Le Route des Grandes Alps
Take your place on a seven-day cycle tour that cuts through the heart of the French Alps on a ride that begins on Lake Geneva and finishes on the shores of the Mediterranean sea.
Saturday 22 June to Saturday 29 June 2013
This is the ultimate ride for any serious rider who as ever seen the Tour de France and wondered how hard can riding the Alps really be. Its one thing to ride 1 or 2 mountain passes in a day, its another to ride 16 passes in 6 days! While the ride is challenging, it is also immensely enjoyable with breathtaking scenery and great roads, together with some friendly competition.
The Route des Grandes Alpes is a marked route that traverses the whole length of the French Alps from north to south, starting from Lake Geneva and finishing on the Côte d'Azur, it passes over all the highest passes of the French Alps.
The road starts at Thonon-les-Bains on Lake Geneva and passes over the Col de Gets, Col de la Colombière, Col des Aravis, Col des Saisies, Cormet de Roseland, Col de l'Iseran, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret, Col d'Izoard, Col de Vars, Col de la Cayolle, Col de la Couillole, Col Saint Martin, Col de Turini and Col de Castillon and finishes in Menton on the Mediterranean coast.
The route is 700km long with a total of 15500m climbing over that distance.
Maybe its time for a challenge?
Saturday 22 June 2013 - Arrival in Geneva and Preparation.
After landing at Geneva Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel on shores of Lake Geneva in the spa town of Thonon-les-Bains. Unpack and relax. Afternoon briefing. Evening will be at your leisure.
Sunday 23 June 2013 - Day 1, from Thonon-les-Bains to Grand Bornand. 90km, 2600m climbing
Refreshed and prepared, we head south away from Lake Geneva and start climbing into the mountains as we head for the mountain top ski resort of Les Gets and the Col de Gets - a nice easy introductory climb to the Alps.
From there, it's downhill to the town of Cluses and the base of the Col de la Colombière (1613m) climb. The Col de la Colombière is challenging climb that is often included in the Tour, 16km in length and with sections at over 8%, its a tough climb with a nasty sting in its tail, the last 1km being 10%+. Once over the top its all down hill to our hotel in the town of Le Gran Bornard. During the evening, it's time for a relaxing group dinner followed by our exclusive EuroTrash rider awards.
See Days Route
Monday 24 June 2013 - Day 2, from Grand Bornand to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. 101km, 2710m climbing
After a good night’s sleep we will be ready to tackle the 3 climbs of the day. We leave Le Grand Bornard and keep heading south to the base of the first climb of the day, the Col des Aravis (1486m) - an easy climb at 6km long with an average 5% grade. Once over the top we descend down to the town of Flumet and start the climb of the Col des Saises (1432m) - another easy climb that over its 14km length never poses any real challenge. We descend down to the town of Beaufort and a stop for lunch. Fuelled up we leave Beaufort and start the climb of the Cormet de Roseland (1968m) - at 20km it’s a long climb and while the average is 6% it has some steep sections, halfway up there is a rest bite as you ride around the stunning emerald lake. Once photos have been taken in front of the summit sign it is fast descent down to the mountain town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice where our hotel is located. Dinner in one of our favourite restaurants followed by our EuroTrash rider awards.
See Days Route
Tuesday 25 June 2013 - Day 3, from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Valloire 137km, 3090m climbing
Today we tackle one of the hardest climbs on the route, the legendary Col de l’Iseran (2764m), the highest paved road in the Alps. The climb is not particularly steep but starting from Bourg Saint Maurice, the Col de l'Iseran ascent is 48 km long! Its what makes it one of the hardest climbs in the Alps and also the fact that the air starts to get a bit thin! We leave Bourg Saint Maurice and the road is rolling for the first few kilometres, then it goes up until you reach the dam at Tignes where you get a rest on a flattish section just before the town of Val d’Isere, after which the road keeps climbing until the top. At the top you can feel satisfied at having conquered a beast! Once over, we drop down into the valley below and head for Modane. Once past Modane we hit the base of the last climb of the day, the Col du Télégraphe (1570m) a 9km climb that is mostly in the trees and not too difficult. Once over the top it is straight to Valloire and our hotel. During the evening it's time for a relaxing group dinner followed by the EuroTrash rider awards.
See Days Route
Wednesday 26 June 2013 - Day 4, from Valloire to Gullestre. 106km, 2970m climbing
Having climbed the Col du Telegraphe the day before, we have saved ourselves some work to reach the top of the Galibier (2645m), but make no mistake about it - there is still a lot to come! The Galibier is a hard climb, going straight out of Valloire we immediately get a steep section, then it eases off and we climb up the valley along side the river that comes down from the foot of the Galibier. At 2000m in altitude we cross the river and all hell breaks loose as the road goes up sharply and remains steep and never really lets up until you reach the top. Once at the top you can feel satisfied at having conquered a legend! We descend down to the top of the Col du Lauterat (2058m) and continue our descent down to Briancon where we will stop for lunch. From Briancon we pick up the road to the top of the Col d’Izoard (2360m), a climb of 20km and that cuts through classic alpine woods, the average grade being 6% so while long, it presents no major challenges. Once over the summit we descend down to the valley below and our hotel in Gullestre. Dinner in another of our favourite restaurants followed by the obligatory EuroTrash awards.
See Days Route
Thursday 27 June 2013 - Day 5, from Gullestre to Valberg. 125km, 2900m climbing
We roll out of Gullestre and start the first climb of the day, the Col du Vars (2109m), a 20km climb that is not particularly difficult, unless you have tired legs! A nice climb up a wide valley and through the town of Vars. Once over the top we head down to the valley below and pick up the flat road to Barcelonnette. From here we enter the 600kmsq Parc National du Mercantour and the base of our next climb. The Col de la Cayolle (2326m) is a long climb that presents no real challenges for the majority of its length as you pass though some very rural villages and gorges, but it does steepen towards the top - but the scenery will make you forget about that. Once at the top we officially enter the department of Alpes-Maritimes, meaning we are getting close to our ultimate destination! We descend down to Guilaumes and then start the last climb up to the ski resort of Valberg and our hotel for the night. During the evening it's time for a relaxing group dinner followed by our EuroTrash awards.
See Days Route
Friday 28 June 2013 - Day 6, from Valberg to Menton. 133km, 2770m climbing
The last day of riding and you can almost smell the sea! A day of cutting across from one valley to the next as we head to Menton. The ride starts with a descent down from Valberg to the first major climb of the day, the Col Saint Martin (1522m), along 17km climb that is cut into the rock face a gorge and climbs up the ski resort at the top, average grade being 6%. We descend down into the valley below and keep descending, eventually we hit the last major climb of the tour, the Col de Turini, a climb that is 16km long and never eases up until you reach the top - making you work all the way! From the top we start a long technical descent down to Sospel and the very last climb of the trip, the Col de Castillon (713m), a short sharp number that brings you to the top of the hills above Menton and the sea below - you have just about made it!! Time to do an electrifying descent all the way down into Menton where the sea awaits you and so does a good drink! You can sit down and reflect on a momentous ride and what you have just achieved! In the evening it's time for a celebratory group dinner followed by our exclusive, and final, EuroTrash rider awards.
See Days Route
Saturday 29 June 2013 - Departure.
Morning transfers to Nice Airport for your return flights and good-byes.
For the tour we have included 7 nights in a 3* hotels on the route, most evening meals, all transfers between Geneva and Nice Airports. Plus exclusive Italian Cycling Tours cycling jersey. On top of all that, hopefully one of the most memorable bike rides you will have ever done. For a precise break down see below.
Tour start date:
Saturday 22 June 2013. Starts in just 2 days time.
Ride the major mountain passes of the French Alps.
Pretending you are out to win the Tour de France!
7 nights in 2/3-star hotels.
Private transfers between Geneva Airport and Thonon-les-Bains, and Menton and Nice Airport.
Exclusive Grandes Alps cycling jersey.
Secure bike storage.
Full on-the-road van support.
Free complimentary drinks and snacks out on the road.
A seasoned guide who rides with the group.
Photos uploaded each day for your friends and family to see.
EuroTrash Rider Awards - Eclectic awards for riding style and more!
Wine & Beer etc at Dinner.
Anything not listed in the 'Included' section above.
Max/Min Number of guests:
10 to 14
Deadline for booking:
Thursday 23 May 2013
Prices and Booking
Price Per Person: £990.00 Single Room (including £297.00 deposit) - £850.00 Twin Room (including £255.00 deposit)
Book now to avoid price increase from March 31st, when price will be: Single Room £1090.00 - Twin Room £950.00.