Alpine Classic Cols

Alps

  • Flexible itinerary to suit mixed ability groups with optional extras for those looking for a challenge
  • Climb the legendary Tour de France Alpine cols: Iseran, Telegraphie, Galibier, & Alpe d’Huez and the famous Lacets de Montvernier
  • Optional Classic Cols challenge: over 600kms and 16000m ascent
  • Comfortable and friendly 2 and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • Excellent support from 2 customised support vans and 2 experienced, proactive guides focused on making your holiday the best it can be.

Days on the bike

6 days

The trip was fabulous and made by the awesome support. As feedback I would say that the small things and attention to detail really made a big difference...the cut up melon and oranges, bags in rooms with keys in doors, assistance with bikes, supportive comments to see if people were ok etc., cereals at breakfast, good snacks, excellent detail to the routes (GPS and paper).

H Gray

Introduction

This road cycling itinerary has been carefully crafted so you can cycle the most scenic and challenging cols and stage endings that the Savoie Alps has to offer.  Our tantalising circular route takes in all the Tour de France climbs: Cormet de Roseland,  l’Iseran, Telegraphie, Col du Galibier, Alpe D’Huez,  Croix-de-Fer and la Madeleine.  On our Classic Route you start off as gently as the Alps allow, gradually cranking up the daily altitude gain from 1200 to 2100m. Each day there are ‘optional extras’ increasing the possible daily ascent to over 2600m, making this holiday also suitable for those looking to really push themselves and take on our Classic Cols Challenge. It is ideal for mixed ability groups or couples.

This week is real escape and riding on the quiet roads through the dramatic mountain scenery of the Alps with its far reaching views is a joy, not to mention the sense of achievement as you summit these climbs.

It is important to us that you book the correct holiday so do download and read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel…

Departure Dates & Prices

2017

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Aug
20th Aug - 27th Aug
£1150.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
Sep
3rd Sep - 10th Sep
£1150.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00

2018

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Jul
1st Jul - 8th Jul
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
8th Jul - 15th Jul
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
15th Jul - 22nd Jul
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
22nd Jul - 29th Jul
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
29th Jul - 5th Aug
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
Aug
18th Aug - 25th Aug
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
25th Aug - 1st Sep
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £250.00
Sep
10th Sep - 17th Sep
£1275.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Travel Out

Included transfers from Geneva airport to Albertville (1hr 30).

Our pick up times are when we will be leaving the airport, all being well.  Please don’t book flights arriving later than suggested below (in brackets).  

NB Standard Transfers below are for Sun – Sun trips.  Departure 10 – 17th June is a Sat – Sat trip with exceptional transfers – see below

Standard Pick up (Sun):
AM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 11:30 (for flights arriving before 11:00)
PM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 17:15 (for flights arriving before 16:45)

This coincides with direct flights from LGW (EJ), LHR (BA), Bristol (EJ), Manchester (EJ), Edinburgh (EJ), Liverpool (EJ) and Dublin (AL)

10th June Pick up (Sat):
AM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 16:10 (for flights arriving before 15:40)

This coincides with direct flights from LGW (EJ), LHR (BA), Luton, Manchester Edinburgh & Bristol  (EJ), and Dublin (AL)

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.

Meet your guides and have a welcome briefing and great dinner.

Day 1: Albertville to Seez

You will love this ‘lost paradise’ with its lush pastures and quiet roads. Follow the River Doron to the beautiful market town of Beaufort for a coffee and cake before the road changes tempo and you climb up through the forest to the stunning Lac de Roseland and a well positioned restaurant. The final 7km of the Cormet de Roseland (1967m) climb is a delight. From here you descend into Bourg-St Maurice, and then onto the town of Seez. Those left still wanting can take on the legendary Col de Petit St Bernard (2188m) – a climb that has nothing ‘petit’ about it!
Classic Route: Cormet de Roselend (62km, 1620m ascent)
Classic Cols Challenge: Cormet de Roselend + Col de Petit St Bernard (119km, 3000m ascent)

Day 2: Seez to Lanslevillard

The savage climb up the Col d’Iseran (2764m), the 2nd highest road in Europe, starts just outside Bourg St Maurice and keeps on going up (for about 50kms!) Initially you are on a fairly busy road but the cars soon give way to marmots and you can enjoy the massive views. What goes up must come down and the 30km descent down to Lanslevillard is truly magnificent, and well deserved. Some of you may feel the need to visit the cafe on the top of the Col du Mont Cenis (2083m) at the end of the day and if you feel that doing over 3000m of ascent is essential then making a detour up to the stage ending of Tignes / Val Claret (2007m) will no doubt be tempting. Tonight we stay in the ski resort of Lanslevillard.
Classic Route: Col d’Iseran [75km, 1965m ascent]
Classic Cols Challenge: Tignes + Col d’Iseran + Col du Mont Cenis [109km, 3000m ascent]

Day 3: Lanslevillard to Le Grave

French cyclists call the Col du Galibier the ‘giant of the Northern Alps’ and today we find out why!  The climb starts with a fairly steady 16km over the Col du Telegraphe (1568m) followed by a short descent to the town of Valloire for a bakery raid. You then head into the ‘real climb’ – 22km of astonishingly beautiful cycling! Down is the order for the rest of the day to the charming ‘off piste’ resort of La Grave. There are two optional extras on offer. The first, early in the day, is up to the ski resort of Valmeinier (1800m) and the second takes you back up the Col de Galibier (2646m) from the South…..well it is the classic cols CHALLENGE!
Classic Route: Col du Telegraphe + Col du Galibier  (81km, 2090m ascent)
Classic Cols Challenge: Valmeinier + Col du Telegraphe + Col du Galibier North & South (Total: 130km, 3260m ascent)

Day 4: Le Grave to L'Alpe d'Huez

The Alpe D’Huez (1845m) has been used over 25 times in the TdF since 1952 and is the grand finale of ‘La Marmotte’ (the cyclosportive).  Despite the relentless 21 hairpin bends, it is actually one of the easier climbs on ‘your tour’, so should be done and dusted by lunchtime, giving you the afternoon soak up sun sunshine from the balcony of the hotel or partake in a bit of retail therapy in the many bike kit shops in the town.

If relaxing does not come naturally then then nipping up to the ski station of Les Deux-Alpes (1645m) first thing in the morning and meandering along to the Col de la Sarenne (1999m) at the end of the day are both good options. There is always the option of taking on all the 2013 stage, by descending back down into the valley bottom and taking on the Alpe d’Huez again!

Classic Route: L’Alpe-d’Huez  (42km, 1125m ascent)
Classic Cols Challenge: Les Deux Alpes + L’Alpe-d’Huez + Col de la Sarenne  (80km, 2250m ascent)

Day 5: L'Alpe d'Huez to St Jean de Maurienne

Enjoy a downhill start to the day, traversing on a cliff hugging road down the Oissans valley, before taking on la Croix-de-Fer (2067m). The gradients are generally kind but there are a few really mean sections. However, the scenery is varied and there is great cafe half way up!  From the Col you descend down into St Jean de Maurienne. The hotel here offers massage if booked a few days before. As always there are options for those wanting more. The first detours up to the remote and beautiful Col de Mollard (1630m). The second is the much feared TDF stage ending of La Toussuire (1705m), which has always been a bit of battle ground for the polka-dot jersey.
Classic Route: Col de la Croix de Fer  (75km, 1550m ascent)
Classic Cols Challenge: Col de la Croix de Fer + Mollard + La Toussuire (117km, 3500m ascent)

Day 6: St Jean to Albertville

It may not be the longest or the highest but the Col de la Madeleine (2000m) is a cheekily steep climb, with the average gradients hovering around 8 and 9% for most of the 19km! The Col itself, is a very special place, and a fitting finale to our trip. The sun terrace of restaurant has an amazing view of Mt Blanc to the north and the climbs we have conquered to the South. Feel free to linger as long as possible as once over the other side we free-wheel back down to Albertville, where it all began 6 (great) days ago. If you get back in time it is well worth wandering up to the fortified town which overlooks the hotel.
Today’s optional extra was first included in the Tour in 2015 and became an instant classic thanks to it’s hairpin bends: the Lacets de Montvernier. It leads you on to the Col du Chaussy and neatly back to the Classic Route.

Classic Route: Col de la Madeleine (74km, 1550m ascent)
Classic Cols Challenge: Lacets + Chaussy + Col de la Madeleine (87km with 2500m ascent)

Day 7: Travel Back

We offer included transfers from Albertville to Geneva airport.

Our drop off times are when we will be arriving at the airport, all being well.  Please don’t book flights leaving earlier than suggested below (in brackets).  

Standard Drop off (Sun):

AM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 08:45 (for flights departing after 10:30)
PM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 14:00 (for flights departing after 16:00)

This coincides with direct flights from LGW (EJ), LHR (BA), Bristol (EJ), Manchester (EJ), Edinburgh (EJ), Liverpool (EJ) and Dublin (AL)

17th June Drop off (Sat):

AM: Geneva Airport (GVA) @ 12:30 (for flights departing after 14:30)

This coincides with direct flights from LGW (EJ), LHR (BA), Bristol (EJ), Manchester (EJ), Edinburgh (EJ), Liverpool (EJ) and Dublin (AL)

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.