Tour 1 - Race Week 2 - Summits of the North
Madrid, Leon, Ascents of Asturias, Picos de Europa Mountains, North Coastline of Cantabria, Santander, Madrid (or Bilbao)
26th August to 2nd September 2016 8 days
Fully Guided & Supported4 star Hotels & Country Retreats
Moderate / Challenging (non cyclists also welcome!)
This promises to be an incredible week of road cycling, both for us and the Pros! The 2nd race week is exactly where we think La Vuelta 2016 could be decided. With summit finishes coming thick and fast, this is where the action of this year's Vuelta could be the most exciting. The most celebrated and traditional climbs of Spain and La Vuelta are to be found on this tour - this is the tour to bag many of the famous Spanish climbs of the North!
The route and stages we have chosen are breath-taking and encompass everything that makes Spain such a great place to ride. Highlights include the hors category beauty of the Lagos de Covadonga climb, widely regarded as the most famous climb in Spain, the classic Camperona finish and the category 1 Peña Cabarga ascent with views overlooking the sea and Santander are a must for any cyclist.
You will have the chance to ride the prettiest roads of Europe in the Picos de Europa mountains and the camino routes of the north rugged coastline. Truly a spectacular area of Spain and very passionate about cycling with an unsurpassed atmosphere on the mountain top stage finishes. Continue with the history of Leon, gothic Oviedo, Roman Cangas de Onis, the Jurrasic finds of Cantabria and back to the heart, cultural Madrid - this route has it all. Have a look at some of the summits we plan to cycle!
Never before has La Vuelta had such an important 2nd week!
With fewer crowds than the Tour de France, VIP race access, and our expert local knowledge of the area, you are guaranteed an exciting and fun packed tour.
We have options for non cyclists (partners or just enthusiasts) to join the buzz of following a grand tour but also enjoy the sights of the area with our assigned guide.
With fine hotels where the teams stay, great food and tapas, beautiful cycling routes, full van support, quiet roads, inside access to the race, and the best race viewing areas, we can hardly wait to be there ourselves!
Our journey will start in the capital Madrid before heading north to join La Vuelta route. Heading through the green valleys of Leon and her picturesque villages we head into Asturias, home of stone houses and the famed cider. The roads around here are a cyclist`s dream - low traffic, high mountain scenery and smooth surfaces. Each stage we ride has a summit finish - so stage finish excitment will be at a max.
We stay for a few nights to relax in the beautiful Cangas de Onis Parador, one of the most loved hotels and historical places in Spain. From here the race is on our doortstep and the picturesque Picos de Europa mountains are there for us to conquer.
Stay at the same hotels as the teams
Watch the pros ride the roads you have just ridden
Moving into Cantabria, the sea awaits with coastal cycling, Camino pilgrims and climbs before facing the short but steep Peña Cabarga summit with gradients up to 19%. Compact recommended! The vibe of the crowd will be exciting as they are passionate here about this sport and crowds will surge as the winner charges up this hill - what a place to end. Are you ready?
View Vuelta a Espana Bike Tour 1 in a larger map
- Watch LIVE and Ride race stages of La Vuelta a España 2016
- VIP Access to stage finishes (drinks, tapas, big screen tvs at finish line), viewing areas and Stage Depart Villages
- Cycle the race route as a VIP, only hours before the Pros arrive
- Access to ride across the finish line on race day
- Podium photos and behind the scences access - VIP status
- Challenge yourself on famous category climbs including Camperona, Covadonga and Peña Cabarga
- Cycle the Picos de Europa & National Parkland
- Enjoy the famous sights of North Spain. Options for non cyclists to spend time exploring.
- Fully supported riding by experienced guides, including Vuelta a Espana masters rider and mix of male / female guides.
- Fantastic accommodation (4 star and Paradors including team hotels), food, scenery and fun on the roads of Spain
- Transfers to and from Madrid included
Our itinerary (See Route Map under Overview) has been selected to include all the best stages of the 2nd week, combined with some great cycling, sights and scenery of the area. The tour passes through dramatic mountain landscapes...not fogetting to stop in some great tapas and coffee bars to enjoy the area.
Being fully guided and supported (with our support vans accredited to drive along the race route), you can cycle with the group or at your own pace, or even take a rest in the van! Non cyclists also welcome.
Friday, 26 August 2016
35km warm up ride
We meet in the capital city of Madrid (10:30 am at our centrally located hotel). This European gem of a city, makes for a fantastic location to begin the tour. After an informal welcome meeting and some chilled drinks, we take a transfer out to the historic city of Leon, a famous staging post on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, stopping en route to catch today's race stage on tv in a cafe.
We set the bikes up, making sure everyone is fitted correctly, and take a short warm up ride around. Have time for a late afternoon swim before settling down to enjoy a fine group welcome dinner in the magnificent dining room. A relaxing and great way to set us up for our upcoming adventure.
Ask about option to come the day before and enjoy Madrid. Extra nights in Madrid can be booked upon request. (Note: today is a transfer of 3.5 hours so another option is to meet at the Leon hotel in the afternoon.)
After a short transfer out of the bustling city, we pick up today's race route and our first taste of La Vuelta. This stage is a great one for us to begin as the first 90kms are relatively flat - a great way to get the legs going.
However, this is La Vuelta and the most exciting Grand Tour for a reason as the finish for us (and the peloton) is atop the incredible slopes of the category 1 La Camperona with an average gradient of 15%, with the end hitting 20%! It was last used in 2014 when the Canadian and ex-Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal powered up to take the win, with Froome putting seconds into Contador.
After reaching the top, we will enjoy our first VIP stage finish viewing area with complimentary drinks and tapas. Plus we will have an insider's tour of the inner workings of La Vuelta. A very enjoyable way to get our breaths back as we await what will no doubt be a fantastic battle for the pros, being the first high mountain cat 1 climb of La Vuelta 2016. Being a Saturday, the fans will be out in force as we sample this incredibly picturesque area.
With the chance to descend the climb after the race has finished, we take a transfer onto our 4 star hotel in the city of Oviedo, where we will be based for the next 2 nights.
Another stunning day of cycling awaits as we head out of into the green valleys that Asturias is so famous for. We ride the race route, soon heading over the first of our two category 3 climbs. This area is often used in La Vuelta and you will see why - fantastic scenery will be our constant friend today.
The climax today of stage 9 is the famed category 2 Naranco climb just on the outskirts of Oviedo. All cyclists in Asturias know this climb as it was used anually in a sportive up until a few years ago. Last used in La Vuelta 2013, Purito Rodriguez stole the show with a win on this summit. It is not a long climb (really only 6km) nor super steep (average 5.5%) but is a test as in parts it hits 10%. Being the most significant climb of the day it will be a chance for the climbers to gain some points for the blue (yes not red!) polka dot jersey of the king of the mountains competition and of course a coverted stage win.
It is a short scoot back to our team hotel in the city below. Have time to take a stroll into the tapas and wine area of Oviedo and enjoy some well earned dinner. The American actor Woody Allen classes Oviedo as his favourite European city and there is even a statue honouring him. But for us cycling fans, you are better off seeing the statue of Samuel Sanchez (Team BMC and local boy of Oviedo), honouring his Olympic Gold win in 2008!
After a good buffet breakfast, we head out into the scenic countryside of this magnificent area. Today is one of the highlight stages of this year's Vuelta. We will meet the race route as we head along the green northern coastline. We head over the cat 1 Alto de Fito, a climb where often there are cows roaming wild across the hillside! The top is very special with 360 views over Asturias.
However today is all about the ascent to the Lagos de Covadonga, a hors category thriller which is the most important and famous climb in Spain and many Vueltas over the last 25 years have been decided here (past winners include Pedro Delgado, Lucho Herrara, Robert Millar and Laurent Jalabert). How could we not take you to this incredible place? The national park of the Picos de Europa is a paradise of natural beauty and often voted Europeans' favourite place for walking and of course, cycling.
The local fans will be out in force and the atmosphere electric on this magical ascent. The 13 km climb has an average gradient of 7.5%, but watch for a short ramp at 15%! With cheering spectators lining the route, at the top we will have special VIP access at the stage meta (finish line). After the excitement of the stage, descend back down the mountain and we cycle to our nearby luxury Parador hotel in the pretty town of Cangas de Onis, our lodgings for the next 2 evenings. This amazing 11th century monastery hotel is a living museum, set within beautiful grounds and a riverside garden. We enjoy a group dinner in their well regarded restaurant.
Today is a rest day for La Vuelta, but not for us (unless you want to take a break from riding). Being in the centre of this magnificent area we thought it was the perfect opportunity to ride the roads of the coast and then up into the Picos again.
We will enjoy the really beautiful alto del Torno climb, used in La Vuelta frequently and very near to our hotel. The road winds downwards before climbing back up the gentler category 3 alto de Cabrales. The we we will offer the chance to ride to the top of the Sotres climb, a category 1 climb that was used in La Veulta 2015. The Picos are a highlight of any bike tour and the Cabrales area is itself famous for a strong blue cheese - probably not the best thing to eat before the ascent to Sotres!
In the evening, take time to explore Cangas de Onis and be amazed at her roman bridge, the symbol of Asturias. Make sure to head into a sideria (cider house) to try the regional brew and have a go at pouring the cider from high above your head as the locals do.
We transfer out to start the day's ride from one of the most scenic parts of Northern Spain's coastline. The seaside resorts come thick and fast, as we enjoy the views out over the beaches. We pedal along the race route of stage 11, which today has no category climbs....well at least not until the end!.
The cat 1 finish is a summit in the middle of a natural reserve called Peña Cabarga, and again is a very important and often used Vuelta climb. This has to be one of our favourite climbs due to the always brilliant atmosphere up here, and a great challenge for our last ride. The Cabarga was the scence of Chris Froome's breakthrough Grand Tour stage win 5 years ago. It is only 6km long but the views from the top to the coastline below explain the average 9% slopes that hit 19% (only for a few horrible metres!). We will have VIP access today so we can enjoy the race approaching on the big screen tvs.
After the race, we take a short transfer to our 4 star hotel in Santander, staying with a pro team. Tonight we have a final farewell meal together as we to head back to Madrid tomorrow afternoon....or continue on to Bilbao for more of La Vuelta!
Thursday, 1 September 2016
After breakfast, we head out to visit the nearby Stage Depart with VIP access, which is a great way of seeing the race behind the scenes with the riders relaxed (or stressed!), warming up and getting ready for the day´s work. Its an opportunity as well to see the multi layered organization that makes this event come together and all the work that goes into it to make it a sucess. Watch the day's sign on and enjoy the fiesta atmosphere.
From here we take an afternoon transfer south (3.5 hours) back to where it all begun in Madrid. Enjoy the amenities of our 4 star centrally located hotel and take the time to explore the nearby centre.
For those who just can´t bear to leave La Vuelta (!) we have a special Vuelta package:
Transfer to Bilbao - 1 night in the cultural city of Bilbao (accommodation and breakfast included) 4 star hotel in centre, VIP entrance to today´s stage finish and VIP Stage Depart in Bilbao for tomorrow´s stage depart! Please ask for price of extra supplement.
Friday, 2nd September 2016
Wake up in the city of Madrid have a final wander around this great European Capital. We say adios and wish you safe onwards travels with your great memories of your VIP Vuelta adventure intact....or continue with the fun and come along for our last week Vuelta 2 tour as we head to French and Spanish Pyrenees! As well as the beautiful Costa Blanca, one of Spain´s most prettiest towns, Peñiscola, vibrant Valencia and beach playground of Benidorm´s Denia, the time trial and an ending with what promises to be a special finish in Madrid! (combined trip discount of 5% and transfers included for this Vuelta Fiesta!)
- Specially chosen quality 4 star hotels
- all bedrooms are en-suite
- 7 nights
- All 7 breakfasts and 3 group dinners (including wine, beer, soft drinks)
- Extras Included
- Cycling Country is one of the very few official Tour Operators in the world designated to run this tour and we are proud to do so.
- VIP access to 4 STAGE FINISHES and a stage village DEPART. Including private race viewing area at finish line with complimentary drinks and tapas. We have access to the podium for your own photo, plus a behind the scenes tour. We enter areas that are off bounds to most and work with La Vuelta organisers ensuring your VIP experience is unique.
- Ride the race route crossing the finish line on race day (access that the public will not have). Cycling across the finish line with your special access pass - not many can do that - aside from Contador of course!
- Stay in some of the same hotels as the teams - meet the stars
- Our vans are accredited to drive the race route - jump in for a rest if required
- Ride with experienced bi-lingual local guides, including the sub champion of Andalucia and a Vuelta a Espana Masters rider - we have run Vuelta tours for 9 years
- Complimentary full zip Cycling Country La Vuelta cycling jersey (choose your size when booking!) - bib shorts extra at 70 Euros.
- Complimentary Cycling Country gifts, bags, water bottles, Vuelta tshirts and cycling caps
- Tour guide book of your route and official Vuelta race book (great souvenir)
- Route notes, maps, profiles, suggestions for dinner, etc.
- Daily snacks and refreshments (granola bars, fruit etc and drinks)
- Activity Level
- Trek Madone 3.1 full carbon frame, compact - 235 Euros extra
- Orbea T105 alu frame/carbon forks, triple - 165 Euros extra
- If you do bring your own bike, we recommend a triple or compact chainset.
Madrid, Leon, Oviedo, Asturias, Natural Parks, Cangas de Onis, Lagos de Covadonga, Sotres, Picos de Europa, Santander, Madrid (or Bilbao)
(8 days, 7 nights - 6 ride Days - VIP entrances and Stage Departs)
From arrival point at Central Madrid on the 26th August and back to Madrid city centre at the end of the tour on the 2nd of September.
Moderate / Challenging - The tour is suitable for cyclists of all ages who have a good level of fitness and enjoy road biking - of course expect hills! There are enough category climbs and mountains for the rider who wants to challenge themselves, whilst our support van enables other riders to enjoy the trip without worrying as you can take a rest or opt out of the bigger climbs. On the longer climbs everyone can ride at their own pace. There is the option for non-riders to come along - please enquire
Quiet country and mountain roads. Rolling countryside with longer mountain passes.
You can bring your own road bike (we have facilities to collect and store bike boxes for the duration of the trip) or we can arrange good quality road bike hire:
4 leaders with full van support to provide support, refreshments, act as guides, offer tips and insights throughout the day, provide directional signs where required, transfer luggage and provide on-road assistance. 1 to 2 guides cycle with the group. Mix of male and female guides.
“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.” Akira Kurosawa
Our hotels are a great collection of spots, keeping in mind that the days are full enough, you´ll want to be having some down time off the bike in a comfy environment.
All rooms are ensuite and have great facilities, being 4 star with great buffet breakfasts for us cyclists, we have chosen hotels that offer a great location to explore. And the best thing, you will be staying with the pro-teams on some nights.
Highlight hotels include the amazing Parador at Cangas de Onis, a converted 11th century monastery set in a verdant green valley and the collection palace hotel in Leon. First class accommodation in comfortable and beautiful settings.
Dates & Prices
|Dates For 2016||Price (hover to change currency)|
|26th August to 2nd September 2016||Eur 2,195|
|Discounts for groups of 4 or more!
Come along for the Vuelta 2 tour for the last 11 days to Madrid - combined tour discount available!
|Single Supplement||Eur 365|
*Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
Enquire About This Tour
"Let me write a few lines of thank you. I just can't believe what a trip you gave us all! It was truly a cycling tour that I will never forget. Well done to all of the Cycling Country crew and thank you again for the good times. The Vuelta was the ride of my life."
Steve, Sydney, Australia - La Vuelta 2015
"The Vuelta Tour 1 (Andalucia 2014) was memorable! The VIP access was exceptional, beyond my expectations. Cycling Country beautifully handled different levels of cycling abilities in the group in the smoothest way, the coordination among them was very professional and efficient, providing to the group an ongoing feeling of safety, support and fun. I will highly recommend them to all my friends and they honestly deserve to run such a successful business. Muchas Gracias for the extraordinary experience! Luisa"
Luisa, Colorado, USA - La Vuelta 2014
"Rob and I would like to take the opportunity to send you a big thank you for everything you organized for the tour. We had an amazing time. The ride routes where spectacular and the VIP access was fantastic. Dean and Javi were both lovely, very helpful and encouraging. We had the best time and keep reminiscing about the week wishing we were still in Andalusia. It definitely exceeded all our expectations and hopefully will see you at next years tour. Thank you again"
Kim and Rob, Australia - La Vuelta 2014
"Thanks Geoff and Dean for a truly wonderful week in northern Spain, climbing up all the famous climbs of the Vuelta's final week, then watching the pros do them in style, from the VIP vantage point of your preferred operator, special access status. The tour was expertly run and organised by you, accommodating all abilities with your usual skill and good humour. This is my third tour with Cycling Country and I hope there'll be more to come. Excellent local food and comfortable accommodation - add great company, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides who are expert road cyclists themselves, and what more could a roadie want! Thanks once again"
David, Oxford, UK - La Vuelta 2013