Tour Dates 7-19 July 2017
Tour Cost – $6600
Availability – Open
Phone Rob +61 416 274 161 to secure a spot
The Route des Grandes Alpes is a classic ride from Geneva to Nice
Diamond Cycle Tours does its own version of this great ride
Today we meet in Geneva. Today is about getting the group together, sorting out bikes and having a welcome dinner to get acquainted and briefed. Geneva is cycle friendly and a ride along the lake is a great way to make sure the bike and the legs are good for the start of the riding on day 2.
Take in Stage 8 of the Tour de France
Ride distance 81kms and ascent 2273mtrs.
Today is a real treat. We ride out of Geneva and over the Jura Mountain range to the west of the city. By a scenic route we will reach the climb of the Montee de la Combe de Laisia Les Molunes. This is the final climb of the Tour Stage 8 and the finish is not far away at the Station des Rousses.
After all the TdF action we will ride back to Geneva.
Geneva via Nantua to Annecy
Ride distance 125kms and ascent 1363mtrs.
Again today is about the Tour de France. However we get to do some great riding through wonderful rolling hills. Nantua is situated on the edge of yet another great lake of the same name. As shown in the picture below this is not the high alps but the riding will test the legs and the scenery will test the eyes. What we lose today in altitude gain we will pick up in distance.
Today we ride on to Annecy, a French treasure. The ville sits at the end of the lake surrounded by mountains. After a long ride a dip in the lake is a must do activity. The old town of Annecy is gorgeous and we are staying on its edge. Historic buildings and waterways make this a great spot to spend a night. We dine beside the canal and make the most of our short time here.
Annecy to Chambery
Ride distance 97kms and ascent 1562mtrs.
As picturesque as Annecy is we ride on.
Our ride takes us around the lake where we get to enjoy the scenery first at water level and then from on high as we ride the Forclaz which is more or less behind the sun drenched building above. We need to ride on and around the lake as we head towards Chambery through the forest of the Parc Naturel Régional du Massif des Bauges. We skirt the Semnoz which is the biggest and most well know climb out of Annecy and just enjoy the quiet roads and climbs of the park.
Chambery to Grenoble
Ride distance 70kms and ascent 2220mtrs.
Today is somewhat of a rest day in that it is at least short. The rolling country soon sees the ascent meters climbing however.
Grenoble to Alpe d’Huez
Ride distance is 83kms and ascent 3507mtrs.
Today is an epic climbing day. Our first target is the ski resort of Chamrousse. From here it is a long descent and run along the valley towards Bourg d’Oisans. From here we climb the legendary Alpe d’Huez.
After the 21 hairpins that is the Alpe we will enjoy staying at the summit and soaking up the atmosphere of what is one of the great mountain stages of the Tour de France.
Alpe d’Huez to Briancon
Ride distance 75kms and ascent 2534mtrs.
Today we take the back road from Alpe d’Huez and climb the Col de Sarenne. Here we have wonderful quiet roads and pretty villages. After climbing the Col we have a great descent back to the barage from where we head to the Col du Lauteret. This is just a great day on the bike. The Climbing is steady but with some very long and enjoyable descents. The run from the Lauteret to Briancon is a steady descent on very good roads with hills surrounding.
Briancon to Embrun
Ride distance 67kms and ascent 1526mtrs.
Briancon is on the trade route from Italy and the east in general. For this reason there are forts along this valley. Briancon has a walled fort and old town that are a must visit even though it means doing some walking and climbing at the end of the day! It will be worth it.
Our climb today is the Col d’Izoard. The climb starts immediately we leave Briancon. Initially we follow the river and the slope is gentle. As we get further up the valley the forest starts thinning and after a series of hairpins we emerge in another landscape altogether. Towards the summit it is more moon than earth. However the climbing is never too steep and it is an enjoyable ride.
The descent as we drop down the other side of the Izoard is breathtaking. Eventually we run out into the valley and follow the river. Here we see rafting and spectacular ravines and tunnels. A great ride into Embrun.
Embrun to Barcelonnette (Pra Loup)
Ride distance 85kms and ascent 1876mtrs.
We are now well out of the high alpes. However the climbing and the challenge is still there. We are moving closer to the coast every day and the weather is warming. The support van will need to be near by to hand out the cool drinks and lollies.
Barcelonnette to Valdablore
Ride distance 125kms and ascent 2918mtrs.
The ride today is the Col de la Bonnette.
Our first destination is Jausiers from where the climb starts. From here it is a 24km climb over 1,589mtrs at an average gradient of 6.9%. The ascent from Jausiers has difficult parts but there are many sections where you can get your breath back and take in the spectacular scenery. The last 800 meters leading to the summit is breathtaking in its beauty. Along this climb you will have seen waterfalls, lakes and streams. The pasture is for sheep and you will need to look out for them on the road as well as marmots.
There are also major fortifications at the summit left over from WW2. It is actually possible to walk into the chambers that comprise the fort and see the infrastructure that supported the pill boxes inside the mountain.
The Tour de France last visited the Col in 2008 albeit approaching from the other side to a stage finish in Jausiers.
Valdablore to Menton
Ride distance 75kms and ascent 2112mtrs.
We start our ride today with more descending till we get to the turn that marks the Col de Turini.
We are now in the Provence Alpes bordering Cote d’Azur. From our approach the Col de Turini ascent is 15.3 km long. The ascent is 1107 meters. The average percentage is 7.2 %. The maximum slope is 10 %.
The valley views on this climb are spectacular and give the impression of a much higher mountain. There are lots of switchbacks and little tunnels making the ride very interesting. A coffee at the summit and then its descent time all the way to Sospel. Out of Sospel we have a little bit more work to do but the climb is enjoyable and not too long. As we top out we get our first views of the Mediterranean and on a clear day they are truly wonderful. So now it is just a descent to Menton. Check into the hotel and then a dip in the Med!
Menton to Nice
Its almost like we have left the best till last. Today we climb the Madone. This is a very well know riding mountain made famous as the training ground for Lance Armstrong as well as many other pro riders. We descend to a valley behind the coast and take lunch in a village perched on the side of a hill in classic Cote d’Azur style.
From here it is a run down the valley to the ocean and then the Col d’Eze beckons. Made famous in the stage races that finish in Nice this is a great way for us to finish our tour. After the summit it just remains to descend into Nice to our hotel, settle into a bar and start sharing the stories….
Our Grande Tour des Alpes has come to an end. Au revoir till next time.