The four stages we have planned are:- Stage 1 - “Le Grand Depart” 13th to 17th September Le Rouret to Sault - 329km and 6591m of vertical 4 nights with 3 days of cycling
Pre departure Dinner in Le Rouret raiding Matthew's wine cellar followed by a couple of days rolling through the hill villages of Provence and the spectacular Gorges du Verdon. On day 3 we take on the “Beast of Provence” aka Mont Ventoux. Think Tommy Simpson, Marco Pantani and Chris Froome running with a bike on his back. We will cycle through the wine region of Provence - famed for its rosés such as Minuty, across the Luberon and into the Southern Rhône. Your reward will be a finishing dinner in Chateauneuf du Pape famous for its eponymous powerful spicy reds
Stage 2 - “Pain is just French for Bread” 16th to 21st September 5 nights with 4 days of cycling Chateauneuf du Pape to Beaune - 534km and 7851m of climbing
This is where the real work starts! We swing north through the Rhône and up into the beautiful but little cycled mountains of the Jura. Day 2 sees us take on the Hors Categorie Tour de France climb of Mont du Chat (won by legends including Eddy Merckx ). Followed on day 3 by another HC, Col du Grand Colombier (which saw the end of Geraint Thomas’ and Richie Porte’s Tour last year!). We will see the steep sided valley of the Northern Rhône which is renowned for the likes of Côte Rotie, Hermitage and Cornas. Then we will traverse the Jura an underrated wine region with offbeat grape varieties and its unique Vin Jaune. Finally we cycle into the winelover’s Mecca of Burgundy for an end of stage dinner in Beaune.
Stage 3 – “Les Grande Dames du Champagne” 20th to 24th September 4 nights with 3 days of cycling Beaune to Epernay - 340km and only 3157m of climbing
After stage 2 (thankfully!) we take it down a notch with 3 days going through the rolling countryside of Burgundy and the historic towns of eastern France such as Troyes. Burgundy is home to arguably the best Chardonnay and Pinot noir terroir on the planet. We will cycle the Route des Grand Crus through villages with household names including Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits Saint Georges. We finish this stage in Champagne country with a dinner in the beautiful town of Epernay.
Stage 4 - “The Home Front” 23rd to 28th September 4 nights with 4 days of cycling Epernay to Oxted - 528km and 4194m of climbing Another rolling stage as we follow the escarpment of Champagne and then thread our way along the Western Front. We will take time out to visit a number of WW1 sites including the Thiepval Memorial to the 72,000 British MIA from the Somme and the stunningly beautiful Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. We will make landfall in Kent and then one final push through the Downs and the Weald to arrive at Sophie’s school. We will conclude with a Friday night dinner at a Kentish vineyard with hopefully many of those who have participated, joining
In order that we can start to get an idea of numbers, block peoples diaries, accommodation etc, please could you let us know whether you are interested in joining and, if so, which stage(s) you would like to join
In terms of ask, we would like you to raise at least £500 per participant. This can either be raised from third parties (i.e. sponsorship) or we are happy to add it to the cost of your stage. For those of you not wanting to transport bikes, Le Bike Butler will be arranging rental bikes for those who need them (subject to availability)
Please let us know whether you will be able to join