Your transfer will depart Geneva Airport mid afternoon and deliver you and your bikes to our base, Chalet James in La Tania (approx 2 hours).
Our friendly team will help you settle in, and you can enjoy a welcome drink and light refreshments before setting the bikes up. Once we’re set up, we’ll give the bikes (and ourselves!) a warm up and equipment test on the winding road up to Courchevel 1850. From here we’ll return to Chalet James, prepped and ready for the week ahead.
La Tania-Pralognan Loop
A nice warm up for the rest of the week, we'll set off from La Tania with a support vehicle in tow on a meandering tour of the local area, skirting the edge of the Vanoise National Park. We enjoy fantastic, quiet roads and stunning views looking back over to Courchevel as we make our way up to the lovely village ski station of Pralognan La Vanoise, via the balcony road through Montagny. This road has actually been used in the Criterium du Dauphine twice now and many pro’s use it for training. There will be plenty of time to take in the views and enjoy a lunch and a coffee in one of many mountain restaurants before returning to La Tania via Courchevel Le Praz for well earned afternoon tea.
(Does your GPS sometimes have a moment? Ours did with this one and added 400m climb to the graph total; we wouldn't do that to you on the first day!)
Col du Petit St Bernard
A short 45 min transfer in the support vehicle will take us to today’s starting point; the riverside town of Aime. From here we’ll warm up with a spin along the river path to Bourg St Maurice. Bourg is considered the gateway to the Petit St Bernard and the Cormet de Roseland and regularly features in the Tour de France.
We’ll pass through Bourg and the little village of Seez before heading onto the Col du Petit St Bernard for the 22km cycle to La Rosiere, support vehicle in tow. It's a beautiful climb with a steady gradient, but at 30km, a decent distance. In our opinion, the views on the last leg of the climb are amongst the best in the Alps. At the last km passing the impressive St Bernard Statue and the hospice. There is plenty of time to stop for a coffee in either France or Italy! It's a must do climb and an experience not to be missed, as is the descent. Finishing in Aime we’ll transfer back to La Tania. Of course, if you still have it in your legs you are always welcome to cycle back!
Alp d'Huez and Col du Glandon
Tuesday sees us tackle one of the most iconic climbs in cycling! The transfer to our starting point Allemond is 2.5hrs, so an early start will be needed. From Allemond, we’ll cruise into Bourg d’Oisans along the flat for a 12km warm up, before tackling the famous 21 bends of Alp d’Huez.
The infamous climb first appeared on ‘Le tour’ in 1952, providing the location for the tour's first ever summit finish with Fausto Coppi claiming the victory. It was not to return until 1976 and since then has become a fan and riders favourite.
As we ascend we can't promise the raucous crowds on the bends like a TDF day but there is always something special about this place! Up past the chapel at Dutch Corner (bend 7) knowing we are 2/3rds of the way along the famous climb. We push on checking off all 21 bends and on to victory!
We’ll stop to refuel in Alp d’Huez before descending the balcony road, enjoying some of the most breathtaking views in the Southern Alps. The descent takes us past the lake and the dam, followed by the opportunity to tackle the Col du Glandon before the final descent down into the Maurienne valley and the little town of St Etienne-de-Cuines. Here we’ll meet the van for a very welcome rest and the return trip to Chalet James.
This is a tough but epic day. Our vehicle support allows you to alter the ride length and ascent, deciding just how much you punish yourself!
Relax by the pool in town, explore the mountains on foot, hire a mountain bike or book a paraglide and see the Vanoise National Park from the air. But if you're that way inclined, you could even take a recovery ride on any of the numerous local routes we will be happy to advise on.
Lacets, Chaussy and the Madeleine
Fully rested up, we’ll transfer to La Chambre where we’ll start the day with a 10km easy spin to the bottom of the Lacets du Montvernier. If you look up ‘hairpin bends’ in the dictionary, you’ll see a photo of the Lacets! Although only 3km, the climb features 18 hairpin bends. Following the Lacets, we’ll hit the Col de Chaussy; a tough 12km stretch but more than worth it for the views of St Jean de Maurienne from the cliffs on the way up. Once at the top we’ll follow deserted mountain roads to join the Col de Madeleine where we'll climb through the ski resort of St Francois du Longchamp to reach the top. On clear days there are wonderful views of Mont Blanc. The descent is 26km and really worth all of your effort to get to the top.
Cormet du Roselend
It’s the final day, and what better way to round off a great trip than with a TDF classic.
We’ll transfer to Aime and take the cycle path to Bourg St Maurice; the start of the Cormet du Roselend. The Cormet is a simply incredible climb that has been in the Tour many times over the last few years. Cancelled last year due to bad weather, it is back for 2020.
The top of the col, at 2000m, gives you impressive views of the Beaufortain mountain range all around you.
A 4km descent from the top offers views down to the stunning Lac de Roselend. The route takes us around the lake before we start the descent down to Beaufort. Breathtaking in every sense.
At the famous Beaufort we can grab some well earned snacks, food and drink. Maybe even a Beaufort Tart!
From Beaufort we’ll cycle back (the short mostly downhill 19km ) to Albertville and then along to Moutiers.