Pro Cycling Tours Available to You
You may not be a professional cyclist, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ride like one. While the world’s finest bicyclists take on elite bike tours around the world, from the Tour de France to the Giro d’Italia, you usually opt for a weekend ride around your typical routes.
So, why not do something a little more exciting? Why not bike like a real pro? Why not ride the exact same routes as the world’s more famous bicycle tours just before the pros do?
Believe it or not, this is actually something you can do. With several major bicycle tours, companies now offer cyclists the opportunity to ride the routes of the tours just hours before the professional cyclists take their turn.
Of course, this doesn’t come cheap; riding some of the world’s most exclusive bicycle tours before the pros hit the road is an experience that not everyone is afforded. However, for many serious cyclists, the price is worth it; with closed roads, plenty of fanfare, and some of the most famed rides around, going for a ride on a professional tour course is an experience unlike any other.
Here are three professional bicycle tours that YOU can take part in, if you think you have what it takes!
Tour de France
Just because it’s an obvious choice doesn’t mean that most amateur cyclists wouldn’t be thrilled to ride the route of the Tour de France. The world’s most famous bike tour has a certain mystique about it that no other event in the world does, and many cyclists dream of someday taking on the routes that the world’s premier cycling event showcases.
A company called Custom Getaways has been giving average Joe cyclists the opportunity to experience le Tour in an unprecedented manner for 11 years now. The company offers a variety of different riding options, with the most popular being the 8-day Yellow Jersey Final Week Tour.
In the Yellow Jersey Final Week Tour, amateur cyclists are able to ride the same stages as the pros – well before the pro peloton gets on the road – and even get the chance to cross the famous finish line in Paris. Cyclists can even get their photo taken on the Tour’s iconic yellow podium if they so wish.
You’ll have to get on the road early to take advantage of the Yellow Jersey Final Week Tour, as you obviously must be off the course before it becomes an issue for the pros. Plus, getting caught by the pro peloton after you have had a several hour head start might be kind of embarrassing. But once you finish each day’s stage, you will have a VIP view of the professional race that follows.
For $4,695, the Yellow Jersey Final Week Tour allows you to ride the Tour’s famous routes, and also covers food and lodging.
After the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta de Espana are arguably the most famous cycling tours in the world. Now, you can take on the Giro d’Italia and its challenging mountain passes for yourself, thanks to a company by the name of Thomson Bike Tours.
The Giro d’Italia is a 21-stage bicycle tour that winds through the Italian Alps and Dolomites, providing some of the most challenging climbing in the world. The Giro d’Italia, like the Tour de France, is a ride that attracts some of the most decorated professional cyclists around, and with the Thomson Bike Tours’ eight-day King of the Mountains Challenge, you’ll rub elbows with professional riders by night and tackle grueling mountainous climbs by day.
The King of the Mountains Challenge takes amateur riders through some of the hardest climbs in the world, as the Dolomites provide a serious challenges for even the most-decorated professional cyclists. This 8-day journey will get you out on the course at least 2 hours before the pros take to the road, giving you plenty of time to struggle through the climbs without getting caught. Plus, when you finish, you’ll have a fantastic view of the professionals making your climbing look weak.
For $4,495, the King of the Mountains Challenge also includes lodging and excellent Italian cuisine. Well worth it for any serious cyclist!
US Pro Cycling Challenge – Colorado
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is held in Colorado every year, and while it certainly isn’t as iconic as the the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia, it is the closest thing America has to one of those illustrious events. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is no joke either, as the 7-day tour traverses along many of Colorado’s steep Rocky Mountain passes, providing a challenging course for pros and amateurs alike.
Many of cycling’s biggest names take part in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and mingling with the stars is much easier to do here than at an event like the Tour de France. You can enjoy Colorado’s gorgeous scenery while challenging yourself along the way, as you wind your way through steep mountain passes and blooming alpine meadows, and then watch the pros do the same.
Put on by Lizard Head Cycling Guides, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge offers the Chased by the Peloton package, where you start 2 hours before the pros and fight your hardest not to let the elite riders track you down.
Costing a total of $3,095, with lodging and meals included, the Chased by the Peloton package at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a more affordable option than riding in the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France – and it’s that much cheaper when you take airfare to Europe into account.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge may not have the prestige of the other two bicycle tours here, but it’s called “America’s Race” for a reason – it is a very serious bicycle tour that attracts many of the world’s finest riders, and now you can experience it for yourself.
If you want to test your mettle as a cyclist, there are few better ways to do so than to ride the same courses the professionals do. Thanks to these great opportunities offered in conjunction with some of cycling’s biggest events, you can now take on the same routes as the professionals on the same days.
These famous bicycle tours are not the only ones where you can take advantage of experiences like this, though. If you want to bike like a pro, many tours are now offering similar packages to allow amateurs to get the VIP experience.
If you’re serious about cycling, you should definitely check out the companies above and give one of the world’s most challenging bicycle tours a shot!