Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux 10-9-2022 / 13-9-2022

If you missed the opportunity to take part in our first Quatre Jours de Ventoux in May, this is your chance to make that dream a reality.  4 Days riding the best roads of the Ventoux region with a professional guide. This is one for the long-ride lovers! With of course the Ventoux as the centerpiece but by far from the only challenge as our guides take you on a Tour de Provence that will leave with speechless and breathless!  riding with a guide 

The CCS Ventoux House is a luxury, bespoke cycling accommodation, situated at the heart of Bedoin, designed specifically to satisfy and exceed the ‘hors categorie’ demands of quality from elite professional athletes and you – our CCS guests. Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux is one for the long-ride lovers! Every day we will ride minimum of 100 km. Four days of the most incredible roads of the region, with of course the Ventoux as the centerpiece but by far from the only challenge as our guides take you on a Tour de Provence that will leave with speechless and breathless!

Program of Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux September 2022 4 days/3 nights  

The below program will be adjusted with the exact routes powered by our partner Komoot soon.

ARRIVAL

Day 110 September

  • Welcome to CCS house in Bedoin around noon.
  • Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey made exclusively for us by our apparel partner Band of Climbers.
  • Once you’re settled in you are invited to join us for 100km ride around the vineyards, a relaxing ride to loosen the legs, soak in tips & tricks of our guid and prepare for the great days ahead!
  • Return to the House and time for a well deserved specialty coffee from our own coffee bar.
  • Your welcome dinner will be served at 8pm by our own chef.

Distance 100km

ARRIVAL

Ventoux day

Day 211 September

  • After a relaxing night’s sleep, breakfast and coffee is served at 8am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 9.30am for today’s full day ride. 
  • The ride will be all the way up to the summit of the Mont Ventoux.
  • We will return to the House, tired but triumphant after Les Graviers du Ventoux.
  • In the evening you are invited for a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 100-150 km

Ventoux day

TIME FOR COFFEE

Day 312 September

  • Breakfast is served at 8am.
  • After breakfast there will be a special Barista event with coffee of our partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee held in the House in our own famous ‘Coffee Corner’, a chance to enjoy some great Magistrale coffee and rest those legs before the afternoon ride. 
  • We will leaving around 11am for a guided ride, covering 125km of stunning Provence roads.
  • Return to the House for relaxation and a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 125km

TIME FOR COFFEE

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Day 413 September

  • Breakfast is served at 7am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 8am for a last ride of 100km to the stunning roads of Gorges de la Nesque.
  • We will return to the House around 1pm for a last and well deserved lunch.
  • All good things come to an end, so after the lunch we will assist you pack your bikes and wish you a fond farewell with lots of lifelong memories of CCS, Bedoin and The Ventoux!

Bon Voyage!

Distance : 100km

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

The CCS team will design and develop specific guided ride routes for you and your group. Rides that take in the finest roads, climbs, descents and classic Provencal vistas on the days. With our partner Komoot we will soon announce the exact routes.

Your group will have a dedicated professional mechanic on hand, to tune your bikes during your stay – so every kilometre and gear shift, will be silky smooth.

Our CCS cycling jersey by Band of Climbers

Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey designed and made exclusively for CCS by our apparel partner at Band of Climbers.

Eat well, ride well – you deserve it!

All food and beverages are included with breakfast, arrival – departure lunch and every evening a 3 course meal created by our chef. Our chef works only with local producers and organic products. As riders we know the value of great food.

We would suggest that this event is for intermediate level riders, or those with at least some experience of riding on a gravel bike. At no point will any rider be left behind on their own, and our support vehicle will be around at all times.

EARLY BIRD RATE OF 1000 Euros per person. Limited places available!

From 1st of August 2022 the rate will be 1250 EUROS PER PERson.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • 3 night stay in a twin room at CCS Ventoux house – complete with outdoor swimming pool, full coffee bar with Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee and fitness room.
  • Daily cooked breakfasts, arrival/departure lunches and three course dinners – prepared in house by our private chef, served with wine at dinner.
  • In house laundry service.
  • Daily supported rides and mechanical support.
  • 1 x CCS Band of Climbers jersey.

EXTRAS

  • Flights/Transfer to Bedoin we can arrange that for you.
  • Bike hire.
  • Energy bars and gels for 4 days of riding – 50 Euros.
  • Single room available; 750 Euros extra.
  • Massage service; 70 Euros per hour.
  • Extra night; 150 Euros per person, included breakfast.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Insurance.
  • Spare parts or equipment.
  • Medical Cover.

We offer all of our guest an antigen test when arriving in the house, to secure a healthy and safe environment. The rules for France are applicable in regards to COVID19 when entering France.

ThIS EVENT can only take place when minimum of 6 people register.

Register your interest below

After receiving your registration our CCS Team will contact you with the more details.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
DD slash MM slash YYYY
Where are you interested in?*
Address

Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux 21-5-2022 / 24-5-2022

Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux. This is one for the long-ride lovers! Four days of the most incredible roads of the region, with of course the Ventoux as the centerpiece but by far from the only challenge as our guides take you on a Tour de Provence that will leave with speechless and breathless!  riding with a guide 

The CCS Ventoux House is a luxury, bespoke cycling accommodation, situated at the heart of Bedoin, designed specifically to satisfy and exceed the ‘hors categorie’ demands of quality from elite professional athletes and you – our CCS guests. Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux is one for the long-ride lovers! Every day we will ride minimum of 100 km. Four days of the most incredible roads of the region, with of course the Ventoux as the centerpiece but by far from the only challenge as our guides take you on a Tour de Provence that will leave with speechless and breathless!

Program of Le Quatre Jours de Ventoux 4 days/3 nights  

The below program will be adjusted with the exact routes powered by Komoot soon.

ARRIVAL

Day 121 May

  • Welcome to CCS house in Bedoin around noon.
  • Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey made exclusively for us by our apparel partner Band of Climbers.
  • Once you’re settled in you are invited to join us for 100km ride around the vineyards, a relaxing ride to loosen the legs, soak in tips & tricks of our guid and prepare for the great days ahead!
  • Return to the House and time for a well deserved specialty coffee from our own coffee bar.
  • Your welcome dinner will be served at 8pm by our own chef.

Distance 100km

ARRIVAL

Ventoux day

Day 222 May

  • After a relaxing night’s sleep, breakfast and coffee is served at 8am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 9.30am for today’s full day ride. 
  • The ride will be all the way up to the summit of the Mont Ventoux.
  • We will return to the House, tired but triumphant after Les Graviers du Ventoux.
  • In the evening you are invited for a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 100-150 km

Ventoux day

TIME FOR COFFEE

Day 323 May

  • Breakfast is served at 8am.
  • After breakfast there will be a special Barista event with coffee of our partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee held in the House in our own famous ‘Coffee Corner’, a chance to enjoy some great Magistrale coffee and rest those legs before the afternoon ride. 
  • We will leaving around noon for a guided ride, covering 125km of stunning Provence roads.
  • Return to the House for relaxation and a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 125km

TIME FOR COFFEE

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Day 424 May

  • Breakfast is served at 7am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 8am for a last ride of 100km to the stunning roads of Gorges de la Nesque.
  • We will return to the House around 1pm for a last and well deserved lunch.
  • All good things come to an end, so after the lunch we will assist you pack your bikes and wish you a fond farewell with lots of lifelong memories of CCS, Bedoin and The Ventoux!

Bon Voyage!

Distance : 100km

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

The CCS team will design and develop specific guided ride routes for you and your group. Rides that take in the finest roads, climbs, descents and classic Provencal vistas on the days. With our partner Komoot we will soon announce the exact routes.

Your group will have a dedicated professional mechanic on hand, to tune your bikes during your stay – so every kilometre and gear shift, will be silky smooth.

Our CCS cycling jersey by Band of Climbers

Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey designed and made exclusively for CCS by our apparel partner at Band of Climbers.

Eat well, ride well – you deserve it!

All food and beverages are included with breakfast, arrival – departure lunch and every evening a 3 course meal created by our chef. Our chef works only with local producers and organic products. As riders we know the value of great food.

We would suggest that this event is for intermediate level riders, or those with at least some experience of riding on a gravel bike. At no point will any rider be left behind on their own, and our support vehicle will be around at all times.

EARLY BIRD RATE OF 1000 Euros per person. Limited places available!

From 1st of April 2022 the rate will be 1250 EUROS PER PERson.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • 3 night stay in a twin room at CCS Ventoux house – complete with outdoor swimming pool, full coffee bar with Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee and fitness room.
  • Daily cooked breakfasts, arrival/ departure lunches and three course dinners – prepared in house by our private chef, served with wine at dinner.
  • In house laundry service.
  • Daily supported rides and mechanical support.
  • 1 x CCS Band of Climbers jersey.

EXTRAS

  • Flights/Transfer to Bedoin we can arrange that for you.
  • Bike hire.
  • Energy bars and gels for 4 days of riding – 50 Euros.
  • Single room available; 750 Euros extra.
  • Massage service; 70 Euros per hour.
  • Extra night; 150 Euros per person, included breakfast.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Insurance.
  • Spare parts or equipment.
  • Medical Cover.

We offer all of our guest an antigen test when arriving in the house, to secure a healthy and safe environment. The rules for France are applicable in regards to COVID19 when entering France.

ThIS EVENT can only take place when minimum of 6 people register.

Register your interest below

After receiving your registration our CCS Team will contact you with the more details.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
DD slash MM slash YYYY
Where are you interested in?*
Address

Ventoux Gravel Edition 13/11 – 16/11

The CCS Ventoux House is a luxury, bespoke cycling accommodation, situated at the heart of Bedoin, designed specifically to satisfy and exceed the ‘hors categorie’ demands of quality from elite professional athletes and you – our CCS guests. November is the perfect month to explore the gravel roads around the Ventoux and Provence. Therefore we offer a gravel training camp at our CCS Bedoin house and of course we will aim for the fourth ‘unknown’ side up the Ventoux ” Les Graviers du Ventoux”. During the 4 days we will explore the gravel roads around Bedoin, you will receive a special edition CCS jersey, great food prepared by our local chef and of course, amazing coffee. Our personal gravel specialist, former Dutch pro cyclist Bram Tankink, will guide you with our mechanical assistance and if needed well deserved massage and energy bar package will be available. 

Program of the Ventoux Gravel Edition4 days/3 nights  

ARRIVAL

Day 113 November

  • Welcome to CCS house in Bedoin around noon.
  • Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey made exclusively for us by our apparel partner Band of Climbers.
  • Once you’re settled in you are invited to join us for 62 km Gravel ride Col du Cayron- Dentelles de Montmirail – Bedoin. A relaxing ride to loosen the legs, soak in tips & tricks of Bram Tankink and prepare for the great days ahead!
  • Return to the House and time for a well deserved specialty coffee from our own coffee bar.
  • Your welcome dinner will be served at 8pm by our own chef.

Distance 62 km 1430m ⬆︎

ARRIVAL

Les Graviers du Ventoux

Day 214 November

  • After a relaxing night’s sleep, breakfast and coffee is served at 8am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 9.30am for today’s full day ride. 
  • The ride will be the ‘unknown’ fourth side up the Ventoux. The gravel, that starts in Bédoin is curved its way around the mountain, and the last four kilometers will be on Malaucène side to reach the summit.
  • We will return to the House, tired but triumphant after Les Graviers du Ventoux.
  • In the evening you are invited for a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance 75 km 2,070m ⬆︎

Les Graviers du Ventoux

TIME FOR COFFEE

Day 3 15 November

  • Breakfast is served at 8am.
  • After breakfast there will be a special Barista event with coffee of our partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee held in the House in our own famous ‘Coffee Corner’, a chance to enjoy some great Magistrale coffee and rest those legs before the afternoon ride. 
  • We will leaving around 11 for a guided ride, covering 102 km of gravel in the Gorges de la Nesque.
  • Return to the House for relaxation and a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 102 km 1,980m ⬆︎

TIME FOR COFFEE

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Day 416 November

  • Breakfast is served at 7am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 8am for a last ride of 53km to the stunning gravel roads from Bedoin – Ruïn – Bedoin.
  • We will return to the House around 1pm for a last and well deserved lunch.
  • All good things come to an end, so after the lunch we will assist you pack your bikes and wish you a fond farewell with lots of lifelong memories of CCS, Bedoin and The Ventoux!

Bon Voyage!

Distance : 53 km 1,240m ⬆︎

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Your trainer for this event will be a gravel expert and former Dutch pro cyclist Bram Tankink. Bram has been 18 years professional cyclist. Bram will be providing valuable insights and advice on training, riding style, and the tactical knowledge of how to climb and descend on a gravel bike. The CCS team will design and develop specific guided ride routes for you and your group. Rides that take in the finest gravel roads, climbs, descents and classic Provencal vistas on the days. All of the routes are created by Bram and powered by our partner Komoot.

Your group will have a dedicated professional mechanic on hand, to tune your bikes during your stay – so every kilometre and gear shift, will be silky smooth.

Our CCS cycling jersey by Band of Climbers

Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey designed and made exclusively for CCS by our apparel partner at Band of Climbers.

Eat well, ride well – you deserve it!

All food and beverages are included with breakfast, arrival – departure lunch and every evening a 3 course meal created by our chef. Our chef works only with local producers and organic products. As riders we know the value of great food.

We would suggest that the CCS Ventoux Gravel Edition for intermediate level riders, or those with at least some experience of riding on a gravel bike. At no point will any rider be left behind on their own, and our support vehicle will be around at all times.

EARLY BIRD RATE OF 1250 Euros per person. Limited places available!

From 1st of OCtober the rate will be 1450 EUROS PER PERson.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • 3 night stay in a twin room at CCS Ventoux house – complete with outdoor swimming pool, full coffee bar with Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee and fitness room.
  • Daily cooked breakfasts, arrival – departure lunches and three course dinners – prepared in house by our private chef, served with wine at dinner.
  • In house laundry service.
  • Daily supported rides and mechanical support.
  • 1 x CCS Band of Climbers jersey.

EXTRAS

  • Flights/Transfer to Bedoin we can arrange that for you.
  • Gravel bike hire.
  • Energy bars and gels for 4 days of riding – 50 Euros.
  • Single room available; 750 Euros extra.
  • Massage service; 70 Euros per hour.
  • Extra night; 150 Euros per person, included breakfast.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Insurance.
  • Spare parts or equipment.
  • Medical Cover.

We offer all of our guest an antigen test when arriving in the house, to secure a healthy and safe environment. The rules for France are applicable in regards to COVID19 when entering France.

The CCS VENTOUX GRAVEL EDITION can only take place when minimum of 6 people register for the event.

Register your interest below

After receiving your registration our CCS Team will contact you with the more details.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
DD slash MM slash YYYY
Where are you interested in?*
Address

MONT VENTOUX CYCLING EXPERIENCE 25/9 – 28/9

The CCS Ventoux House is a luxury, bespoke cycling accommodation, situated at the heart of Bedoin, designed specifically to satisfy and exceed the ‘hors categorie’ demands of quality from elite professional athletes and you – our CCS guests. For a selected few, we offer a training week in our CCS Bedoin house. The days will be full off riding, a special edition CCS jersey, great food prepared by our local chef and of course, amazing coffee. You will be treated like a professional cyclist in every way; with a personal coach, guided riding, mechanical support and if needed we offer a well deserved massage and energy bar package.

Program of the Mont Ventoux Cycling Experience4 days/3 nights  

ARRIVAL

Day 125 september

  • Welcome to CCS house in Bedoin early in the morning.
  • Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey made exclusively for us by our apparel partner Band of Climbers.
  • Once you’re settled in you are invited to join us for a leisurely 75km spin around the “Cotes Du Rhône” vineyards, a relaxing ride to loosen the legs, soak in the views, sunshine and prepare for the great days ahead!
  • Return to the House, and time for an afternoon dip in our pool.
  • Your welcome dinner will be served at 8pm by our own chef.

Distance 75km

ARRIVAL

DISCOVERY

Day 226 september

  • After a relaxing night’s sleep, breakfast and coffee is served at 8am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 9.30 am for today’s full day ride. 
  • The ride will be the famous Stage 11 of this year Tour de France won by Wout van Aert – 120km. To Sault via Gorges de la Nesque which will include two ascents of the infamous Mont Ventoux. For the most motivated riders there will be the opportunity for a third ascent of the Ventoux from the Malaucene side.
  • We will return to the House, tired but triumphant, for a swim. We offer a massage for who ever need ones.
  • In the evening you are invited for a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 120km

DISCOVERY

TIME FOR COFFEE

Day 3 27 September

  • Breakfast is served at 8am (hopefully no sore legs after yesterday!)
  • After breakfast there will be a special Barista event with coffee of our partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee held in the House in our own famous ‘Coffee Corner’, a chance to enjoy some great Magistrale coffee and rest those legs before the afternoon ride. 
  • We will leaving around noon for a guided ride, covering 100km of stunning Provence roads on the way.
  • Return to the House for relaxation and a 3-course dinner of our local chef.

Distance : 100km

TIME FOR COFFEE

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Day 428 September

  • Breakfast is served at 7am.
  • We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 8.30am for a last ride of 100km to Gorges and the beautiful Luberon massif and stunning roads and villages within the Provence.
  • We will return to the House around 1pm for a last but not least well deserved BBQ.
  • All good things come to an end, so after the bbq we will assist you pack your bikes and wish you a fond farewell with lots of lifelong memories of CCS, Bedoin and The Ventoux!

Bon Voyage!

Distance : 100km

LAST DAY IN THE PROVENCE

Your trainer for this event is Thomas Desonay, current holder of a top ten KOM time for the Ventoux Climb, 8th at the GranFondo World Championships and Elite winner of the 2019 GranFondo Strada Bianchi. Thomas will be providing valuable insights and advice on training, riding style, and the tactical knowledge of how to climb and descend. The CCS team will design and develop specific guided ride routes for you and your group. Rides that take in the finest roads, climbs, descents and classic Provencal vistas on the days.

Your group will have a dedicated professional mechanic on hand, to tune your bikes during your stay – so every kilometre and gear shift, will be silky smooth.

Thomas Desonay in our CCS cycling jersey by Band of Climbers

Each guest will receive a special edition CCS jersey designed and made exclusively for CCS by our apparel partner at Band of Climbers.

Band of Climbers use the finest modern technical materials, and a long history of taking on the most challenging road climbs around the world, to create a kit design that features a supreme attention to detail, and a fit that will make you feel like a pro!

In stylish black with the CCS logo in white with our signature red dot, and the logo of Band of Climbers – you’ll cut a dash on the club ride when you get back home – just remember to have your Ventoux triple climb stories ready!

Eat well, ride well – you deserve it!

All food and beverages are included with breakfast, arrival – departure lunch and every evening a 3 course meal created by our chef. Our chef works only with local producers and organic products. As riders we know the value of great food.

We would suggest that the CCS Mont Ventoux Cycling Experience for intermediate or above level riders, or those with at least some experience of riding in the mountains. At no point will any rider be left behind on their own, as our support vehicle and guide will be on the road with you at all times.

1000 Euros per person. Limited places available!

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • 3 night stay in a twin room at CCS Ventoux house – complete with outdoor swimming pool, full coffee bar with Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee and fitness room.
  • Daily cooked breakfasts, arrival / departure lunch, and three course dinners – prepared in house by our private chef, served with wine at dinner.
  • In house laundry service.
  • Daily supported rides and mechanical support.
  • 1 x CCS Band of Climbers jersey.

EXTRAS

  • Flights/Transfer to Bedoin.
  • Bike hire.
  • Energy bars and gels for 4 days of riding – 50 Euros.
  • Single room available; 750 Euros extra.
  • Massage service; 70 Euros per hour.
  • Extra night; 150 Euros per person, included breakfast.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Insurance.
  • Spare parts or equipment.
  • Medical Cover.

We offer all of our guest an antigen test when arriving in the house, to secure a healthy and safe environment. The rules for France are applicable in regards to COVID19 when entering France.

The CCS Mont Ventoux Cycling Experience can only take place when minimum of 6 people register for the event.

Register your interest below

After receiving your registration our CCS Team will contact you with the more details.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
DD slash MM slash YYYY
Where are you interested in?*
Address

2021 edition – done and dusted

Picture of Cycling Media Agency

The greatest bike race in the world concluded on Sunday just past and it was an unusual one. The race was dominated by one rider; Tadej Pogacar for UAE Emirates who, once the force of nature that is Alpecin-Fenix’s Dutchman Mathieu Van Der Poel had ceded ownership of the yellow jersey at the end of the first week of the race, to leave his premiere Tour de France to prepare for his quest to win the Olympic mountain bike gold medal in Tokyo, Pogacar, the wily young Slovenian proceeded to decimate the competition. Building an unassailable lead of minutes that would last through the time trial, over the mountains, even our home stage with the double Ventoux challenge and all the way to Paris and the finish line on the Champs Elysees.  

Multi-time Tour winners Ineos Grenadiers failed to impress, but there were notable rides from riders who don’t often or have ever seen the front end of a Tour stage. AG2R Citroen’s Aussie Ben O’Connor’s amazing solo ride on Stage 9 and Bora-Hansgroe’s Nils Politt’s break on Stage 12 stand out. 

Who can deny the clear talent and multi-role threat that is Belgian Wout Van Aert riding for Jumbo Visma. While the rest of his team worked hard, suffering some really bad luck in a crash-filled first two weeks, losing team leader Primoz Roglic, the watt monster that is Tony Martin, and the climbing specialist Steven Kruijswijk, it was down to Wout and his equally green tour newbie Jonas Vingegaard, who rose from a domestique, to wear the best young rider jersey and as the weeks wore on, one of the strongest riders in high mountains. His career as a dangerman in the mountains is just beginning. 

Mark Cavendish was supposed to be retired already. Years of illness and consequential poor form should have been the end. But in a story that even Disney would shelve as being too much of a fairy-tale, he rode brilliantly in the early season Tour of Turkey and through a Sam bennet injury, got a late call for the Deceuninck QuickStep team. His job, to try and win a sprint stage. Nothing more. 

Cav did more than that, mopping up green jersey points with frightening ease and grasping every chance to ride off teammate Morkov’s wheel to snatch sprint stage wins. The number of wins climbed ever closer to the magic number of 33 the number he needs to equal that of the most successful Tour de France rider ever the great Eddy Merckx. He achieved this goal on stage 10 into Valence. Embraced by Eddy and told to go and claim his 34th stage win to become the most successful Tour rider in history, a win on the Champs Elysees – regarded as the sprinter’s World Championships would seal a story that would live forever. 

Cycling is a beautiful sport, but a cruel one too. Cav’s challenge for a record-breaking 34th Stage win was extinguished by Wout Van Aert who unleashed a perfect sprint to fellow Belgian beat Jasper Philipsen and Cav to the win. 

Holding three fingers aloft, Wout indicated his third stage win and what a three. He won the double Ventoux stage with a masterful attack, crushing the field, he won the tricky time trial again with a shape and form that is something very special indeed and then to win the hardest sprint of the year in Paris just proved what a total all-rounder Wout Van Aert is. 

While the Eddy Merckx’s stage eating record may be eclipsed by Cav in 2022, it is Wout, Eddy’s young Belgian compatriot who is really set to take the crown of ‘Cannibal’ from the king!

Cycling is truly in a great place right now. 

Beware of the (under) dog! (Méfiez du chien sous!)

Picture of Cycling Media Agency

The drama of a race like the Tour de France is what keeps us entertained and coming back year after year for more. One of the key factors for this is that over three weeks strange things can happen. No matter how well organised a team plan is, no matter how researched or prepared they are, or the amounts of marginal gains they’ve accrued on paper when the rubber hits the road the whole thing can grind to a halt in moments. 

A cross-wind, a well-timed counter-attack, a wet descent, the alliance among your competitors, a crash, puncture, or mechanical happen and any and all of these, separately or in combination, can pull the loose thread on a team’s plan and unravel it so fast that they’re left exposed and rudderless. 

Then there is another factor. The underdog. The rider nobody had on their ‘risk radars’ when the race kicked off. It might be that the rider is young, or old, with no palmares, or just a reputation for blowing hot and cold. 

The underdog throws a spanner in the well-oiled works of the plans and strategies laid by the race favourites. Remember Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, with his iconic jutting chin and swaying climbing style? He stepped up from being a strong second-stringer to being a multi-stage winning, yellow jersey-wearing hero. He found his mojo from nowhere and a ‘just won’t quit’ ability to suffer and attack over and over again in the 2017 edition. 

Sometimes whole teams are underdogs. Take the have-a-go heroes of the smaller budget teams like Androni Geocattoli-Sidermec and CSF-Bardiani – each packed with up-and-coming talent and always hungry to disrupt the peloton’s status quo, to make a break that might just stick, or launch a kamikaze attack against all the odds. We love these little guys because they keep the big teams – with their clever, scientific plans and megastar riders, on their mettle. 

Then we have a new breed of underdog – and we’re talking about Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin Fenix). Surely, he’s not an underdog, being about the most talented rider ever to pedal bike in the history of the sport? Well, we think he is. See, Mathieu’s team is good, strong even those Italian outfits we’ve mentioned, but without throwing shade on the rest of the Alpecin-Fenix squad, he’s head and shoulders better than they are. 

Consequently, MVDP often has to ‘freelance’ his way through the peloton, finding his own shelter from the wind, stealing fast wheels to move up the road and generally relying upon his own race-craft to put himself in prime position to cause maximum havoc. But does that really make him an underdog? Well, MVDP also has another habit. 

He likes to occasionally throw a grenade and just launch an attack that makes no sense to the outside world. He’s previously said of these sudden attacks that they were not planned and done on a whim. Asked what prompted the spur-of-the-moment decision he’s said ‘I was getting cold waiting for something to happen’, or famously, ‘I got bored..’. When you’re a prodigiously physically talented as he is, you can burn precious watts, literally, for fun.

It’s MVDP’s exact refusal to be normal, but to roll the dice and do something completely unexpected that makes him an underdog. Decisions like launching a sprint at 400m, instead of 75 like tradition and convention dictates, or to believe he can pull back a multi-rider break that’s minutes up the road with single-digit kilometers remaining to go – all on his own, and make it against all odds to take the win. That’s also what being an underdog, albeit one that lives in plain sight, in white shorts, is all about. 

One thing’s for sure, you can’t afford to take your eyes off of the Tour de France, not for a second, because somebody is always trying something to upset the odds. And it’s usually an underdog and we’re down with that!

The Tour de France – It’s all in the details…

Picture of Cycling Media Agency

Stages of the Tour de France (and every other pro-level road race for that matter) seem to the untrained eye like a free-for-all, a hundred and sixty riders divided into N teams all going full blast, for to the line is the winner. Technically that is true, every day is all about getting over the line first. Stages matter. Sponsors love stage wins. But the grand plan – the General Classement or GC as it’s usually referred to is what wins the race on the last day, for the Tour de France that’s the final stage into Paris. 

The teams with an eye on overall victory sometimes forgo a stage to protect a long-game strategy for the bigger GC prize. To do this successfully for a three-week Grand Tour like the Tour de France is a massively complicated procedure. Over the last decade or so we’ve seen the level of planning undertaken by the teams go to extremes to safeguard their plans for overall victory. Big teams, like perennial Tour de France GC favorites Ineos Grenadiers, for example, plan their races and daily strategies with a level of detail that makes the word meticulous seem unworthy. 

Take food, for example, Ineos plan the energy intake and expenditure of each rider to the single-digit Kilojoules, they look at the stage route, the role expected of the individual riders are they a leader sitting in, a domestique taking the wind and ferrying bidons and jackets and pacing toilet breaks back to the peloton, or a lieutenant covering attacks, going on an attack, or riding hard tempo, is there a headwind, crosswind, and hundred of other empirical variables. Everything is calculated, given a value, and planned for.

Then they work out how much food you’ll need at every given kilometer of the stage, and tailor your musettes contents to match your need. More than that, they actually try to keep riders on the cusp of being marginally under-fuelled. Because unburned calories are weight and power to weight ratios are a central tenant of overall performance. Rider’s bodies are on the edge of devouring themselves, but, by the width of a dietician’s hair, not quite.

It’s easy to scoff at this sort of micro-management of food as taking things a bit too far, but the fact is that the ‘marginal gains’ the giving close detailed attention to every-single-aspect of the race, a practice first used and popularised by the Ineos team (formerly Team Sky) leader David Brailsford. He called it ‘marginal gains’. Six wins by Team Sky and one for Ineos prove that taking the forensic approach to each and every detail can uncover individual, sometimes tiny advantages. Taken separately none are enough to beat the competition, but add four, five, maybe twenty, fifty or a hundred of these tiny ‘marginal gain’ advantages together and you have an empirically measurable informational and weapon with which wage war on the peloton – and history shows that if used correctly you’re statistically likely to win. 

Some argue that this approach treats rider, who are human beings let’s not forget, like robots; to be programmed, fuelled, and directed via an earpiece and that, this takes the unpredictability and romance from the race. 

Others say that it’s making the racing faster, more exciting, with teams employing more structured tactics and that this in itself forces other teams to respond in kind. 

Who is right? Who knows. The fans are still enjoying every pedal stroke, packing the roadside at every opportunity, and the racing is still incredible, the teams and riders are superhuman in their efforts to make bike racing even more exciting and enthralling. 

Here at CCS, we know that we’re in love with our sport more now than ever. 

(Bad) Luck and judgment

The 2021 Tour de France kicked off on Saturday in Brittany with a road stage rather than the traditional Prologue Time Trial. The teams lined up at the start hoping that the first few days would pass under the tyres without too much drama, after all the Tour is a three-week marathon not a one-day sprint. 

The beautiful Breton countryside looks green and benign with white sandy beaches and lush green fields, but it is notoriously tough for racing cyclists, with constant small climbs and descents, narrow, grippy roads, wind coming from all directions at once and thousands of passionate Breton bike racing fans, the opening stages were always going to focus the collective attention of the peloton.

The Tour is built upon tradition and to honour the fact that Alpecin-Fenix rider Mathieu Van Der Poel was starting his first Tour de France he and his team were given special dispensation from the UCI to switch their kits to match those worn by Mathieu’s grandfather the great Raymond Poulidor – the best French rider to never win the Tour de France or wear the races famous Yellow Jersey. Poulidor or ‘Pou-pou’ as he was known gained the additional nickname of the ‘eternal second’ because he was in his prime alongside race-winning machines Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil. 

The Alpecin team did their level best to make the dream come true of a rookie stage win and yellow jersey for MVDP, but the stage didn’t go to plan. And not just for the Alpecin team either…

The Tour de France has its entire route lined with raucous and passionate cycling fans, literally millions of people wait patiently by the roadside to cheer their favourites as the peloton rips by at eye-watering speed. Sadly some people forget their responsibilities to themselves and others. One young lady stepping into the path of the approaching peloton with a homemade cardboard placard in an attempt to get her message and face on the tv, clipped Jumbo Visma’s Tony Martin and as he fell the ensuing accident brought down more than half of the peloton. Bikes and bodies were broken, a massive set-back for the teams and riders and this was just day one. 

But it was to get worse as, once the race had regrouped, the speed increased to over 70kph, then as the road narrowed, as it does so often, funneling the peloton like piping icing onto a cake, there was a touch of wheels and down the peloton went for a second time. This one was even more brutal and only a precious few evaded the need to sleep on top of the sheet that night or make trips to doctors or hospitals. 

Bike racing is tough.

The stage was won, in typically flamboyant style by sports effervescent current world Champion Julian Alaphilippe for Deceuninck–Quick-Step.

Another day, a new hope

Stage 2 dawned with unforgiving Breton roads. The route culminated with a long climb, the Mur de Bretagne which the peloton would ride twice as part of a finishing loop. Coming into the climb with 18kms to go, Mathieu Van Der Poel, now in his regular blue Alpecin-Fenix kit moved up the lead group to shadow the leaders. Then with his characteristic application of immense power he surged off the front. Many, we included, thought this was his bid to strike out alone for the finish. At this distance, it would be suicidal for a rider to do this, but MVDP isn’t any rider… 

Mathieu crossed the KOM line in the lead and picked up an 8 second bonus. Everyone expected him to press on for the finish line. Quickly though, he was checking behind, not a normal tactic for him, something was up. Maybe Mathieu’s fitness was off, did he want a companion? 

The peloton absorbed MVDP, and for the next ten kilometers, he sat in the wheels, near the front, but never with his nose in the wind. The entire cast of team leaders was at the front as the race began the ascent of the Mur de Bretagne for the second time. About halfway up the long straight climb, MVDP crept up the left side of the road, stalking the lead wheels, quietly assessing and judging where the real energy and intent was in the legs of his competitors.  

Then, almost casually, he drifted inside, nearer the center of the road, just as the brow came into sight, sensing a momentary second of indecision among the other riders, he lit the burners. The sheer power and acceleration of Mathieu Van Der Poel is, frankly, astonishing. It’s like two riders inside the body of one. It’s an F1 car against sports cars. He was gone. Up-The-Road. 

That first climb look back by MVDP was a calculated move! He was mopping up time and figuring out if it was the right spot to ‘go large’ on the second ascent. Clearly, he thought it was!

Julian Alaphilippe tried to lead the charge to close, but they never got near enough to read the sponsor’s name on the back of MVDP’s jersey. He crossed the line, pointing at the sky, to honour his grandfather, a day later than his plan, and claim his first Tour stage win. Because of the time gap he’d created over the chasers and the ten-second time bonus on the line, added to the eight seconds for his KOM, the coveted yellow jersey was his, the first of his career – a feat his grandad Pou-pou Poulidor never managed. 

Collapsing, over the line, physically spent, the emotion of the moment was clear for all to see and the peloton, led by the stage 1 yellow Jersey Alaphilippe, paused to congratulate this incredible champion elect to the newest part of his career – Tour Stage winner and yellow jersey holder. He cried during his press interview and we’re not ashamed to say that we cried with him. 

Bike racing is beautiful.

Can MVDP retain the jersey? We think he will hold it until the race reached the first mountains later in the week – we will see though. The Tour is never straightforward, but it is always compelling.  

Allez Mathieu!

Cycle Coffee Society tutorial Moccamaster

Coffee takes many forms and each one is subtly different from the next. Cycling Coffee Society is proud to partner with Il Magistral Cycling Coffee and offer our guests the chance to use their incredible Moccamaster filter coffee machine.

The Moccamaster is ideal for that morning brew, or anytime you want a smooth coffee with that classic taste. While you’re thinking about the taste, why not try the special edition Il Magistrale ‘Bom van Balen’ blend? Made of a blend of Columbian beans specially formulated for our good friend and Belgian cycling legend Tom Boonen. The Moccamaster transforms these beans into your preferred brew strength in seconds, so watch Bas Van Den Heuvel, the owner of Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee as he shows you how to be a World Tour pro at making the perfect cup of coffee with the Moccamaster!

Cycle Coffee Society tutorial Jura machine

We often tell you about the love affair the pro cyclists have with coffee and that is never more true than the World Tour Team Jumbo Visma, they’re our good friends and they also rely on Il Magistrale Cycling coffee, just like us here at CCS. If you were lucky enough to be on board the Jumbo Visma team bus, you’d find an Il Magistral Jura coffee machine, just like the one in our Ventoux House kitchen. With eight coffee types and two cup sizes at the touch of a button, you’ll soon be in coffee heaven. The yellow and black Jumbo Visma team also has their own exclusive ‘Racing Wasps’ blend and we are thrilled to say that you can enjoy this special blend – you’ll find it in the coffee store in every CCS kitchen. Watch this video as Il Magistrale Racing Coffee owner Bas Van Den Heuvel explains the tips and tricks to make the perfect cup!