Needless to say, it is an extraordinary trip that will take you from the shore 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.
Note that this tour can also be organized for cycling clubs and private groups on a request basis. For these, we will taylor the itinerary and provide the appropriate support based on the group's fitness level.
This tour has been awarded the coveted "Trip of the Year" title by Outside Magazine in 2011!
Day 1: Arrival in Geneva - Transfer to Anthy
Arrive at Geneva 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 (90 km or 55 miles)
Today’s destination is Le Grand Bornand (in the heart of the Aravis mountain range), home of the Reblochon cheese (locals' Powerbar!) and where you'll dine and stay overnight. On your way, you will ride through the very scenic Chablais region (our playground; 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 (52 km or 32 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 (102 km or 64 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 rewards- 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 (85 km or 53 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 used by Tour de France riders in 1911. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Meije glacier and with 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
Pricing: Price starts at 755 euros per person (double occupancy on a self-guided basis). Single supplement is 200 euros.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe France Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Sightseeing