Total tour distance: 222 miles
Daily tour distance: 56 miles
Difficulty: 100 / 100
This award-winning cycling tour (one of our favorites) takes place in our playground — we’re based right across the border from Geneva, in France! Our extraordinary journey will take you from the shores of Lake Geneva to the world-famous alpine resort of Alpe d'Huez. In between, you'll climb some of France's most famous cols: Colombiere, Aravis, Saisies, Madeleine, Telegraphe, Galibier, and Alpe d'Huez.
The following 2015 dates are when this tour is offered on a self-guided basis:
- July 13th
- August 8th
- August 29th
The tour can be organized for private groups on any other dates (minimum size: 6).
Day 1: Arrival in Geneva - Transfer to Anthy
Arrive at Geneva Cointrin International Airport. We will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel located in Anthy by Lake Geneva. Dinner will also be right by the lake.
Day 2: Anthy to Le Grand Bornand (97 km or 60 miles)
Today’s destination is Le Grand Bornand, home of the Reblochon cheese (the locals' Powerbar!). On your way to the heart of the Aravis mountain range, you will ride through the very scenic Chablais region (our office is nearby!). The ride includes one major climb: Col de la Colombiere (1,613 m 5,290 ft). Dinner and accommodations are in Le Grand Bornand.
Day 3: Le Grand Bornand – Albertville (75 km or 47 miles)
You’ll leave the very picturesque Le Grand Bornand and get on the classic “Route des Grandes Alpes,” a mountain route that links Lake Geneva (Thonon-les-Bains) to the Mediterranean Sea (Menton). After climbing Col des Aravis (1,486 m or 4,460 ft.), you’ll plunge down to the valley before attacking the second climb of the day: Col des Saisies (1,657 m or 4,970 ft.). Gravity will take you down to Albertville, where you’ll dine and stay overnight.
Day 4: Albertville – Valloire (106 km or 66 miles)
Another classic day! You’ll conquer Col de la Madeleine; one of the most mythic and classic mountain passes featured in the Tour de France. The top culminates at an impressive 2,000 m or 6,000 ft, the highest so far… until tomorrow! The northern side is a very enjoyable, long and steady climb that has its reward: an unobstructed panoramic view of the nearby mountains. Make sure you enjoy it while at the top… sightseeing might be the last thing on your mind when barreling down the twisty 20-km downhill to the Maurienne Valley. After a flat section when you reach the base of the valley, you’ll ascend the easy Col du Télégraphe (1,566 m or 4,700 ft.) and reach the beautiful resort of Valloire.
Day 5: Valloire – Alpe d’Huez or Oz-en-Oisans (78 km or 49 miles)
Valloire is located at the foot of the Galibier pass (2,642 m or 7.926 ft.), the mammoth climb of the day. Riding this legendary climb is magic — graffiti from past Tours will remind you that this road has seen many showdowns since it was first featured in the 1911 Tour de France. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Meije glacier and a memorable 40-km (25 miles) descent to Bourg d’Oisans, before charging up the 13-km (8 miles) climb to Alpe d’Huez. The time to beat: 37’35”, a record held by Marco Pantani since 1995.
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast, depart Alpe d’Huez at the time of your choice (self-guided version). Note that transfers to Grenoble or Geneva can be arranged on request. NOTE THAT YOU MAY ALSO CHOOSE TO RIDE ALPE D’HUEZ TO NICE (price on request).
Please note that rates are given as a guideline; based on Euro vs. US$ exchange rate as of 12/10/14.