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Alpine Classic Cols

Road Cycling Holidays in the Alps

  • Cycle the classic climbs of the French Alps! Discover stunning mountain scenery on this fabulous full-support cycling tour
  • Climb legendary Tour de France Alpine cols: Col de l’Iseran, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Lacets de Montvernier and more!
  • Flexible itinerary to suit mixed ability groups; optional extra climbs each day for those looking for more of a challenge
  • Comfortable and friendly 2* and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • Exceptional support from two customised support vans and two expert, proactive and fun guides, focused on making your holiday the best it can be

Days on the bike

6 days

I had a fantastic time in the Alps, and am still smiling when I think of everything that went on.

C Campbell

Introduction

This road cycling holiday in the French Alps has been carefully crafted so you can cycle the most scenic and challenging cols of the Tour de France. You’ll experience the best cycling that this world-class mountain range has to offer on our comprehensive circular route. You’ll cycle all the classic climbs of le Tour: Cormet de Roselend, Col de l’Iseran, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Col de la Croix-de-Fer and Col de la Madeleine, as well as other magnificent climbs that we’ve included in this incredible itinerary.

With two to three route options daily, our ‘Classic’ route starts as gently as the Alps allow, gradually cranking up the daily altitude gain from 1200 to 2100m throughout the week. Each day there are optional extra climbs on our ‘Challenge’ route which increases the possible daily ascent to over 2600m. Due to the variety of routes to choose from each day, this road cycling holiday is ideal for mixed-ability pairs and groups. With a typical group size of around 20, we find that smaller groups tend to form, comprised of riders with similar pace and aspirations to each other.

While this is a group holiday, our guides are experts in helping you achieve your goals as an individual. With our two customised support vehicles, they work tirelessly to help you have the best possible cycling experience – one that you’ll never forget!

To get a flavour of this trip, you can head to our You Tube channel to watch our Classic Cols of the Alps video. You can also watch our breathtaking drone footage of the Lacets du Montvernier here. If you’re interested in other cycling holidays in the Alps, check out our Classic Cols of the Southern Alps itinerary, which is equally spectacular!

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…

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Departure Dates & Prices

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Jun
29th Jun - 6th Jul
£1690.00
Single Room Sup. £380.00
Jul
14th Jul - 21st Jul
£1690.00
Single Room Sup. £380.00
28th Jul - 4th Aug
£1690.00
Single Room Sup. £380.00
Aug
24th Aug - 31st Aug
£1720.00
Single Room Sup. £415.00

We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):

  • Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% early bookers discount
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 7.5% group discount and, as the group organiser, receive a £150 voucher for your next holiday
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards

Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Arrival day

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

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 Bourg-Saint-Maurice

We leave Albertville following the river Doron to the beautiful market town of Beaufort for a coffee stop, before the road changes tempo and you climb up through the forest to the stunning Lac de Roselend and a well-positioned restaurant.

The final 7km of the climb to the Cormet de Roselend (1967m) is a delightful showcase of classic Alpine scenery. From here you descend to Bourg-St Maurice and our hotel. Those keen for more can take on the legendary Col de Petit St Bernard (2188m) – a climb with nothing ‘petit’ about it!

Classic route: 63km with 1650m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 125km with 3000m ascent [ride profile]

Day 2: Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis

Today you take on the immense climb of the Col d’Iseran (2764m), the second highest surfaced col in Europe. Initially, you’ll ride on a fairly busy road but the cars soon give way to marmots, wild flowers, and far-reaching views.

What goes up must come down and the 30km descent to Lanslevillard is truly magnificent – and well deserved!

For those wanting extra climbing, there are the options of making a detour up to the stage ending of Tignes / Val Claret (2007m) in the morning or heading up to the café on the top of Col du Mont-Cenis (2083m) at the end of the day. Tonight we stay in the ski resort of Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis.

Classic route: 82km with 1995m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: up to 114km with 3030m ascent [ride profile]

Day 3: Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis to La Grave

Today you find out why French cyclists call the Col du Galibier the ‘Giant of the Northern Alps’! A run down the valley takes us to the steady climb of the Col du Télégraphe (1568m) before enjoying a short descent to the ski town of Valloire. From here you commence 22km of climbing through astonishingly beautiful terrain, to the Col du Galibier (2646m).

You’ll be thankful that it’s downhill for the rest of the day to our hotel in the charming resort of La Grave.

As for optional extra climbs, the first, early in the day, is up to the ski resort of Valmeinier (1800m) while the second is to do the ‘Galibier double’, and climb the Col du Galibier (2646m) from the south side as well – it is the ‘Challenge’ route after all!

Classic route: 95km with 2090m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: up to 127km with 3260m ascent [ride profile]

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

Today starts with a long and very scenic descent to Bourg d’Oisans, at the base of the mountain beneath Alpe d’Huez (1845m). This iconic climb has been used many times in the Tour de France since 1952 and is the grand finale of the La Marmotte cyclosportive. Despite 21 relentless hairpin bends, it is actually one of the easier climbs on this tour, so you may well be done and dusted by lunchtime! This will leave you free to spend the afternoon soaking up the sun and atmosphere in L’Alpe d’Huez or enjoying a bit of retail therapy in the many bike shops in town.

If relaxing does not come naturally then the optional extra 27km climb to remote La Bérarde (1713m) in the Écrins National Park in the morning, or the gentle climb along to the picturesque Col de Sarenne (1999m) at the end of the day are both good optional extras.

Classic route: 45km with 1180m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 118km with 2600m ascent [ride profile]

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

Descending from l’Alpe d’Huez, you traverse the Oisans valley, winding your way down a balcony road to the start of the climb to the Col de la Croix-de-Fer (2067m). The gradients of this long and interesting climb are generally kind, except for a few really mean sections! After a well-earned lunch on the col, you descend to St Jean de Maurienne where we stay the night.

As always, there are options for those wanting more this afternoon! Firstly, a detour up to the remote and beautiful Col du Mollard (1630m) and secondly the much-feared Tour de France stage ending of La Toussuire (1705m)!

Classic route: 75km with 1550m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 117km with 3100m ascent [ride profile]

Day 6: St Jean de Maurienne 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 gradient hovering around 8 or 9% for most of the 19km! The col itself is a fitting finale to our tour with an amazing view of Mt Blanc to the north and the climbs you have conquered to the south. Linger as long as you like over lunch on the col, as once over the other side you free-wheel down to Albertville, where it all began six fabulous days ago!

Today’s optional extra is another Tour de France classic, thanks to its beautifully engineered hairpin bends: the Lacets de Montvernier. It leads you on to the beautiful Col du Chaussy (1533m) and then neatly back to the Classic route.

Classic route: 78km with 1550m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 89km with 2200m ascent [ride profile]

Day 7: Departure day

We offer included transfers from Albertville to Geneva airport.

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