Ride across the Alps

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Ride Across the Alps

A climbers challenge!

July 30th to August 7th, 2011


Ride across the Alps!

Rate : $2995.00

8 nights, 9 days  -  July 30th to August 7th, 2011

Pick up in Geneva - Drop off in Nice

Highlights: up to 20 climbs - Galibier, Iseran, Izoard Alpe d'Huez and more.




An incredible road deserved an incredible trip. We are happy to offer the Route des Grandes Alpes again in 2011

From 660km (412miles) and up to 865km (540miles) will link Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. On the way, the bigger part of the Alps.

This trip crosses the French Alps from North to South. From the banks of Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way... many of the climbs you have come used to knowing by name; Col des Aravis, Cormet de Roselend, col de l'Iseran, col du Telegraphe, col du Galibier, col du Lautaret, Alpe d'Huez, col d'Izoard and many more.

The total distance and number of climbs will vary slightly as there are a few different options available to riders of different skills and those who want to take it "easy" one day, but for those who wish to ride it all; 865km and 20 climbs are possible!

A bit of HISTORY behind this road:

Early 20th Century; innovation is the order of the day. There is great faith in progress of all kinds... particularly for roads, opening the Alps to mass tourism.

1909 - The Touring Club de France initiates work on the Route des Grandes Alpes.
1913 - The Company Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee organizes the inaugural run of the Route de Grandes Alpes in five one-day stages
1914/18 - WW1 brings work to a stand-still
1930 - It now only takes 1.5 days to drive from Nice to Chamonix
1937 - Albert Lebrun, French President, inaugurates the Iseran pass - highest road pass in Europe
1970 - The Cormet de Roselend pass is opened
1995 - The route links Thonon les Bains to Menton at whatever pace you choose!
2011 - Your turn to try the Route des Grandes Alpes!




Day 1
Hotel location: near Thonon

Pick-up at Geneva airport. The pick-up time will be determined once we have everyone's travel arrangements (probably mid-day).

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!

Day 2
Hotel location: Les Saisies

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.

Day 3
Les Saisies - Val d'Isere / 81km

Our second stage will feature two "goodies". The first climb of the day will be the Cormet de Roselend. This climb is featured in the 2005 Tour de France. It will be important to pace yourself in this climb as the second climb consists on the first half of the col de l'Iseran. From Bourg St Maurice, the climb to the top of the Iseran pass is 48km (30miles!). There is a welcome break in the ski resorts of Tignes and Val d'Isere which is where we will stop for the day. Past Val d'Isere the road will take you through a glacier to the top at 9200'. The day will then finish with the downhill of the col d'Iseran and we will settle for the evening at the base of the climb.

Day 4
Val ''Isere - Briancon / 161km / stage #9 of the 2007 Tour de France

This is the same stage as stage #9 of the 2007 Tour de France. Given the distance and terrain it will be very important to pace yourself while riding the 17km climb for the hotel to the top of the col de l'Iseran. Then we will visit another monument of cycling... quite possibly THE monument of cycling; the col du Galibier! Before we tackle the col du Galibier however, we will pay a visit to it's inseparable pal; the col du Telegraphe. The top of the Galibier features a monument honoring the memory of Tour de France founder Henry Desgrange. The Tour de France now goes through the tunnel at the top of the Galibier and you may choose to do so, we would encourage everyone however to do the complete climb and push to the very top.

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!

Day 5
Rest Day OR ride Alpe d'Huez

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.

Day 6
Briancon - Jausiers / 90km

We leave our hotel and finish off the 6km to the top of the col du Lautaret. This will be followed by an enjoyable 25km downhill to Briancon. In Briancon we will take the direction of the col d'Izoard, last visited by the Tour de France in 2003 (Beloki's fall in the downhill and Armstrong's "cross country" adventure). The day will end going up the col de Vars, followed by the downhill to Jausiers and our hotel for the evening.

Day 7
Jausiers - Valberg / 80km (or 100km)

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

Day 8
Valberg - Villefranche sur Mer / 150km

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.

Day 9
End of Trip / We will be transferring to Nice Airport



  • Transfer from Geneva Airport and to Nice Airport (or train Station)
  • Hotel room based on double occupancy
  • Support Vehicle with water and snacks.
  • All breakfasts and Dinners - throughout the trip
  • Bike Mechanic/guide, support staff. Bike guide is local from the Southern Alps
  • Cue-Cards, directions, maps, profiles of stages, etc...
  • Luggage transfer
  • Other "goodies"