Alpine Classic Cols

Alps

  • Climb the legendary Tour de France Alpine cols: Iseran, Télégraphe, Galibier, Alpe d’Huez and the famous Lacets de Montvernier
  • Flexible itinerary to suit mixed ability groups with optional extras for those looking for a challenge
  • Optional Challenge route: over 670km and 17000m 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

Only when you cycle around the route, do you understand how well thought out the route, and variations are. Brilliant

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 have to offer. Our tantalising circular route takes in all the classic Tour de France climbs: Cormet de Roselend, l’Iseran, Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Croix-de-Fer and la Madeleine. Our Classic route starts as gently as the Alps allow, gradually cranking up the daily altitude gain from 1200 to 2100m during the week. Each day there are ‘optional extras’ increasing the possible daily ascent to over 2600m, thus making this holiday suitable for those looking to really push themselves and do the Classic Cols Challenge. It is ideal for mixed ability groups or couples.

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

If you like this holiday, you may also like to check out our Classic Cols of the Southern Alps itinerary.

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 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
21st Jun - 28th Jun
£1300.00
Single Room Sup. £315.00
Jul
18th Jul - 25th Jul
£1210.00
Single Room Sup. £315.00
25th Jul - 1st Aug
£1210.00
Single Room Sup. £315.00
Sep
5th Sep - 12th Sep
£1320.00
Single Room Sup. £350.00
12th Sep - 19th Sep
£1320.00
Single Room Sup. £350.00

We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts on 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
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 10% Group discount

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

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Travel Out

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

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 Séez

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 Roselend and a well-positioned restaurant. The final 7km of the Cormet de Roselend (1967m) climb is a delight. From here you descend to Bourg-St Maurice and our hotel. Those left still wanting can take on the legendary Col de Petit St Bernard (2188m) – a climb with nothing ‘petit’ about it!

Classic route: Cormet de Roselend [61km, 1650m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Cormet de Roselend + Col de Petit St Bernard [119km, 3000m ascent][Ride Profile]

Day 2: Séez 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 50km!). 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 café on the top of 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, 1995m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Tignes + Col d’Iseran + Col du Mont-Cenis [109km, 3000m ascent] [Ride Profile]

Day 3: Lanslevillard to La Grave

Today you find out why French cyclists call the Col du Galibier, the ‘Giant of the Northern Alps’!  Climb steadily over the Col du Télégraphe (1568m) followed by a short descent to the town of Valloire for a snack. Then the ‘real climb’ – 22km of astonishingly beautiful cycling! Rather pleasingly, it’s ‘down’ for the rest of the day to the charming resort of La Grave. As for extras: the first, early in the day, is up to the ski resort of Valmeinier (1800m) and the second takes you back up the Col du Galibier (2646m) from the south… well, it is the challenge route after all!

Classic route: Col du Télégraphe + Col du Galibier [98km, 2090m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Valmeinier + Col du Télégraphe + Col du Galibier north & south [total: 130km, 3260m ascent] [Ride Profile]

Day 4: La 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 21 relentless hairpin bends, it is actually one of the easier climbs on your tour, so you should be done and dusted by lunchtime. To follow, an afternoon soaking up the sunshine from the balcony of the hotel or a bit of retail therapy in the many bike kit shops in town.

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

Classic route: l’Alpe d’Huez [42km, 1125m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: La Bérarde + L’Alpe d’Huez + Sarenne [114km, 2545m ascent] [Ride Profile]

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

Descend first thing, traversing down the Oisans valley, before taking on la Croix-de-Fer (2067m). Gradients are generally kind except for a few really mean sections! However, there is a great café halfway up!  From the Col, you descend down into St Jean de Maurienne. As always, there are options for those wanting more. Firstly, a detour up to the remote and beautiful Col du Mollard (1630m). The second is the much-feared TdF stage ending of La Toussuire (1705m)!

Classic route: Col de la Croix de Fer [75km, 1550m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Col de la Croix de Fer + Mollard + La Toussuire [117km, 3100m ascent] [Ride Profile]

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 gradient hovering around 8 or 9% for most of the 19km! The Col itself is a fitting finale to our trip with an amazing view of Mt Blanc to the north and the climbs you have conquered to the south. Linger as long as possible, as once over the other side you free-wheel down to Albertville, where it all began 6 (great) days ago. If you get time, it is worth wandering to the fortified town overlooking the hotel.
Today’s optional extra was a 2015 Tour classic, thanks to its hairpin bends: the Lacets de Montvernier. It leads you on to the Col du Chaussy (1533m) and then neatly back to the Classic route.

Classic route: Col de la Madeleine [74km, 1550m ascent] [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Lacets + Chaussy + Col de la Madeleine [87km with 2200m ascent] [Ride Profile]

Day 7: Travel Back

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.