GreenEDGE Travel hit the recent Tour de France’s middle week to experience the best of the Pyrenees, as the team went head-to-head with some of the Tour’s most challenging and race-shaping stages.
The six-day experience had guests kick starting their week with a visit to the team hotel on the Tour’s first rest day, through to the thrilling Col du Tourmalet summit finish on stage fourteen.
Hosted by former team member, Matthew Goss, guests received unprecedented insight throughout. Suited to both riders and spectators alike, the trip offered a varying itinerary complete with great riding, race hospitality and incredible live stage viewing.
The team flew into the first Tour de France rest day on cloud nine, several days after the sensational stage nine victory of Daryl Impey. Six years on from his stint in the Maillot Jaune back in 2013, the win marked another highly momentous career achievement as his first ever individual Tour de France stage victory to add to team time trial success. Concluding some very challenging opening stages to the race, legs were weary and the rest day was warmly welcomed, yet the mood remained bright and motivation high.
GreenEDGE Travel guests timed their arrival to perfection, joining the team late afternoon for a meet and greet in a relaxed environment and stunning outdoor setting in Albi. Here, the riders and staff took some time to discuss their opening week and share thoughts and ambitions for the mountainous stages that loomed. Guests then had the opportunity to ask questions and chat with the riders one-on-one before enjoying dinner at the team hotel to close out a fantastic day one on tour.
Stage eleven rolled around briskly and the GreenEDGE Travel riding contingent took to the start in the buzzing centre of Albi, to enjoy the ‘Ride Depart’; an exclusive Tour de France tour operator asset that allows guests the opportunity to ride off the official stage start line, just hours ahead of the race and on closed roads. A privileged experience, that ensures ‘fans’ witness firsthand what it feels like to be ‘within the barriers and on course’ at one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Enthused supporters and an electric atmosphere from the start gun, made for a ride to remember; our guests absorbing every km, before completing their ride mid-stage to settle in for some stage viewing from the shade of our roadside marquee, over a picnic lunch. Here, they awaited the race to pass, all set to support Mitchelton-SCOTT in full force.
The following day, our guests ventured in to the heart of Toulouse city to meet the team ahead of the stage twelve start. Here, they had access to the official ‘departure village’ while they awaited the team’s arrival, allowing time to explore the atmospheric village and its festivities. Later, making their way to the team bus zone to visit the riders ahead of the stage, seeing firsthand how the team operates ‘pre-race’ and riders’ different preparation routines. From there, it was time to wish them well before departing to the stage finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, by bike or transfer.
On arrival, it was all-go and excitement was gradually building as Simon Yates’ breakaway move looked certain to succeed. Guests enjoyed all the action from the Izoard finish-line hospitality, where live coverage, beverages and French canapés ensured the prime combination for some thrilling race viewing. Tension and question continued to build as Yates and his remaining two breakaway companions approached the final km’s in hot pursuit of stage honours. The talented climber eventually claimed a dramatic victory, taking his competitors by surprise, as he out-sprinted them in a furious dash to the line, securing the team’s second stage success of this year’s Tour de France. How special, for GreenEDGE Travel guests to be right in the thick of it, to witness such an exhilarating, momentous victory for Yates and team.
Next up, it was all about the race against the clock, as riders hit the undulating roads of Pau for the stage thirteen individual time trial. Today, GreenEDGE Travel guests would be enjoying the best of it, within the Tour de France’s most talked-about hospitality zone, the Relais Étape. A special experience that had them indulging in a delicious three-course lunch, paired with local French wine, all while watching the stage action live from its mid-course location and big screen entertainment. A day to pick up and move on from for the team, yet a day our guests will be remembering for a while.
From there, it was all mountain-madness as the tantalisingly tough Tourmalet awaited. The iconic ascent has featured a frequent 78 times since it’s welcoming to the Tour de France in 1910. However, this year marked only the third time the climb’s summit would crown a stage winner.
GreenEDGE Travel riding guests departed from Lourdes alongside Matt Goss, nerves high as the daunting climb grew closer. From the base, all initial worry and concern forgotten as they joined the thousands of other enthusiastic fans riding and lining the slopes of the Tourmalet; passion and excitement flooding the air. 19km later and a valiant effort from our guests, they reached the 2115m high summit and were able to enjoy the ‘finish-line’ exclusive tour operator experience that allowed them to ride from the flamme-rouge and cross the stage finish line itself. Topped off superbly with a trip to the official podium to capture the moment; smiles bright and arms held sky-high. From there, they descended part way down the climb to the Izoard hospitality zone, where they would be settling in for an afternoon of mountain-madness and riveting summit finish viewing: Primed, ready and raring to support the team as they too took on the Tourmalet.
Overall, a fantastic six days for GreenEDGE Travel: the team’s second tour stage victory was witnessed live, sporting heroes were met and well-wished, Tour de France race hospitality was experienced at best, and iconic cols were conquered. Thank you all for your appreciated ongoing support throughout the Tour de France and across the season!