Bilbao, Basque Climbs, Pamplona, Navarre Mountains, La Rioja
6 days / 5 nights, Fully Guided & Supported
Luxury Parador and 4 star Hotels
LA VUELTA A ESPAÑA 2020
CLIMBS OF NORTH SPAIN - WEEK 1
Join us on a great week of cycling as we take you to the first week of La Vuelta 2020 in Spain. A series of exciting stages, we offer you the chance to ride and see the La Vuelta, with official VIP status! This will be our 13th year of providing access to this incredible event - the most thrilling of the 3 Grand Tours consistently over recent years.
The race officially begins in the Netherlands (stages 1 to 3 - see our Grand Depart Package), and so our La Vuelta Spain Week 1 tour starts from stage 4 in the Basque mountains in the North of Spain. Ascend the iconic Arrate summit, before heading to the famous city of Pamplona, home of the running of the bulls.
Test yourself on the climbs of the Navarre mountains before we head to the protected parkland of the first big summit finish of La Vuelta - the cat 1 Alto de Laguna Negra, an incredible glacial lake. Our final day takes us to a stage depart before cycling through the vineyards of La Rioja.
With VIP stage and behind the scenes access, your chance to stay in some team hotels and a truly great race route to cycle, this action packed fully guided and supported tour is a great taster of Grand Tour racing. Don't miss out!
Our itinerary includes all the best stages of the 1st week in Spain and will take you to some of the most scenic places in the North (Bilbao, Pamplona, Navarre Mountains and La Rioja) and of course cycling through this superb landscape, including protected parklands, vineyards, lakes, gorges and of course the mountains.
Being fully guided and supported (our support vans are accredited to drive along the race route), you can cycle with the group or at your own pace.
Non cyclists are welcomed to enjoy the event (please enquire) and we are also offering the option to extend the week and continue onto the French Pyrenees.
Day 1. Arrival and Warm Up Ride (Bilbao, Basque Country)
Monday, 17 August 2020 - 50 km (32 miles) warm up ride
Meet at our centrally 4 star hotel in the cultural city of Bilbao at 12.30 midday on the North Coast of Spain for an informal welcome meeting, drinks and intro before setting up the bikes. (Please note we will be offering a complimentary pick up from Bilbao International airport at 11am).
It is then time to head out on a warm up ride, from the city and into the unspoilt Basque countryside. We will ride a climb before descending down to the seaside and an historic coastal town. A great way to stretch the legs and make any alterations to the bikes. Stop for an afternoon coffee or cold drink before heading back to our base. Today was a rest day for La Vuelta (as they travel down from the Netherlands). Enjoy a welcome group dinner in the hotel's acclaimed restaurant.
Ask about the option to come the day before and enjoy the area (we can help you book the same tour hotel.) Bilbao is famous for the must see Guggenheim museum and its old town, full of interesting buildings and of course pintxo (Basque style tapas) bars. A foodies delight, the city has some of the best restaurants in Europe with many a Michelin starred establishment to choose from.
Day 2. Vuelta Stage 4 - Basque Country - VIP Summit Finish (Pamplona, Navarre)
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 - 64km (40 miles)
After a fine buffet breakfast, we take a 45 minute transfer out to the race route. Today gives us the first taste of cycling La Vuelta on the same roads the pros will be racing on in a few hours time. Enjoy the atmosphere of riding past the forming crowds as they cheer you on. Remember this is the Basque Country, the spiritual home of cycling in Spain, where the bike manufacturers Orbea and BH are from, and the fans, draped in their Basque flags, have an unrivalled passion for cycling.
We pedal over a fantastic route into the mountains. We have lined up today two category 3 climbs, followed by two category 2s - a good test for us and the peloton. This could be the first day the favourites for La Vuelta have to perform. The last climb, the Arrate, is the most iconic climb in the area and often used in the Tour of the Basque Country. At only 5km long, the climb is not super hard, but has some short sections at around 11% (the views are worth it!). Cycle across the finish line (with our special VIP accreditation - closed to the public) and head into the finish line VIP Hospitality Area. Enjoy the party atmosphere as we await the first finishers to arrive - no doubt a climbing specialist.
To Explain - the VIP Hospitality Area – This is an exclusive part of our La Vuelta tour packages, where each of our cyclists have access with personalized accreditation given on a lanyard at the start of the tour. Here, enjoy just metres from the Meta Finish line,a viewing zone to see the riders finishing the stage, and preview the entire race before hand via large plasma TVs. The place to be at La Vuelta after riding the route! Also included is an open bar and tapas tasters for a real Spanish experience.
On a high, we transfer to our 4 star hotel in Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre region, and our base for the next 2 nights.
Enjoy a group dinner tonight of three courses, including local wines.
Day 3. Vuelta Stage 5 - Mountains of Navarre - VIP Stage Finish (Pamplona, Navarre)
Wednesday, 19 August 2020 - 100 km (62 miles)
The landscape in this area is varied and a real favourite with local riders. Today we will head out and cycle the race route over undulating terrain. Our first test is the cat 3 Puerto de Urbassa, climbing to a height of 930m. From here we descend, passing rivers and valleys that the Navarre region is famed for before arriving at the foot of the final cat 1 climb of the Alto de San Miguel. A tough climb of almost 10km, sections of the road are concrete making it that little bit harder! The look out from the top is stunning, and the mountain itself is named after the patron saint of the local mountaineers. This is the first long climb of La Vuelta 2020. The climbers will enjoy the challenge as they fight for the first points of the mountain jersey (blue polka dots - not red!).
We descend the 17km to the meta (finish), a lovely end to the ride, and pedal across the line. After taking a deserved break in the VIP hospitality area, we will have a special insider's tour of the behind the scenes at La Vuelta - learn about the doping controls, the media area, the entourage and the cycling teams, before having your chance to step on the podium for your own souvenir photo!
After the stage has finished and we see the new leader in the red jersey at the podium celebrations, we transfer back to our hotel in Pamplona.
Take the evening to explore Pamplona and her historic centre, the city known for its annual running of the bulls and made famous by the writings of Ernest Hemmingway.
Day 4. Vuelta Stage 6 - The Black Lagoon Cat. 1 - VIP Summit Finish (Soria, Castille & Leon)
Thursday, 20 August 2020, 100km (62 miles)
After breakfast we take the short transfer out to our start point on the race route. We aim to ride the last 100km today of a route designed by La Vuelta which takes us through some of the best scenery of the province. Starting with the cat 2 Alto de Oncala, we spin through an area with numerous dinosaur fossils and footprints (non-cyclists have the chance to visit the nearby dinosaur park). But the real action of the day will be on the final summit - you can bet it will be dino-mite (sorry!).
This cat 1 climb is in a protected parkland high in the Urbíon mountains. A thing of real beauty, off the beaten track of mainstream tourism, the Laguna Negra (black lagoon) is a glacial lake surrounded by pine trees. The steep finish, up to a height of 1500m, will test us and the Pros. Enjoy a well earned drink in the VIP enclosure at the finish line to see the finale of the stage. We expect a huge battle for the stage win.
After the race has finished and we have seen the podium presentations, we transfer to our luxury parador of Soria hotel. A modern design, high on a hilltop, its views over the town of Soria area are spectacular. We have a group dinner tonight in the dining room, taking in the views.
Day 5. Vuelta Stage 7 - VIP Stage Depart, La Rioja, (Bilbao, Basque Country)
Friday, 21 August 2020, 105 km (65 miles)
We start the day off with something different and fun, a Stage Depart! We ride from our hotel to the nearby Vuelta Depart Village 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. See the multi layered organization that makes this event come together and all the work that goes into it to make it a success. Watch the day's sign on and enjoy the fiesta atmosphere. This is a great place to get those selfies and autographs with the stars of cycling.
After the race departs we will continue our day's ride, heading north passing into the valley of the River Douro. As the race route today is a flat, transition stage, we have decided to ride our own route that takes us into the vineyards of the famous wine growing area of La Rioja. Cycle past vineyards as we head through the countryside before stopping to see the end of the stage in a local café - we expect a sprint finish.
To Explain – The Vuelta Depart Village is an added perk of our VIP hospitality package. Each day the teams must sign on to start the day in a presentation, but prior this, the riders are warming up, giving interviews, signing autographs and prepping their bikes. As well, a presentation area of local businesses and sponsors have stands where we can get nibbles, drinks, gifts and as well enjoy the friendly Vuelta family atmosphere.
We then transfer back to our first hotel in Bilbao, where we began. Enjoy a last night out in the fantastic city.
Day 6. Onward Travels or continue onto the French Pyrenees
Saturday, 22 August 2020
After breakfast, it's time to say adios to La Vuelta as we head for our onward journeys.
Or continue the adventure and carry on to the 2nd Week as we move into the French Pyrenees (options to ride another 3 days in the Pyrenees and return to Bilbao and/or continue onto Oviedo for the next week - please enquire for discounts and prices!)
Road Cycling Tour - Guided
Bikes - Carbon Road (TREK Emonda or Domane)
Route: Bilbao, Arrate, Pamplona, Mountains of Navarre, Soria, La Rioja, Bilbao
Group Size - 4 - 16
6 days, 5 nights - 5 ride Days - Live Stage days, VIP entrances and Stage Village Depart, Transfer from Bilbao Airport.
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.
Specially chosen quality 4 star hotels and luxury paradors - all bedrooms are en-suite
All breakfasts and 3 group dinners including wine, beer, soft drinks
- 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 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).
- 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 Andalucía and a Vuelta a España Masters rider - we have run Vuelta tours for 13 years.
- Complimentary Cycling Country La Vuelta full zip Primal Wear Jersey (choose your size when booking!) - bib shorts extra cost (75 euros)
- Complimentary Cycling Country gifts, helmet bags, luggage tags, water bottles, Vuelta tshirt 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 (including Organic Mule energy gels and bars, fruit etc and drinks)
At least 3 tour leaders (4 clients to 1 guide ratio) 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. A guide always cycles with the group. Company Owners are accompanying this trip
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:
- Trek Emonda SL6 carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra, compact - 225 Euros extra (disc option available)
- Trek Domane SL5 carbon frame, Shimano 105, compact - 175 Euros extra
- Pro wheelset uprades available - please ask. If you do bring your own bike, we recommend a compact chainset.
Transfers provided from Bilbao Airport at beginning
Option to continue onto the French Pyrenees
Country and mountain roads. Rolling countryside with longer mountain passes.
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 en-suite and have great facilities, being 4 / 5 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.
This resort hotel in Alicante will greet you with a magnificent garden in which the greenery contrasts with the blue of the swimming pool. The bright, spacious interior is very comfortable and the rooms have pretty views.
"We returned to Andalucia for the 2018 La Vuelta having enjoyed the la Vuelta 2017 tour so much with Cycling Country.
We expected to repeat that enjoyment and we were not disappointed.
Great riding, great viewing, the best of hotels and food and an interesting and challenging group of cyclists.
Geoff and Maggi, our hosts, dedicated themselves 100% to our pleasure and comfort and were ably assisted by the two bike guides, Dean and Javi.
All participants have their own priorities. For some their own cycling, for others watching the professionals really close up and intimate.
For us it was a combination of those two, plus staying in such lovely hotels, you couldn't find better, where we rubbed shoulders with the teams from Trek, Sky and Bahrain.
From the modern sophistication of our 4 star hotel in Malaga and the 5 star hotel in Granada to the stunning beauty of the Parador hotels in Ronda and Nerja.
The riding was hard and hot and, for the most part, great fun.
Anyone who says the last km of the 2540m Sierra Nevada climb is 'fun' doesn't inhabit the same planet.
Nice climbs and even more spectacular descents, particularly the Puerto de Leon.
We look forward to next year's tour with anticipation knowing that whatever the route, whatever the composition and size of the group, we will have fun."
J & P. Sharman, London, UK - La Vuelta 2018
"La Vuelta's epic climbs - a truly spectacular and special cycling week with Cycling Country. Even in a country blessed with great places to ride, Andalusia stands out as a truly spectacular region. La Vuelta offers climbs that legends are made of. It offers beauty, brutality, drama and this year a piece of cycling history with Contador's Angliru ending I would like to thank Cycling Country (CC) for the enthusiasm and vision in creating an outstanding week, and for their impeccable support with logistics. I love the accessibility and closeness CC provides to La Vuelta. You are never too far away from the pros. Meeting Fernanco Escartin, a former Spanish road racing cyclist, now responsible for route design and road selection, provided enormous insight in the running of La Vuelta. Having the group stay in the same hotels as the professional teams provided the opportunity to meet mechanics, support people and also the professionals. As an Italian supporting Vincenzo Nibali I was excited to know I was staying in the same hotel as the Bahrain-Merida team. Although following La Vuelta so closely I still managed to go out and enjoy the local custom. In Almeria I went really local by having a couple of drinks at Cafe Bar Nevada and dined at Cafe Puga. I think I was the only non-Spanish so you could not have found a more local place. I found similar places in Granada. Additionally the delightful place we stayed at in Zuheros was special - probably one of prettiest villages and scenery in Andalusia.The cycling was superb. Given that the whole area can become swamped by cyclists during the Vuelta I thought CC did a fantastic job to keep everyone on target. It is clear that this is a family run business with great knowledge of the area. The guides are all local and provide enormous support and valuable insight. A true pleasure to be able to spend time with them. Geoff and Maggie, the owners, should be immensely proud for how they contribute to La Vuelta and how they run CC. Their tours contribute towards establishing the Vuelta as one of the most dramatic tours. Hasta Luego!!!"
C. Salinardi, London, UK - La Vuelta 2017
"With Cycling Country we made our first cycling trip to Europe. Geoff, Dean, Javi and the rest of the crew made our rides and stay really happy. Balbino took care of my mom and showed her Spain while me and my brothers went riding, then we met at the finish line of La Vuelta stages. It was a terrific Trip and we will for sure do it again!!!"
D. Botero, Medalin, Columbia - La Vuelta 2017
"Awesome Vuelta a España tour, amazing VIP access, up close & personal with the riders! We recently did a Vuelta a Espana tour with Cycling Country, and had an amazing time. The tour was well-organized and thought out, with rider enjoyment in mind, both from the perspective of riding and spectating. The Spanish-based company clearly has a very close relationship with the race organizers, which is to the benefit of Cycling Country's clients. The VIP access to starts and finishes, as well as the podium, were unbelievable. Because the race is smaller, it is also much more intimate, enabling access to the riders. The behind-the-scenes access and perspective was very interesting, as was the talk from a retired rider. This was our third time doing a trip with Cycling Country, and the reason we chose them for our Vuelta shadow tour. Previously we have done self-guided tours or fixed-stay trips, and have been very impressed and pleased with the company and the service it provides. Geoff and Maggi are wonderful people and it shows in their dealings with clients. We would definitely recommend Cycling Country for any of its tours, but especially the Vuelta a Espana tour!" A.Sauve & Tim, Coburg, Ontario - La Vuelta 2017
"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, 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"
K. and R. Garland, Australia - La Vuelta 2014
Testimonials from previous cyclists are always available and we enjoy receiving the feedback after tours. It helps us improve our services and offer you an even better experience. Please feel free to contact us if you would like a reference to talk to. Others have also posted reviews on the independent travel website .
DATES & RATES
Select Date to Ask for Information and Availablity!
Race Week 1 (6 days)
Race Week 1
Single supplement: €295
(Discounts for groups of 4+!)
Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
- Watch LIVE and Ride 4 race stages of La Vuelta a España 2020
- VIP Access to stage finishes (drinks, tapas, big screen tvs at finish) and 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
- Tour of the media, doping control and technical areas
- Challenge yourself on category climbs
- Cycle the parks, inland mountains and vineyards of North Spain
- Enjoy the famous city sights of Bilbao and Pamplona
- Fantastic accommodation, including a luxury parador
- Options for non cyclists to come along
THE CC ADVANTAGE
Podium photos and behind the scenes access - VIP status
Fully supported riding by experienced guides, including Vuelta a Espana masters rider and mix of male / female guides.
Enjoy a drink with an ex-pro and understand what it takes to ride a Grand Tour
Fantastic accommodation (luxury 4 and a 5 star hotels and retreats), food, scenery and fun on the roads of Spain
Local Spanish company with the best connections to La Vuelta!
"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
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