La Vuelta a España 2018
Tour 1 - Race Week 2 - Summits of the South
Granada, Almeria Beaches, Spain's Wild West, Calar Alto Observatory, Mediterranean Coastline, Malaga, Olive Country, The Pandera, Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada
24th August to 1st September 2018 tbc 7 days
Fully Guided & Supported4 star Luxury Hotels & Country Retreats
Moderate / Challenging (non cyclists also welcome!)
THIS WAS THE ROUTE AND TOUR OFFERED FROM 2017.
2018 LA VUELTA TOUR WILL BE ANNOUNCED END OF JANUARY AFTER THE ROUTE IS UNVEILED TO THE PUBLIC. IN THE MEANTIME PRE-REGISTER NOW WITH NO COMMITMENT TO HOLD YOUR PLACE.
This promises to be an incredible week of road cycling, both for us and the Pros! We are excited to share with your our home region of Andalucia and this 2nd race week is exactly where we think La Vuelta 2017 could be decided. With summit finishes galore on the roads we regularly ride, this is where the action of this year's Vuelta could be the most dramatic. The most celebrated and traditional climbs of Southern 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 South!
The route and stages we have chosen are breath-taking and encompass everything that makes Southern Spain such a great place to ride. Highlights include the double category 1 climb up to the Calar Alto Observatory high above the desert landscape of Spain's Wild West where many spaghetti westerns were filmed, the hors category slopes of the classic Pandera finish, and the majestic Sierra Nevada climb, with your opportunity to ascend the highest road in Europe! With guaranteed sunshine in the south, you could be here to witness and ride these fiery stages.
You will have the chance to ride the prettiest roads of Southern Europe in the Cabo de Gato National Park beside the Mediterranean, the Malaga Mountains and the olive country of inland Andalucia. Continue with the historic city of Malaga, the Moorish castles, lakes and gorges en route and the cultural gem of Granada with its UNESCO Alhambra Palace - this route has it all. Have a look at some of the summits we plan to cycle!
Has La Vuelta ever 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 with a pick up in Granada (where we end) before heading south east to the beaches of Almeria and the gateway to beautiful Cabo de Gata National Park. We cycle through the almost lunar landscape of Tabernas, a mini desert, before summiting the classic Vuelta climb of Calar Alto to an observatory at 2160m. Cycling along the Mediterranean Coastline of the famous Costa del Sol, we venture inland to the mountains of Malaga and the beautiful Puerto de Leon climb. The roads around here are a cyclist`s dream - low traffic, high mountain scenery and smooth surfaces. Each VIP stage we ride has a summit finish - so stage finish excitement will be at a max.
You will have VIP access to the stage depart near Malaga, a fantastic opportunity to get close to the current stars of the sport. From here we ride past the incredible Caminito del Rey and El Chorro gorge (used in La Vuelta 2015) to enjoy some 1st rate cycling.
Meet the teams and see behind the scenes
Watch the pros ride the roads you have just ridden
Moving into Andalucia´s olive country, the high mountains await with valleys dotted with fortresses and castles. Spend the night in your own Spanish Hacienda resort, try out its steam spa baths, before taking on the the awesome Pandera climb, one of the top 10 climbs in Spain, with an average gradient of 7% (with the final km over 10% avg!) - compact recommended!
Then the final challenge that sits behind our base in Granada is a big one - the Sierra Nevada. A monster to tame, climb to the stage finish at 2400m, or if you feel the need, keep pedaling to a staggering 3498 metres on the highest road in Europe! 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 5 race stages of La Vuelta a España 2017
- VIP Access to stage finishes (drinks, tapas, big screen tvs at finish line), viewing areas and VIP Stage Depart Village
- 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
- Tour of the media area, doping controls and technical areas
- Enjoy a drink with an ex-pro and understand what it takes to ride a Grand Tour
- Challenge yourself on famous category climbs including Calar Alto, Puerto Leon, Pandera and Sierra Nevada
- Cycle the Parklands of Cabo de Gata, Subbetica & Sierra Nevada
- Enjoy the famous sights of South 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 (luxury 4 star hotels and retreats), food, scenery and fun on the roads of Spain
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. Our tour will take you to the picturesque 5 provinces (Almeria, Malaga, Cordoba, Jaen and Granada) of stunning Andalucía.
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.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
40km warm up ride
We meet in the historic city of Granada (10:30 am at our centrally located hotel). After an informal welcome meeting and some chilled drinks, we take a transfer out to our luxury 4 star hotel near the Mediterranean in Almeria, our base for the next 2 nights.
After lunch, we set the bikes up, making sure everyone is fitted correctly, and take a short warm up ride to the National Park of Cabo de Gata, heading towards the iconic lighthouse overlooking the windswept coastline. On the way back, we will stop in a local café and watch the end of today's stage on tv.
Take a stroll alongside the sea front before settling down to enjoy a group welcome dinner in the dining room. A relaxing start to get the legs going and great way to set us up for our upcoming adventure.
Ask about option to come the day before and enjoy Granada. Extra nights in Granada at our meet hotel can be booked upon request. (Note: today is a transfer of 1.45 hours so another option is to meet at the Almeria hotel in the afternoon - there is an international airport in Almeria.)
We head out from the hotel where we are perfectly based to pick up today's race route and our first taste of La Vuelta. We soon arrive in nearby Tabernas, set in a desert that the film maker Sergio Leone used to make many of the famous Spaghetti Westerns and now known as Spain's Wild West. We cycle past the mini Hollywood film studios before contemplating our own shoot out on the mountains high above!
Stage 11 Race Profile
The route climbs firstly over the category 1 alto de Velefique, a climb with an average gradient of 6.4%, but with steeper sections well over 10%. A tough start but the views are great as we look out towards the coastline.
After cresting this col, we have a great downhill before starting the next cat 1 climb of the Calar Alto - this really is a ride to the sky as atop awaits an observatory with the largest telescope in mainland Europe. The climb has some steep ramps at the bottom, but it flattens out to a more gradual climb up to the stars at 2,160m. This classic climb has been used in La Vuelta in the past with Igor Antón (now of Team Dimension Data) the last winner in 2006 - his big break through.
After slowly 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. Being a summit finish, 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.
After the stage we will descend the Calar Alto and head back to our same hotel for the night. Enjoy a relaxing group dinner and take an after dinner stroll.
After a good buffet breakfast, we take a short transfer out to get ahead of the race. We start cycling beside the Mediterranean Sea and along the famed resorts of the Costa del Sol. Enjoy the sea breezes as we ride the flat coastal race route , passing the beach bars and beach shacks.
However, the main event of today faces us as we turn inland and contemplate the cat 1 Puerto de Leon. This climb is a beautiful ascent (if but a long one!) from the sea up into the mountains of Malaga. We will watch the race on this hillside today as it passes by and experience the race with the atmosphere of the passionate roadside fans - the best place to be on today's route.
After lunch in a café with great views back down to the sea, we will make our way on a classic loop passing through the white villages of Andalucia and ride back down a different side of the Leon to the front door of our team hotel for the night in Malaga.
Our hotel is fantastically located to enjoy the late afternoon in Malaga. We recommend a a visit to the Picasso museum or a walk through the pedestrianized historic centre, complete with its imposing cathedral and Roman ampitheatre. Before dinner, watch the pro team mechanics at our hotel prepare the bikes (not our bikes!) for the following day.
We also have planned an informal drink with a very special ex-pro rider who you can chat to and find out what it is like to ride a Grand Tour.
After breakfast, we head out to the very nearby Stage Depart with VIP access, which is a great way of seeing the team buses and the behind the scenes with the riders relaxed (or stressed!), warming up and getting ready for their day´s work. It's 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. This is the place to grab a quick photo of your favourite rider. Watch the day's sign on and enjoy the fiesta atmosphere.
Being a flatter stage, we do not expect any change in the race standings and so we have decided to concentrate on the cycling after seeing the race. From the depart, we will ride some stunning roads towards the lakes of Andalucia and past one of the most famous geological features of South Spain - the unique El Chorro Gorge with its incredible walkway (El Caminito del Rey) hanging from the sheer cliffside. La Vuelta finished here 2 years ago and we offer you the chance to ride the silky smooth roads of this scenic area, passing reservoirs, damns and green valleys filled full of lemon trees. A relaxed day of riding after the mountains of the past few days.
We take a transfer from this special area to be perfectly placed for tomorrow's stage. We will head deep into the Olive Country of Andalucia to Zuheros and spend the night in a spectacularly set 4 star Hacienda with its own pool and steam baths. Perched high above an olive grove, the views are incredible. Many regard Zuheros as the prettiest village in Andalucia with its white houses and a castle built into a rock face.
In the evening, we will dine as a group in the Hacienda`s well regarded and restaurant trying local specialities, the fine olive oil and no doubt the local goats' cheese.
From our hotel we head across to the nearby race route in Jaen province. After a more relaxed day yesterday, hopefully we are ready for the challenges of the next 2 days, starting today with an ever undualting route, where the climbs come quick and fast.
From our start point we ride over the 7km cat 2 Puerto de Locubin, passing the magnificent castles nearby of Alcala de Real and Locubin. The scenery here is impressive as the area becomes more rugged. We ride through Valdepeñas de Jaen, (a previous stage finish in La Vuelta), before the real work of the day begins with the cat 1 ascent of Villares.
La Vuelta, has the reputation of being the most exciting grand tour for a reason....it loves to pile on the climbs and this stage finish will produce fireworks. The hors category Pandera climb is an epic, and rated as one of the top 10 climbs in Spain. You will be praying to see the top as you grind up this classic with the iconic telecommuncations towers as the finish line. Past winners up here include Alejandro Valverde (2003) and Giro winner Damiano Cunego (2009). All will be worth it, as we have VIP stage finish access to enjoy. Being a Saturday, the fans will be out in force and the atmosphere electric.
After the finish, we descend the Pandera and take a transfer to our luxury hotel in Granada for the next two nights. Maybe time to try out the spa or swimming pool to rest those legs as tomorrow is another challenging day.
Today's stage 15 is one of the big highlights of this year's Vuelta. The pro riders face a relatively short stage of 127km, but with some huge climbing, this is a stage we have all been looking forward to.
From our hotel door we will start off gently enough along a valley towards the Sierra Nevada mountains. From here there is quite a lot of up.....well 28km of it to be precise! We ride these roads regularly (our guides are from Granada) and know these climbs well. Ascend the category 1 Monachil climb, a place where Cadel Evans punctured back in 2009 to loose the race to home favourite Valverde. The mountain scenery here is, as expected, first class.
We continue ascending higher and higher up the hors category (or "especial" in Spanish) Sierra Nevada. The gradient is not steep (avg 6%) but the altitude makes it hard. Reaching the top at 2400m we have VIP stage access for this incredible stage. However, there is no reason to stop there for the stronger cyclists, as we will give you the opportunity to keep ascending to the very top of Pico Veleta (the highest road in Europe!) to a mind boggling 3498 metres.
After watching the pros fly up the Sierra Nevada, we will witness the dramatic stage finish which will affect the race lead from our VIP viewing area with open bar, tapas and big screen tv.
After the race, enjoy the smooth 28km back down to earth - you have earned it after all - and ride back to our hotel. What a day!
We enjoy our farewell group dinner together and celebrate the end of a great week of riding and watching La Vuelta.
Monday 4th September 2017
After breakfast, it is time to say adios and wish you a safe onward journey with memories of a great VIP Grand Tour experience. We recommend staying on in Granada to visit the UNESCO heritage Alhambra Palace and explore this beautiful city (extra nights in the same hotel can be arranged upon request).
However, for those who would like to continue the adventure, we are offering an early morning transfer to Madrid and onwards where we start the last week Vuelta 2 tour (discounts apply for the two week trip - the VUELTA FIESTA!).
- Specially chosen quality 4 star hotels
- all bedrooms are en-suite
- 6 nights
- All 6 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 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
- An organised evening drink and Q&As with a very special ex pro!
- 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, luggage tags, 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 Emonda S6 carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra (11 speed), compact - 285 Euros extra
- Trek Madone 3.1 carbon frame, Shimano 105 (10 speed), compact - 235 Euros extra
- Pro wheelset uprades available - please ask. If you do bring your own bike, we recommend a compact or triple chainset.
Granada, Almeria, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Olive Country, Pandera, Sierra Nevada, Granada
(7 days, 6 nights - 6 ride Days - 5 Live Stage days, VIP entrances and Stage Departs)
Options to transfer onto Madrid at the end (please ask).
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 with steeper ramps! 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 and steeper ascents.
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:
5 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. 2 guides or more 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 Hacienda Minerva set high in the olive groves, a converted 18th century olive mill and hacienda with its own arabic baths and pool. Spend 2 nights at the beautifully designed Nevada Palace hotel in Granada, with its pool and spa complex. First class accommodation in comfortable and beautiful settings.
Dates & Prices
|Dates For 2018||Price (hover to change currency)|
|24th August to 1st September 2018||Eur tbc|
|Discounts for groups of 4 or more!
Come along for the Vuelta 2 tour for the last week to Madrid - combined tour discount available!
|Single Supplement||Eur tbc|
*Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
Enquire About This Tour
"The Vuelta tour was probably the best bike tour I have ever done. Ok the days were long, but your team gave us the best access I have ever had to a Grand Tour. The routes you designed to ride the best climbs and see the stage finishes were exceptional. Chapeau!"
John, Ontario, Canada - La Vuelta 2016
"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