Tour de France

Photos from the Tour de France

FILE PHOTO: Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain, wearing the white jersey for best young rider before the start. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain, wearing the white jersey for best young rider before the start. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 183-km Stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, France - July 19, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 183-km Stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, France - July 19, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain, wearing the white jersey for best young rider before the start. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain, wearing the white jersey for best young rider before the start. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 183-km Stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, France - July 19, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 183-km Stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, France - July 19, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates of Britain in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Esteban Chaves of Columbia starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Orica-Scott rider Esteban Chaves of Columbia starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Italy's greatest cycling holidays
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Italy's greatest cycling holidays
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Italy's greatest cycling holidays
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Italy's greatest cycling holidays
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Italy's greatest cycling holidays
After a long weekend in Israel, and a couple of appetisers in Sicily, the Giro d’Italia - professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France - begins in earnest today with a brutal slog up the slopes of Mount Etna. Over the coming weeks viewers will be treated to more beautiful Italian landscapes – the 2018 route also features the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast (stage eight), the dramatic Dolomites (stage 15), Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (stage 17), and the beautiful Aosta Valley (stage 20). If the action leaves you itching to explore the country on two wheels, here are some fine options. The mountains of Alta Badia There are few better places to ride a bike than this glorious corner of the Dolomites, centred on the village of Corvara - so long as you don’t mind going uphill. A popular loop from Corvara is the Sellaronda, with boasts a quartet of lofty passes - the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Gardena (2,121m), the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) and the Passo Sella (2,244m). A little further afield is the Tre Croci (1,805m), which features on stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the mighty Giau (2,236m), which appears regularly in the race. The Giau Credit: TTstudio - Fotolia Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater visited last year. He wrote: “The sign above Alta Badia’s door reads ‘Italy’, but the prevailing architecture – heavy-eaved chalets, slanting roofs and sturdy timber – sings of its Austro-Germanic past. Even the language spoken in this perfect pocket of the Dolomites is a merging of influences – Ladin takes a little from Italian and a syllable or two from German, but is its own master, most closely related to the Romansh tongue spoken in Switzerland. This all adds up to an ethereal at-altitude enclave, some two hours and 110 miles north of Venice.” Hotel Melodia del Bosco (0039 0471 839 620; melodiadelbosco.it), in Badia, offers a range of stay-and-cycle packages. For a trip that includes entry to the epic Maratona dles Dolomites sportive, see lovevelo.co.uk. Gastronomic Piedmont The best thing about cycling holidays? You burn off so many calories on the road that you can eat and drink as much as you like, guilt-free. Lee Marshall, our Italy expert, suggests pedalling (and gorging) your way around the rolling hills of the Langhe area of Piedmont, home to some of Italy’s great red wines and a surfeit of fine restaurants. He says: “Like Burgundy, this is a region that benefits from a village-by-village approach, and like Burgundy, it has a culinary tradition to match its wine prowess: it’s no accident that this is the birthplace of Italy’s Slow Food movement. So why not do a slow tour of the area – by bike? Headwater’s Gastronomic Barolo Cycling self-guided tour offers a gentle eight-day dawdle from historic town to historic town via feudal castles and distracting wine-tasting opportunities.” Nine Italian climbs every cyclist must conquer in their lifetime 10 great Italian adventures for 2018 Every good cycling holiday needs wine Credit: getty The Via Francigena For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes - Tuscany - and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting. “Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.” Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk) offers a nine-day guided tour from Pisa to Rome. Sicily two ways Those wishing to follow in the footsteps of the pros, and pedal up Mount Etna, could do worse than base themselves in Taormina. The cliff-top town, a must-see for visitors to Sicily, is a stone’s throw from the base of the volcano. The are numerous routes up the mountain, including the 18km haul up from Linguaglossa. The road runs out at 1,631m. Tackle roads like these Credit: FRANCESCO RICCARDO IACOMINO Or else tackle it from Zaffarana Etnea, a little further south. The tarmac here halts at the Sapienza Refuge, at 1,910m, from where a cable car can take visitors towards the crater. Hire a bike from rentbike.it/en/bikes. For the best hotels in Taormina, see our guide. For something less strenuous in Sicily, Adam Ruck recommends the island’s bottom right-hand corner, which offers a “slow countrified charm notably absent from the crowded north and east coasts, and a clutch of beautiful Baroque towns”. Taormina, with Etna looking on Hooked on Cycling (01506 635 399; hookedoncycling.co.uk) runs an eight-day self-guided itinerary. “I like this tour because it is one of few to include both the fascinating city of Syracuse and the Roman hunting villa at Casale, with its brilliant mosaics,” says Ruck. “The distance between them stretches the idea of gentle cycling a bit, but a couple of minibus transfers take the slog out of the holiday.” Coastal delights Stages seven and eight of this year’s Giro take riders along the picturesque coastal roads south of Naples. Exodus's eight-day Cycle Cilento & Amalfi Coast tour covers much of the same ground. The Cilento is a real hidden gem, and largely untouched by development – expect forgotten fishing villages to go with the Roman ruins and sea views. The Amalfi Coast is far better known, but even more picturesque. Should you prefer a DIY break, base yourself at Marina di Pisciotta. “It's the kind of small, southern Italian coastal town that you have a picture of in your head, but often struggle to match in the real world,” says Lee Marshall. “The old town sits on a hill just back from its seaside frazione or offshoot, Marina di Pisciotta. It’s a place of narrow lanes sandwiched between pastel-painted houses, ancient stepped alleyways leading to hidden chapels, small piazzas with their inevitable external fauna of old men in hats playing cards or simply watching the world go by.” Alps and lakes Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says. Marina di Pisciotta An eight-day Via Claudia tour costs from £1,520 with Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk).
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012 (AFP Photo/JEFF PACHOUD)
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012 (AFP Photo/JEFF PACHOUD)
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Kazakstan's Alexandre Vinokourov kisses a hostess as he celebrates on the podium his combativity prize at the end of the 222.5 km and eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on July 20, 2012
Flamingos, lace and Roman ruins are just some of the delights to be found on France's cruise trail.
Tour de France: A Visitor’s Guide to the Cruise Season
Flamingos, lace and Roman ruins are just some of the delights to be found on France's cruise trail.
Britain's Chris Froome says he is not even contemplating missing the Tour de France and is confident the investigation into his adverse doping test at last year's Vuelta a Espana will clear him of wrongdoing
Froome Confident He Will be Cleared of Doping Allegations
Britain's Chris Froome says he is not even contemplating missing the Tour de France and is confident the investigation into his adverse doping test at last year's Vuelta a Espana will clear him of wrongdoing
Sir Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal, admitted for the first time on Wednesday night that he had considered resigning, as Sky's Giro d’Italia got off to a hugely uncomfortable start in Jerusalem, with Chris Froome having to fend off questions over his ongoing salbutamol case. The race proper does not start until Friday but, if this was a sign of things to come, it promises to be a difficult three weeks for Team Sky. Sitting on a dais in the incongruous surrounds of the Waldorf Astoria – the race HQ for this grande partenza – Froome repeated what he had said many times since his adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug was made public; that he could understand all the questions, that he felt he had done nothing wrong, that he was confident he would be fully exonerated and would be riding in the Tour de France this summer. But that did not make the atmosphere any less awkward. Of the dozen or so questions put to Sky, 80 per cent concerned Froome’s salbutamol case or other recent controversies, and 100 per cent were put to either Froome or Brailsford who sat apart rather than alongside each other as they usually would. Sky’s seven other riders for this race, and sporting director Nicolas Portal, could only watch on. It was Brailsford’s admission that he had considered his future as Sky principal that was probably of most note. Why is the Giro d'Italia starting in Israel and is all the controversy worth the risk? The former performance director of British Cycling has kept a low profile this season. This was the first time he had spoken at all since the publication of the Digital, Culture Media and Sport select committee’s report into doping in sport in March, which concluded that Sky had effectively “played the system” by giving Therapeutic Use Exemptions to Sir Bradley Wiggins before three of the biggest races of his career, including his victorious 2012 Tour de France. MPs labelled those treatments “unethical”, while slamming Sky’s medical record-keeping. After a brief dispute with a journalist over exactly how accessible he had been this year – Brailsford insisted he had been at all the races and would have been willing to speak with anyone – he was asked whether he had considered resigning. Giro d'Italia 2018 | Stage-by-stage details “I think anybody in this game considers their position every day,” he replied. “I would say that I’m constantly asking if I’m the right man to lead these guys. It's not about me, my goal is to try and help these guys, not just to perform but to perform optimally, and there's a difference. "I think regardless of DCMS or anything else, there's constantly that piece of self-questioning about am I appropriately placed and have I the skills or whatever else to do that. And I think it's something you ask yourself all the time. Things come and go, things change, and situations change, but I'm here and I'm here because I think I am still in a position to support these guys to be the best they can be." UCI WorldTour team-by-team guide to the 2018 season Brailsford declined to respond, however, when asked if the team would apply its own policy and part company with Froome were he to wind up with a suspension. "With respect to the Giro, we're here to talk about the race," said Brailsford. "For the time being, we're here to focus on the fantastic start in Jerusalem. I don't think this is the appropriate venue. We're here to concentrate on the race and on the press conference about the race." Brailsford is going to need to keep Froome focused on the task in hand if he is to stand any chance in this Giro. The pre-race favourite went into Wednesday’s press conference just hours after his major rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) stoked the flames of his controversy by repeating that it was “not good for cycling” and that if he were in Froome’s shoes he would not be racing. “If I was in the same situation, I would not be here, because my team is part of the MPCC [Movement for Credible Cycling],” the Dutchman said. “Maybe he’s going to win the Giro and then a few weeks later he loses the title. It’s not good for anyone, but I can’t change it.” Mind you, focus is not usually Froome’s weak suit. The Briton, 32, has faced hostile crowds, particularly in France, and come through with flying colours. If Froome does do it, he would become the first since Bernard Hinault in 1982-83, and only the third man in history after Hinault and Eddy Merckx, to win a “Tiger Slam” of grand tours; to be reigning champion of the tours of France, Spain and Italy at the same time. Friday’s opening stage is a 9.7 kilometre individual time trial around Jerusalem.
Chris Froome given rough ride ahead of Giro d'Italia as Sir Dave Brailsford admits he has considered quitting Team Sky
Sir Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal, admitted for the first time on Wednesday night that he had considered resigning, as Sky's Giro d’Italia got off to a hugely uncomfortable start in Jerusalem, with Chris Froome having to fend off questions over his ongoing salbutamol case. The race proper does not start until Friday but, if this was a sign of things to come, it promises to be a difficult three weeks for Team Sky. Sitting on a dais in the incongruous surrounds of the Waldorf Astoria – the race HQ for this grande partenza – Froome repeated what he had said many times since his adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug was made public; that he could understand all the questions, that he felt he had done nothing wrong, that he was confident he would be fully exonerated and would be riding in the Tour de France this summer. But that did not make the atmosphere any less awkward. Of the dozen or so questions put to Sky, 80 per cent concerned Froome’s salbutamol case or other recent controversies, and 100 per cent were put to either Froome or Brailsford who sat apart rather than alongside each other as they usually would. Sky’s seven other riders for this race, and sporting director Nicolas Portal, could only watch on. It was Brailsford’s admission that he had considered his future as Sky principal that was probably of most note. Why is the Giro d'Italia starting in Israel and is all the controversy worth the risk? The former performance director of British Cycling has kept a low profile this season. This was the first time he had spoken at all since the publication of the Digital, Culture Media and Sport select committee’s report into doping in sport in March, which concluded that Sky had effectively “played the system” by giving Therapeutic Use Exemptions to Sir Bradley Wiggins before three of the biggest races of his career, including his victorious 2012 Tour de France. MPs labelled those treatments “unethical”, while slamming Sky’s medical record-keeping. After a brief dispute with a journalist over exactly how accessible he had been this year – Brailsford insisted he had been at all the races and would have been willing to speak with anyone – he was asked whether he had considered resigning. Giro d'Italia 2018 | Stage-by-stage details “I think anybody in this game considers their position every day,” he replied. “I would say that I’m constantly asking if I’m the right man to lead these guys. It's not about me, my goal is to try and help these guys, not just to perform but to perform optimally, and there's a difference. "I think regardless of DCMS or anything else, there's constantly that piece of self-questioning about am I appropriately placed and have I the skills or whatever else to do that. And I think it's something you ask yourself all the time. Things come and go, things change, and situations change, but I'm here and I'm here because I think I am still in a position to support these guys to be the best they can be." UCI WorldTour team-by-team guide to the 2018 season Brailsford declined to respond, however, when asked if the team would apply its own policy and part company with Froome were he to wind up with a suspension. "With respect to the Giro, we're here to talk about the race," said Brailsford. "For the time being, we're here to focus on the fantastic start in Jerusalem. I don't think this is the appropriate venue. We're here to concentrate on the race and on the press conference about the race." Brailsford is going to need to keep Froome focused on the task in hand if he is to stand any chance in this Giro. The pre-race favourite went into Wednesday’s press conference just hours after his major rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) stoked the flames of his controversy by repeating that it was “not good for cycling” and that if he were in Froome’s shoes he would not be racing. “If I was in the same situation, I would not be here, because my team is part of the MPCC [Movement for Credible Cycling],” the Dutchman said. “Maybe he’s going to win the Giro and then a few weeks later he loses the title. It’s not good for anyone, but I can’t change it.” Mind you, focus is not usually Froome’s weak suit. The Briton, 32, has faced hostile crowds, particularly in France, and come through with flying colours. If Froome does do it, he would become the first since Bernard Hinault in 1982-83, and only the third man in history after Hinault and Eddy Merckx, to win a “Tiger Slam” of grand tours; to be reigning champion of the tours of France, Spain and Italy at the same time. Friday’s opening stage is a 9.7 kilometre individual time trial around Jerusalem.
The Giro d'Italia is the first of Europe's three biggest cycling events — alongside the Tour de France and Vuelta a España — and kicks off a summer for all fans of these races to enjoy.
2018 Giro d'Italia: When, where, how to watch
The Giro d'Italia is the first of Europe's three biggest cycling events — alongside the Tour de France and Vuelta a España — and kicks off a summer for all fans of these races to enjoy.
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files
Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris
Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files
Experience the Tour de France live with Mytyres.co.uk and Continental
Experience the Tour de France live with Mytyres.co.uk and Continental
Experience the Tour de France live with Mytyres.co.uk and Continental (Photo: Business Wire) <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180425006242/en/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Multimedia Gallery URL" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Multimedia Gallery URL</a>
Experience the Tour de France live with Mytyres.co.uk and Continental
Experience the Tour de France live with Mytyres.co.uk and Continental (Photo: Business Wire) Multimedia Gallery URL
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Tour de France 2017 winner Chris Froome of Britain poses with the Golden bike trophy he received during the presentation of the itinerary of the 2018 Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, actor Gerard Depardieu attends the premiere of the movie &quot;Tour de France&quot;, in Paris. Actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and former President Nicolas Sarkozy are among some 300 prominent French people urging tougher national action against a “new anti-Semitism” that they blame on rising Islamic radicalism. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, actor Gerard Depardieu attends the premiere of the movie "Tour de France", in Paris. Actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and former President Nicolas Sarkozy are among some 300 prominent French people urging tougher national action against a “new anti-Semitism” that they blame on rising Islamic radicalism. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, actor Gerard Depardieu attends the premiere of the movie "Tour de France", in Paris. Actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and former President Nicolas Sarkozy are among some 300 prominent French people urging tougher national action against a “new anti-Semitism” that they blame on rising Islamic radicalism. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
<p>This 250 is shockingly original and comes with a whole bunch of racing history. </p>
A Tour de France Ferrari Race Car Is For Sale

This 250 is shockingly original and comes with a whole bunch of racing history.

<p>This 250 is shockingly original and comes with a whole bunch of racing history. </p>
A Tour de France Ferrari Race Car Is For Sale

This 250 is shockingly original and comes with a whole bunch of racing history.

Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Tour de France organiser Christian Prudhomme has ‘absolute confidence’ that the UCI will have made a ruling on Chris Froome’s salbutamol case before the race starts in July.
Chris Froome salbutamol case expected to be resolved before Tour de France
Tour de France organiser Christian Prudhomme has ‘absolute confidence’ that the UCI will have made a ruling on Chris Froome’s salbutamol case before the race starts in July.
Australia&#39;s Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)
Australia&#39;s Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia&#39;s Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Australia's Michael Matthews celebrates his green jersey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 103 km twenty-first and last stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 23, 2017
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion (AFP Photo/Joël SAGET)
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion (AFP Photo/Joël SAGET)
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Even as Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France, he rode under a cloud of suspicion
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France (AFP Photo/Joël SAGET)
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France
Lance Armstrong enjoyed his days in yellow on the Tour de France (AFP Photo/Joël SAGET)
Tainted cyclist Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle the federal fraud case. The case pertains to his drug-fuelled reign from 1999 to 2005 as the undisputed champion of Tour de France. Armstrong settled the dispute before the scheduled trial next month. The case is for allegedly defrauding the US Government by using banned substances while racing for Postal Service-sponsored team.
Lance Armstrong settles $100 million doping fraud case
Tainted cyclist Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle the federal fraud case. The case pertains to his drug-fuelled reign from 1999 to 2005 as the undisputed champion of Tour de France. Armstrong settled the dispute before the scheduled trial next month. The case is for allegedly defrauding the US Government by using banned substances while racing for Postal Service-sponsored team.
<p>Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.</p>
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case

Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.

<p>Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.</p>
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case

Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.

<p>Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.</p>
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case

Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.

Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. &quot;No one is above the law,&quot; Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department&#39;s Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. &quot;This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.&quot; Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling&#39;s biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. &quot;I&#39;m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition,&quot; Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Ex-cycling star Armstrong settles $100m doping fraud lawsuit
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. "No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. "This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable." Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I'm looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition," Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. &quot;No one is above the law,&quot; Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department&#39;s Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. &quot;This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.&quot; Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling&#39;s biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. &quot;I&#39;m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition,&quot; Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Ex-cycling star Armstrong settles $100m doping fraud lawsuit
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. "No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. "This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable." Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I'm looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition," Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. &quot;No one is above the law,&quot; Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department&#39;s Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. &quot;This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.&quot; Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling&#39;s biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. &quot;I&#39;m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition,&quot; Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Ex-cycling star Armstrong settles $100m doping fraud lawsuit
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. "No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. "This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable." Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I'm looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition," Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. "No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. "This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable." Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I'm looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition," Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Ex-cycling star Armstrong settles $100m doping fraud lawsuit
Disgraced ex-cycling champion Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the US Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs. The settlement - worth 4 million euros - ends the long-running case brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the US government. They had been seeking 20 times that amount, with a trial due to start on May 7. "No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. "This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable." Armstrong, 46, won professional cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team. But he was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012, as doping allegations mounted. The following year, Armstrong publicly confessed to cheating, in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I'm looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life -- my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition," Armstrong said in a statement. with Reuters
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Armstrong in $5m settlement for US fraud case
Lance Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million in order to settle his looming federal fraud case stemming from his use of performance-enhancing drugs during the Tour de France, his lawyers confirmed Thursday
Lance Armstrong to Pay $5m Settlement in US Fraud Case: Lawyer
Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million in order to settle his looming federal fraud case stemming from his use of performance-enhancing drugs during the Tour de France, his lawyers confirmed Thursday
Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France, it was confirmed on Thursday.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong reaches $5 million settlement with US government over doping
Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million in order to settle the looming federal fraud case stemming from his drug-fuelled reign as king of the Tour de France, it was confirmed on Thursday.
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 "60 Minutes" investigation, Armstrong's former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong to pay $5M settlement for defrauding U.S. government
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 "60 Minutes" investigation, Armstrong's former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 &quot;60 Minutes&quot; investigation, Armstrong&#39;s former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong to pay $5M settlement for defrauding U.S. government
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 "60 Minutes" investigation, Armstrong's former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 &quot;60 Minutes&quot; investigation, Armstrong&#39;s former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong to pay $5M settlement for defrauding U.S. government
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 "60 Minutes" investigation, Armstrong's former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 &quot;60 Minutes&quot; investigation, Armstrong&#39;s former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
Lance Armstrong to pay $5M settlement for defrauding U.S. government
Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. According to a 2011 "60 Minutes" investigation, Armstrong's former teammates saw him injecting himself with banned substances, including the blood doping agent EPO.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d&#39;Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line in Le Grand Bornand
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
After admitting to doping during the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will pay $5million to settle a federal lawsuit.
Lance Armstrong agrees to $5 million settlement of federal lawsuit
After admitting to doping during the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will pay $5million to settle a federal lawsuit.
Armstrong admitted in 2013 he used performance-enhancing substances when he won seven Tour de France races.
Lance Armstrong Settles $100M Lawsuit With USPS, Justice Department
Armstrong admitted in 2013 he used performance-enhancing substances when he won seven Tour de France races.
After admitting to doping during the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will pay $5million to settle a federal lawsuit.
Lance Armstrong agrees $5million settlement to federal lawsuit
After admitting to doping during the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will pay $5million to settle a federal lawsuit.
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, surrounded by press photographers, gestures seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race, prior to the start of the 21st and final stage of the race, between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, surrounded by press photographers, gestures seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race, prior to the start of the 21st and final stage of the race, between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d&#39;Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government
FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d'Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
FILE - In this April 1, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government
FILE - In this April 1, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, surrounded by press photographers, gestures seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race, prior to the start of the 21st and final stage of the race, between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, surrounded by press photographers, gestures seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race, prior to the start of the 21st and final stage of the race, between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, surrounded by press photographers, gestures seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race, prior to the start of the 21st and final stage of the race, between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d&#39;Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d'Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d'Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
FILE - In this April 1, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 1, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 1, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas. Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career. (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d&#39;Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line in Le Grand Bornand
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d&#39;Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line in Le Grand Bornand
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
Lance Armstrong settles U.S. federal fraud case for $5 million: attorney
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
Lance Armstrong settles U.S. federal fraud case for $5 million: attorney
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong of the USA looking at a French gendarme before boarding for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA looks at a French gendarme before boarding the plane which takes the riders from Grenoble to Perpignan for the transfer stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Grenoble, France, July 19, 2001. REUTERS/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d&#39;Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line in Le Grand Bornand
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service Team rider Lance Armstrong of the United States raises his arms as he crosses the finish line to win the 204.5 km long 17th stage of the Tour de France from Bourd-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, France, July 22, 2004. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used...
Lance Armstrong Settles $100M Lawsuit With US Government
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used...
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team&#39;s Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader&#39;s yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Evans of Australia celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Rihs after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team&#39;s Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader&#39;s yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Evans of Australia celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Rihs after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team&#39;s Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader&#39;s yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Evans of Australia celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Rihs after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team&#39;s Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader&#39;s yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Evans of Australia celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Rihs after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris
FILE PHOTO: BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans of Australia (L), wearing the leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the Champs Elysees next to Andy Rihs, co-owner of the BMC team, after he won the 98th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
<p>Step back, Greg LeMond.</p>
Tour de France! Tour de France! A Legendary 1950s Ferrari Racer Comes Up fo

Step back, Greg LeMond.

<p>Step back, Greg LeMond.</p>
Tour de France! Tour de France! A Legendary 1950s Ferrari Racer Comes Up fo

Step back, Greg LeMond.

<p>Step back, Greg LeMond.</p>
Tour de France! Tour de France! A Legendary 1950s Ferrari Racer Comes Up fo

Step back, Greg LeMond.

<p>Step back, Greg LeMond.</p>
Tour de France! Tour de France! A Legendary 1950s Ferrari Racer Comes Up fo

Step back, Greg LeMond.

FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l&#39;Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l&#39;Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l&#39;Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 189.5-km Stage 15 from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, France - July 16, 2017 - Lotto NL-Jumbo rider George Bennett of New Zealand in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
Lance Armstrong's son set to play football at Rice University
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
Lance Armstrong's son set to play football at Rice University
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
Lance Armstrong's son set to play football at Rice University
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
Lance Armstrong's son set to play football at Rice University
The son of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will join the Rice University football team this fall.
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman&#39;s roads aren&#39;t a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you&#39;re not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
Is this the most surprising cycling destination on Earth?
Ammanis are bad drivers. In what appears to be an effort to outdo the British urban car user, who is never without a phone in one hand, residents of Jordan’s capital city tend to carry a minimum of two phones – so neither hand is unencumbered. Ammani drivers also turn without looking and consider the number of lanes painted on a given stretch of road to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast law. Don’t get me started on their habit of driving on motorways at night without their lights on. So cycling in Jordan is a no-no, then? Not at all. But it’s wise to wait until you’re out of town before hopping on the saddle. Luckily there are companies like Cycling Jordan that can provide a vehicle support service for both one-off rides or extended multi-day trips. Their guides will carry your kit in a car or pickup truck, bring water and snacks along, and show you the best routes – all with a cheery smile and a genuine enthusiasm for showing off their country. Amman's roads aren't a place for cycling Credit: AMOS CHAPPLE/GETTY Downhill all the way Mountain biking from the outskirts of Amman to the Dead Sea is one of the country’s showpiece routes. Covering 60 kilometres (40 miles), the ride uses mostly quieter roads, riverside footpaths and car-width back-country gravel tracks, before a short unavoidable section of main road to finish. The fact that the ride is almost entirely downhill will be music to most ears – and is fairly unsurprising too, given that Amman sits at 700m above sea level and the finish point is around 300m below. Starting at the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, we quickly escaped the confines of the city on little-used back streets, before dropping down to follow the path of a small stream. We dismounted to splash through the water, and paused to help a lorry driver lift a gigantic spare tyre onto the roof of his truck, before our first scheduled stop, the ancient ruin of Qasr al-Abd. The site dates back to 200 BCE but has been subject to frequent demolition and renovation in the intervening two millennia. Qasr al-Abd Credit: GETTY From Qasr al-Abd, there’s no avoiding a seriously steep climb, referred to by some Ammani cyclists as “the atheist’s uphill”, because “no man can believe in God as they try to ride up this road”. It’s certainly a test – even with the extra small gears afforded by a mountain bike. From the top of this ridge, however, it really is all downhill to the Dead Sea. We coasted along gravel paths that evoked the famous strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany, through the surprisingly green landscapes of northern Jordan, before crossing what seemed like an invisible border line into the dry and dusty terrain one usually associates with the Middle East. The Dead Sea Credit: GETTY We decided to hop into the truck when our route rejoined the road, opting to take the shortcut to our finale, lured mainly by the promise of a big lunch and some time by a swimming pool. Several hotels at the Dead Sea offer ‘lunch and lounge’ deals, ideal for hungry cyclists with weary legs. We make short work of the extensive buffet at the Holiday Inn, before retiring to sit by their pool for a couple of hours before sunset. Top 5 | Reasons to visit Jordan A heavenly valley Before flying out to the Middle East, I’d heard rumours that the road cycling scene in Jordan was limited to extreme early-morning club rides out of Amman (with groups setting off at 5am to avoid the worst of the manic rush hour). In fact, there’s a great deal on offer – you just won’t find it in the city centre. Engaging the services of Cycling Jordan once again, we headed south to Feynan on a Friday morning. With no traffic on the roads – almost the whole population of Jordan was at prayers – we made rapid progress down the shores of the Dead Sea, hopping onto the bikes at around 11am. From the start at Feynan we rolled along a flat desert road before climbing for a solid hour up a former military access road. The ascent of Jebel Proywe (‘jebel’ or ‘jabal’ means mountain) is much like a European alpine climb, with switchbacks, smooth tarmac and the gradual experience of a slowly changing terrain. As we climbed in altitude, the low, rolling dunes gave way to hard rocky outcrops, then vivid red sandstone cliff faces. The landscape near Feynan Credit: STOCK.ADOBE.COM/FABIO NODARI At the crest of the climb, the road dropped in and out of a series of small ravines, shooting up and down at severe gradients. As we grimaced through agonising hairpins we could smell the clutch on the support car as it laboured uphill behind us. Then at last, the true summit, and a gently undulating road over green hills that were all that lay ahead. A paradisiacal valley high above the holy land. By then it was well into Friday afternoon and families were gathered all over the place, enjoying post-prayer picnics in this impossibly verdant and peaceful place. Another five kilometres brought us to the entrance of Siq al-Barid, known colloquially as Little Petra. We clambered up the dry sandstone steps hewn out of the sandstone edifice more than two millennia ago, our small-scale mountaineering made all the more tricky by the slippery, flat soles of our cleated cycling shoes. Posing for photos at the end of an unquestionably unique cycle ride. From Siq al-Barid you can head by car back to Amman, or continue cycling on to the town of Wadi Musa (gateway to the main Petra site). There are great road climbs dotted around this more mountainous area of Jordan, easily discoverable if you have an expert guide – you could easily spend three or four days exploring with Wadi Musa as a base. No cycling is allowed inside the Petra site itself, however. The rock-hewn city of Petra Credit: GETTY Off the beaten tyre track Much like trying to climb up those slippery sandstone steps, cycling in Jordan is fiddly but fun, rarefied but infinitely rewarding. You won’t find yourself rolling into the hotel lobby after a day riding a series of popular training climbs made famous by Team Sky, before setting off on a crawl of bars and restaurants owned by one-time Tour de France stage winners. If you want to follow the tyre tracks of the pros, both current and past, then there are probably better places to go for a cycling holiday. If, though, your approach to travel leans more towards the adventurous – with a generous dash of problem-solving and logistical faffery thrown in – then Jordan is among the most exhilarating places you could go to cycle. After all, where’s the fun in doing what everyone else does? British Airways (ba.com) flies daily to Amman from London Heathrow. Day access to Dead Sea hotel pools costs from 45 JOD (£45) Five other offbeat cycling destinations By Adam Ruck 1. Madagascar This two-week tour of a fascinatingly different and biodiverse island includes 340 miles (548km) of cycling over nine days – more downhill than up as the title suggests – plus hiking in the national parks, a visit to a lemur reserve and two days of relaxation at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean. A 17-day Madagascar cycling tour costs from £3,245 including flights, accommodation and most meals. Departures until October 2018. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Spot lemurs when you're not pedalling Credit: GETTY 2. The Baltic Explore the amber-rich Baltic coast and capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the mountainous dunes and beaches of the Curonian Spit and the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Easy cycling punctuated by minibus transfers. An 11-day The Baltics tour costs from £1,129 (€1,290) including accommodation, breakfast and internal transfers, but not bike or e-bike hire or flights. Departures between July and September. Baltic Bike Travel (0037 046 300 144; bbtravel.lt). Brave the Baltic Credit: Rasmus Jurkatam 3. Sri Lanka Wildlife is a highlight of this two-week adventure – leopards, elephants, crocs, and whale watching – but there is much more to it than that: Buddha’s tooth temple, tea plantations, hot curries and everywhere a smiling welcome. The cycling (24 miles a day) is graded moderate, but includes some climbs and may be quite taxing in the heat. A 14-day Sri Lanka tour costs from £2,129 including flights, accommodation, some meals and bike hire. Departures until November 2018. Explore (01252 883963; explore.co.uk). Explore Sri Lankan temples Credit: viii - Fotolia 4. Morocco A classic winter mountain bike holiday combining the colourful tumult of Marrakech with exciting rides in the Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Dades Valley, as far as Zagora on the edge of the Sahara. Five days of cycling (average 37 miles a day), on tarmac and dirt; requires fitness and some mountain bike experience. A seven-day Ride the Kasbah tour costs £695 including accommodation and all meals but not flights or bike hire. Departures from November to April. KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com). Tackle the Atlas Mountains Credit: ALAMY 5. Myanmar A nine-day stint of “comfortably paced” cycling is only part of a two-week voyage of discovery, including the Bagan plain and its 2,000-plus temples, Mandalay, a boat trip on Lake Inle and old British hill stations. A 17-day Cultural Cycling tour of Myanmar costs £2,945 including accommodation, all meals (except in Yangon), internal transfers and bike hire; international flights not included; departures in November and February. Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400; mountainkingdoms.com).
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - Training ahead of the weekend&#39;s start - Coutances, France - 1/07/2016 - Tinkoff rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia during a training session - REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images/File Photo
FILE PHOTOCycling - Tour de France cycling race - Training of Tinkoff rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - Training ahead of the weekend's start - Coutances, France - 1/07/2016 - Tinkoff rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia during a training session - REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images/File Photo
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (101 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier, France - 13/07/2016 - Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia wins on the finish line. REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images
Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (100.97 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (101 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier, France - 13/07/2016 - Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia wins on the finish line. REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (101 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier, France - 13/07/2016 - Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia wins on the finish line. REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images
Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (100.97 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier
FILE PHOTO - Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (101 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpellier, France - 13/07/2016 - Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia wins on the finish line. REUTERS/Juan Medina Picture Supplied by Action Images
<p>Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey</p>
Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey

Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey

<p>Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey</p>
Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey

Thomas targeting Tour de France yellow jersey

Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year (AFP Photo/Lionel BONAVENTURE)
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year
Briton Geraint Thomas wore the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey for four days last year (AFP Photo/Lionel BONAVENTURE)
Men and Women World Champions, Olympic Medalists and Tour de France Veterans Set to Compete in the Amgen Tour of California in May 2018. (Graphic: Business Wire) <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180405005404/en/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Multimedia Gallery URL" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Multimedia Gallery URL</a>
The World’s Best Cyclists Are Coming to California for America’s Only WorldTour Race as the Amgen Tour of California Gets Ready to Roll in May
Men and Women World Champions, Olympic Medalists and Tour de France Veterans Set to Compete in the Amgen Tour of California in May 2018. (Graphic: Business Wire) Multimedia Gallery URL
2,200 miles (or thereabouts) of road, slogging up and down mountains, in the sweltering French summer: it&#39;s little wonder than the Tour de France is known to be one of the toughest endurance tests of man. But what if you decided to do it not on a bicycle, but on foot? It may sound mad, but that&#39;s exactly what long-distance runner Peter Thompson is planning to do. Setting off on the May 19, Thompson, 33, will attempt to run 30 miles per day for 70 days along the official course, with the aim of finishing before the Tour de France proper starts. The Bournemouth-based runner is raising money and awareness for mental health charity Mind and disability charity Livability; his campaign is dubbed &#39;Marathons for the Mind&#39;. Thompson&#39;s path to the challenge, including a similar one last year which saw him run 44 marathons in the 44 European countries in as many days, is a circuitous one. Just three years ago, he almost gave up running after it began to have a negative effect on his personal life and mental health. I just love it as an event. It goes through some amazing scenery, through the Alps, the Pyrenees. It&#39;s got something about it, a real iconic sporting raceThompson on the Tour de France &quot;I&#39;ve been running for about 10 years. I did my first London marathon in 2009. I built on that year on year and it became a really big part of my life,&quot; Thompson says when we speak two months before the Tour de France run begins. As an ultra competitive person - &quot;if I&#39;d have broken the world record I would think that&#39;s not enough&quot; - running began to control Thompson&#39;s life. &quot;I was training upwards of 120 miles per week, running twice a day, no rest days. I was doing gym sessions too. I was fixated on getting better, and I was getting quicker, finishing the Amsterdam marathon in 2015 in 2hr 25min.&quot; In retrospect, he realises the growing success was never enough: &quot;Don&#39;t get me wrong, when I&#39;d cross the finish line I&#39;d be ecstatic. But it&#39;s so short-lived. The next day I have to get better.&quot; This single-mindedness led to alienation from his friends and contributed to a romantic breakup, which spurred him to change. &quot;It took all that to happen for me to take a step back and think &#39;do I want to get quicker at running and alienate people I care about? Or do I want to do something about it?&#39;&quot; he explains. All smiles at the @bournemouthmarathonfestival running the half marathon with my teammates. #bournemouth #bournemouthmarathon #halfmarathon #run #running #runner #team #fit #fitlife #health #wellbeing #healthylifestyle #motivation A post shared by Peter Thompson (@marathonsforthemind) on Oct 9, 2017 at 4:48am PDT After briefly considering stopping altogether, and feeling &quot;lost&quot;, Thompson turned his passion for running into a positive – for his own mental health, and to raise awareness. Gone was the obsession with shaving his PBs, heart rate monitors and ultra-meticulous diets. In their place came running for the joy of running. Then, in 2017, Thompson embarked on his European challenge. It was a huge struggle, hampered by injury, but one he got through with the help of strangers and running clubs across the continent. &quot;I got a muscle problem in my quads. They just gave out. I only had 30pc of range of motion, and couldn&#39;t bend my leg much, I was scraping it on the floor. I definitely wasn&#39;t breaking any records!&quot; But he succeeded, raised £19,000, and decided he&#39;d do something similar again. Which brings us to the Tour de France. How does he feel about increasing his daily output to 30 miles, and keeping that up for 70 days? &quot;It&#39;s scary. I wish I&#39;d said 80,&quot; he jokes. There&#39;s no shortage of insane running challenges; Thompson himself was inspired by Ben Smith, a runner who completed an astounding 401 marathons in as many days. The Tour de France, however, holds a special place in his heart. &quot;I just love it as an event. It goes through some amazing scenery, through the Alps, the Pyrenees. It&#39;s got something about it, a real iconic sporting race.&quot; Apart from the 70 days, he won&#39;t be timing himself, and his new girlfriend may even join. &quot;She&#39;s not running, but will cycle a bit. We&#39;ll stay in campsites and B&Bs along the route.&quot; Peter Thompson&#39;s tips for long-distance running Thompson now focuses on the many positives running can bring to mental health, while remaining cautious about taking it too far. &quot;The benefits of just being outside are huge. It can give people focus, something to hold on to. There&#39;s such a community element now, which is a huge factor if you&#39;re struggling and you hide away. And doing exercise can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of your life, you might eat better, for example. It&#39;s an outlet.&quot; Since his nadir in 2015, Thompson&#39;s runs have changed drastically - &quot;the mindful aspect of running is something I try and do now.&quot; No more staring at his wrist to check the time: &quot;It didn&#39;t used to matter where I&#39;d run because it wasn&#39;t about anything other than the times. Now I take in my surroundings. I run more with friends, even if they&#39;re slow. It&#39;s a much better experience than being on your own.&quot; Peter Thompson is running for Marathons for the Mind. To donate, visit his Virgin Money Giving page.
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
2,200 miles (or thereabouts) of road, slogging up and down mountains, in the sweltering French summer: it's little wonder than the Tour de France is known to be one of the toughest endurance tests of man. But what if you decided to do it not on a bicycle, but on foot? It may sound mad, but that's exactly what long-distance runner Peter Thompson is planning to do. Setting off on the May 19, Thompson, 33, will attempt to run 30 miles per day for 70 days along the official course, with the aim of finishing before the Tour de France proper starts. The Bournemouth-based runner is raising money and awareness for mental health charity Mind and disability charity Livability; his campaign is dubbed 'Marathons for the Mind'. Thompson's path to the challenge, including a similar one last year which saw him run 44 marathons in the 44 European countries in as many days, is a circuitous one. Just three years ago, he almost gave up running after it began to have a negative effect on his personal life and mental health. I just love it as an event. It goes through some amazing scenery, through the Alps, the Pyrenees. It's got something about it, a real iconic sporting raceThompson on the Tour de France "I've been running for about 10 years. I did my first London marathon in 2009. I built on that year on year and it became a really big part of my life," Thompson says when we speak two months before the Tour de France run begins. As an ultra competitive person - "if I'd have broken the world record I would think that's not enough" - running began to control Thompson's life. "I was training upwards of 120 miles per week, running twice a day, no rest days. I was doing gym sessions too. I was fixated on getting better, and I was getting quicker, finishing the Amsterdam marathon in 2015 in 2hr 25min." In retrospect, he realises the growing success was never enough: "Don't get me wrong, when I'd cross the finish line I'd be ecstatic. But it's so short-lived. The next day I have to get better." This single-mindedness led to alienation from his friends and contributed to a romantic breakup, which spurred him to change. "It took all that to happen for me to take a step back and think 'do I want to get quicker at running and alienate people I care about? Or do I want to do something about it?'" he explains. All smiles at the @bournemouthmarathonfestival running the half marathon with my teammates. #bournemouth #bournemouthmarathon #halfmarathon #run #running #runner #team #fit #fitlife #health #wellbeing #healthylifestyle #motivation A post shared by Peter Thompson (@marathonsforthemind) on Oct 9, 2017 at 4:48am PDT After briefly considering stopping altogether, and feeling "lost", Thompson turned his passion for running into a positive – for his own mental health, and to raise awareness. Gone was the obsession with shaving his PBs, heart rate monitors and ultra-meticulous diets. In their place came running for the joy of running. Then, in 2017, Thompson embarked on his European challenge. It was a huge struggle, hampered by injury, but one he got through with the help of strangers and running clubs across the continent. "I got a muscle problem in my quads. They just gave out. I only had 30pc of range of motion, and couldn't bend my leg much, I was scraping it on the floor. I definitely wasn't breaking any records!" But he succeeded, raised £19,000, and decided he'd do something similar again. Which brings us to the Tour de France. How does he feel about increasing his daily output to 30 miles, and keeping that up for 70 days? "It's scary. I wish I'd said 80," he jokes. There's no shortage of insane running challenges; Thompson himself was inspired by Ben Smith, a runner who completed an astounding 401 marathons in as many days. The Tour de France, however, holds a special place in his heart. "I just love it as an event. It goes through some amazing scenery, through the Alps, the Pyrenees. It's got something about it, a real iconic sporting race." Apart from the 70 days, he won't be timing himself, and his new girlfriend may even join. "She's not running, but will cycle a bit. We'll stay in campsites and B&Bs along the route." Peter Thompson's tips for long-distance running Thompson now focuses on the many positives running can bring to mental health, while remaining cautious about taking it too far. "The benefits of just being outside are huge. It can give people focus, something to hold on to. There's such a community element now, which is a huge factor if you're struggling and you hide away. And doing exercise can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of your life, you might eat better, for example. It's an outlet." Since his nadir in 2015, Thompson's runs have changed drastically - "the mindful aspect of running is something I try and do now." No more staring at his wrist to check the time: "It didn't used to matter where I'd run because it wasn't about anything other than the times. Now I take in my surroundings. I run more with friends, even if they're slow. It's a much better experience than being on your own." Peter Thompson is running for Marathons for the Mind. To donate, visit his Virgin Money Giving page.
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Not as easy as riding a bike: why one fleet-footed Briton is about to run the Tour de France
Chris Froome has had his adverse doping test at the Vuelta a España sent to a tribunal.
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome has had his adverse doping test at the Vuelta a España sent to a tribunal.
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Chris Froome doping investigation looks set to go beyond Tour de France
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men&#39;s stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) during the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men's stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) during the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men's stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) during the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men&#39;s stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) celebrate after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men's stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) celebrate after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Men's stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) celebrate after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A bike riders number is seen after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A bike riders number is seen after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A bike riders number is seen after the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Team BUFF SCOTT MTB team mates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Team BUFF SCOTT MTB team mates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Team BUFF SCOTT MTB team mates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider celebrate&#39;s after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider celebrate's after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider celebrate's after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Women&#39;s stage winner, Brazil&#39;s Raiza Goulao celebrate&#39;s after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Brasil, Ciclismo, Laos, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Women's stage winner, Brazil's Raiza Goulao celebrate's after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Brasil, Ciclismo, Laos, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Women's stage winner, Brazil's Raiza Goulao celebrate's after crossing the line after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Brasil, Ciclismo, Laos, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider has his portrait taken while he holds his daughters after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider has his portrait taken while he holds his daughters after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- A rider has his portrait taken while he holds his daughters after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Riders enjoy their finishers medals after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Riders enjoy their finishers medals after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Riders enjoy their finishers medals after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Winners of the Masters category, Team Wilier Force 7C 2 riders, Massimo Debertolis (L) and Ondrej Fojtik (R) celebrate after the 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Winners of the Masters category, Team Wilier Force 7C 2 riders, Massimo Debertolis (L) and Ondrej Fojtik (R) celebrate after the 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Winners of the Masters category, Team Wilier Force 7C 2 riders, Massimo Debertolis (L) and Ondrej Fojtik (R) celebrate after the 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women&#39;s team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (L) and Kate Courtney (R) celebrate after the final 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (L) and Kate Courtney (R) celebrate after the final 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (L) and Kate Courtney (R) celebrate after the final 67km stage of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women&#39;s team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women&#39;s team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winning women's team from Team Investec Songo Specialized, Annika Langvad (R) and Kate Courtney (L) celebrate after the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, of ten called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy celebrate&#39;s after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy celebrate's after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy celebrate's after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (2-L) during the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (2-L) during the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (2-L) during the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 25/03/2018.- Race winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after finishing the final 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Italy&#39;s rider Michele Casagrande in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia, Italia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Italy's rider Michele Casagrande in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia, Italia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Italy's rider Michele Casagrande in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia, Italia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Canyon Topeak rider Kristian Hynek recovers after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Canyon Topeak rider Kristian Hynek recovers after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Canyon Topeak rider Kristian Hynek recovers after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Riders race through wine yards during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- The professional peloton race during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb rider Francesc Guerra Carretero reacts after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb rider Francesc Guerra Carretero reacts after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb rider Francesc Guerra Carretero reacts after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (2-R) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (2-R) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (2-R) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Team Buff Scott Mtb teammates, Francesc Guerra Carretero (L) and Luis Leao Pinto (R) embrace after finishing the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing in action during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (L) and Henrique Avancini (R) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (R) and Henrique Avancini (L) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (R) and Henrique Avancini (L) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Second placed Manuel Fumic (R) and Henrique Avancini (L) of Team Cannondale Factory Racing enjoy a light moment after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (C) wait on the podium to recieve the leaders yellow jersey afte the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (C) wait on the podium to recieve the leaders yellow jersey afte the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (C) wait on the podium to recieve the leaders yellow jersey afte the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) ride through the single track during the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) recover after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (R) and Howard Grotts (L) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cape Town (South Africa), 24/03/2018.- Race leaders and stage winners, Team Investec Songo Specialized Jaroslav Kulhavy (L) and Howard Grotts (R) celebrate after the 76km stage 6 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 24 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. (Ciclismo, Sudáfrica, Francia) EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 14-km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial Stage 1 - Duesseldorf, Germany - July 1, 2017 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain starts the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
What Tom Boonen’s cocaine case says about the Tour de France’s plan to block Chris Froome from racing
Chris Froome may have no route to appeal if Tour de France organisers block his entry
Chris Froome may have no route to appeal if Tour de France organisers block his entry
Chris Froome may have no route to appeal if Tour de France organisers block his entry
Chris Froome may not chase a fifth Tour de France title in 2018 – but who else did not defend their yellow jersey?
Chris Froome may not chase a fifth Tour de France title in 2018 – but who else did not defend their yellow jersey?
Chris Froome may not chase a fifth Tour de France title in 2018 – but who else did not defend their yellow jersey?
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
Tour de France organisers tight-lipped over reports saying Chris Froome may be blocked from racing
<p>Chris Froome could be forced to miss the Tour de France if his salbutamol case hasn&#39;t been resolved.</p>
Chris Froome could be forced to miss the Tour de France if his salbutamol case hasn't been resolved.

Chris Froome could be forced to miss the Tour de France if his salbutamol case hasn't been resolved.

Chris Froome could be forced to miss the Tour de France if his salbutamol case hasn&#39;t been resolved
ITALY CYCLING TIRRENO ADRIATICO
Chris Froome could be forced to miss the Tour de France if his salbutamol case hasn't been resolved
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world&#39;s greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It&#39;s high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven&#39;t discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
Why Corsica is the perfect island for a family holiday
Hal shoots me a glance which comes as close as the gaze of near-four-year-old boy can to disbelieving cynicism. He is not convinced by my suggestion that Arlo, the titular star of 2015 Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur, might – possibly – be just up the trail. Nor is he entirely buying my claim that the cox-comb peaks around us are the very mountains of the parallel-universe Montana and Wyoming which provide his favourite film’s setting. Still, buoyed by the certainty that no father would ever fib to his son, he redoubles his efforts, short legs skipping blithely over the pebbles – until, as his energy and enthusiasm expire, I hoik him on to my shoulders and we stride to the top of the bluff, to see the land dropping away sharply under us, and the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkling beyond. Its mountainous interior lured the world's greatest cycling race in 2013 Credit: GETTY In truth, although we have walked only a few yards from the car park, this is a minor act of parental selfishness. I have wanted to glimpse Corsica’s high-rise interior since the Tour de France used it as a spectacular curtain-raiser to the race’s 100th edition in 2013 – and here it is, beneath my feet, for the sake of a two-hour drive along the switchback roads of the “Route de Bavella” loop. In such context, what are a couple of white lies about a fictional Apatosaurus? Corsica’s first (and, to date, only) appearance in the world’s most feted cycle event was a rare blast of publicity for a European outcrop that, while known to the French, has often escaped the attention of UK tourists – and is scarcely touted as the destination of choice for British families chasing summer sun. It is – what amounts to consensus states – too swarthy and too wild, and not exactly a place for young children. It is also too ill-defined on the map, too vague a concept. Where is it, anyway, aside from the fact that it sits somewhere in the Mediterranean, next to its equally rugged Italian cousin Sardinia? You might even ask, if you were being mischievous, if, at over 600 miles from Paris, it is French at all. It's high time British families discovered the island Credit: GETTY I cannot see the next-door island from my viewpoint on the Col de Bavella. But, peering at the way the landscape rears and kicks, I can almost appreciate the doubters’ concerns. Almost. Because, by the time Hal and I have descended a few hundred feet, into roadside hostelry the Auberge du Col de Bavella, we are more convinced than ever that Corsica is suitable for children. Admittedly, Hal’s opinion has been bought – by a big slice of apple tart, with a side of vanilla ice cream, which is smeared across his face. Mine is built on the sturdier foundation that we have had another fine day in a week of increasingly fine days. We are based at sea level, at Stella Cadent, a villa tucked into the village of Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio in the south-east of the island. It has already proved a literal case of good things coming to those who wait – revealing its location only after a right-angle turn off the highway into what seems to be a blind alley, then some bumpy gear-wrenching down a twisting gravel track. The pay-off is a happy sense of solitude, and a temporary home that will maintain our contentment – a large kitchen, a lounge with TV and DVD player, wi-fi that works, and a swimming pool outside flanked by olive trees. It sleeps six in three bedrooms – a moot point, as we are but two, thanks to an unexpected surge in my wife’s workload, and my determination that a June booking shouldn’t be wasted - not least a booking in my son’s last June before the school system clutches him tight. Stella Cadent Credit: STEPHEN HUGHES Stella Cadent is part of the portfolio of Simpson Travel, Corsica specialists whose expertise is key to me finding the property without difficulty – detailed directions are e-mailed in advance, along with suggestions on where to buy groceries on the 25-mile dash north-east from Figari airport. Simpson is also visible when the British Airways flight from Heathrow touches down, the jovial David Henry ushering passengers from terminal to car-hire offices, then ensuring that children are found cups of water and seats within as their parents queue, briefly, out in the Gallic sunshine. He reappears the next morning on the steps of the villa, and spends an hour – part of the service he extends to every group of guests – recommending restaurants to suit the under-fives, and attractions that will hold their attention. “The beaches to the north of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio tend to be quieter, and more family-friendly,” he explains. “Those to the south are more organised, but busier. And you have to pay for parking down there.” David’s advice prepares us for a few days of exploration – although we slip into a routine which demands a lot of splashing first. The pool is positioned on the west side of the villa – and is thus shaded from the morning’s rays until about 9.30am. We become used to swimming before breakfast, aided by a support-team of armbands, floatation vests, lilos and inflatables – returning to the water in the evening as the sun plunges behind the ridge. In the hours between, we go in search of adventure. Bonifacio is an unmissable source of interest. The southernmost town in (European) France is a pretty proposition, pinned so firmly to the end of the landmass that ferries tootle out of its harbour to Sardinia (which winks in the distance) – and so raised up on cliff-tops that it can be depicted as a fragment of a fairytale far more plausibly than the interior can be cast as Wyoming. The conceit is abetted by the tourist “train” which trundles up from the harbour, halting at the walls of the medieval citadel. Inside, the walkway along the ramparts sparks a trip to the nursery rhyme “I’m the king of the castle” – and the chance to point in amazement at a seagull of such remarkable size that it could be an eagle dipped in white paint. Adjacent, Le Time, on Place du Marché, sells sundaes of such delicious decadence (including a crème brulée glace) that the age gap between father and son melts as fast as the ice cream. Bonifacio Credit: GETTY Porto-Vecchio is another delight. There is a discernible chicness to Palombaggia Beach, and a similar sparkle to Plage de Santa Giulia, with its designer sunglasses and its expensive bikinis – evidence that, while London may not have fallen for the charms of south-eastern Corsica, Paris is rather more clued up. The trend continues in town, where the boutiques on Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc mimic the Marais, and the yachts in the marina along Quai Pascal Paoli flutter eyelashes at Saint-Tropez. But there is no snootiness. We set up a lunchtime station at Tropicana, a restaurant on the bayfront, where there is a two-course child’s menu (€11) featuring chicken nuggets and frites for Hal, and a slab of grilled seabass (€22) – with a chilled pression and a panorama of fluttering sails – for me. Our wanderings uncover further indications of Corsica’s suitability for family holidays. The exit from the airport immediately throws out the ProKart go-karting course, which is all but signposted from the runway. Our drive up the Route de Bavella serves notice of Xtrem Sud, an adventure park on the shore of the Ospedale reservoir, where young daredevils scurry along ropes slung through the trees. And there is identical amusement for teenagers three miles west of Sainte-Lucie, where A Tyroliana clings to the hillside in a blur of high-wire derring-do. Hal and I have headed here in search of the Piscines Naturelles de Cavu – rockpools nestled in the craggy terrain – but find ourselves staring upwards at the braver souls scuttling above us as we dangle feet in the sun-warmed water. Piscines Naturelles de Cavu Credit: GETTY Then there is the glorious stretch of coastline, due north of Sainte-Lucie, to which we become quietly addicted. No airs and graces here, but there are plenty of opportunities for flights of fancy. The defensive watchtower at Fautea, which still monitors the horizon for enemy ships, is a 16th century remnant of the era (1284-1729) when Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa. But Hal, with the merest hint of encouragement, comes to see it as a “princess castle” which can be accessed via an exuberant march along a winding path through appropriately thick gorse and undergrowth. That there is no Sleeping Beauty waiting, no icy Elsa – and no ogres on the way – does not seem to matter at our journey’s end. The defensive watchtower at Fautea Credit: getty Tarcu, a hop further north, has a mini-golf course, where 18 gauntlets of trial and error are inventively designed to resemble dolphins, snakes and whales – and therefore conjure an untiring glee which far eclipses the pointlessness of rolling a ball towards a hole. Top 5 | French family gems the British haven't discovered yet But our favourite is Favone – a hamlet positioned next to a long strip of soft, clean sand. Here, waves rush to shore with enough zeal for paddling to be a thrilling experience, ever fraught with the giggle-inducing threat of wet shorts – and for a watersports centre to be operating midway along the beach, surfboards propped against its sides to tempt older tourists. I make a mental note of this for some future summer, then whisk us across the road to La Favone, one of several welcoming eateries pitched in earshot of the tide – where there are pizzas, colouring books, and portions of steak haché. As the weekend approaches, we realise that the get-up-and-go required to visit even this idyll, eight miles from the villa, is unnecessary. We slumber in our surroundings, nipping down to A Pizzetta, a food stall in Sainte-Lucie which proffers cheese-heavy margheritas and golden chips. And we drift to Pinarellu, Sainte-Lucie’s seaside companion, where there is another beach, further eateries – and the unexpected joy of Cinema A Ruscana, an open-air big screen which is showing Cars 3 to a gaggle of juniors. The incongruity of watching a Disney tale of talking Corvettes in a clearing of Corsican pines does not occur to me until Hal is asleep, dreaming of Lightning McQueen, and I am sitting on the porch, with a pleasing local pinot noir – thinking that our trip for two could not have gone better. Getting there Stella Cadent can be rented via Simpson Travel (020 3468 6949; simpsontravel.com). Prices for a week start at £841pp, including accommodation, flights from London Heathrow to Figari, and car hire. Further information visit-corsica.com; uk.france.fr
The 1970/71 Tour de France Automobile winning Matra MS650 will return to French public roads in April
V12 Matra MS650 to run on French roads in Tour Optic
The 1970/71 Tour de France Automobile winning Matra MS650 will return to French public roads in April
The 1970/71 Tour de France Automobile winning Matra MS650 will return to French public roads in April
V12 Matra MS650 to run on French roads in Tour Optic
The 1970/71 Tour de France Automobile winning Matra MS650 will return to French public roads in April
epa06615465 Stage winners and new race leaders, Manuel Fumic (R) from Germany and Henrique Avancini (L) from Brazil of Team Cannondale Factory Racing celebrate on the podium after the 110km stage 2 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the &#39;Tour de France&#39; of mountain biking, sees 1,200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
epa06615465 Stage winners and new race leaders, Manuel Fumic (R) from Germany and Henrique Avancini (L) from Brazil of Team Cannondale Factory Racing celebrate on the podium after the 110km stage 2 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1,200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
epa06615465 Stage winners and new race leaders, Manuel Fumic (R) from Germany and Henrique Avancini (L) from Brazil of Team Cannondale Factory Racing celebrate on the podium after the 110km stage 2 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 March 2018. The ABSA Cape Epic race, often called the 'Tour de France' of mountain biking, sees 1,200 professional and amateur riders race in a distance over 658 km and climbing over 13,530 meters in height during 8 stages. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Telegraph Travel’s expat mother Catherine Cooper gives an insider&#39;s guide to where British parents ought to be taking their children for a real French holiday. 1. Collioure, Languedoc-Roussillon On the Côte Vermeille, the less glitzy stretch of Med coastline just above the Spanish border which is a charming alternative to the Côte d’Azur, Collioure is a pretty little town of winding streets lined with art galleries, quirky boutiques, a castle, plus shingly beaches and dozens of seafood restaurants. Head 20 minutes south to Banyuls for a small beach with loungers and pedalos, or to the huge sandy beaches of Canet in the opposite direction. An hour north along the coast at Leucate you can enjoy oysters at simple huts straight from the trawlers, and there’s a €1 bus which goes up and down the coast if you don’t want to drive. Pierre & Vacances (pierreetvacances.co.uk) offers seven nights at Les Balcons de Collioure from £680 for a family of four travelling Aug 25, accommodation only. Fly to Perpignan. 2. Noirmoutier, Vendée Famous for its salt marshes and home to beautiful sandy beaches, Noirmoutier is a tranquil island off the Atlantic coast of the Vendée. Off the west coast of France is an island that would look at home on the Mediterranean, with its whitewashed walls, terracotta tiles, blue shutters, and pines like giant sunshades Just 12 miles long, the island has 25 miles of sandy beaches – some offer huge expanses of sand, others are little sheltered creeks, and there are plenty where you and your children can join French families collecting live crabs and winkles which wash in with the tide. On arrival or departure, be sure to fit in a day trip to the spectacular historical theme park Puy du Fou, just over 100 km inland. Maeva (maeva.com) offers seven nights self-catering in houses for up to six people from around £650 to £1,050, departing July 7. easyJet flies to Nantes, or take Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo. 3. St-Jean-de-Luz, Pyrénées-Atlantiques An Atlantic fishing village right above the Spanish border, St-Jean-de-Luz has traditional half-timbered houses and is a calmer alternative to Biarritz, which sits 20 km north. Its sandy Grande Plage is protected by three sea walls and lifeguards - ideal for younger families - while there are also several wilder (but also supervised) beaches suitable for surfing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and jet-skiing for teens. The port of St-Jean-de-Luz is a perfect marriage of Gallic and Basque charm Credit: HEINZ WOHNER / LOOK-FOTO Head to the daily morning market to buy your supplies for a beach picnic and enjoy some pinxtos (a kind of Basque tapas), or try one of the many excellent seafood restaurants. There are plenty of traffic-free cycle routes in the area as well as golf courses. If you plan on bringing a crowd, Alternative Aquitaine (alternative-aquitaine.co.uk) offers seven nights at the contemporary Villa Akotz, with pool and sea views, for £1,309 per person per week in August, based on 12 sharing. Fly to Biarritz. 4. Le Grau-du-Roi, Languedoc-Roussillon On the edge of Languedoc and Petit Camargue, Grau-du-Roi offers miles of natural, sandy beaches and a traditional fishing village. It’s been a popular destination for French holidaymakers since the mid-20th century and yet is still fairly unknown to the British, despite its proximity to popular cities such as Nimes and Montpellier. Find unspoilt beaches near Port Camargue The 11-mile long Espiguette Beach starts at the glitzy modern Port Camargue and is one of the wildest beaches in France, backed by dunes and almost entirely unspoilt and uncrowded once you leave town. On the beaches closer to town, you’ll find lifeguards, loungers, boat hire, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. HomeAway (homeaway.co.uk) has several properties in the area including a self-catering five-bedroom contemporary villa with pool for £3,592 for seven nights arriving August 18. Sleeps 12. Fly to Montpellier. France&#39;s 20 most beautiful villages 5. Montchavin La Plagne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes For the French, the mountains aren’t just for winter. Summer in the alps offers a more relaxed pace than in the winter, with plenty going on for kids of all ages and reasonably-priced accommodation. Montchavin La Plagne, a two-hour drive south-east of Geneva, is based around a real Alpine farming village, with a supervised swimming lake just a few minutes’ drive down the hill. People from age five can attend a circus school, chair lifts are open for mountain biking and hiking; you can also hire electric mountain bikes. There’s white-water rafting and paragliding – and this year a stage of the Tour de France starts just down in the valley. Chalet Le Vanoise (snowplacelikehome.co.uk) with hot tub, sauna and kids’ playroom costs from £1600 for one week’s self-catering in July and August. Sleeps 20. Fly to Geneva, Lyon or Chambery with easyJet.
Secret France: five family holiday gems that the British haven't discovered yet
Telegraph Travel’s expat mother Catherine Cooper gives an insider's guide to where British parents ought to be taking their children for a real French holiday. 1. Collioure, Languedoc-Roussillon On the Côte Vermeille, the less glitzy stretch of Med coastline just above the Spanish border which is a charming alternative to the Côte d’Azur, Collioure is a pretty little town of winding streets lined with art galleries, quirky boutiques, a castle, plus shingly beaches and dozens of seafood restaurants. Head 20 minutes south to Banyuls for a small beach with loungers and pedalos, or to the huge sandy beaches of Canet in the opposite direction. An hour north along the coast at Leucate you can enjoy oysters at simple huts straight from the trawlers, and there’s a €1 bus which goes up and down the coast if you don’t want to drive. Pierre & Vacances (pierreetvacances.co.uk) offers seven nights at Les Balcons de Collioure from £680 for a family of four travelling Aug 25, accommodation only. Fly to Perpignan. 2. Noirmoutier, Vendée Famous for its salt marshes and home to beautiful sandy beaches, Noirmoutier is a tranquil island off the Atlantic coast of the Vendée. Off the west coast of France is an island that would look at home on the Mediterranean, with its whitewashed walls, terracotta tiles, blue shutters, and pines like giant sunshades Just 12 miles long, the island has 25 miles of sandy beaches – some offer huge expanses of sand, others are little sheltered creeks, and there are plenty where you and your children can join French families collecting live crabs and winkles which wash in with the tide. On arrival or departure, be sure to fit in a day trip to the spectacular historical theme park Puy du Fou, just over 100 km inland. Maeva (maeva.com) offers seven nights self-catering in houses for up to six people from around £650 to £1,050, departing July 7. easyJet flies to Nantes, or take Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo. 3. St-Jean-de-Luz, Pyrénées-Atlantiques An Atlantic fishing village right above the Spanish border, St-Jean-de-Luz has traditional half-timbered houses and is a calmer alternative to Biarritz, which sits 20 km north. Its sandy Grande Plage is protected by three sea walls and lifeguards - ideal for younger families - while there are also several wilder (but also supervised) beaches suitable for surfing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and jet-skiing for teens. The port of St-Jean-de-Luz is a perfect marriage of Gallic and Basque charm Credit: HEINZ WOHNER / LOOK-FOTO Head to the daily morning market to buy your supplies for a beach picnic and enjoy some pinxtos (a kind of Basque tapas), or try one of the many excellent seafood restaurants. There are plenty of traffic-free cycle routes in the area as well as golf courses. If you plan on bringing a crowd, Alternative Aquitaine (alternative-aquitaine.co.uk) offers seven nights at the contemporary Villa Akotz, with pool and sea views, for £1,309 per person per week in August, based on 12 sharing. Fly to Biarritz. 4. Le Grau-du-Roi, Languedoc-Roussillon On the edge of Languedoc and Petit Camargue, Grau-du-Roi offers miles of natural, sandy beaches and a traditional fishing village. It’s been a popular destination for French holidaymakers since the mid-20th century and yet is still fairly unknown to the British, despite its proximity to popular cities such as Nimes and Montpellier. Find unspoilt beaches near Port Camargue The 11-mile long Espiguette Beach starts at the glitzy modern Port Camargue and is one of the wildest beaches in France, backed by dunes and almost entirely unspoilt and uncrowded once you leave town. On the beaches closer to town, you’ll find lifeguards, loungers, boat hire, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. HomeAway (homeaway.co.uk) has several properties in the area including a self-catering five-bedroom contemporary villa with pool for £3,592 for seven nights arriving August 18. Sleeps 12. Fly to Montpellier. France's 20 most beautiful villages 5. Montchavin La Plagne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes For the French, the mountains aren’t just for winter. Summer in the alps offers a more relaxed pace than in the winter, with plenty going on for kids of all ages and reasonably-priced accommodation. Montchavin La Plagne, a two-hour drive south-east of Geneva, is based around a real Alpine farming village, with a supervised swimming lake just a few minutes’ drive down the hill. People from age five can attend a circus school, chair lifts are open for mountain biking and hiking; you can also hire electric mountain bikes. There’s white-water rafting and paragliding – and this year a stage of the Tour de France starts just down in the valley. Chalet Le Vanoise (snowplacelikehome.co.uk) with hot tub, sauna and kids’ playroom costs from £1600 for one week’s self-catering in July and August. Sleeps 20. Fly to Geneva, Lyon or Chambery with easyJet.