David Olle and Emma Colson

An Australian company, Topbike has a fully equipped European base and its own fleet of high quality hire bikes and E-bikes.

We specialise in quality cycling tours with small groups and are famous for looking after our clients.

+61 (0) 3 9419 2040
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PO Box 1717 Collingwood VIC 3066 AUSTRALIA
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2018 Tour de France:
Tour 1 'Follow Le Tour'

TDF TOUR 1 | July 10-16 2018

Follow the largest annual sporting event in the world and enjoy the French countryside and culture along the way…

After we pick up in Rennes, we’ll follow the TdF for seven days as it traverses across the top half of France, from west to east. With plenty of riding, viewing, eating and drinking in between, and a few cobbled sections to finish, it should be a ripper. The riding will all be done without any mountains in sight, but just watch out for those cobbles. 

2018 TDF - Topbike Tour de France - Tour 1 July 10-16 2018

The 2018 Tour de France will be the 105th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling’s three Grand Tours.

With a group limited to 13 places only, this will be a tour for riding and relaxing and following Le Grand Boucle without spending hours every day waiting for, and chasing the race. With a small group you’ll receive personal and attentive care for the length of the tour.

Using three locations, after the kick off in Paris we travel to Josselin, in the Vendee.  From here we move north-west to Bagnoles de l’Orne in Normandy, before our final destination of Aire-Sur-La-Lys, in Pas-de-Calais.  Using excellent 19th century Hotel and Chateaux in all three locations.

Tour Price: $4990 (AUD) per person
[Places are limited to 13 clients in total (with 3 staff).]

Rides will average 50-70k per day, with the occasional option of >100k.

7 Days/6 Nights
July 10-16 2018 *
  • Destination

  • Tour Start / Finish

    Rennes - Paris
  • Pick Up

    July 10 - Pickup 9.00am: Hôtel ASTRID 32 AV LOUIS BARTHOU - 35000 RENNES 02.99.30.82.38 (close to Rennes station)
  • Drop Off

    July 16 - Drop off 1.00pm: Hotel Etoile, 10, av. Mac Mahon 75017 Paris 01 42 67 69 63
  • Cycling Fitness/Experience

    Any + E-Bikes Available
1

Tuesday July 10: Stage 4 | La Baule to Sarzeau - 192km

9.00am, meet at Hotel Astrid, for a transfer in the Topbike air-conditioned mini-bus to Josselin. All going well, we should have time to check into our hotel (more of a chateau really, across the river from a grand castle) set up our bikes, and ride over to the stage finish town of Sarzeau. Here we watch the sprint finish, or the successful ‘breakies’ enjoying their day in the sun. Excellent viewing on the first day of our tour. Post race we’ll return to our hotel, with enough time to enjoy an aperitif, by the river, before our welcome dinner, inhouse.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The profile of the first stage in Brittany of the 2018 Tour will inspire the sprinters and require hard work from their team mates, while the breakaway riders will count on ‘destiny’. After a probable explanation (? Ed) by the sea between the “muscle-men” of the pack, the hierarchy between the sprint kings should start being established.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Vendee

Dining

Restaurant In-house

Ride: 80km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: flattish for most of the day.

2

Wednesday July 11: Stage 5 | Lorient / Quimper - 203 km

Today’s TdF stage start is 77k away from us, towards the coast. We’ll saddle up and ride to Lorient and see what it takes to get the whole show on the road. Post stage start we can choose to ride home, or take a lift. Ensuring we stop to watch the grand finale, as the last hour promises to be the best. And, we should have time to return home for another aperitif, river-side, followed by another great meal inhouse.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The stages in Brittany can also have a taste of Belgian classics. After going through Concarneau, the narrowness of the roads and the many hills to climb will favour those used to the Ardennes. A key climb of the Boucles de l’Aulne race, the Menez Quelerc’h hill could force a first decisive selection that will carry on lasting for another 45 kilometres.

Accommodation

Hotel in the Vendee

Dining

Restaurant In-house

Ride: 80km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: flattish for most of the day.

3

Thursday July 12: Stage 6 | Brest / Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan

We’re riding out of our grand hotel in Josselin, and this time there’s no coming back. We’re heading for today’s stage finish, or close by there. It’s a happy hunting ground for Aussies, as Cadel won here, back in 2011. As they raced for the line Contador, thinking he’d won, raised his arms in victory (nice of him to do that, and save Cadel the effort). The race crosses the finish line and completes a final loop of 16k before returning again.
Terrific spectating available today, with the chance of viewing the race pass twice. The final climb itself ramps up to more than 10 per cent for the first kilometre, before easing off a little for the final 1,000m to the line. Post race we’ll continue on to our new location, another fine chateau, in Bagnoles de l’Orne.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: The Mûr de Bretagne hill always offers precious information on the state of form of the title contenders. This time, a possible showdown between the big guns could be accompanied by a real time sanction. The hill will indeed have to be climbed twice in the last 16 kilometres !

Accommodation

19thC Villa in Normandy

Dining

Gourmet Restaurant, In-house

Ride: 70km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: short little hills, mainly flat, wind will pick up.

4

Friday July 13 : Stage 7 | Fougères / Chartres - 231 km

The longest stage of the race sees the riders come within just 85km (as the crow flies) of the Champs-Élysées, and, like the final stage just over two weeks later, is likely to end in a sprint finish. The stage will also pass within a couple of k of our accommodation.
So, a few options today, get out on the course early and ride as much as we can? Make a beeline for the feed zone?. Or take it easy by the pool, wandering out of our Chateau early afternoon to see the circus pass, while raising a glass of champers in encouragement? The agony of choice.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: Unless a surprise occurs, a sprinter should claim the win in Chartres, like Stuart O’Grady in 2004, even if on that day a breakaway group had managed to stay clear of the peloton. It was also on that occasion that Thomas Voeckler’s fairy tale started. Riders should however be extra cautious if the wind blows hard on the final 40 kilometres of the stage.

Accommodation

19thC Villa in Normandy

Dining

Gourmet Restaurant, In-house

Ride: 70km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: short little hills, mainly flat, wind will pick up.

5

Saturday July 14: Stage 8 | Dreux / Amiens Métropole - 181 km

Today is the second of a pair of stages for the sprinters, and finishes in Amiens, the hometown of French president Emmanuel Macron, it’s also where André Greipel won in 2015.
Today we’re relocating north towards Roubaix, approx. 5hr drive. We’ll enjoy a morning ride, kicking off on yesterday’s stage route, before we load up the vans and head north. We’ll stop for a roadside viewing, en route. Either picnicking, or in a café by the roadside. Our final stopover, for two nights, is a Chateau, still in France, but very close to the Channel, and Belgium.
Christian Prudhomme’s comment: Once again, wind could be blowing hard on the final part of the stage and could be an element to take into account. Among other qualities, the sprinters will also need to navigate in the gusts in order to be part of the final explanation.

Accommodation

19thC Villa in Pas-de-Calais

Dining

Gourmet Restaurant, In-house

Ride: < 70km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: short little hills, mainly flat, wind will pick up.

6

Sunday July 15: Stage 9 | Arras Citadelle / Roubaix - 154 km

A short, but difficult ending to the first week, stage nine sees the riders tackle 15 cobbled sectors, totalling nearly 22km, the greatest distance of cobbles included in the Tour’s last five ventures onto the pavé. A number of these sectors are taken from the parcours of Paris-Roubaix, including the five-star sector of Mons-en-Pévèle.
We’ll ride to a small town close by the Belgian border, over as many cobbled sections we can find, where we can hangout in a bar, with a tele, and see the race pass us by, elbow to elbow with the locals. We can return to our chateau in the air conditioned van, and should have time for another aperitif by the pool followed by another home cooked meal in our accommodation tonight.

Accommodation

19thC Villa in Pas-de-Calais

Dining

Gourmet Restaurant, In-house

Ride: < 70km, < 1000m vertical ascent

Terrain: short little hills, mainly flat, wind will pick up.

7

Monday July 16: REST DAY | End of Topbike TdF 1

If we do everything planned, there’ll have been:
Six days of excellent race viewing, incorporating 1 stage start, 2 stage finishes and 3 roadside views. We’ll also have ridden < 450k while we were at it, and traversed some of the famed cobbles of Paris - Roubaix.
After enjoying breakfast together, we’re off to Paris for a final drop off, 1pm. For all of those not staying on, it’s pack-up time, and off to further destinations, au revoir.
NB:  The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time. (Parts of the content above taken from Cyclingweekly.com and LeTour.fr websites)

105th Tour de France

The route

Running from Saturday July 7th to Sunday July 29th 2018, the 105th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,329 kilometres.
  • 8 flat stages
  • 5 hilly stages
  • 6 mountain stages and 3 altitude finishes (La Rosière, Alpe d’Huez, Saint-Lary-Soulan col de Portet)
  • 1 individual time-trial
  • 1 team time-trial
  • 2 rest days

Mountain Climbs

The 2018 Tour de France will include a total of 25 mountain climbs or hills and altitude finishes ranked in second, first of HC class. The geographic distribution will be as follows:
  • 11 in the Alps
  • 4 in the Massif central
  • 10 in the Pyrenees
On the last three editions of the race, the total was as follows: 25 in 2015, 28 in 2016 et 23 in 2017.

Distinctive aspects of the race

ALMOST 100 % FRENCH

Except for a short visit of around 15 kilometres in Spain during stage 16 between Carcassonne and Bagnères-de-Luchon, the 105th Tour de France will never go out of the borders of France. 36“départements” will be travelled through and the Basque country that hadn’t been visited since 2006 will once again be on the map of the Tour.

THE COBBLES RETURN

During the 9th stage, Arras > Roubaix, there will be 21.7 kilometres of cobbled roads. The riders will take on a total of 15 sectors with lengths varying from 500m to 2.7 kilometres.

TIME-TRIALS: TTT AND ITT

Like it was the case last summer in Marseille, the winner of the 105th edition should be crowned after the 20th and penultimate stage, a time-trial between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette on a distance of 31 kilometres. After a three-year absence, a team time-trial of 35 kilometres will also be on the menu during stage 3 in Cholet.

176 AT THE START

Based on a decision taken by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), each one of the 22 teams taking part in the Tour will, in 2018, be formed of 8 riders. There will therefore be a total of 176 riders present at the Grand Départ in Vendée Pays de la Loire.

3, 2, 1 BONUS …

It’ll be an innovation: from the Grand Départ until and including the 9th stage, 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds will be awarded to the first three who reach a specific kilometre of the course determined in advance. It will have no incidence however on the points classification.

… AND 10, 6, 4 EXTRA BONUS

More conventional: 10, 6 and 4 bonus seconds will be taken off the overall times of the first three of each normal stage of the Tour (except for time-trials).

There will be 9 locations or stage cities visited for the first time out of 39:

  • Fontenay-le-Comte (finish of stage 1)
  • Mouilleron-Saint-Germain (start of stage 2)
  • Sarzeau (finish of stage 4)
  • Dreux (start of stage 8)
  • La Rosière (finish of stage 11)
  • Trie-sur-Baïse (start of stage 18)
  • Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (start of stage 20)
  • Espelette (finish of stage 20)
  • Houilles (start of stage 21)

2018 Topbike Tour de France Tour 1 | July 10–16

Stages 4 - 9

Using three locations, after the kick off in Paris we travel to Josselin, in the Vendee.  From here we move north-west to Bagnoles de l’Orne in Normandy, before our final destination of Aire-Sur-La-Lys, in Pas-de-Calais.  Using excellent 19th century Hotel and Chateaux in all three locations.
(*NB: Locations shown are approximate only.)