CHAMONIX - NICE
Chamonix to Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise
Distance: 128 km | 80 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,810 m | 9,219 ft
After a gourmet breakfast, we start with a nice warm-up spin through the Chamonix Valley taking in views of the massive glaciers, sharp spires, and the mythical Mont Blanc towering above us. A short rise followed by a winding descent takes us out of the Chamonix valley and onto the country roads through the villages of Vaudange and Servoz. After the short crossing of the Sallanches valley, the road kicks up for the first time with the climb to the ski village of Megève. The views of Mont Blanc and the Aravis range remain stunning. After Megève, we face our first major col, which is frequented by the Tour de France: the Col des Saises. We tackle this by the lesser know and very quiet Crest Voland variant. The descent off the back has additional stunning views of the Mont Blanc from a much different perspective. The descent drops us to the village of Beaufort. After sampling some of the famous Beaufort cheese that the village is known for, we climb the last major obstacle of the day: the Cormet de Roseland. A long and epic descent brings us to the skiing center of Bourg-Saint-Maurice before the last gradual rise up to the Village of Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise and our hotel for the night.
Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise to Valloire
Distance: 127 km | 79 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,846 m | 9,337 ft
The second day starts with a steady climb up to the ski village of Val d’Isère. The road continues to rise up at a steady grade to the second highest point of the week, the Col de l’Iseran at 2,764m. From there, starts a more than 2000m descent, first steep descending and then lots of group descending all the way down to the village of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. Then a last surprisingly difficult climb of the Col du Télégraphe before a short descent into Valloire where we will spend the night.
Valloire to Jausiers
Distance: 146 km | 91 mi
Elevation Gain: 3,455 m | 11,335 ft
We start with arguably the most famous and most historic col in the Alps: the Col du Galibier. The climb starts with a long pull up the valley above Valloire before it steepens with the first bends. The climb does not let up much as it makes its way into the barren, rocky landscape. The final bends cut through a steep cliff before you are rewarded with the summit views of the majestic glaciers and spires of La Meije, one of the last great climbing challenges of the Alps. The epic descent from here starts with steep, narrow and wild bends through the alpine landscape, then at the Col du Lautaret the road widens for a quick ride down to the walled-castles of Briançon. Next is one of the finest climbs in the Alps, the Col d’Izoard at the entrance to the Queyras National Park. The descent through the famous Casse Déserte is completely epic. It starts by traversing alpine talus fields before negotiating many hairpins down through the pine forest to the beautiful limestone gorge which brings you to Guillestre. The final climb of the day takes us up past the ski village of Vars and over the Col du Vars. We then descend to the village of Jausiers and our hotel for the evening; the Chateau des Magnans.
Jausiers to Valberg
Distance: 105 km | 65 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,941 m | 9,649 ft
The day starts with a climb to the highest paved road in Europe at 2,802m: the Cime de la Bonette. The 24km climb is long but steady. On a clear day you can see the Mediterranean Sea from the summit! The descent from the top is one of the best we have ever done! You eventually arrive in the river valley and the Gorges de Valabres before last major climb of the day up beautiful red rock slopes of the Col de la Couillole. A short descent and a short last climb bring us to the ski village of Valberg and our last night in the mountains before enjoying the beaches in Nice.
Valberg to Nice
Distance: 144 km | 89 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,674 m | 5,492 ft
Nice feels so close and you can taste the salt in the air. There are three climbs on the route today but they are smaller than the previous days and have much more descent than ascent. The day begins with a descent from Valberg down to Guillaumes. From there you travel through the absolutely spectacular Gorges de Dalius with it’s red rock and steep walls. Then we turn into the Var river valley. We turn off in Puget-Theniers and climb the Col de Saint Raphael into beautiful rolling terrain on small country roads. You feel that you are close to the sea as we traverse the Mediterranean mountains with short descents and climbs before arriving to the base of the final climb of the Col de Vence. From the summit you are rewarded with a welcome view out across the Mediterranean Sea. We descend to the Sea and pick up the bike path starting on the Promenade de la Plage as we traverse the seaside finishing with a grand traverse of the Promenade des Anglais for our arrival in Nice. Bikes are traded for surf shorts and bikinis and we will enjoy a well deserved swim in the Med. Time to celebrate!
Note: Proposed route may change due to weather, road work, or other unforeseen circumstances. We will do our best to inform riders of any changes as early as possible.