La Vuelta a España 2018TOUR 1 Race Week 1 - Summits of the South
Málaga, Ronda, Nerja, Granada & Sierra Nevada Mountains
4, 7 or 8 days, Fully Guided & Supported
4 and 5 star Luxury Hotels & Paradors
We are excited to share with you our home, Andalucía, on the climbs and roads we regularly ride, and enjoy the most scenic cycling this area has to offer. Other Grand Tour 1st week's can traditionally be uneventful, but La Vuelta never is! With 2 summit finishes, mountain category climbs and a Time Trial for you to ride, the likely winner of La Vuelta will begin to emerge.
The route and stages are breath-taking and encompass everything that makes Southern Spain such a great place to ride. Highlights include the staying in the Nerja Parador before tackling the double cat 1 stage to Granada, with the epic Cabra climb from the Mediterranean Sea - the most beautiful climb in Andalucía we think.
Challenge yourself on the Caminito del Rey finish, stay in the Ronda Parador, pedal alongside the sea and have the unique opportunity to ride the Time Trial circuit under La Vuelta supervision, just before the professionals.
Plus you have the option of adding on an extra day to climb Pico Veleta, the highest road in Europe in the Sierra Nevada to a puff inducing 3398m – a virtual Ride to the Sky.
With the cultural seaside city of Málaga and the historical gem of Granada with her UNESCO Alhambra Palace - this route has it all. Have a look at some of the summits we plan to cycle!
Not everyone wants to pedal and there are 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 Spanish 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 itinerary includes all the best stages of the 1st week and will take you to some of the most famous towns (Málaga, Ronda, Granada), past the best scenery (Mediterranean Coastline, Natural parklands, lakes, gorges, UNESCO biosphere 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 also welcome.
Day 1. Costa del Sol, Mediterranean Coastal Ride, Málaga
Friday, 24 August 2018, approx 40km (25 miles) warm up ride Meet in coastal Málaga (13:00 at our centrally 4 star located hotel), our base for the next 2 nights. After an informal welcome meeting, drinks and intro, we set the bikes up. It is then time to head out on a short warm up ride alongside the Mediterranean Sea before our group welcome dinner. Ask about the option to come the day before and enjoy historic Malaga. Extra nights at our meet hotel can be booked upon request.
Day 2. Puerto de León, Grand Depart and VIP Time Trial, Málaga
60km (37 miles)
Today you will have an incredible opportunity to ride the Individual Time Trial Circuit, just before the Grand Depart of La Vuelta 2018! Under La Vuelta supervision, we ride the flat 8km route from the Pompidou Museum in Málaga, beside the marina, to finish outside the historic cathedral. What a unique experience, riding the roads just before the pros kick off and you will feels what it is to start a Grand Tour!
With it only being a short time trial, we will have a great ride in the morning before the time trial. We have decided to focus on an iconic Vuelta climb of past years, the corkscrew 15.8km cat 1 climb, the Puerto de León. Head up hairpins to 950 metres with an average gradient of 6% (but some corners at 10%) and marvel at blue sea and beaches below where you started. This climb (from the city side) was used last in the 2015 edition. After riding the Time Trial, we will enjoy our first stage Finish VIP access to watch the stars of Pro Cycling fly by. Enjoy hospitality drinks and finger tapas in the VIP zone. 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. Afterwards, you have a free evening to explore Malaga and the bounty of dining options in the historic centre.
Day 3. Caminito del Rey, El Chorro Gorge, Ronda
100 km (62 miles)
After a transfer out of the city bustle, head inland into the rolling hills behind the coastline. Today´s route has the first categorized climbs of the race (two cat 3s to be exact). Being a Sunday, the fans will be out in force as we cycle this incredibly picturesque area of lakes and gorges, known as the lake district of Andalucia.
Head up to the first cat 3 climb of the Alto de Ardales, a 7km ascent, we get our legs turning. Have time to recover before riding a great loop crossing reservoirs and past the famous El Chorro gorge, an incredible geological feature with people literally hang from the cliff sides on the incredible Caminito del Rey, (King's walkway). Ride the final cat 3, Alto de la Mesa, climb to the summit finish line. At 7km long, it is really the last 4km of this climb you will remember with an average gradient of 8% with some short ramps over 10%. This was where Esteban Chaves made his break away in 2015 and took the leader's jersey. A great finish location to enjoy our VIP stage access and time for an insider's tour of the inner workings of La Vuelta. Transfer to magical Ronda to be placed perfectly for tomorrow's stage. We will stay and have a fine group dinner at the luxury Ronda Parador Hotel, one of Andalucía's most loved hotels, set overlooking the famous picture postcard bridge. It couldn't be any more stunning.
Day 4. Sierra de Nieves, White Villages, Alhaurín de la Torre, Costa Tropical
110km (68 miles) Mount our bikes and ride directly from our Parador hotel already on the race route of Stage 3. Climb out of Ronda to the stunning natural park of the Sierra de Nieves and the Puerto de Viento, a fantastic climb (usually a categorised as a cat 3) to the karst landscapes and biosphere parkland in the mountains.
Follow the race route to arrive back at the sandy beaches of Torremolinos before crossing the finish line in Alhaurin de la Torre. Sit back in the VIP stage finish zone with a drink and watch the race. Unless some riders manage to escape for the day on the climbs, we envisage an exciting bunch sprint to decide the day's affairs. After the stage we transfer along the Southern Coast to be perfectly located for tomorrow's big stage stopping en route at one of our favourite "chiringuitos", a beach bar, and try the local BBQ sardines on a skewer with a beer. Our Parador hotel in Nerja won´t disappoint either and you will dream deeply of tomorrow´s ride.
Day 5. The Cabra Pass, Alfacar Summit, Granada
105 km (65 miles)
We ride from the Parador to the race route and take on our challenging double cat 1 day. Our first test is the mighty Cabra Climb. This incredible ascent is for many, including us, the most beautiful climb in Andalucía (option available to take a van transfer). After a celebratory photo at the top, we head towards Granada, to climb our next Cat 1 ascent, the new summit finish of Alfacar. Not as tough as the Cabra, but with some steeper sections, this will test our tired legs. With VIP finish access to enjoy, we will be afforded great views back to Granada and Sierra Nevada back drop.
Today's stage and the finish here could significantly shake up the General Classification. Being a summit finish, it will also 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 coveted stagewin. Descend and take a transfer to our 5 star hotel in Granada for the next two nights. Maybe time to try out the spa as tomorrow is another challenging day.
Day 6. VIP Stage 5 Depart, Alpujarras, Granada
We ride from our hotel to the 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. 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.
After the stage depart, ride out along the route, this time behind the race. A much more relaxed day we will head into the Alpujarras, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. A loop through the micro climate of the valley, hanging with oranges and avocadoes, brings us back to central Granada. Our guides are from Granada and so know the best routes. We enjoy our farewell group dinner together in a well regarded local restaurant, sampling some traditional Spanish fare, and celebrate the end of a great week of riding and watching La Vuelta.
Day 7. Granada depart or "Ride To The Sky"
Thursday 30th August 2018
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). We will be offering transfers back to Malaga centre/airport this morning if required (included in the tour price).
Or add an extra day on and ride to the top of the highest road in Europe - the "Ride to Sky". Being in Granada, we could not possibly leave this out! It is a bucket list climb for any cyclist and one that never fails to impress. Leaving after breakfast, start off gently enough along a valley towards the Sierra Nevada mountains. From here there is quite a lot of up.....well 38km of it to be precise! We ride these roads regularly and know these climbs well. The mountain scenery here is, as expected, first class. The climb is not steep, averaging 6%, just long. But with a few coffee stops, if required, everyone will achieve the top. At 28km up, we arrive at 2500m above the ski station. This was La Vuelta hors cat stage 15 finish last year where the Colombian 'superman' Lopez took the win. This is a fine achievement, but for those stronger cyclists, there is another 10km to go to reach the very, very top at an awe inspiring 3398m. Luckily we have all day to complete this ride! Enjoy the descent back down to earth - you have earned it after all - and ride back to our hotel. A spectacular finish.
Day 8. Adiós and Granada depart, Transfers to Málaga
Friday 31st August 2018
After breakfast it's farewell to the Vuelta tour. We will be offering an early bird transfer to Granada and Malaga airports/centre for those who require them (included in the tour price).
However, for those who would like to continue the adventure, we are offering a transfer to Madrid to start the Vuelta 2 tour - the last 10 days to Madrid - (discounts apply - the VUELTA FIESTA!). As there are 5 days in between, we recommend time in Granada, Cordoba, Madrid (we can provide self-guided rides of the area if required and sightseeing suggestions).
Road Cycling Tour - Guided
Bikes - Carbon Road (TREK Madone or Emonda) / Alu.Carbon Orbea Road Bike
Route: Malaga, Time Trial, Lake District, Ronda, Costa Tropical Coast, Granada, Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada
Group Size - 4 - 16
7 days, 6 nights - 6 ride Days - 5 Live Stage days, VIP entrances and Stage Departs, option to add on 1 more ride day to Pico Veleta (8 days, 7 nights)
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.
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)
- 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 organized 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 Andalucía and a Vuelta a España 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 (granola bars, fruit etc and drinks)
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.
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 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.
Options to transfer onto Madrid at the end (please ask).
Quiet country and mountain roads. Rolling countryside with longer mountain passes and steeper ascents.
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 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.
"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 say 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!" Anne Tim, Toronto, Canada - 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" 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
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
Grand Depart - Andalucía - Summits of the South
Race Week 1 + 1 extra day
Race Week 1 & Pico Veleta
Single supplement 7 days: €365
Single supplement 8 days: €415
(Discounts for groups of 4+!)
Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
- Watch LIVE and Ride 5 race stages of La Vuelta a España 2018
- VIP Access to stage finishes (drinks, tapas, big screen tvs at finish line), viewing areas and VIP Stage Depart Village
- Ride the Individual Time Trial under La Vuelta Supervision
- 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 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 category climbs including the Cabra, Alfacar, Caminito del Rey, Puerto León and Pico Veleta
- Cycle the mountain parks of Mçalaga, Ronda, Almuñécar & Sierra Nevada
- Enjoy the famous sights of South Spain. Options for non cyclists to spend time exploring
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.
Fantastic accommodation (luxury 4 and a 5 star hotels and retreats), food, scenery and fun on the roads of Spain
"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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