Start in the pretty village of La Breole. In the afternoon there will be a welcome meeting and the opportunity to build your bike or collect your local hire bike before dinner
Today's ride starts gently, following the foot of the Serre Poncon dam before heading south into the Alpes de Haute Provence. This region of France, nestled between Provence and the Southern Alps offers a truly picturesque landscape. The three 2nd category climbs of the Col des Sagnes (1182 m), Col des Garcinet (1176 m) and Col des Fillys (1322 m) are on the menu with relatively steady gradients averaging between 3 to 4%. From the final summit a superb ride back down to La Breole enjoys some breath-taking views of the Serre Poncon lake.
Ride approximately 85km
Today's ride combines a superb cycle around the entire Serre Poncon lake, as well as testing yourself on the 2013 Tour de France individual time trial course from Embrun to Chorges. The 32km TT route is stage 17 on the Tour and will be tackled by the professionals only two days later. In the morning, the ride takes us from La Breole to Savines le Lac following a balcony ride along the lake. Arriving in Embrun we pick up the 32km time trial course before completing the loop following the super balcony road on the west side of the lake.
Ride approximately 95km
Today we will make our way to the town of Gap to watch the finish of stage 16 from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap. A splendid balcony ride, initially on the left bank of the river Durance, takes us through peach, apple and pear tree fields and past some lovely villages like Venterol. Continuing down the valley, the road passes the world renowned rock climbing spot of Ceuse, overlooking the Ecrins National Park mountain range and finally the town of Gap. There will be a fantastic atmosphere building before the culmination of the stage. After the finish there will be a chance to mill around and hopefully watch the podium presentations, before riding back to La Breole along a more direct route.
Ride approximately 95km
After two relatively challenging cycling days, today will be easier with the focus on spectating and supporting the Tour de France! We start with a nice ride following the scenic 'Route des Vins' before stopping in Chorges. Here we'll spend a lot of the day watching the finish of the stage 17 time trial. This is a fantastic opportunity as you will get the chance to really study the individual riders one at a time, rather than just see them all whoosh by in a peloton. How do they compare to your own efforts earlier in the week? When all of the excitement is over we'll ride back to La Breole.
Ride approximately 58km
In the morning we ride back to Gap to watch the start of stage 18 to Alpe d'Huez. This is likely to be one of the key stages of entire race so there is likely to be an atmosphere of anticipation. A start town is actually a great place to watch as it's about the best opportunity you'll get to actually see all of the riders, bikes and team buses up close. Once the peloton leaves we will follow them up to the 1st category Col de Manse (1270m), there is 9.5km of climbing with gradients up to 7%. The Col de Manse is a classic of the Tour de France, having been climbed a total of four times. From here a nice ride through the Drac valley will bring us to the village of Ancelle and the start of the relatively easy 2nd category Col de Moissiere (1571m). We will ride back to La Breole potentially stopping at a café (with a tv!) en route.
Ride approximately 90km
Our final ride heads to the heart of the Alpes de Haute Provence region with a loop ride to Dignes les Bains. The scenery today is truly spectacular as we climb the Col Saint Jean (1340m), Col de Maure (1346m), and the Col du Fanget (1459m), before a very nice finish along the gorges of the River Blanche. If anyone would prefer a more relaxed day, it is possible to shorten this loop ride by 40km by not going as far as the town of Dignes.
Ride approximately 120km
End La Breole.