Dreaming of riding through rugged mountains, valleys draped in vineyards and sun-soaked roads with great climbs? The N2 Challenge is just for you.
Taking in 750km of riding and 9,500m of climbing over five stages, starting in Chaves in the north of Portugal and ending in Faro in the south, the authentic and original N2 Challenge is the ultimate Portuguese cycling adventure.
Volta Pro Tours provide a fully guided and professionally supported end-to-end experience of the N2 Challenge designed to provide riders with an unparalleled cycling experience, with stunning landscapes, vibrant culture and mouth-watering food.
What to expect
From the moment you step off the plane to the moment you get back onto it, the Volta Pro Tours team take care of everything. From handpicked 4 and 5-star hotels to airport and bike box transfers, the Volta team ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable experience.
Each day begins with a hearty buffet breakfast and a stage briefing, complete with an itinerary card and GPX maps to guide you through the day’s ride.
There are feed stations throughout the routes, with an ample supply of energy drinks, bars, and sports hydration on tap, as well as a road captain, support vehicles and the trusty broom wagon, ready to cater to your every need.
Come the evening, riders can recharge, refuel and indulge in a delicious dinner at the best local restaurants, complete with a sumptuous wine selection. Volta also provides a kit laundry services so you can be fresh and ready for each next day’s adventure.
Take the experience of Ken Flewitt, who took on the N2 Challenge last September.
‘From the first contact at Porto Airport I felt ‘looked after’ by the Volta team,’ he says. ‘While absolutely professional in their approach, there is a family atmosphere to the organisation which makes you feel this is less about business and more about making sure everyone gets the most from the experience and is just about enjoying riding your bike in Portugal.
‘Ride leaders are encouraging, helpful, knowledgeable, and great fun to ride with. The accommodation and food are first class and it’s great to make new friends along the way too. I’m sure I will be back riding with Volta Pro Tours again before long.’
Volta Pro Tours N2 Challenge itinerary
Riders arrive a day before the start of the event to unpack and get acquainted with the route and area.
The first Stage starts in Chaves and ends in Viseu, and includes two stunning climbs to contend with. The Col de Covelo showcases the famous scenery of the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site unrivalled in its uniqueness, followed by a challenging descent to the Douro River, and then a 30km climb up Col de Lamego, which has a few sneaky 14% ramps to test the legs.
Stage 2 winds its way through the villages and vineyards of the famous Dao wine-making region, encompassing sleepy hamlets and market gardens. The Col de Gois is the main event, boasting a 16km ascent through the mimosa woods, but there’s also a final climb out of the River Zezere gorge for a spectacular view over the Cabril Reservoir.
The shortest stage of the N2 Challenge but no less beautiful, the third riding day includes the Col de Geodesico, which leads out to flatter landscape as the route enters Alentejo and, most importantly, offers a swimming pool at the end of the day.
Stage 4 features fast and smooth roads through the sparsely populated Alentejo region, which is known as the hidden gem of Portugal thanks to a stunning landscape unspoiled by the modern world. Feast your eyes on rolling plains dotted with ancient cork oak trees.
The final stage, and perhaps the most rewarding, includes 120km of smooth roads from Alentejo to Faro featuring a stunning winding climb up the Col de Cavalos as you make your way into the magnificent Algarve.
Riders can take in their phenomenal achievement and enjoy a relaxing night in the heart of Faro before setting off for home the following day.
Train and prepare for the N2 Challenge with Volta Pro Tours
To help riders feel fully prepared for the event, Volta Pro Tours has developed a dedicated training programme for the N2 Challenge in partnership with Storey Coaching, which is led by Britain’s most successful Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey.
It includes 10 weeks of N2-specific training, with up to eight sessions per week to choose from, a dedicated Facebook group and tips and advice from the pros.
‘Preparation is everything when it comes to a big event, and a challenge like the N2 is well worth preparing for,’ says Dame Sarah Storey.
‘That’s why we created the training programme, which will help your cycling improve week by week, enabling you to arrive in Portugal excited to ride the entire length of the country! Many of the sessions are ones that I ride myself so rest assured, they are tried and tested.’
Are you ready for the ride of a lifetime?
Dates for N2 Challenge 2024 are 9-15th June, 17-23rd June, 1-7th September and 9-15th September.
For more information on the Volta N2 Challenge and to sign up, click here.