A climbers challenge!
Our hotel marks the starting point of our journey through the Alps. We will use this afternoon to setup bikes and take a warm up ride in the area to make sure everything is in proper working condition. Plenty of hills around to go through all the gears!
Abondance - Les Saisies / 125km
Our first stage along the Route des Grandes Alpes will put us right in the mood. Several passes are on the menu today, including the gentle climb to les Gets, col de la Colombiere and col des Aravis. The climb to Les Saisies will finish off the day where we put our trusted steeds and ourselves to rest for the evening.
The good news is that from the top of the Galibier it is all downhill to get to Briancon (34km worth) and to our hotel for the next 2 nights!
Various ride options are possible, but historically, most have enjoyed a van ride up to the top of the col du Lautaret and riding from there to Alpe d'Huez! No need to introduce the 21 switchbacks that have made this climb famous. If you wish to ride back to the hoel, it will be necessary to ride the 34km up the col du Lautaret, and downhill again to Briancon. A stop in Bourg d'Oisans to load up on Alpe d'Huez Jerseys and souvenirs is almost mandatory.
Several clmbs are featured for the day. While less severe than some on the climbs encountered in the previous few days and possibly less famous, these are still Alpine climbs and should be treated as such. The first climb of the day is the col de Cayolle.
You will then be able to enjoy a long downhill and recuperate before tackling the difficult climb to Valberg. We couldn't resist to offer those feeling very well and finishing each ride with ample time, the opportunity to climb the highest pass featured on this trip; the col de la Bonette (2802m) .The itinerary would then take the col de la Bonette, col de la Couillole (from the East) and arrive with a climb to Valberg from the East.
This itinerary stretches the ride to 100km and makes for a difficult day in the saddle!
Evening in Valberg
Our final stage will take us to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. First a couple of difficulties; the col de Couillole just outside of Valberg, followed by the col de Turini. These are the 2 difficulties of the day, the final climb up the col du Castillon will seem almost flat after a week of terrific climbing.