ITALIAN and french ALPS

ON THE ROADS OF
LE TOUR
DE FRANCE

The Alpine stages of the Tour de France are regularly the days that define the race. Be it famous battles or solo breakaways, legends are made in the mountains. As a result of this history, these climbs have come to loom large in the minds of many cyclists. While most of these spectacular climbs are obviously in France(Izoard, Lautaret, and Galibier) there are quite a few in Italy(Colle dell'Agnello and Piccolo San Bernard). The Tour has often featured a mix of Italian and French Alps, always resulting in Epic days. The "On the Roads of the Tour de France" tour is an opportunity to experience for yourself many of your bucket list climbs in a similarly epic fashion. 

A WEEK OF ROAD CYCLING IN THE ALPS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE TOUR DE FRANCE

 

Le Tour de France climaxes between the second and third week of race, usually in the Alps or the Pyrenees. The reason is clear: riders begin to fatigue right as the most challenging mountains enter the mix, bringing with them some of the highest ridable passes in Europe - often above 2500m. The Tour de France Alpine stages make for famous days, many featuring famous battles. Some of these battlefields lay in Italy while most are in France, naturally. 

We've designed this guided group tour to follow a dream loop that includes the best climbs around the French-Italian border, starting in the northwestern Italian region of Piedmont, crossing into the French region called Haute Alps, and riding back to Italy through Savoy and Valle d'Aosta region.

The tour is fully guided and assisted with quality accommodations. This week of cycling will take place while the Tour de France is also in the Alps, giving us the chance for a wonderful experience: visiting a Canyon sponsored World Tour team - if the Covid restrictions will allow - and breathing the magic atmosphere of the race on its resting day.

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524 km
9 days / 7 rides
14,244 m
Challenge
The Pro Tour Series
The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

  • What paradise looks like...
    on a dry day

  • Marco Pantani
    flattening out the Galibier in 1998 Tour

  • The days can also be
    less good

Things You Don't Want to Miss

Ride Highlights:
Galibier, 1998 A.D.

July 27, 1998. It was raining the day the Tour had to face the Galibier, making the climb that much more difficult, especially for a cyclist who did not love the wet. Pantani that year had already taken away great satisfaction, winning the Giro d'Italia. Initially he had no intention of participating in the Tour, but he made a promise to Luciano Pezzi (director of the Mercatone Uno team) who died in June 1998, in between the end of the Giro and the beginning of the Tour. He promised to go and try to win the most important stage race. For the Italians, there was an added desire for revenge on French soil after the defeat on penalties at the World Cup in the quarter finals against France, their all-time rival. Marco kept his promise.

"I have lost a formidable teacher, a man of those that you don't find so easily in the world of cycling. Luciano Pezzi, who believed in me, who bet on me when I was in a hospital bed, has gone. I have a great desire to take the yellow jersey and say: "Old friend, here, it's for you that I conquered it". I'm going to the Tour to continue to be Pantani."

Marco Pantani
Tour highlights

TRIP details

  • JULY 1ST 2021

  • Price from €1870,00
  • Sampeyre, Piedmont, Italy
  • Three and four-star hotel
DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

Arrival at Turin airport (TRN) and transfer to Sampeyre (Piedmont). Accommodation and dinner at four-star hotel.

DAY 2: CROSS THE COLLE DELL'AGNELLO PASS TO ARVIEUX
60.8km | 2,067m | 1,493m | 4,30h

Colle dell'Agnello may not have the same name recognition as other climbs on the tour. It is recognized as one the most beautiful mountain passes in the alps and is surely one of those challenges a dedicated cyclist should take on. It is one of the passes that connect Italy and France, two special countries for us cyclists. Reaching an elevation of 2744m in approximately 50km, with 2178m of elevation gain. You may ask if it is so special, why is it not as famous as other climbs on the itinerary? Easy: it is not located in a very touristic part of Italy. Easing into the trip with this lesser known pass gives us the chance to experience a beautiful mountain without the obstacle of expectations, leaving only the joys of exploration and discovery on two wheels. The Tour de France has featured it twice throughout its history. Most recently during the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour. The stage from Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier made for  a seriously epic race day, won by Andy Schleck while more than half the peloton, 89 out of 168 riders, didn't make it to the finish within the time limit and were then readmitted by the jury. On that day the menu included the Colle dell'Agnello as a starter, then Izoard as the first course, and eventually Galibier as  the second course. Our stage will be less gluttonous, coming in much shorter and ending in Arvieux, France. We save Izoard for the next day. Accommodation at hotel.

DAY 3: Col de L'izoard and Lautaret
67.7km | 1,697m | 1,775m | 4,30h
 The second stage of our tour includes two very famous climbs of the French Haute Alps: Col de l'Izoard and Col du Lautaret. Each has featured in more than 30 Tours, but the latter generally isn't rated for the King of the Mountain competition. The day starts with the Col de l'Izoard, a Hors Categorie climb, however, we will only be doing the last 10km of the southern approach, omitting the first 20km of the climb that the professionals normally do. This stretch is the hardest part of the whole climb with an average incline of more than 7% leading all the way up to 2340m. The first section winds up through the forest for most of the climb then with just over 2km left the trees disappear and the iconic moonscape takes over, welcome to the Casse Désert.
 This pass brings to mind the great champion Louis (Louison) Bobet (you can read more in the 'Resources') , who sealed his first TdF win here on the Izoard, by dropping Switzerland’s Ferdi Kübler in 1954.
 After a long descent to Briancon, we'll head north to Serre Chevalier and start the second climb. Col du Lautaret is long, over 20km but has a gentle incline. Once on top, we ride down to La Grave where dinner and a comfortable three star hotel await us.
DAY 4: RIDE UP LAUTARET, THEN ALL THE WAY TO TOP OF GALIBIER
76.5km | 1,968m | 2,300m | 4,30h

In our option the most beautiful alpine climbs are those high altitude passes where the road is the only sign of development. They challenge the cyclists in many ways; they are often long and steep, the air thins as you get closer to the top, and the isolation you feel being surrounded by nature can make your thoughts the biggest challenge of all. These points have made these mountains famous in the pro races; those that win under these circumstances must be top athletes. Galibier and it's 2635m is one of the best examples of these climbs and during the TdF of 1998, Marco Pantani rose to challenge. He was 3 minutes behind Jan Ulrich in the GC and had to try something, so he launched a legendary attack on Galibier. On a very cold and rainy day, he put 9 minutes between him and the German champion, becoming the new yellow jersey holder and sealing the GC. His race style made French tifosi(fans) and press extatic and everyone watching the stage will remember that day forever. Our stage will be less long but still legendary. We start the day with the nearly 20km Galibier climb. After that we'll head down to Saint Michel de Maurienne, down the Col du Telegraf, and eventually to the destination at La Tossuire, where we stay overnight at a three star hotel.

DAY 5: RIDE UP COL DE LA MADELEINE AND FINISH AT ALBERTVILLE
85.3km | 1,798m | 2,422m | 5,00h

Today features yet another classic climb, the Col de la Madeleine from the southern approach from Saint Martin sur la Chambre. After starting the day with a nice descent we arrive at the base of the climb. From here it is 20km up with a consistent gradient of over 7%, and final elevation gain of 1550m. It's easy for anyone into cycling to understand how Col de la Madeleine can break up a stage. And if we look back at the list of riders that were first to top during the Tour, we see some of the best riders of their era. Recently we have 2020: Richard Carapaz; 2018: Julian Alaphilippe; and 2013: Pierre Rolland. This climb has played an important role in the history of the race, but we aren't racing, so we might be much more interested in the fact that La Madeleine is recognized as one of the most beautiful climbs there is. If despite the beauty, you want to try and capture the King of the Mountain you have some work ahead of you. The young French rider Valentin Madouas holds the current Strava KOM, with a time of 58:34 averaging 19.2kph and more than 380w for nearly an hour. Regardless of how fast you tackle this tough climb, a quick break at the top with the spectacular views will be your reward. Your legs will be happy to know that it's all downhill from here, a long descent leads to the destination: the famous Alpine resort of Albertville where we comfortably stay overnight in a four-star hotel.

DAY 6: COL DU PRé and CORMET DU ROSELELND
69.4 | 2,127m | 1,622m | 4,30h
Tour or not, the climb up the Cormet de Roselend is a must ride. It sits on the Savoy region and despite not among the legendary climbs (those that can break up a race) and belonging instead to the lesser known ones, is among the favorite of a lot of riders because of the beauty of the scenery. We consider the little town of Beaufort the classical start of the climb. The climb is split into two parts: the first col is the Col du Pré: 13km at 8%. Cresting the summit of the Col du Pré is very exciting but it also fetures stunning views and turquoise water of Lac de Roselend. We'll ride along the dam and enjoy the amazing scenery before the last bit of climb up to the summit of the Cormet du Roselend: 6 more km at 6% grade starting right from the edge of the lake. Some 20km more and we'll be at Bourg San Maurice, where we'll comfortably stay overnight in a three-star hotel.
DAY 7: BACK TO ITALY: Piccolo San Bernardo and finish at Aosta
91km | 2,201m | 2,451m | 5,30h
Petit San Bernard is the name of the climb of the day and it's a monster climb: 30km long with an average grade of 4%. It begins right out of Bourg San Maurice and the end of the climb is also the border between France and Italy. That's a glorious way to be back to Italy. The mountain pass is rather high, at nearly 2,200m and also spectacular. After a first segment that features hairpins among the trees, right after La Rosière - a small Alpine resort that comes in the right position to take a coffee stop - the scenery changes to open spaces and views of the sourrounding crests. You might be curious to know if the Tour have ever passed through here. Yes, of course. First time - and the time we like to recall - was in 1949 and the first man on top was Gino Bartali. To tell who Bartali meant to cycling and to history would need a dedicated website, but we like to find here a connection that makes us remind a champion and a good man. After the pass we ride all the way down the Piccolo San Bernardo (since it's Italy now) and finish the stage in the capital town of Valle d'Aosta: Aosta. Accomodation at a four-star hotel.
DAY 8: Aosta to Cervino/Matterhorn
67.6km | 2,408m | 990m | 5,30h

Valle d'Aosta is famous for being a beautiful valley surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in Europe. Mountains that are very popular for some super known ski resorts, just like Cervinia. And the valley roads feature lovely castles from the middle age that make for an enchanted place where riding. The enchantment of the valley road goes from Aosta to Chambave, where we take the climb up to Cervinia. Then it's matter of going up. We'll find two long climbs: the first up Col du Panthaleon (16km at 7.3%) and the final climb up Cervinia (19km at 5.5%). The last climb of the day, and of the whole trip, is really special. Sure, it's the last climb of the last day, but you'll see how umbelievable view is the Matterhorn in front of you for ages and that looks like you never get there. Are we maybe slow? Yes sure, but it's also the mountain that is an impressive, giant peak with its 4478m ASL. We touch base in the lovely Cervinia, have lunch and go to the hotel where we will celebrate the end of an amazing trip. Accommodation at a four-star hotel.

DAY 9: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

Transfer to Turin airport and end of services.

program
Useful Information

Tips & Resources

Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Turin-Casselle (TRN): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help you select the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

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

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • 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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