Tour 1 - The South, Andalucia
Ride the Time Trial at the Grand Depart!
Malaga, Marbella, White Villages, Grazalema, Ronda,
Cordoba, Baeza, Granada, Las Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada
22nd to 29th August 2015 8 days
Fully Guided & Supported4 star Hotels & Country Retreats
Moderate / Challenging (non cyclists also welcome!) 2,295 Euros
This promises to be an incredible week of road cycling. After La Vuelta made it to the South last year, it's not in any hurry to depart again. We are excited to be able to share with you our home region of Andalucia with the key stages that will have an impact on this year's race. Never before has a grand tour had such an important first week, with summit finishes galore on the roads we regularly ride!
An unprecedented mountain top finale in La Alpujarra of the Sierra Nevada, ride the team time trial at the Grand Depart in glitzy Marbella (a once in a lifetime opportunity), stages traversing national parks near to our HQ, the famed white villages of Ronda, Carzola, Cordoba, Granada and some fast roads & sierras to soar down, all in the Southern sun. It should be sizzling. You too could be here to ride and witness these fiery stages.
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 some 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 from the coastal city of Malaga, centre of the Costa del Sol and Mediterranean lifestyle, where we welcome you to the start of this great race. Heading along the coast, we will cycle past the villas where the celebrities and famous of Europe live.
From here, we head inland for some loops to follow the race. Enter the parklands of the Malaga Sierras and see a stage finish at one of Spain`s most interesting geographical features. A natural reserve of mountains with stunning white villages and some of the best road cycling in Spain, battle the famous climbs like the Palomas Summit, preserve of soaring eagles.
A quick turn north and we traverse the countryside to lovely Cordoba, home of the famous Mosque Cathedral, the Mezquita. Heading into the heart of Andalucía, inland Spain at its best with its Moorish heritage, curving roads and olive green landscape, we ride up into the parklands of Carzola and stay with the teams in the renaissance town of Baeza.
Stay at the same hotels as the teams
Watch the pros ride the roads you have just ridden
Enjoy a true high mountain stage outside of Granada as we head to one of the highest villages in Spain, in the green La Alpujarra and a new category 1 ascent. And we couldn´t let you go without an opportunity to ascend the most famous and highest ride in Europe, the Pico Veleta at 3398m. Are you ready?
View Vuelta a Espana Bike Tour 1 in a larger map
- Watch 6 LIVE race stages of La Vuelta a España 2015
- VIP Access to 3 stage finishes, Team Time Trial, viewing areas and Stage Depart Village
- Ride the race route as a VIP, only hours before the pros arrive
- Ride the Grand Depart Team Trial Route on Race Day itself!
- Access to ride across finish line on race day
- Challenge yourself on famous category climbs
- Enjoy the famous sights of Andalucia including Malaga, Ronda, Cordoba, the White Villages, La Alpujarra, Sierra Nevada and Granada. Options for non cyclists to spend time exploring.
- Discover the best local roads where Cycling Country is based
- Fully supported riding by experienced guides, including Vuelta a Espana masters rider and mix of male / female guides.
- Fantastic accommodation, food, scenery and fun on the roads of Southern Spain - warm weather guaranteed!
Our itinerary has been selected to include all the best stages of the 1st 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.
Saturday, 22 Aug 2015
25km warm up ride
We meet in the coastal city of Malaga (10:00am at Malaga airport or 11:00pm at our centrally located team hotel). This interesting city, rumoured to be one of the oldest in the world, makes for a fantastic location to begin the tour. After an informal welcome meeting and some chilled drinks, we have a bike set up and then a warm up cycle out along the coastline to RIDE the actual Stage 1 Time Trial route only hours before the Grand Depart of La Vuelta 2015!
From Puerto Banus to Marbella, the 7.4km flat time trial will be an amazing experience to ride. With a team support car with us, we will ride the closed roads beginning from the starting ramp! Afterwards watch the teams from the VIP area with the best views away from the crowds. See the super bikes up close and have the chance to see the podium celebrations. With luxury yachts and the blue Mediterranean Sea behind, it should be an exciting first day of cycling as we mingle with the rich and famous of Europe!
We will have a welcome group dinner on our return back to Malaga.
(For those arriving to Malaga Airport on the 22nd, please enquire about transfers. Come early and explore Malaga and her nearby beaches. Transfers back to Malaga at the end offered.)
After a transfer out of the bustling city, we head inland into the rolling hills behind the coastline. After yesterday's flat stage, today's one has the first categorized climbs of the race (two cat 3s to be exact). We will start pedaling the actual race route as the crowds gather. Being a Sunday, the fans will be out in force as we cycle this incredibly picturesque area of lakes and gorges.
Passing through Alora we head up to the first cat 3 climb of the Alto de Carratraca, a 7km ascent to get our legs turning. Have time to recover before riding to the finish line above the famed El Chorro gorge at the top of the Alto de la Mesa. A great finish location to enjoy our VIP stage access and time for an insider's tour of the inner workings of La Vuelta.
With the Caminito del Rey (Kings Walkway), a precarious walking trail cut into the gorge side to admire high above the river flowing below, your photos will be incredible as well as the day's race. We tansfer back to our Malaga base giving you time for a late evening stroll around this city's interesting historic centre in the cool twilight.
Another stunning day of cycling awaits as we head out of into the reserve of a natural park area. We ride the race route, soon heading up the 6km Almogia climb, before pedaling along a fast road towards the second categorised climb of the day in Colmenar. This gentle but longer climb is the most significant of the day and 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.
After watching the race roadside and being impressed by the speed of the grimpeurs (mountain climbers), we descend, following the route towards the magnificent aqua blue lake of Vinuela, near to Cycling Country`s HQ. From here it is down all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The finish line is back in Malaga, and no doubt the peloton will be back together to let the sprinters fight this one out.
In the cool morning we arrive at today's stage depart beach town of Estepona. But before the action begins we have an optional extra (as opposed to the alluring option of coffee and seafront walk!) for those wanting a challenge in riding a classic climb of the area - alto de Peñas Blancas. This 16km cat 1 epic was used as a stage finish in La Vuelta 2013 with Moreno, Valverde, Rodriguez, Uran, Roche, Pinot, Horner and Nibali being outgunned by the surprise of Konig. The descent back down to the sea is exhilarating.
Enjoy the fantastic excitement of the Stage Depart in Estepona where fans, cyclists and the starting line awaits! We will have VIP access to the sign-on of the teams, the depart village and hospitality with complimentary drinks and tapas. A real up close view of seeing the stars and their teams prepare for the day's racing.
After the depart, we transfer to our base nestled in the Sierras of Ronda and Grazalema. A beautiful 4 star retreat overlooking the mountains with swimming pool, it makes for the perfect place to ride this green, national park area. We have chosen to ride this incredible area of beauty rather than a long transfer out to today's race finish and tomorrow's flat stage. The famous white villages, cork forests and lakes make this a playground for cycling.
We enjoy a drink on the terrace overlooking the mountains before a group dinner in this impressive hotel.
We start the morning riding through the majestic cork forests on quiet and good tarmac roads. This is the area of the white villages or pueblos blancos, placed picturesquely as if made for a postcard. We take a spin around a blue lake before our objective of the day is to head up one of the legendary climbs of Andalucía, the Puerto de los Palomas ('the climb of the doves'). Featured in La Vuelta and many local races, this is a firm favourite 'subida' of the area. Breath-taking views greet us at the top of the lake below before we return through the Park, looping back to Grazalema. You also have the option to ride the Puerto de Boyar, a climb featured last year in La Vuelta 2014 and previously in 1997 and 90.
Or for those non cyclists (or those wanted a rest), a morning of sightseeing in historic Ronda awaits. Photograph the gorge, visit the bull-fighting museum or relax in a place Orson Wells loved so much, he had his ashes buried here.
We take a late afternoon transfer to one of Spain's most loved cities, Cordoba. Our fine hotel is located perfectly to explore the UNESCO heritage historic centre and of course the world famous Mezquita cathedral-mosque. Take time to enjoy a flamenco show or relax back at our hotel's roof top bar overlooking Cordoba.
We transfer out to start the day's ride from one of the most interesting areas of Andalucia, the province of Jaen. We have chosen to focus on the last half of the stage, not only because of its importance, but because it is just so beautiful to ride! After passing through the medieval town of Ubeda with its ubiquitous churches and plazas we head into the natural park of the Sierras of Carzola.
The stage is a summit finish in the middle of the reserve. However this category 2 ascent is not steep, just long at 20km. With a short downhill to give some relief, the final 4km to the line are more of a challenge. With VIP access at the stage finish and podium photos, the uphill will be worth it!
After the race, we take a short transfer to our luxury 4 star hotel in Baeza with swimming pool, staying with a pro team. After dinner, take a walk into the stunning historic centre of this renaissance town.
La Vuelta never likes to disappoint and yet again another new mountain finish has been devised to test the pros and of course us! Today's stage is another classic in the making as it ventures into the foothills of the mighty Sierra Nevada, and the famous parkland of Las Alpujarras. From Granada the road winds along and up the green valleys towards the villages of Lanjaron and Orgiva, classic Andalucian villages where natural springs and spa waters are to be found.
The road turns and then the climb really begins as we start the category 1 ascent high into stunning scenery, following the race route as the crowds gather. The village of Capileira is our destination at 1490m. A beautiful white village, it is famous for walking, home weaved rugs and the drying place of the famous cured Spanish ham. This "High Mountain" stage will surely play a part in deciding the overall winner of La Vuelta 2015. We will enjoy VIP stage finish access at the summit, and watch the battle for the stage win.
After we descend back down to reality to our 4 star hotel in Granada with pool. Granada is our local city where some of our guides live - you can be assured a warm welcome. Enjoy a celebratory farewell group dinner in a local restaurant full of Granadino charm and ambience as we regale tales of climbs, stages, too much vino (?!) and red jerseys.
Saturday, 29th August 2015
After breakfast, we say "adios" to each other before a transfer to Granada airport (arrive at 11:00) or Malaga airport/centre (for 13:00) for onward connections.
or Extra Day: cycle Europe's highest climb, Pico Veleta, Sierra Nevada
Add on a day and ride one of the world´s most evocative climbs and Europe's highest paved road - Sierra Nevada's Pico Veleta from our hotel in Granada. This climb, a firm favourite with the Vuelta of past years and where many a race has been won and lost, is an epic. With far reaching views of the city of Granada and its monuments, spin away into the deep indigo blue of high altitude and the smell of fir trees into a cool other world of this national parkland. The ski station resort near the top is where many of the pro teams base themselves and train for the Giro and Tour de France. Ascend this Hors Category climb to 2500m and then if weather permits, attempt the final 10kms to a mind boggling 3498m! (Option for non-cyclists to spend the day in Granada).
Back to Granada centre (what a descent!) to enjoy the afternoon, the city, and the sights. Cost: Add on 200 Euros per person (includes the guided and supported ride, accommodation with breakfast in the same 4 star hotel and transfers to Granada / Malaga airports the following day - 9 day tour).
Or stay in Granada for a few more days to explore the city and her famous Alhambra Palace.....please enquire.
...or continue with the fun and come along for our last week Vuelta 2 tour as we head North to Picos de Europa, Asturias, Burgos, Segovia, Guadarrama mountains and the finish in Madrid! (combined trip discount of 5% and transfers included.)
- 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
- VIP access to 3 stage finishes and a stage village depart. This includes a private race viewing area at the finish with complimentary drinks and snacks. We will also have access to the podium for your own photo, plus a behind the scenes tour. We enter areas that are off bounds to most. We work with La Vuelta organisers to ensure your VIP experience is unique.
- Ride the race route until the finish line on race day (we have access that the public will not have). Ride across the finish line with your special access pass - not many can do that!
- 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 been running Vuelta tours for 8 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
- 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.
Malaga, Marbella, Natural Parks, Estepona, Ronda, Grazalema, White Villages, Cordoba, Sierras de Carzola, Baeza, Granada, Las Alpujarras (8 days, 7 nights)
From arrival point at Malaga airport on the 22nd August and back to Granada airport, train, bus station or Malaga airport/city centre at the end of the tour on the 29th (or 30th if adding on an extra day).
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 pick up souvenirs, provide 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 all having pools or spas/saunas and huge buffet breakfasts, 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.
Dates & Prices
|Dates For 2015||Price (hover to change currency)|
|22nd August to 29th August 2015||Eur 2,295|
|Discounts for groups of 4 or more!
Come along for the Vuelta 2 tour as we head up North for the last 10 days visting Picos de Europa, Oviedo, Asturias, Angliru, Burgos, Segovia, Mountains of Guadarrama and Madrid - combined tour discount of 5%
|Single Supplement||Eur 365|
*Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
Enquire About This Tour
"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