Check out our ride profiles for this trip, although please be aware that the itineraries are subject to change depending on local weather conditions or road closures/maintenance.
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 de 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!
Today we continue to rack up the vertical with the Aravis challenge!
We’ll set off from La Tania to Marlens on the road to Annecy.
We will start at the foot of the Col de L’Epine, a short but punchy climb along a beautiful and quiet road leading into a lovely descent. At the bottom we turn right and start the 4.5km climb up the Col de Marais before descending down to Thones, which nestles at an altitude of 627m. From here we’ll begin the steady 19km climb to the col des Aravis, passing through St Jean de Sixt and the famous ski resort of La Clusaz. The Col tops out at a respectable 1487m. After taking a moment to enjoy the scenery we’ll then descend through La Giettaz to Flumet.
From Flumet, we follow a flowing descent through the Gorges de l’Arly towards Ugine and Albertville and finish off with a 30km roll back to Moutiers.
Relax by the pool in town, explore the mountains on foot, hire a mountain bike or book a paraglide and see the Vanoise parc 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.
Alp d’Huez and Balcony road
Refreshed, we take the support vehicle to Allemond and take on arguably the most infamous of mountain stages.
We begin with the 12km flat spin into Bourg d’Oisans. Soaking up the atmosphere of Bourg with fellow riders we head to the bottom of the Alp.
The first 3km and 4 bends are tough, very tough but the road eases a little from here and the climb continues with the numbered corners. We head past bend 7 and the famous ‘Dutch Corner’ and on up to the finish. The bars and shops greet you for the first part but you have to continue the extra km to get to the top and the official TDF finish. 30 stage finishes and one pass of the summit in a 67 year history of the Tour de France, is there anywhere else like it?
Victory secured, we descend to the bars and cafes for a snack and drink.
Once replenished we take the incredible balcony road that winds and weaves its way back down to the lake and Allemond. The balcony is a true hidden gem of this area offering up spectacular views of Bourg and the valley below, just out of this world!
At Allemond we rejoin the support vehicle. Of course if Alp d’Huez has left you wanting more, we are at the bottom of the Glandon!
Lacets, Chaussy and the Madeleine
Breakfast polished off and we 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.