2016 Vuelta - Tour of Spain


La Vuelta - Tour of Spain 2016

VUELTA A ESPANA - Sep 2–12 2016
[Toulouse - Madrid]

With Topbike's Vuelta Tour, we follow the final 10 days of the 71st Edition of this Grand tour as it ventures into the French Pyrenees, twists its way south to the Mediterranean coast, before heading to Madrid for the grand finale.
This is a fantastic event, where you can really get in touch with these world class riders. We’ll ride most mornings, encompassing parts of the stages the riders will be competing on. We’ll get to see the riders signing on, race starts, sprints, climbs and finishes. You'll be swept away by the energy and intricacies of grand tour stage racing. Topped off with excellent accomms and cuisine, this makes it one of our best tours. And remember to wind back your watches, as Spain wakes late, eats late and sleeps late. Which is all the better for us, as it gives us more time to enjoy the racing, without rushing home for dinner.

71st Edition La Vuelta 2016

Topbike Tours 2016 Tour Dates

2016 La Vuelta Itinerary

Vuelta a España - Toulouse - Madrid 2/09/2016 – 12/09/2016

P/up: Toulouse Railway Station 11.00am, Sept 2
Drop off: Hotel Cortezo, Madrid, 10.00am, Sept 12 (Calle Doctor Cortezo, 3 Madrid 28012)

Friday, September 2

Us: Pick up at Toulouse Railway Station at 11.00am. Once everyone has arrived, we’ll load the vans and transport to Argeles Gazost, (195k, 2h). We’ll have a light lunch/picnic on arrival, and begin to set up our bikes and get out for a short ride. We’ll ensure we catch the end of today’s stage live on the tele today. Tonight we will enjoy our welcome to the Pyrenees dinner, prepared inhouse.

[Ride: ‘med’ two hours max]

Them: Stage 13, Bilbao / Urdax-Dantxarinea 212.8KM
The longest stage of the 2016 Vuelta. 212.8 kilometres between Bilbao and Urdax, passing through the city of San Sebastian and featuring one 2nd category climb and six 3rd category climbs which will break up the peloton. Predictably, it will be a day for the bravest riders of this edition of the Vuelta.

Saturday, September 3

Us: Today’s stage finishes atop Col d’Aubisque, just 30k away from our hotel, over Col du Solour. After breakfast we’ll head up there to see the end of the stage, the first time La Vuelta has used this Col. However, it did feature in the 2007 Tour de France, as it was the last stage, and climb, of Michael Rasmussen’s career. He and Alberto Contador left Cadel behind on the steep finish, only for Rassmussen to be fired from his team (and ejected from the race) on the following rest day. We’ll return home on one of our favorite descents for another evening, dining inhouse.
Anyone who wants some ‘extras’ can always climb the nearby Hautacam on the way out, to add in another 35k ☺
[Ride: >60km, with hills].

Them: Stage 14: Stage 14, Urdax-Dantxarinea / Aubisque - Gourette 195.6KM
We now enter the decisive stage of the Vuelta. Except for the initial kilometres, the entire route will be on French territory. The stage will be made up of four mountain passes, three 1st category climbs and one Special Category one. It will be a key day for all those fighting for the ultimate victory as well as for the podium. The Vuelta will arrive at the Col d'Aubisque, one of the Tour de France's mythical Pyrenees mountain peaks, for the first time in its history. Before the final...

Sunday, September 4

Us: Today’s stage finishes south of the border, on the other side of the Pyrenees, in Spain. We’ll have to choose between riding the first part of our transfer (over Tourmalet and/or Aspin) or riding into the stage finish town of Formigal. We’ll still have a transfer, post stage, to tonight’s digs, where we have our only one nighter for the tour, in a uniquely authentic, and rustic, Spanish Hacienda (which resides on a luxury accommodation website). Just us here, so the dinner is all ours ☺.
[Ride: >60k, at least one climb].

Them: Stage 15: Sabiñánigo / Sallent de Gállego. Aramón Formigal 120KM
A 120-kilometre mid-mountain stage between Sabiñanigo and the Aramon Formigal Ski Resort that is also the Vuelta's shortest linear stage, with the sole exception of the last one that will crown the winner. Riders will have to pay close attention during this stage as attempts to break away could start happening very early on and nerves as well as the previous day's exhaustion could impact many of the riders.

Monday, September 5

Us: Today is a big day for us, we’ll be on the road early, aiming to ride as much of the stage as possible. There’s just one KOM today, and it’s a Cat 3. Apart from that, while the finish is on the coast, we will be setting off from 400m ASL, so that makes our ride ‘net loss’. Not quite ‘downhill all the way’ but the next best thing. 158km if we are lucky enough to do the whole route, so why not? Dinner on the Mediterranean coast tonight, not far from our new digs, where we’ll stay for three nights.
[Ride: < 158k].

Them: Stage 16: Stage 16, Alcañiz / Peñíscola 158KM
This stage brings us to the Vuelta's last and definitive week and, thus, will be prone to escapes. Exhaustion will appear not just among those with the best classifications, but among all the riders. 158 kilometres with just one 3rd category mountain challenge that, after a third mountainous weekend, brings us back to the sand and the sea for the finale of the sixteenth stage.

Topbike Tours Riders head into Town, Spain La Vuelta 2012 - in 2013 we ride Toulouse to Madrid

Tuesday, September 6

Us: Today’s Vuelta rest day gives us the opportunity to get out and ride all day long. We’re located on the coast, so a flat ride along said sea shore could be in order, just decide if you want to go north or south? Alternately, there is tomorrow’s stage that is not too far from us, here we can preview the first 70k of the route in a 100k loop, upon the hinterland behind our seaside town. Note well, hills may prevail, as the peak of the first, of three Cat 2’s, comes after just 16k. Back to Oropesa del Mare tonight, and dining close to our base.
[Ride: < 100k].

Them: Rest day

Wednesday, September 7

Us: This is a unique stage today, for us. The start is just under 30k from our hotel, while the finish is just over 45k away. And the course passes quite close to us, within 15k. Plan A will be to visit the start and finish, as that is a rare commodity, and we can do it all from the comfort of a bike seat, and under 120k. An easier day is to ride out to spectate on the course, at its closest passing? Or again there is the possibility to ride the complete stage? Beware, that final climb to the finish looks like a cracker! (see below) Oh, the agony of choice.
[Ride: < 173k, with hills].

Them: Stage 17: Castellón / Llucena. Camins del Penyagolosa 173.3KM
173.3-kilometre stage with an unprecedented Vuelta finale. The Alto Mas de la Costa features an ascent of 4 kilometres with slopes of more than 21%, the average gradient being 12.9%. It will be the Vuelta's great innovation. The race, true to its style as it does every year, once again discovers a mountain pass that will undoubtedly become a world reference after its inclusion in this year's edition.

Topbike Tours La Vuelta 2013 - Alberto Contador

Thursday, September 8

Us: We’re on the road to another location, that is south along the coast. Today’s stage finish is on the coast too, so we’ll ride as close as practical to the finish, do a little spectating, then continue on to our next location at Xalo, where we’ll take up rooms for another 3 nights, dining inhouse.
[Ride: < 95k].

Them: Stage 18: , Requena / Gandía 191KM
Flat stage between Requena and Gandia and second-last chance for sprinters. The teams will control the escapes but the bravest riders will no doubt try to cross the finish-line alone. There are only three days left for the end of the race and two of those will help determine the outcome of the general classification.

Friday, September 9

Us: Once again it’s not far to today’s start and finish. This one is a bit more understandable as the stage totals just 39k. It’s an individual time trial, fairly flattish and if it doesn’t suit the riders at this time of the tour, it will suit us. We’ll get to see every rider pass by, one by one, without moving too far from our current Hacienda, perfect!
[Ride: > 40k].

Them: Stage 19: Xàbia / Calp 39KM
For the first time, the Vuelta will have an ITT in the third-last stage. It will consist of 39 kilometres that could be very decisive as far as the general classification is concerned, although it is important to remember that there is still one final mountain stage left. It will be a favourable day for time trial specialists, who will have the opportunity to obtain a stage victory. The final part of the stage will take place by the Mediterranean Sea.

Saturday, September 10

Us: It’s all about the stage today. Four climbs will challenge the riders before the final climb to the finish, and if one of them has a weak moment, it could be all over. So expect the riders a little down the order to be as aggressive as they can be, on the second last day of a three week race. The race passes close by us, not far from the start, as it winds its way around our peninsula. And the base of the final climb is under 50k away, in an opposite direction to how the race passes us. Plenty of options today for viewing, and the final climb will tell it all. A day not to be missed!
[Ride: > 50ks].

Them: Stage 20: Benidorm / Alto Aitana. Escuadrón E. Aire 184KM
This is the definitive day of the 2016 Vuelta. The stage consists of 184 kilometres featuring a Special Category climb, three 2nd category climbs and one 3rd category climb. The Vuelta returns to the Alto de Aitana, measuring 22 kilometres with a slope of 1280 metres and an average gradient of 5.72%. The rider that wears the red jersey at the Alto de Aitana will have obtained the final triumph.

Sunday, September 11

Us: We’ll wake up early and relocate into Madrid (463k, 4.5h). No terrific rush though as we do have plenty of time. The race will not arrive in Madrid until 4pm. Ideally we’ll arrive about lunchtime, and later in the afternoon we will hop on the Madrid Subway (or simply walk), over to the finish line and watch the procession of laps for the finish of La Vuelta Espana 2016.

[Ride: 3 hours easy, very slow, lots of stops and photos. Coffee at Plaza Mayor at the finish, or hot chocolate with spanish donuts, if you please?]

Tonight, we do it like the locals, and take a Tapas dinner, downtown Madrid, at one of the oldest and most famous Tapas bars. There’s a sure way to get something everyone wants for dinner, just start at the top of the tapas list and work your way down (remembering, of course, to skip the Tripe).

Them: Stage 21: Las Rozas / Madrid 102.5KM
The day in which we crown the winner of the Vuelta. The last 20 days of hard work and suffering will be rewarded with a stage that takes the peloton to the main streets of Madrid, thus bringing the 71st edition of the Vuelta a España to an end.

Explore Madrid Race Finish of the 2016 La Vuelta with Topbike Tours

Monday September 12:

Time for packing up, farewells, and making our way to our next travel connections, unless you have chosen to stay on for a couple of days to explore Madrid in a bit more depth. The Topbike Vans will be leaving at 10.00am to return to Italy, so if you would like to be dropped off en route, please let us know.

Topbike Tours - A Snapshot of our last Tour of Spain Cycling Holiday.

Topbike's 2016 Vuelta Tour includes:

  • All transport in the Topbike air conditioned mini-bus from Toulouse to Madrid for you, your bike and one bag.
  • 10 nights accommodation: (twin share)
  • ALL breakfasts and all dinners
  • Full back up vehicle and mechanical support on every ride.
  • A five piece Topbike cycle clothing Kit.
  • Energy bars and carbohydrate drink powder.
  • Experienced cycling guides.
  • Detailed maps of all ride routes.
  • Transfers in the Topbike A/C Vans.
  • Tips, coaching if requested.
  • Non cyclists also catered for.
  • All particular dietary requests are catered for, just let us know.

Please note:

  • Please pack your bike in a collapsible bag or disposable cardboard box.
    [See our FAQ's and recommendations section on packing your bike]
  • Hire bikes can be organized at an additional cost of $660. There is a limited number of 2010-2015 model 'Giant Defy Advanced' bikes with compact gearing, provision of these will be on first reserved basis (and also depending upon frame size match). E-Bikes also available
  • Please also see our recommended list of things to bring, it is most important to bring front and rear flashing lights.
  • 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.


Topbike Tours - Vuelta a España

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