Climbing the Passo Gardena, Italy

Drop Bars

Emulate the professionals on these iconic cycling routes

Drop-Bar Cycling Holidays

Ever wanted to join the peloton? Have you yearned to take your place on the start line of a European cyclosportive, or simply been inspired to go up a gear from your normal cycle commute? Now’s your chance – just join one of our drop-bar cycling tours...

Roughly equivalent to a marathon, a cyclosportive encapsulates the best bits of bike racing, touring and long-distance cycling – the challenge, the adrenaline and, ultimately, the amazing achievement. Join the peloton and emulate the masters on the Gran Fondo Mont Ventoux, hone your skills in homage to your heroes up the cols of the Tour de France, or attempt to ‘tyre’ yourself out on the Cape Argus Cycle Tour – all accompanied by fellow enthusiasts and a support team to rival the pros. You can even follow hot on the heels of the professionals, cycling their routes a mere 24 hours after them. Our guided-group adventures are perfect for tackling a challenge like this, so leave the turbo trainer behind and check out our brand-new selection. It’s an experience you’ll want to share!

In focus: Cyclosportives

These are long-distance mass-participation cycling events, typically held annually. Sportives challenge riders to complete a set course, usually between 100km and 200km, within a specific time. The events often replicate professional race routes and there is usually a choice of distances to appeal to a wide audience. Many are fully supported with marshals, mechanic cars and excellent food and water stations where you can rest and refuel. You may find yourself riding with up to 10,000 other cyclists, all sharing the same goal; it's very much the cycling equivalent of running a marathon.

All of these trips are designed for drop-bar racing bikes, which are ideal for the challenging terrain. Due to the large amount of climbing on many of the trips, either a compact (50/34 tooth) or triple chainset is recommended. In addition, you could consider fitting up to a 28- or 30-tooth rear cassette. Good-quality road bikes are available for hire locally on most tours if you prefer not to travel with your own bike. Feel free to bring your own saddle and pedals for additional comfort and familiarity.

Due to the challenging nature of drop-bar cycling trips, a good level of road cycling experience and fitness is important. That said, the basic routes are manageable for most regular fit cyclists, with one or two cols to climb each day. Trips featuring a cyclosportive event will be very tough, whatever your fitness level, and you should be prepared to push yourself and spend a long day in the saddle. Take a look at our cycling fitness guide.