New TDF Cycling Camp Announced

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Posted Friday 20th December 2013 –

Tour de France fans can live, breathe and ride the event courtesy of a new cycling camp being launched by BlackRock Ski Lodge in Chamonix. The brain child of keen cyclists and BlackRock’s owners Lizzy and Beej Mercer, the week-long camp will run between 12 and 19 July. It will take advantage of the lodge’s proximity to the mountain stages of the 2014 tour and the access it offers to a list of ascents made legendary by the Tour de France.

En route to col de la Colombiere

Guests can cycle the famous Cols, experience the spectacle of the race itself as it passes through the mountain stages and do so with the back-up of a support team of cycling professionals guaranteed to make it a holiday like no other.

Former pro-cyclist and British and Scottish cycling performance coach Gary Willis, who specialises in the performance pathway for cyclists, will lead the rides each day. That will give guests the opportunity to benefit from his racing experience and the innovative coaching techniques he’s since developed to enable athletes to make big improvements to their performance using technique and race craft.

The action packed week will use BlackRock in Chamonix as its base with highlights including:

On 13 July there will be a warm up ride to the Col de Montets which featured in the tour five times between 1959 and 1977. The following day the Col des Aravis (1486m) which has featured 39 times, most recently in 2010 when Jérôme Pineau of France took the stage finish, is the goal. The mountain pass is about two hours ride from BlackRock and connects the towns of La Clusaz in Haute-Savoie with La Giettaz in Savoie.

On Wednesday 15 it’s time to tackle le Col de Joux Plane (an eleven times Tour destination, most recently in 2006 when France’s Christian Seznec took the stage finish). A short drive will deliver cyclists to the start of the climb from Samoëns to pit themselves against the 11.7km climb to the Col at 1691m dealing with its 8.5% average gradient, and the challenges of 10% in places, before cycling into Avoriaz (the stage finish in 2011) and then descending to Morzine and well earned lift home.

Le Col de la Colombière is the iconic destination on Thursday. It’s made 20 appearances in the Tour, most recently in 2010 with Christophe Moreau of France taking the stage finish. Connecting Cluses in the Arve valley with Le Grand-Bornand it was last year’s stage 19 finish. Over 16.3km long with 1108m of climb at an average of 6.8% rising to 10.2% near the summit, it’s a fitting challenge for any cyclist.

Friday 17 July marks the moment to see the professionals in action for the first time. Soaking up the atmosphere at le Grand Depart in Bourg-en-Bresse will be the prelude to a cycle back to Chamonix. The option to call in the support cars will be available to, to ensure being back in front of a big screen for the highlights of the finish of Stage 12 in St Etienne before dinner!

It’s an early start on Saturday, getting as close as possible to the start of the 30km climb to Chamrouse, so that guests can ride the route just hours before the peloton arrives. Whilst guests are cycling, the BlackRock support crew will be setting up camp close to the finish so that everyone can join in the giant party that surrounds any Tour de France mountain finish!

Cycling like a professional means receiving support to match. At BlackRock that team includes the services of Vaudagne Velo’s Kevin Worster, himself an ex pro cycle team manager, and his purpose built support car. Professional chef Emma Lawrenson who will be providing a sports specific menu described by elite coach and sports scientist Garth Fox as “outstanding, the kind of nutrition support you only find in pro cycling teams”. Chamonix’s Clinique du Sport team, led by elite sports physio Neil Maclean-Martin will also be on hand for sports massages and treatment.

Whilst the riding is designed to be testing, the creature comforts at BlackRock will help to ease tired muscles with recovery facilities including a sauna, a Jacuzzi with spectacular views down the Chamonix valley. Not to mention sun soaked terraces and a bar in which to relax ahead of another inspiring day in the alpine home of Le Tour de France.

The price based on 10 guests sharing twin rooms is 1450€ (£1250) per person and includes: all accommodation on a full board basis for six-nights (breakfast, packed lunch and three-course dinner with wine) with the seventh night being an opportunity to enjoy a trip to a local restaurant; support vehicle every day, cycling tour leader, all transportation and transfers between Geneva Airport and BlackRock Ski Lodge, all the facilities including Jacuzzi, sauna and Wifi, honesty bar and an 54 inch screen to catch up on the day’s tour highlights.

For more information and bookings email: blackrockskilodge@me.com