A French holiday company has partnered with the Tour de France to launch a cycling-themed holiday package along the route of the legendary race.

The packages, which in some cases include meeting top cyclists, allow guests to cycle parts of the race only hours ahead of the professional cyclists sweeping through the course.

As well as cycling the route for themselves, holiday makers have the chance to experience the thrill of the finish line and the podium, just like the professionals.

"Our VIP guests will have the opportunity to make contact with top pro riders and go up on the podium before the stage and GC winners," explained a company spokesperson. "They literally get to bike along the same routes the great names in cycling are racing just a few hours behind them, and this year's Tour will pit some legendary names in a head to head battle that shouldn't be missed."

The company says that it expects most of its tours to be sold out by mid-May, well ahead of the competition which starts in July.

The packages, which include four-star accommodation, cycling guides, support vehicles and breakfast and lunches, start from €3560, although similar packages without the VIP access are available from €2230.