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Cycling holidays: Take the trip of a lifetime

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29 May 2019
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This feature first appeared in Cyclist magazine and was produced in association with Sports Tours International 

Throw yourself into the heart of the action with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go backstage at the sport’s greatest races  – The Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España.

Luxuriating over three long weeks, these Grand Tours cross entire countries. With Sports Tours International’s VIP packages allowing you to get on course in your own team car, sip champagne on the finish line, or even follow the entire 21-days of racing, it’s the sort of experience that’s worth smashing the piggy bank for.

Sports Tours International offer an incredible variety of VIP packages to just about every big race in the European calendar.

As well as the Grand Tours, you can also sign up for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch all the one-day Classics, as well as the Tour of Flanders, the Tour de Yorkshire, the Ghent 6 -Day Track Cycling Races, as well as the UCI CycloCross World Championships.

 

Giro d’Italia

When: 11th May – 2nd June 2019, tbc 2020

Where: Italy

Why: The most intriguing, least predictable, and the best looking, this is the first Grand Tour of the year.

Less likely to be crushed by any one team, the Giro often plays out like the last 20 years never happened.

This year, for instance, there are three individual time-trials helping to decide the race, which should make the action more mercurial than ever.

How: Sports Tours International off a variety of packages ranging from one-day adventures to weekends you’ll never forget. VIP experiences range from start and finish zone hospitality access, to a day in an official car.

The Chrono experience, as it’s called, allows you to follow the action from the course itself rather than by the side of the road, watching the race unfold second by second.

And if you want to take things up a notch further, you can even get a bird’s-eye view of the peloton by watching the race from a hovering helicopter!

Specifics of the 2020 Giro route have yet to be finalised, but the opening few stages will take place in Hungary, adding a further level of excitement to following it from the start.

 

Tour de France

When: 6th–28th July 2019

Where: France

Why: The oldest, the most prestigious, and the hardest-fought of all the Grand Tours, this is the height of the season and the pinnacle of the sport.

The Tour de France is, by some distance, the largest event of its kind in the world.

With options to secure a prime finish-line spot, along with the opportunity to follow the race by car, or even fly over by helicopter, a VIP access package could be a great way to celebrate a significant birthday or kick off your retirement in style.

How: Sports Tours International’s range of VIP experiences will put you closer to the Tour than you ever dreamed possible, whether that’s reserved seating at the Grand Départ, getting access to the official village, or bagging a place in the grandstand overlooking the finish on the Champs-Élysées.

 

Vuelta a Espana

When: 24th August – 15th September 2019

Where: Spain 

Why: The wildest, the least commercialised, and the most unique, this madcap race is a last chance for Grand Tour glory before the season ends. With climb after climb, it’s a rare breed that succeeds at the Vuelta.

With packages covering the whole three-week race, a popular choice is likely to be following along as it rolls through the Basque Country and Asturias.

Northern Spain is home to a cycling culture as unique as the language and heritage of the area.

Food and exploration, along with the chance to get out on the bike, will be almost as big a draw as the racing itself.

How: Choose from a range of VIP experiences offered by Sports Tours International that allow you to dip in and out of the Vuelta for a day, a few days or more.

Depending on what you opt for, you’ll get access to the official start villages and rider’s paddock, and enjoy celebrity style hospitality while watching the race.

You can also ride parts of the course before the pros, crossing the finish line before them in front of cheering fans and even get a picture of yourself taken on the winner’s podium!

Truly the stuff of cycling-fan fantasy!

For more information on how to experience these and other races, head to Sports Tours International's website