Raid Alpine S – N

Alps

  • 6 day cycling challenge from Antibes to Lake Geneva.
  • 740km route from North to South encompassing over 14,600m of ascent.
  • Infamous climbs such as the Col de l’Iseran and Cime de la Bonette.
  • Official route including registration plus certificate & medal for successful finishers.
  • Comfortable 2 and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists.
  • All evening meals & wine included.
  • 2 customised support vans with attentive, and proactive guides who love a laugh.
  • Experienced and passionate service from Marmot Tours to enable you to achieve your goals.

Days on the bike

6 days

Having nearly recovered from the Raid (I haven't stopped eating, drinking and sleeping since getting back) I just thought I'd let you know how enjoyable the trip was. All the arrangements were excellent from the pick-up & drop off to the accommodation and food, the route details and the on-ride support.

J Clapp

Introduction

The official Raid Alpine (S-N) is a classic road cycling challenge from the Cote D’Azure to the shores of Lake Geneva over some of the most legendary Alpine climbs including the two highest; the Col de l’Iseran and the Cime de la Bonette.

Originally set up by the Paris Audax club to run in this direction, the S – N served as a ‘pre-amble’ to the Raid Dolomites which starts in Thonon, the destination of this Raid. ‘Amble’ does no justice at all to this route which is anything but. As with its partner Raid from N – S, the joy of this 6 day route is getting to know the hidden corners of the Alps, and to appreciate its variety. The typical views of Alpine meadows and tan cows with bells are included but there are a host of other dramatic, beautiful and interesting things to see before you reach the Savoie-Alps just south of Lake Geneva.

The jury is still out as to whether this is a tougher direction to take on the Raid Alpine though it probably is a little harder at the start of the week. Of course we have had a few people go one way and then the other which solves that issue!

For a decade now we have been supporting cyclists in achieving their goals. We are passionate about our product being the best it can be, and we enable over 100 cyclists a year do the official Raid Alpine route.  We provide two highly customised support vans per group, our guides are attentive and energetic, and we know that this is not just a cycling challenge – it is also a holiday, so we keep it fun. It is also about your goals and aspirations and we pride ourselves on our individual customer focus from your first enquiry to the last moment of your holiday.

If you want to visit the Alps, but do not want to do a Raid challenge, then the Classic Cols of the Alps with its flexible itinerary may be the cycling holiday for you.

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

Departure Dates & Prices

2018

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Jul
22nd Jul - 29th Jul
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Travel Out

We offer included transfers from Nice Airport to the hotel in Antibes (45 mins) at specified times.

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).  

Pick up: Nice Airport
1. 11:30 (for flights before 11:00)
2. 15:30 (for flights before 15:00)
3. 19:00 (for 18:35 Manchester flight)

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Essential Information document.

Meet your guides, assemble bikes and have a welcome briefing and great dinner.

Day 1: Antibes to Valberg (144kms with 3450m ascent)

You leave the urban sprawl of the coastal plain, past luxury apartments to the perfume capital: Grasse. After 35kms you reach St Vallier de Thiey where we take some quieter roads headed for the glorious Alpine foothills. This is shrubby Mediterranean landscape and undulates pleasingly, with a few small peaks to climb; the Col de Bleine (1439m) being the most noticeable. The fortified town of Entrevaux is worth a quick coffee stop before you take on the stunning cliff hugging road through the Gorge de Dalius. Your first taste of the big climbs comes with the Col de Valberg (1672m) up to our hotel.

Day 2: Valberg to Vars (138kms and 3440m ascent)

You take on some quintessential Alpine climbs in the route today, starting with the lush meadow ‘feel’ to the Col de la Couillole (1678m), and then followed by a truly epic climb from St Saveur de Tinee 53kms (!) to the highest road pass in Europe on the Cime de la Bonette (2802m). This ascent in itself is an incredible achievement and you will be rewarded suitably with the views! A lovely descent and gentle climb through a limestone gorge takes you to the last climb of the day: the Col de Vars (2109m).

Day 3: Vars to Cesana Torinese (107km and 2700m ascent)

Another beautiful gorge ride into the Queyras National Park, home to the infamous Col d’Izoard (2361m) with its monuments to Fausto Coppo and Louison Bobet. From the top you descend to Briancon, headed for the Italian border, the other side of the Col de Montgenevre (1854m). Its downhill all the way to Cesana, where we resist the urge to pause at our hotel, cycling on up the Col de Sestriere (2035m) for a carnet stamp. Roll thankfully back down to the 3* hotel and await your feast – we love this place!

Day 4: Cesana Torinese to Val d’Isere (125kms with 3091m ascent)

Enjoy a big breakfast this morning as you have plenty of digestion time on the long descent into Suza. The Col de Mont Cenis (2081m) is going to take you back into France, and its a tough climb from this side! Refuel in the cafe at the top before facing another classic – the 2nd highest col in Europe: the Col de l’Iseran (2764m). This is the most picturesque side to climb and the views are stunning. Thats you done for the day – roll down the hill to Val d’Isere and our waterside hotel.

Day 5: Val d’Isere to Megeve (114kms with 2450m ascent)

Descend first thing to Bourg St Maurice before your legs have to start working on the climb to the Cormet de Roseland (1968m). This is the heart of the Alps and very beautiful. You will hardly notice the Col du Pre (1740m) and will enjoy the technical descent to Beaufort. Still 950m of climbing to do with the Col de Saises (1633m) before cycling on to Megeve where we stay the night.

Day 6: Megeve to Thonon Les Bains (114kms with 2000m ascent)

Another descent this morning, with distant views of Mt Blanc. The busy Chamonix valley is a shock to the system but you are soon climbing again: the Col de Ramaz (1557m) is not particularly high but is rather steep – making it probably the most challenging climb on this Raid. Enjoy the Alpine meadow scenery around the Col de Jambaz (1027m) and Col de Terramont (1080m) before the last col of the day (and holiday!): the Col de Moises (1118m). The shores of Lake Geneva are in sight and its downhill all the way!

Day 7: Travel Back

We offer included transfers 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).  

Drop off: Geneva Airport 11:25 (for flights after 13:25)

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Essential Information document.

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