The Tour de France had their official 2018 route presentation a few weeks ago. Trip planners for all the major tour companies have been working hard to get their Tour de France trip itineraries in place. Many cycling tour companies do trips built around following the Tour. But only 6 companies are Tour de France Official Tour Operators, in partnership with the ASO.
These guys will get you behind the scenes of the race like no one else can. You can expect special VIP access to the Tour de France start village, live stage viewing, finish line access, and even meeting teams and riders. Many of these companies also offer separate Etape Du Tour packages.
Whichever tour company you choose, act fast! These tours will sell our quickly and early. They are pricey for sure, but no one else gets you this close to the action.
The 6 Tour de France Official Tour Operators:
Thomson Bike Tours
Bringing cyclists and spectators to the Tour de France since 2003, Thomson Bike Tours has also been awarded premium status with the ASO. They have 4 Tour de France KOM Challenge trips. Choose from a combination of the Alps, Mont Ventoux, Pyrenees, and Paris. In addition to riding all the famous cols, you’ll also get VIP access to stage starts and finish lines and a private hospitality area. They offer 3 distances of riding each day, so ride just as many cols as you want. They even have a VIP trip just for spectators. Their website is full of photos, videos, maps and routes. It’s easy to see that they are super passionate about Le Tour.
Custom Getaways also has premium status with the ASO and are on their 13th year of being an official tour operator. Offering an impressive 12 different trip options, you can choose from the Grande Depart, cobblestone viewing, Alps cycling and spectator trips, or a 4-star Paris weekend. There is even a trip designed just for Spanish speaking guests. All of which offer full VIP treatment.
Discover France Adventures
Discover France Adventures has been offering official TdF tours since 2009. Choose from short 1 or 2-day challenges, or 7 days capturing all the excitement of the whole final week of the Tour. If you’re looking for something extra exclusive and outrageous (and you have some cash to burn) take a VIP helicopter flight over the race with a direct view over the riders during the stage.
Sports Tours International
Sports Tours International is one of Europe’s biggest sports tour operators. They’ve been offering trips to the Tour for more than 20 years. They also have 12 tour options. Choose from 1-day VIP experiences like spending a day in the Tour caravan. Ride along during a stage in an official Tour de France car. Or go for the all-mountains tour with riding and live stage viewing of the whole final two weeks of the Tour in the Alps, Pyrenees, and Paris.
Mummu Cycling is the only Australian company to make the list, and new on my radar. They have partnered with ex-pro Stuart O’Grady to deliver their insider experience. Again, lots of options to choose from. Go with the Grande Depart, a cobbles weekend, plus the classic Alps and Pyrenees weeks. Sure to be a popular option is the Alpe d’Huez explorer week. Ride the entire stage before the pros. You’ll get stuck right in the action and excitement of this always crazy day.
Trek Travel was voted a 2016 World’s Best Tour Operator by Travel + Leisure. They’ve been bringing cyclists to France for decades. One of the things that always sets them apart is their access to pro teams. They are once again partnered with pro team Trek-Segafredo to bring you exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the team. Choose from two TdF tours with Trek-Segafredo team access: Pyrenees to Paris or the Alps Week. For a less expensive options, there are also official VIP tours without team access. As always, there is also the exclusive Paris viewing event.
Curious as to how these companies become Tour de France Official Tour Operators? Here is an excerpt from an interview with one of the official tour operators in 2013.
There are a number of categories involved. Firstly you need to be able to ensure that your company is financially stable, in France this is also necessary as part of being a licensed tour operator. From there you need to demonstrate that you are experienced and competent in the delivery of top level cycling programs. There is obviously an investment that you need to be prepared to make also to gain access to the hospitality and associated accreditation and marketing support.