The Route "des Grandes Alpes“ is a true classic. Expect steep ascents, where you will torture yourself to points of highest joy and ease on the rushing descents afterwards. The route offers high mountain passes for ambitious cyclists, while friends of big sceneries will also be pleased. Along the road, you will conquer some of the great names of the Tour de France and also plenty less known, though not less exciting, passes.
The change of the landscape along the journey is simply amazing. From the vegetation and climate at the middle-European Lake Geneva, up into the high mountains, where it seems to change after every mountain pass. From the Col de Turini you finally descent into a more and more Mediterranean landscape, where you can smell the ocean already. That’s one grand alpcross experience.
If the single stages are too long for you, you can easily adapt them to your fitness-level and take more time. To get to Thoron-les-Bains, you best take a plane to Geneva and then the ferry to the other side. Once in Menton, you get back best by train or bus towards Nice and then hop on a plane.
First it goes a few kilometers along the river Dranse - perfect for rolling. Then it goes up to the Col des Gets and Col de Châtillon. Second moderate climbs leading to the highest point of the first day, the Col de la Colombiere at 1,613m. The pass connects the Arve valley with the Borne valley. But also 'moderate' is not to be underestimated, because especially the second half of the rise comes up with some short ramps.
The climbs over the Col des Aravis and Col des Saisies are rewarded with great views of the Mont Blanc massif and continue to the magnificent and varied Pass Cormet de Roselend. Everything your heart desires: Here you can expect romantic views including the lake and a very varied descent.
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Through the Savoy Alps, you will reach the Col de l'Iseran at 2.764m, the highest "real" paved alpine pass. It is almost 50 kilometers to the highest point and more than 2,000 meters in altitude. However, the climb is holding back with steep ramps. Thus, this is feasible, but in any case exhausting and you will greet the subsequent descent to the valley to Termignon very much.
Today it goes over the classics and up high. The Col du Télégraphe and the Col du Galibier are waiting for you. On the 11 kilometers to the smaller Col du Télégraphe you should divide your forces well, because then waiting for the 23-kilometer driveway on the Tour de France classic on you. During the descent, the Col de Lautaret is at least "given" to you - but it really does not have to be more altitude today.
Short it goes downhill and then already more than 1000 meters up to the Col d'Izoard - one of the highest Tour de France passes. The subsequent nearly 30-kilometer "descent" begins immediately with the stunning La Casse Deserte. Once you have reached the lowest point, another 1,000 meters of altitude difference spread over 20 kilometers will take you up the Col de Vars. Then it goes steep and then gently down to the daily destination Barcelonnette. What a wonderful day!
Because a pass or mountain is rarely enough, there are two today. A large, the Col Cayol, with 1200 meters in altitude to almost 30 kilometers. And after a relaxed about equally long descent go again crisp over 1000 meters to Valberg and the Col de la Couillole up. After more than 100 kilometers and 2500 meters altitude you will sleep well again today before tomorrow's finals.
The last day brings everything out of you again. A few kilometers straight to curl up and then it goes already steeply up to the picturesque village of Saint Dalmas. Here, the scenery invites you for a little break before going downhill for 20 kilometers. You guessed it - only to collect one last time right elevation gain. The Col de Turini is waiting again with 1000 meters of altitude and a handful of steep ramps. Once up here, you should take a deep breath and enjoy the mountains again, before heading for the sea. Shortly before Castillon it goes again a few meters up but those are almost free after such a day. Once in Menton you should first put your feet in the sand and off into the sea. You have just crossed the Alps! Mega performance.