Best holiday since my honeymoon! Weather was spectacularly good (nice one James for fixing that), scenery brilliant, van support superb.
The Maurienne valley is considered by many to be Europe’s best cycling destination. With so many ‘bucket list’ climbs and beautiful, gravity-defying roads snaking their way up the high Alpine pastures, it is undoubtedly a fantastic place to ride a road bike. The ‘playlist’ for these few days is an emotion-stirring line up of non-stop classics, including the Galibier, Lacets de Montvernier, Madeleine, Croix de Fer, La Toussuire, Mollard, Chaussy and Télégraphe.
To make this mid-week cycling experience as hassle-free as possible, we include transfers from and back to Geneva Airport. You’ll have the unrivalled support from two of our experienced guides and two fully kitted out support vehicles. We take care of all breakfasts and evening meals and we’ve planned each day’s route to incorporate cafe stops for lunch. All you have to do is eat, sleep and turn the pedals.
You will be based in the comfortable 3* Hotel St Georges (with air conditioning) in the centre of St Jean de Maurienne, so there are plenty of off-the-bike activities as well. These include a massage service and a sizeable open-air swimming pool in town.
As with our other Classic Cols style holidays, there is lots of flexibility, so you really can ride as much or as little as you like, at a pace that suits you without fear of holding up or being held up by others in the group. That said, with a group of 20 you can be sure to find someone else on the holiday with similar aspirations to yourself. This is your holiday after all and we’re here to help you achieve your goals.
Please read our Trip Notes for full details of this itinerary and to make sure this is the right holiday for you.
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Departure Dates & Prices
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 (15% for a non-cycling companion).
Day 0: Arrival day
We offer morning and afternoon transfers from Geneva airport (GVA) to our start hotel in Saint Jean de Maurienne, a journey of about 1hr 30min.
There will be time to assemble your bike or set up your hire bike before a briefing and hearty dinner with the group.
Those on the morning transfer will have the opportunity to warm up the legs with a ride up to the ski station and Tour de France stage ending of La Toussuire (1702m)
Classic route: 35km with 1150m ascent [ride profile]
Day 1: Montvernier, Chaussy and the Madeleine
Saint Jean de Maurienne is a Mecca for road cyclists from all around the world and today you’ll find out why.
The gravity-defying stack of hairpins of the Lacets de Montvernier is a classic and a Marmot Tours favourite that is bound to put a smile on your face. This leads nicely into the Col du Chaussy (1533m) which is a ‘characterful’ climb with spectacular views – hopefully these will ease the pain of the few punchy sections!
Following a nice lunch, retiring back to the hotel is a good option, but for those with energy left to burn, you might like to take on the mighty Col de la Madeleine (2000m).
Day 2: Télégraphe & Galibier
Your main objective today is the Col du Galibier (2642m). Starting down at 550m, it is a climb full of variety and character as you rise out of the industrial valley floor, through lush forests to the Col du Télégraphe (1566m). After a little respite in the ski station of Valloire, you continue through open moorland and spectacular mountain scenery to the Col. From here we retrace our route back to the hotel.
For those wanting a bit more, descending to the Col du Lautarat and back up the Col du Galibier (2642m) would ensure you really make the most out of the mighty mountain.
Day 3: Mollard, Croix de Fer & Glandon
The 30km climb up to the Croix de Fer (2067m) is full of character with ever-changing gradients and scenery. Expect some dark times on this climb, but the view from the top of Les Aiguilles d’Arves makes it all worthwhile.
Continuing over Alpine pastures, we nip over the Col du Glandon (not a climb) and enjoy a technical descent into the Maurienne valley. Here you can head back to the hotel or throw in the Lacets de Montvernier again to round off your Alpine cycling holiday.
The challenge route splits off from the hotel and takes in the north-eastern ‘hairpin fest’ of the Col du Mollard (1630m), before joining the Croix de Fer 15km before the col.
Day 4: Departure day
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. We will transfer you back to Geneva (1hr 30min) in the morning, with a smile on your face and a load of kudos!