A testing route that traverses the peaks separating France and Spain.
The Pyrenees are stark mountains, their steep inclines and exposed faces serving as the dividing line between France and Spain. The Cent Cols Challenge East Pyrenees starts in the ancient Catalan city of Girona, the chosen home of many professional riders, works its way north to the principality of Andorra, and then heads to the French climbs made famous by the world’s greatest races. It goes without saying that the Pyrenean gradients make this one of the toughest Cent Cols Challenges.
Single occupancy — €4,200 per person
Double occupancy — €3,500 per person
The Cent Cols Challenge is the brainchild of endurance rider Phil Deeker: his determination, commitment to riding and will to explore has created one of the ultimate tests of what is possible on a road bike. Cent Cols Challenges take place across Europe, criss-crossing entire mountain ranges to combine the classic routes and climbs from the Grand Tours with lesser-known backcountry gems.
Flights and travel insurance are not included.
Because of the distances, and the huge physical and psychological challenge, the Cent Cols are for the strongest and most experienced riders. On most days riders should expect at least 8-10 hours in the saddle, and to be self-sufficient for long periods of time. The remoteness of the terrain also means that accommodation and food are less luxurious than on Rapha’s other trips. However, Phil Deeker and the Rapha team of guides, mechanics and soigneurs take care of all logistics and everything riders need, letting you focus your mind and legs on the cols. It is usual that some riders don’t complete the parcours. But, thanks to the stunning settings and the camaraderie, and possibly to reserves they didn’t know they had, riders often find they rise to the demands of the trip and take their riding to a new level.
Double occupancy as standard
|Arrival day Meet us at the first night accommodation|
|Day 1 Girona Loop||205 KM||2,800 M|
|Day 2 Girona - La Molina (Spain)||196 KM||4,600 M|
|Day 3 Molina - Andorra||204 KM||4,500 M|
|Day 4 Andorra - Sort (Spain)||200 KM||5,400 M|
|Day 5 Sort - Bagneres de Luchon||177 KM||5,400 M|
|Day 6 Luchon Loop||199 KM||5,200 M|
|Day 7 Luchon - Oust||209 KM||5,500 M|
|Day 8 Oust - Ax-les-Thermes||202 KM||4,700 M|
|Day 9 Ax - Ceret||201 KM||4,860 M|
|Day 10 Ceret - Girona||209 KM||3,000 M|
|Departure day Transfer day|
See full itinerary
The Girona loop is a perfect, relatively gentle introduction to the hilly roads that make this area one of the most favoured of all by the pro’s with a typical mix of 'known' roads and some narrow, lesser-ridden ones. The stage ends with a little loop up to the the famous old part of Girona.
Rajols, Gomara, Condreu
After climbing the infamous Roccacorba we head north west, via 13 cols, towards the heart of the Pyrenees, finishing at the La Molina ski station, near the French border.
Rocacorba, Crueta, Vidra, Merolla
Starting on the impressive Cerdagne plateau we then explore the dramatic, barren gorges and remote climbs of this little-known area of southern Arriege before we tackle the long climb to the highest road pass in the Pyrenees (Port d’Envalira) and arrive in Andorra.
Llose, Creu, Puymorens, Port d'Envalira, Ordino
A truly epic stage that includes the best ‘jewels’ in the crown of Andorra climbs: perhaps the Queen stage of the event, this will be an unforgettable day!
Alto Cortals, Engolasters, Gallina, Baixalis, Port del Canto
A long but spectacular climb brings us back into France for the first part of the ‘Luchon Feast’: Portillon, Hospice de France, and Superbagneres make it immediately clear why Bagneres de Luchon is so worth spending three nights of our trip at!
Port de Bonaigua, Portillon, Superbagneres, Hospice de France
The Luchon loop is another feast of classic Tour climbs, interrupted by a mid-stage section of ‘CCC roads’ that will bite the legs just as hard as the ‘Giants’.
Peyresourde, Azet Louron, Hourquette d'Ancizan, Poer de Bales
Once back over the (harder) French side of the Portillon, we climb one of the most remote roads of the Pyrenees to arrive at the Col de Menté. Familiar Tour climbs appear mid-stage but we are soon back on the ‘rare pearls’ on our way to Oust, the tiny village in the heart of one of the most picturesque areas of the High Pyrenees. 15 cols make this an especially tough stage.
Artigascou, Menté, Core, Saraille
The majestic Agnes/Port de Lers climbs open the stage, with views hard to beat. Yet the winding route to the Col de Marmare, via the Route des Cretes, to the Col de Pradel is hardly less impressive. The stage ends with another tough Tour favourite at Ax-les-Thermes, where thermal baths in the town centre can comfort tired legs!
Peguerre, Jouels, Agnes, Port de Lers, Marmare, Pradel
Starting like a predictable ‘classic’ route, via the Port de Pailheres, and the Col de Jau, the stage then takes on true 'CCC style' as we climb through long, remote gorges to the Col de Palomeres and onto the dramatic Col de Brousse. A tough five km ramp up to our remote hillside hotel, completes the back-road feast of these little-known climbs through dense Mediteranean oak forest.
Pailheres, Jau, Palmer's, Brousse
Glorious stretches of rolling coastal road, with occasional single-track balcony-road sections through the impressive Banyuls wine hills, make the perfect way to celebrate this CCC journey. After an unusually flat part across the plain back towards Girona, we hit the infamous ‘Montanya dels Angels’ for an unforgettable final climb of the event.
Panassars, Gascons, del Bombo, Els Angels (Portells)
I think what makes these rides so very special is the fact that Phil and Rapha Travel even dare to attempt them: on paper, they look ridiculous and in practice, they are just that - but also, somehow, possible. Most riders have reserves they never knew existed and Phil's planning and ability to improvise, results in the majority of riders completing stages and events beyond their wildest dreams.
— CCC rider, May 2016
My 6th CCC and the best. Outstanding route, comfortable hotels, great food and superb support staff.
— CCC Cantabrico 2015
All our trips are physically demanding, but some are harder than others. Cent Cols Challenges are the toughest challenge. Our guides will support every rider to go beyond their usual level of riding, but you should be able to spend up to 12 hours in the saddle for multiple days.
We ask all customers to pay a deposit (usually £500/$800/€650) when they book, which confirms their reservation. The balance is due 60 days before departure – we’ll get in touch to remind you when it’s time. If you book less than 60 days before departure, we’ll usually ask you to pay the full trip price upfront.
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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)
Hours: 8.30am-5.30pm (PDT)
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)