experience just for you!

10. Down for some Coast hopping? In 2019, we’ll be hitting Bella Italia to catch some serious Giro race action, ride through the stunning Italian regions from Tirreno to the Adriatic coastline and indulge in the incredible culture along the way! Hosted by former dual stage winner himself, Matthew Goss – it’s set to be a great one.

11. Allez Allez Allez! There’s something very surreal about being in amongst the Tour de France Alps atmosphere alongside countless emphatic, die-hard TdF fans, watching professional cyclists battle it up relentlessly challenging, yet stunningly beautiful ascents. In 2019, we’ll be right in the thick of the spectacular atmosphere, as well as conquering an iconic climb or three ourselves along the way…Col du Galibier, Col de la Madeleine, and Mont Ventoux take your fancy?

If you’re more about epic ride focussed days and some serious vertical metres – we also have an Alps ‘ride’ focussed experience to suit.

12. Classics for fanatics. Up for 11 action packed days of Spring Classic madness? This tour offers the perfect opportunity to conquer the most talked about cobbled climbs, sectors and pavé stretches in cycling. Hosted and led by none other than Paris-Roubaix 2007 champion – Stuart O’Grady, you’ll be learning a tip or two from one of the best in the biz. To add to cobble conquering, you’ll be catching some serious Classic race action along the way and joining the lively, passionate atmosphere while you’re at it. From Flanders to Paris-Roubaix – expect endless adventures and good times!

 

 

The Best of the Spring Classics – Key climbs and sectors to know!

For 2019, we have put together an 11 day Spring Classics tour to truly experience the very best of the Classics.

The ultimate Classics experience, led by former Paris Roubaix champion – Stuart O’Grady, will start by diving straight into the heart of Belgium for the the Tour of Flanders, followed by the Ardennes Classics and concluded with a trip to the ‘hell of the North’ for Paris-Roubaix. All in one trip? Yes – and not to mention lunching with the legendary King of Cycling along the way – Eddy Merckx, as well as a few other bonuses. Epic it will be!

With the 11 days, comes many-a famous climb and sector… To save you some research, we’ve put together a list of some of the most iconic stretches that you will tackle or see the professionals battle over on our ‘2019 Cobbled Classics with Stuart O’Grady’ tour.

30171892_2030812380265717_1337267151201867518_o

The Tour of Flanders

  • Paterberg: Average gradient – 12.9%, Maximum gradient – 20.3%, Length – 360m

The Paterburg is famously known within the cycling world for its rough cobbles, meshed with harsh gradients of up to 20.3%. As the final climb in the Tour of Flanders, it almost always lives up to its name, encouraging countless late race attacks before the final flat stretch into the finishing town of Oudenaarde.

  • Oude Kwaremont: Average gradient – 4%, Maximum gradient – 11.6%, Length – 2200m

2.2km of pain – tackled not once, but three times throughout the race and more often than not, splitting the peloton or what’s left of it to bits! It was atop the Kwaremont in 2017 that World Champion, Peter Sagan’s race was ended with a brutal late race crash.

  • Koppenberg: Average gradient – 9.4% , Maximum gradient – 22% , Length – 700m

It’s feared by all, mostly due to its harsh steepness and cobbles to combine. On many an occasion you’ll see riders being forced to run their bikes up the short, but brutal climb – usually caused by chaos ahead!

COR VOS
Image: Cor Vos

  • Muur van Geraardsbergen: Average gradient – 9%, Maximum gradient – 20%, Length – 750m

Muur means ‘wall’ in Flemish, so we’ll let you be the judge. Narrow and steep – and known to always bring an electric crowd of excited spectators awaiting the race to explode up the famous climb.

Kristof Ramon
Image: Kristof Ramon

  • Kanarieberg: Average gradient – 7.7%, Maximum gradient – 14%, Length – 1000m

A slightly longer climb for the peloton to take on and certainly a challenge. The riders will have a break from their dose of cobbles, however as the climb is lined with smooth asphalt.  

  • Taaienberg: Average gradient – 6.6%, Maximum gradient – 18%, Length – 530m. 

It’s over before you know it with it’s short length, but size certainly doesn’t matter on this occasion. More often than not, the big names will be right up at the head of the peloton and ready to pounce!

crop

  • Haaghoek: Length – 2000m

The Haaghoek is a famous sector, lined for 2km with gnarly cobblestones. The race is almost always going to explode along here as riders hit it at speed and attacks fly. One word – chaos!

  • Paddestraat: Length – 2300m

Another famous sector of cobbled madness – 2.3km of burn in the legs along this stretch is inevitable.

30051881_1800780936640427_6940271807072412464_o
Image: Getty Images

The Ardennes Classics

Fleche Wallone

  • Mur de Huy: Average gradient – 9.6%, Maximum gradient – 26%, Length – 1300m

Mur de Huy or Murder Huy? A true ‘wall’ with gradients peaking at 26%. For most people – that’s stand still steepness. For the male and female professionals battling it out at Flèche Wallone, however they will still be flying up here, albeit teeth gritted and pain faced! The climb will be tackled multiple times throughout the Classic before famously finishing atop, providing nothing but edge of the seat spectating.

  • Cote de Cherave: Average gradient – 8.1%, Maximum gradient – 13%, Length – 1300m

Often a real race-maker, conveniently placed just 5.5km before the ultimate fight to the finish up the Mur de Huy. Most commonly, attacks will fly in a final bid to break free from what’s left of the race, ahead of the Mur.

30052391_2036371296376492_7579742091365770251_o

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

  • Cote de Stockeu: Average gradient – 10.5%, Maximum gradient – 21%, Length – 1100m

Similar in nature to the Flanders Koppenburg – this little bugger is tough. Steepest from the bottom, very roughly surfaced and narrow in width. There’s no messing around up here!

  • Cote du Rosier: Average gradient – 5.9%, Maximum gradient – 9%, Length – 5400m

Unique to your typical Classics climb is its 5.4km length. While not overly steep – the twisting, winding climb, as well as its varying profile ensures a tough battle to the summit.

  • Cote de la Redoute: Average gradient – 8.4%, Maximum gradient – 22% , Length – 2100m

The Cote de la Redoute is usually placed at the pointy end in the final 40km of the LBL Classic and is highly famous to the race. Starting out at a lower gradient and gradually gaining steepness, reaching up to 22% before eventually flattening out towards the summit. 2.2km will no doubt seem like a hell of a lot longer up this grind of a climb. Race on!

eddy m
Image: Eddy Merckx – Road Journal 1971

Amstel Gold

  • Cauberg: Average gradient – 5.8%, Maximum gradient – 13%, Length – 1200m

It’s the most iconic climb of Amstel Gold and has also been featured in multiple World Championships courses, as well as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. Climbed numerous times throughout the Classic, its unforgiving steepness and open road is renowned for dishing some pain and lactate to the legs. Not to mention, it’s positioned a mere 1.8km from the finish line. Ouch.

TDW Sport
Image: Tim de Waele/TDWSport

  • Eyserbosweg: Average gradient – 8.1%, Maximum gradient – 23% , Length – 1100m

It’s just over 1km in length with some leg ripping sections gaining up to a gradient of 23%. Painful – yes, but worth a strong attack as open, wind-gusted fields follow when the climb flattens out and the peloton can easily splinter.

Paris-Roubaix

  • Forest of Arenberg: Difficulty – 5 Stars, Length – 2400m

It’s one of the most difficult sections of the race, lined with hungry tooth-like cobbles, laid sporadically across the 2.4km stretch of pavé through the Forest of Arenberg. More often than not crash and puncture filled.

29871617_2026822430664712_7982206219099035412_o

  • Carrefour de l’Arbre: Difficulty –  5 stars, Length – 2100m

Nearing the end of the 250 + km race and having already travelled over countless gruelling pavé sectors, lies the lethal Carrefour de l’Arbre. Incredible crowds will line the sector and cheer on the Kings of the cobbles battling it out, nerves sky high as the race explodes with the Velodrome in sight! 

  • Mons-en-Pévèle: Difficulty – 5 stars, Length – 3000m

This tough sector is renowed for splitting the race to bits, due to the nature of its nail-biting cobbles, gradually worsening throughout its 3km distance. To add, it has a series of sharp 90 degree turns!

29873229_2030836130263342_4627813093863163670_o

 For a day-to-day itinerary and further details on our 11 day 2019 Cobbled Classics with Stuart O’Grady tour – head here.

Santos Tour Down Under Q & A with Luke Durbridge – Mitchelton-SCOTT

27 year old Australian professional cyclist, Luke ‘Durbo’ Durbridge has been with the now dominating Mitchelton-SCOTT squad since 2012 and has proven to be a real backbone to the team and their success over the years. His biggest strengths predominantly lie in the Individual and Team Time Trial and in recent seasons, he has certainly stepped up to become a real Classics contender, as well as a consistent team strength and support in Grand Tour’s.

Durbo took a shine to the Santos Tour Down Under at his first appearance with the UNI SA development squad in 2011 and has competed in almost every edition since with Mitchelton-SCOTT (GreenEDGE). His only absence was this year due to a broken collarbone sustained at the Australian National Championships.

He will be returning to the race in 2019 and following the team’s victory with Daryl Impey this year, they’ll no doubt be aiming sky high!

Tour Down Under
@TDWSport

 TDU Q & A WITH DURBO 

  • How many Tour Down Under’s have you taken part in?

I have done 7 – the only one I missed was this year.

  • Favourite TDU memory?

It would have to be the second time we won with Simon Gerrans, as Caleb Ewan was also winning all the stages. We won the overall, the sprint jersey and 5 stages! It was an epic year.

  • Best TDU race moment?

A few years back we took it up with Sky into the bottom of Willunga and split the group into a small bunch in the crosswind, which gave Gerro the best chance to race up Willunga. He did – and he went on to win the overall.

  • What’s so special about the TDU, compared to other World Tour events?

It’s in Australia, so we have home fans cheering us on and there are also plenty of great events around the race for people to enjoy.

For the riders, it’s nice and convenient as there’s only one race hotel and a lot less travel than what we’re used to when stage racing throughout the season. 

We can also ride back to the hotel from most stages as they’re short. Just action packed, short racing. I love it!!

  • TDU atmosphere thoughts?

Love it. Fans get really get into it, especially when cheering for the Aussie’s – they really get behind us.

  • Aspirations for the 2019 TDU? 

To win the overall with Darryl Impey again.

  • Stage you’re most looking forward to?

Stirling is always a great circuit, but I think Willunga is going to be the big day.

  • Stage you’re most dreading?

The Down Under Classic crit…always such a fast, hard first opener to the race.

  • As the Mat Hayman retirement race, it will no doubt be a pretty special time for the team?!

I’ll be honoured to ride in his last race. A true champion of the sport and a great friend. It should be a great send off for him.

12552560_1053299764721885_2638587882069990661_n

Thanks for the words Durbo and all the best for January, 2019!

We’ll be there right alongside, backing Luke and the squad throughout. Want to join us?! Head here for details.

Stuey’s Annual TdF Route Review (Tour de France 2019)

Read what 17 x Tour de France rider,  Stage winner and Yellow jersey wearer – Stuart O’Grady has to say on the recent Tour de France official route reveal…

Every Tour de France is extremely hard and 2019 will prove no different…

  • 3460kms in total will be covered
  • 5 gruelling mountain top finishes.
  • & 54 TT kilometres

Starting off in Brussels, the home of the Greatest cyclist ever – Eddy Merckx, who will send off the riders and their passionate fans in recognition of his First TdF Win 50 years ago.

Whenever you race in Belgium, the fans come out to play and this will undoubtedly be bigger and better than ever. There will be literally millions of people alongside the roads, turning the already tricky, windy rough Belgian roads into a complete carnival. It’ll be awesome to watch – but a nightmare to race in!

The riders will tackle the famous Muur on the opening stage, but it will no doubt be a sprinter who pulls on the first yellow for 2019. 

Stage 2 is a fast & furious 27km TTT around Belgiums Atomium. The short TTT will keep the stress levels high and already show some significant time gaps for the weaker teams.

We will then venture into the champagne country where rolling hills will give the attackers their first chance for victory.

Stage 6 see’s the first mountain top finish and you couldn’t get much tougher. A 24% climb awaits up La Planche des Belles Filles where the  GC contenders will be looking to strike.

Stage 7 is a very long 230kms, where the sprinters surely wont let this occasion slip by.

Onto Stage 8 and it will likely be one for the breakaway riders before racing into the home town of Romain Bardet on stage 9.

Riders will then tackle another long 218kms on Stage 10, leading into the first rest day of this years Tour de France, which will by now be very much deserved and appreciated by the peloton!

Concluding the rest day in Albi – once again the TDF visits my old home town of Toulouse and one of the most beautiful areas of France.

The race against the clock, over 27kms around Pau should really test the GC riders. It’s short + fast and will again give a clearer guide as to who the favourites are heading into the mountains.

The legendary Tourmalet awaits the riders and for the 3rd time in history it will judge the finish line. Expect a show!

The final rest day in Nimes will be a blessing for the bunch before they tackle an incredibly challenging final week.

Stage 18 has 3 climbs over 2000m and should really play out to be one of the greatest battle stages of the Tour, passing over Vars, Izoard & the Galibier.

Stage 19 passes over the highest road in the Alps at a staggering 2770m – Col de L’iseran.

For me, however – the final mountain stage over 127kms will be the last great battle. 60kms of climbing and 60kms of descending over Cornet de Roseland and Val Thorens. It will be time for those that have attacked to defend and for those that haven’t received the result they’re after to go into all-out attack mode. It will once again be a worldwide show stopper.

The Tour de France will have its Gladiators doing battle and now with a new TdF winner defending his crown, it will once again prove to be an amazing race to watch unfold as the best cyclists on the planet take to the streets.

I cant wait to be there once again to witness not only the action, but experience France at its glowing best. Everyone is happy, the sun’s hot, the drinks are cold, the food is incredible and we get to live, breathe and taste cycling for 3 weeks.

Vivre Le Tour….

Copy of Copy of 800px × 500px – Untitled Design-2

On 29.10.18 all Mummu Cycling 2019 Tour de France experiences will be LIVE and on sale via mummucycling.com. Join Stuey and the team for what’s set to be an epic edition of the world’s most spectacular bike race! 

Best Cycling Trips in Europe

Mummu Cycling has been a world-wide cycling tour operator since establishment in 2010. With cycling being such an international sport and as it rapidly continues to grow globally, Mummu Cycling now boast a global support network of offices in Australia, Europe and the USA. With the true centre of professional cycling being in Europe, Mummu Cycling’s major focus is on creating and carefully designing the best cycling trips in Europe possible.

Cycling Trips Europe

All Cycling trips in Europe are led and designed by cycling legend – 17 time Tour de France contender and Paris Roubaix 2007 winner, Stuart O’Grady. Stuart’s knowledge and insight into the sport and in particular on cycling throughout Europe, having spent countless years’ racing and training throughout, is invaluable.

The European season kicks off with a bang in the cycling-crazed, fan-filled heart of Belgium for the Spring Classics with tours focussed on experiencing the very best of the most iconic Classics to the sport. To ensure the best cycling trips in Europe are had, Stuart will take guests up the most gruelling, famous bergs, to the most talked-about, race-changing sectors. Included in a stellar line-up of races experienced is; The famous Tour of Flanders, through to Paris-Roubaix and across to the Ardennes Classics.

Mummu Cycling’s trips in Europe continue through to Italy and the first Grand Tour of the season, The Giro d’Italia. The three week race is a true spectacle travelling through Italy’s most stunning and challenging terrain and tackling countless world-famous climbs. To top, atmosphere and Italian culture are outstanding and Mummu Cycling provide an experience that embraces the best of both worlds, ensuring a memorable cycling trip in Europe is had.

The ultimate, must-do best cycling trips in Europe take place in France for the biggest, most talked about bike race in the world – The Tour de France. In 2019 Mummu Cycling will be running a succession of 8 unique cycling trips at the Tour to ensure an experience is delivered for everyone. Experiences will kick off in Brussels with the Grand Depart, through to the spectacular Pyrenees and Alps mountainous regions and eventually conclude with a final hurrah into Paris, to end an incredible three weeks on the iconic Champs-Élysées. All experiences will be led by yellow jersey wearer and Stage winner of the Tour, Stuart O’Grady and will range from big days in the saddle ticking off bucket list climbs, to spectating from the very best VIP areas along course, to sipping champagne and enjoying French canapés at the finish.

To conclude the European season, Mummu Cycling travel to Spain to tackle the final Grand Tour of the season, La Vuelta a España. As the final opportunity for many professional cyclists to shine for the season, the Vuelta is undoubtedly always a true spectacle to watch and be part of. To add – the race travels through breathtaking regions throughout Spain and some outstanding terrain for cycling. Culture and incredible weather make for an incredible cycling trip in Europe.

To top Mummu Cycling’s line-up of ‘best cycling trips in Europe’, there are also alternative, unique experiences on offer in 2019. Included in the latest additions to product line is a Milan-San Remo ‘monument’ experience with former winner of the race and sprint sensation, Matthew Goss. As well as ‘Pro Weekend’ cycling trips in Europe that involve riding with a professional or former professional cyclist throughout their most rated home training grounds and enjoying a weekend ‘in the life of’.

2019 preparation to create the best cycling trips in Europe is now well underway and set to be bigger and better than ever before. Watch this space!

 

Cycling Trips Europe