Battle of the Ardennes
After the hectic racing on Flanders’ narrow roads, we turn to the area covering the south of Belgium, France and the Netherlands: the Ardennes. Life is slower here, and the roads and landscape look more peaceful and tranquil. Please don’t think that this makes riding here a walk in the park! The races often zigzag between the steepest hills (“cotes”) and only the best guys stand a chance of making the podium. The Battle of the Ardennes package combines two beautiful Spring Classics: Amstel Gold Race and Liege – Bastogne – Liege. Different in nature from Flanders but utterly beautiful in their way. Again we go full gas on and off the bike to make the most of every minute!
|Start date||April 16th|
|End date||April 25th|
|Nr of rides||4|
|Nr of Sportives||–|
|Total kms on pave||–|
|Number of hills||countless!|
Day 1 – Saturday
Arrive at Brussels Airport and pick up by our staff who will guide you to our hotel in Liège. The first job will be to unpack our bikes and make them ready for the week! Our staff will be helping out if you have mechanical problems or need any assistance.
We leave for a short ride to loosen the legs and discover the area nearby. There aren’t many flat sections around so we will be able to test the legs on the first cotes! A welcome diner is provided at the hotel and there will plenty of time to meet the guides and fellow riders and to ask questions.
Oh yeah, there is time to have a beer (or two)!
Day 2 – Sunday
Today we head out to the Netherlands to witness the Amstel Gold Race 2016. We will leave the hotel early and ride our bikes to Valkenburg where we will see the riders prior to the start.. The Cauberg is climbed 3 times by the riders in the final 60km and traditionally guarantees for a breathtaking apotheosis of this race. Even though we are in the Netherlands, it will feel as if you are in Belgium as busloads of Belgians are there to cheer on Philippe Gilbert and other of their heroes!
Day 3 – Monday
Today we finally hit the bikes for some serious cycling! As we will be watching the riders doing the Fleche Wallonne 2 days later, it’s our turn to experience these roads. We will be using Huy as our start and end point. Our guides will take you through this beautiful landscape around Huy and we’ll cover a fair bit of the pro course. On our menu are the Cote d’Ereffe, the cote de Cherave and of course the punishing Mur De Huy! At only 1,3 kms long and “only” 9,6% average it may not seem punishing but the sections that surpass 20% will definitely consume the last juice in your legs. Those who still have something left can go up as many times as they want!
Day 4 – Tuesday
After a heavy day in the saddle, we will be discovering the center of our beloved capital Brussels today. The famous central square will leave you baffled and all other highlights will prove worthy of a couple of posts on your Facebook page!
Day 5 – Wednesday
Today is RACE DAY! The Fleche Wallonne is a Pro Tour race so a lot of top riders will aim for glory. From our hotel we leave for the start in Waremme (+-30 kms) where we will visit the start area and admire top notch bikes, try to recognize the riders passing by and obviously attempt to take some great pictures. Then we will move to Huy and we’ll follow the race on a big screen – obviously every time the riders pass by we will line the road and cheer!
Day 6 – Thursday
Today is the Queen stage of your journey to Belgium! You will complete 140 kms of the Liege-Bastogne – Liege course. We will ride to Remouchamps by minivan, fuel up and then head out on the bikes, going further south into the heart of the Ardennes. The Cote Du Rosier, the Haute Levée, the Cote de Wanne provide fabulous scenery, but will seriously test your legs… And we conquer them before the turning point! The final hill is the Roche Aux Faucons (Falcons Rock) where 23 year old Andy Schleck humiliated the peleton in 2009… Are you ready to humiliate your friends too??
Day 7 – Friday
In the morning we invite a speaker of a famous Belgian carbon manufacturer. They used to produce frame parts for Colnago and used to build wheels. Even though they have diversified their business strongly now into parts for aircrafts, helicopters and even space ships, they are still strongly related to the cycling world. In the afternoon we do a pretty unique teambuilding activity!
Day 8 – Saturday
This morning we visit the Bastogne War Museum. In December 1944, Adolph Hitler attempted to split the Allied armies by means of a surprise blitzkrieg thrust through the Ardennes. Caught off-guard, American units fought desperate battles to stem the German advance. As the Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle’s name.
Because all seven main roads in the densely wooded Ardennes highlands converged on the small Belgian town of Bastogne, control of its crossroads was vital to the German attack. All seven highways leading to Bastogne were cut by German forces by noon of 21 December. The siege lasted from December 20–27, after which the besieged American forces were relieved by elements of General George Patton’s Third Army.
After our lunch we change clothes and move to world renown Houffalize – the Belgian capital of mountainbiking! Today your technical skills will be pushed to the limits as the Houffalize tracks used to host the yearly UCI MTB Pro Race. Steep ascents and descents, muds and rocks, false flats, this course has it all!
Day 9 – Sunday
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, La Doyenne, Liege,… Different names for one epic race. It is tough, but tough in a different way than the Flanders races. There are no cobbles and the roads are much wider, however, a total elevation of 4500m (many of the hills aren’t even considered hills) it gradually takes its toll on the riders. We obviously visit the start in Liege first, and after that we will go to the legendary “La Redoute”, home to the Philippe Gilbert fan base. They like to enjoy life and to have fun! A big screen, lots of beers, local food delicacies and a hysterical crowd make this an unforgettable afternoon.
Day 10 – Monday
This is the end of a trip you will never forget.. . and we head different ways. We provide a shuttlebus that drops you at Brussels airport.
Full package: 3999 EUR
Single Supplement: 480 EUR