ITALIAN & French alps ALPS

TOUR OF THE LEGENDARY CLIMBS OF THE ALPS

The Alps have provided fame or infamy for cyclists over the past hundred years during the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, two of the most important stage cycling competitions in the world. Cycling fans write the names of their favorite champions on the asphalt, while the champions write the history of our sport.
gorge de la nesque

A 10-STAGE BIKING TOUR ON THE GREATEST ALPINE CLIMBS OF GIRO D’ITALIA AND TOUR DE FRANCE

 

There are places that we known for their great challenges in the world of sports. Among them are those that take place in the Italian and French Alps. The Alps have provided fame or infamy for cyclists over the past hundred years during the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, two of the most important stage cycling competitions in the world. Cycling fans write the names of their favorite champions on the asphalt, while the champions write the history of our sport. The names of these Alpine mountain passes might be daunting to some. In Italy, they are Stelvio, Mortirolo, Gavia, Colle delle Finestre. And how about Lautaret, Izoard, Galibier, Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux in France. So, putting our flags on top of these passes can provide the biggest prize and a lifetime memory for us dedicated riders. As a living monument to cycling, these mountains pile up more names every season. Names of active cyclists who have won the Tour and Giro are next to legendary ones. Who can forget names like Fausto Coppi, Charly Gaul, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, Felice Gimondi, Raymond Poulidor, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome. These hall-of-fame names explain why Alps are on the bucket list of committed cyclists from around the world. These are dream roads and dream mountains. And, dreams can become true. Should you be afraid of cycling these challenges? Do you need Froome’s legs to enjoy these special places? Not really, because that’s not the intent of this tour. Will these mountains take you out of your comfort zone? You can be sure they will! But we’re committed to taking you safely and comfortably out of this zone, so you will get only the best out of this tour. This is not a tour for fanatics and it requires a medium fitness level. Detailed briefings, constant contact with our skilled guides, planned food stops are just part of what we have in store for you. Otherwise, our van will always be available for whatever kind of help you may need. Perfect Canyon rental bikes will make for a safe and enjoyable daily riding. The choice of hotels and restaurants has been made with care.

760 km
12 days / 10 rides
25,000 m
Challenge
The Pro Tour Series
The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

  • Last 2km to top

  • Fausto Coppi
    climbing up Stelvio

  • The Swiss side

Things You Don't Want to Miss

Ride Highlights:
Stelvio Pass

Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio was a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic cycling, as they call it.

“i’m still that eight-year-old kid who rode up the stelvio. I’m still that kid in my legs, in my head and in my heart.”

Former Pro and Giro winner IVAN BASSO
Tour highlights

TRIP details

  • July 24 2021

  • Price from € 3699,00

  • Bormio, Lombardy, Italy
  • Bedoine, Provence, France

  • 4 nights at 4-star | 7 nights at 3-star

  • Supplement for single accommodation € 459 p.p.; bike rental.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY
Arrival at Milan airport and transfer to Bormio, Italian Alps. Accommodation and dinner at four-star hotel.
DAY 2: RIDE TO PASSO MORTIROLO (THROUGH GROSIO) THEN PONTE DI LEGNO AND PASSO GAVIA. 115KM; 3200M.
114.5km | 3,245m | 3,245m | 5,30h

Passo Gavia, the final and main climb of the day is very challenging. First, because it is quite long, about 17 km, and because it is 2600m above sea level, where the air is thin. Thin air is no joke, and there is no way to prepare for it. So, to save our legs for this challenge, we will tackle the Mortirolo from its ‘easier’ side, from the little town of Grosio. Then we will climb up to Passo Gavia starting from Ponte di Legno, just like during the 97th Giro d’Italia in 2014, won by the Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team. Accommodation and dinner at hotel.

DAY 3: THE TWO SIDES OF STELVIO PASS
101km | 3,417m | 3,417m | 5,30h

Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio climb was on a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic - or heroic - cycling, as they call it.

There’s big debate among cyclists on which side of Stelvio is the nicest: Lombardy side, from Bormio or Trentino side, from Prato allo Stelvio. We don’t want to influence your opinion, so we give you the opportunity to make your own idea. We ride up from Bormio, go all the way down across Switzerland, and up again from Prato allo Stelvio, enjoying all the famous 48 hairpins up top.

This stage can be shortened by van up to Umbrail pass. That way it'd be 80km and 2200m elevation gain.

DAY 4: RIDE UP APRICA PASS THEN MORTIROLO FROM THE MONNO SIDE
123km | 3,023m | 3,023m | 5,30h

A day dedicated to watch Giro from the sidelines of one of Europe's hardest climbs: Mortirolo pass. This must-do HC climb is world famous as is very challenging and steep. It’s been included in the Giro in 1990 and it became famous for the legendary stage of 1994 Giro when a very young Marco Pantani dropped his majesty Miguel Indurain, showing the world a new star was born. A monument to the famous Italian climber is at km 8. We get there after a long way down from Bormio to Tirano, then we climb up the Aprica pass so to face Mortirolo from the Monno side. Nearly on top of the climb, we take a break at the rifugio, then we select a good spot to watch the riders.

DAY 5: RIDE TO CANCANO LAKES
30km | 1,000m | 1,000m | 2,30h
This is our last day in Bormio. We have a long transfer on this day, but we will still want to enjoy some quality riding. Why not go for a lovely ride up to the Cancano lakes? Short but gorgeous, it gives us the time to take a shower, have a light lunch and move to Oulx, Piedmont, about 400km away. Accommodation and dinner at three-star hotel in Sauze d’Oulx.
DAY 6: COLLE DELLE FINESTRE AND SESTRIERE LOOP
99km | 2,890m | 2,890m | 5,30h
“Returning to the way it was then” could be the subtitle of this stage. Yes, because history from the heroic age of cycling has been written on dirt roads, and races are now recovering this tradition by using bits of mountain roads still not asphalted such as the iconic last 8km of Colle delle Finestre. The first of this new old fashioned – stage - was the Savigliano to Sestriere stage of Giro 2005 that featured two ascents up Sestriere and finally Colle delle Finestre. It was a blast watching riders climbing up in a cloud of dust, and it told worldwide race organizers that bringing cycling back to the way it was then is worth the risk. Only the big climbers have completed this climb. But do you remember Chris Froome’s legendary attack from the very beginning of this climb, taking him to victory of both the stage and Giro 2018. It brought modern cycling 50 years back in time. Well, we need to go there, right? Stage start and finish are at Sauze d’Oulx. Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.
DAY 7: COL D’IZOARD AND COL DEL LAUTARET
126km | 2,762m | 2,482m | 5,30h
We will make a quick transfer beyond the French border and start our ride in Briancon. It’s the door to another bucket list climb, the Col de l’Izoard. Coppi, Bobet, Bartali, Bahamontes, Pantani and many other famous cyclists had glorious days, flying over the last climb’s hairpins, known for its lunar aspect. We will ride all the way up to 2361m over sea level. At 2200m we will enjoy a meal at the Refuge Napoleon, and then we will cycle down to cross Briancon and ride the Col del Lautaret, Serre Chevalier side. After this very long climb with gentle gradients, we will enjoy the lovely downhill to our hotel, in the little village of La Grave. Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.
DAY 8: COL DEL LAUTARET AND COL DU GALIBIER
75km | 2,352m | 2,352m | 5,30h
These mountains have two rideable sides, and both sides are fantastic. We will start with the Lautaret. At 2058m, it is not among the tallest mountains, but it is the door to Galibier, one of the highest tops of this tour, at 2645m, and very often the highest mountain climbed during the Tour de France. Tour de France has done Galibier 59 times so far, and, as usual on such high passes, any year is a new page in a history book. To understand this better, two monuments have been left here by the French. One is to Henri Desgranges, founder of Tour de France, the other is to Marco Pantani, who made French enthusiasts fall in love with him because of his racing style. It’s a place we cannot miss. And we won’t. We will leave La Grave and ride up Col de Lautaret and Col du Galibier then down to Valloire, have a lunch stop and then back to La Grave and have dinner at hotel.
DAY 9: ALPE D'HUEZ LOOP
77km | 2,546m | 2,546m | 5,30h
Alpe d'Huez is the climb of the Tour de France par excellence. You might think this is because it is a very high mountain. But it is not. It is 'just' 1885m above sea level. But the consistently challenging gradient of around 8% in a 14 km stretch puts cyclists – even pro riders – to the test. This is especially true since this ride comes after so many elevation meters gained during the week. We will get there by cycling down from La Grave to Le Burg d’Oisans. From there, suddenly we will start going up immediately on a steep slope. We are sure not to break the sub 37 minutes’ record set by Marco Pantani in 1995. And for sure neither Pantani, nor the pro cyclists who raced there next, could have enjoyed a well-deserved beer at top of the mountain, as we’ certainly will do. That is one of the privileges of being slow riders. From the narrow mountain roads we'll make our way back to La Grave, where we'll have dinner and stay overnight for the last night.
DAY 10: GORGE DE LA NESQUE
67.4km | 1,293m | 1,293m | 5,30h
We move to the lovely French region called Provence to enjoy the last two days of this amazing tour. It’s a long way in the van from Alpe d’Huez to Bedoin. We will have the time for a light lunch at the hotel and go for a short but awesome ride through the natural monument called Gorge de la Nesque. Slight gradients, wild countryside and spectacular views are the stuff that make the best appetizer for us who like to taste a lovely dinner accompanied by a local red wine. Accommodation and dinner in a four-star hotel in Bedoin.
DAY 11: Mont Ventoux Loop
56km | 1,800m | 1,800m | 5,30h
Is there a better way than climbing Mont Ventoux to put an end to a cycling adventure like this? We don’t think so. Mont Ventoux is another myth of cycling. Like Alpe d’Huez, it is not among the tallest mountains. Nonetheless, cyclists remember this huge mountain with its white cap caused by the total lack of vegetation on its limestone slopes that pops up from the hills of Provence, We know what you are thinking? Will the view be the same as I’ve seen on the TV, while watching the Tour? Yes, it will. During the last 4 km, you’ll find yourself immersed in the same unusual, desert-like, dazzling white top, with the television tower that marks the finish line. This will be your last stage, and, even though the climb is very long – 15km, at an average gradient of 7.7%. Your legs will be very tired, but you won’t want the ride and this amazing tour to end. We will stop at the refuge at the top to enjoy a lunch with view. Then we will enjoy the very long and quick descent to Bedoin. Accommodation and dinner in a four-star hotel in Bedoin.
DAY 12: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.
Transfer to Marseille airport and end of services.
Useful Information

Tips & Resources

Travel arrangements

Best airport to land is Milano Malpensa (MXP): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help selecting the best one.

The group departure transfer goes to Marseille airport. We're available to study different arrangements.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stops in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we use to bring along bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests are getting a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on all the the arrangements to enjoy our trips in full. Here a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.
  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to take your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts. 

  • The hotel has got a bike room, workshop with tools and bike cleaning facilities.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

Useful Information
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