You’ve seen the videos, and now you can join Mike Cotty and The Col Collective in the Pyrenees to tackle some of the Tour de France’s most fabled climbs as it branches out into the cycling holiday business.
The Col Collective – Cycling Tours, based in France’s Hautes-Pyrénées department, will offer from this summer a variety of fully supported itineraries aimed at everyone from novice climbers to hardened mountain munchers.
Besides tours taking in the likes of the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque – both included in the first ever mountain stage of the Tour de France in 1910 – there is also an Undiscovered Pyrénées package that offers week exploring less heralded parts of the range.
Other tours include, for the less experienced, the Introduction to the Mountains which includes one-to-one guidance from Col Collective founder Cotty, as well as the Tour de France Experience, where participants ride the itinerary of a stage then watch the pros tackle it the following day.
The Explorer and Explorer Mini tours take a less structured approach, allowing participants to devise their own itineraries with input from The Col Collective.
Cotty said: “It’s been a hugely satisfying journey over the last couple of years, we’ve had such a heartfelt response to our videos from all over the world that we wanted to try and create an experience that helps bring riders even closer to the mountains, giving them one-to-one guidance, support and sharing our knowledge wherever we can to help you become more accomplished in the mountains while creating a really personal and unique experience with The Col Collective that will live with you forever.”
For accommodation, there are five en-suite guest rooms in the business’s own guest house and, for those times when you’re off the bike, there is also a heated swimming pool.
All participants in the tours, which have a starting price of €1,100, receive a Col Collective mountain essentials kit bag and equipment worth more than €875.
Prices exclude flights; head here for more information.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.