THE TORINO-NICE RALLY

The Torino-Nice Rally is a bikepacking, touring or randonneur route, a ride that's a bit of most things except technically difficult in the mountain biking sense. It's a challenging and rewarding mixed-terrain route that tests the rider - what bike to ride and which route to take, where to focus your efforts?​The route includes around 300 miles / 485km of tarmac going up to a high point of 2750m and taking in two Grand Tour cols, also 150 miles / 240km of rocky gravel-based military stradas along the border often at an altitude of 2000m or more. The scenery of the Queyras and Mercantour national parks and the Ligurian, Cottian and Maritime Alps will reward those prepared to ride long days and sleep out, seeing the sun rise and set each day. The Torino-Nice Rally isn't a single route. It has options along the way that help to vary the time needed to complete your ride and the route files are broken up into sections to enable this. It's intended to be an adaptable route that retains a real sense of exploration and routing freedom.More about the ride here - torino-nice.weebly.com--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Torino-Nice Rally route is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event, now in it's 4th year. The event and route management is by the Torino-Nice Rally Limited, a non-profit group run in support of Smart Shelter Foundation. Smart Shelter Foundation successfully developed methods to build earthquake-resistant buildings using local materials in Asia, mainly in Nepal, and are now testing and developing those methods for wider use.
(smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. Want a memento of your ride? More info / get in touch with us here -
torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A few notes on how the route is divided up into sections and numbered/named:* Numbered route GPX route files are the main routes or sections – 1; 2.1; 2.2; 3; 4.1; 4.2; etc. Route sections in this collection are named in numerical order, the same as the TNR route files, so they display in order on your navigation device.
* Route sections numbered 2.1 or 2.2 signify there’s an option for the 2nd section, a decision to be taken at the start of section 2.
* These ‘x.1’ and ‘x.2’ options have the same start and end points. They share the same route along some of their lengths.
* At the end of each route there is a note in the cues relating to the next route or option. For cue notes, contact us at the Torino-Nice Rally directly.
* SCR GPX files are the Short Cut Routes – SCR.1; SCR.2; etc
* SCRs are all are good rides, not only shortcuts. Only the time required or the challenge varies from the main sections. SCR routes are easier and faster in all cases.
File start/end points or stages are not recommended as daily distances or best start or stopping places. They’re simply convenient places to break up the route for GPS file management of the route option choices.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    20:52
    127 mi
    6.1 mph
    20,400 ft
    15,925 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Stage 1 - Turin, Italy to Cervières, France.Filename '1 TNR Turin-Cervieres'. The route out of Turin to get onto the original first climb, the Colle del Colombardo, is direct and fast to give us more time to take on the climb. With a little re-mapping you will find quieter cycle lane routes a little to the north of the river Stura di Lanzo.
    The Colombardo climb has a reputation, though it’s arguably not as bad as they say. It’s the equivalent of those first few bars of a great metal track that grab you by the scruff of the neck and then that’s it, you’re head down and rocking all the way to the end. Real Rally riders tackle the Colombardo and drink a cold, well-earned beer afterwards while basking in the knowledge of how, on that day, they were heroes and heroines...
    After the Colombardo it's onto the famed Colle del Finestre, a long but exceptionally picturesque climb that leads onto the Strada dell'Assietta. After descending from the Assietta there's a brief climb up to Montgenevre through a unique tunnel before arriving at Briancon's fortified old town. After a few km of climbing the early stages of the Izoard climb out of Briancon it's time to decide on which section to take next - the wild Col de Peas 'rough stuff' route or the classic Col d'Izoard?The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    19:23
    127 mi
    6.5 mph
    18,125 ft
    13,650 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Shortcut Route 1 - Turin, Italy to Cervières, France. Filename 'SCR.1 TNR Turin-Cervieres'. An optional, far easier first day via the Colle del Lys. You're missing the classic, legendary, Colle del Colombardo though - the starting climb that sets the scene for the first couple of days. But for some this is just a more manageable introduction. The route out of Turin is direct and fast to give us more time on the climb. With a little re-mapping you will find quieter cycle lane routes a little to the north of the river Stura di Lanzo.
    After the Col del Lys it's the same route as Stage 1 all the way to Cervieres. Riders who need an easier start can load this route up and get all the way to the start of section 2 before reloading their GPS. Perhaps at that point, after missing the Colombardo, they can make up for it by exploring the Col des Peas rough stuff section next…
    The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

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  • Difficult
    03:24
    19.0 mi
    5.6 mph
    3,450 ft
    4,200 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Stage 2.1 - Cervières to Château-Ville-Vieille, France.Filename '2.1 TNR Cerv-CdP-VV'.The original 'Fred Wright tribute' route over the Col des Peas that we explored during the route recce in 2015. We didn’t do any more than look at the map and see a path marked on it, linking the valleys. We found a beautiful, quiet road up an open valley that leads to a small village with food and lodging possibilities, then there’s a push and a carry up to the Col des Peas. It’s followed by a descent that starts as singletrack before becoming a stone and gravel track to Chateau Ville Vieille with a wonderful view of Fort Queyras.
    Every good ride includes some hike-a-bike and the less easy the route, the quieter and more remote it is. It isn’t an easy section but on the true scale of hike-a-bike it’s nothing major. Don’t try it in road cleats though, or with a 50lb bike that you can’t carry. If you’ve packed light and are wearing MTB shoes you have no excuses really. After all, “What would Fred do?”.
    The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    02:43
    19.1 mi
    7.1 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,900 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 2.2 - Cervières to Château-Ville-Vieille, France.Filename '2.2 TNR Cerv-Izoard-VV'.A classic road climb over the Col d'Izoard takes you to the Fort Queyras / Chateau Ville Vieille area. The Izoard is truly beautiful climb and one that doesn’t feel as hard as its height and fame may suggest - a different matter on a hot day though. Look out for the memorial to Louison Bobet and Fausto Coppi within the incredible scenery of the Casse Deserte at the top.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    10:07
    68.1 mi
    6.7 mph
    10,200 ft
    11,650 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Stage 3 - Château-Ville-Vieille, France to Ponte Marmora, Italy.Filename '3 TNR VV-PtMarmora'.This route includes the high point of the ride, the 2744m Col Agnel / Colle dell'Agnello which also marks the France-Italy border, and the stunning and "memorable" Strada Cannoni along the Varaita-Maria ridge. A section of the Cannoni descent features the biggest gravel (aka rocks) on the route, it’s a challenge on any bike but it’s been done on 35mm tyres in the past (it’s not recommended...). Don’t get caught without spare inner tubes - it's very rocky and not typical gravel bike terrain at all. The roughest few km of the descent takes you onto a relaxing, quite flat valley road, a welcome breather in between the big mountains. The ride along the Val Varaita is particularly nice if you go all the way to the Gardetta hike-a-bike (4.1) turn-off.Note SCR.2 file that bypasses the rough section of the Cannoni, also the fully safe, very pretty (unrouted/off-route) SP335 road descent off the Col Sampeyre if needed – both re-join this main route file (3) within 10km of its end.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Easy
    00:46
    10.3 mi
    13.4 mph
    150 ft
    4,500 ft
    Easy gravel ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Shortcut Route 2 - From the Colle di Sampeyre through Elva, Italy.Filename 'SCR.2 Vallon d’Elva'WARNING – a genuinely dangerous road with death risk. Sheer valley sides subject to regular rockfall onto the road, with tunnels, missing barriers and regular road debris all posing severe risks. Ride with great care - seriously. The high danger is from the rockfall and road debris risk that is beyond your control. Keep your speed down and attention up. DO NOT RIDE during or after periods of heavy rain when rockfall risk is highest. If in any doubts, take the SP335 road towards Stroppo instead – it’s a good road that ends in the same place on-route.A choice between an infamous road descent or a safer, easy road (SP335) off the Colle Sampeyre, avoiding the Cannoni’s rocky descent and reducing the route distance by 20 miles approx. It follows a beautiful steep-sided valley, the Vallon d’Elva, also known as ‘the death road’ for obvious reasons. Pause for a moment at the Madonna del Vallone at the top, perhaps.
    Towards the end of either route, particularly SCR.2, there aren’t many options for supply if it’s late in the day. Route 3 passes more options on the valley road towards the end than the SCR.2 option. Restaurants and bars may be your only option so it’s wise to carry something in reserve.
    At the end of section 3 it’s time to decide whether you’re up for some rough stuff in the Alps or a tough but beautiful climb on a small road.
    The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    10:36
    67.9 mi
    6.4 mph
    10,650 ft
    7,650 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Stage 4.1 - Ponte Marmora, Italy to Col Tende / Colle di Tenda, France-Italy border. Filename '4.1 TNR PtMarmora-Chialv-Tend'.Our original route past Chialvetta with the rough stuff section into Little Peru. A notable hike/push on footpaths in beautiful surroundings beyond Chialvetta rewards with some #bunkerresearch at the top and a dramatic unveiling of the altopiano from the Passo della Gardetta. If you rode the Col d’Izoard rather than the hike-a-bike option there and still want to earn your Rough Stuff Alps points on this route, then this is the route to take.The route continues on a long descent to Demonte, a bike path road to Borgo San Dalmazzo and good resupplies at Limone Piemonte. It follows the same route as 4.2 after the Gardetta area, using a flat route between Demonte and Limone Piemonte.
    Both 4.1 and 4.2 routes pass two bike shops around the 75km point, on the way out of Borgo San Dalmazo.
    The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    10:12
    65.4 mi
    6.4 mph
    10,250 ft
    7,225 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Stage 4.2 - Ponte Marmora, Italy to Col Tende / Colle di Tenda, France-Italy border. Filename '4.2 TNR PteMarmora-Preit-Tende'.The road climb through Preit to reach Little Peru, ending at another border col. A quiet, picturesque and at times very tough road climb through Preit (there are some good places to stay here, the Refugio Lou Lindal for example) leads to the Col Preit and then continues into the Altopiano della Gardetta area. The Gardetta is a relatively long section of rougher track at altitude with dramatic scenery, not a place to be caught by the weather. There is a refuge in the area though, The Refugio Gardetta, and it's a very good one - recommended. The route continues on a long descent to Demonte, a bike path road to Borgo San Dalmazzo and good resupplies at Limone Piemonte. It follows the same route as 4.2 after the Gardetta area, using a flat route between Demonte and Limone Piemonte. There are bike shops in Borgo San Dalmazzo.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    11:38
    64.5 mi
    5.5 mph
    10,100 ft
    10,950 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 5.1 - Col Tende / Colle di Tenda, France-Italy border to Col de Turini, France.Filename '5.1 TNR Tend-VdS-Turini'.The longer route off the Tende and onto the dramatic Via del Sale (VdS). The Via del Sale is a long, quite remote section of track through a karst limestone landscape, one of the most incredible roads in Europe. The Refugio Don Barbera isn't too far from the Col Tende itself, a couple of hours ride on a good day.
    The descent off the Via del Sale via the Pas du Tanarel / Monte Saccarello area is very rough for a couple of kms – real MTB terrain, though rideable with care on 650B 'Road Plus' type bikes – and it’s a long, arduous descent to La Brigue with some rolling terrain in the woods.
    After La Brigue is the big climb to the Fort de la Forca and the Col de Turini. You can see the sea from the top if it’s a clear day. You can even smell the sea air sometimes... the coast isn't that far away now.
    The Roya valley between the Col Tende and the start of the climb to the Fort de la Forca is another potential supplies desert if you arrive there late. Restaurants are the main options though there is a Spar shop in Tende itself if you back-tack up the valley on this route. Worth studying the options on the map perhaps.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    05:50
    37.1 mi
    6.4 mph
    5,725 ft
    6,550 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 5.2 - Col Tende / Colle di Tenda, France-Italy border to Col de Turini France.Filename '5.2 TNR Tende-SBs-Turini'.This is the way to go if you want to ride the famous Col Tende switchbacks descent to Tende. The shorter route down from the Col to Tende town takes in the famous, countless switchbacks of the Col Tende / Colle di Tenda south side before the big climb to the Fort de la Forca and the Col de Turini.The Roya valley between the Col Tende and the start of the climb to the Fort de la Forca is another potential supplies desert if you arrive there late after taking this route as a shorter-cut. Restaurants are the main options, though there is a Spar shop in Tende itself. Worth studying the options on the map.The Torino-Nice Rally route is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event, now in it's 4th year. The event and route management is by the Torino-Nice Rally Limited, a non-profit group run in support of Smart Shelter Foundation. Smart Shelter Foundation successfully developed methods to build earthquake-resistant buildings using local materials in Asia, mainly in Nepal, and are now testing and developing those methods for wider use.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Difficult
    06:36
    54.5 mi
    8.3 mph
    5,425 ft
    10,650 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 6 - Col de Turini to Nice, France.Filename '6 TNR Turini-Nice'.The final run down to the sea at Nice. From the Turini you descend towards Sospel (keep an eye out just past Moulinet for a small bridge road above you, leading to a lovely little chapel, the Notre Dame de Menor), climb the Col Braus, then a small climb to the last col with great views of the Cote d'Azure. From there you ride a high road with a coastal view before descending to the coast road and Cafe du Cycliste in Nice. The route ends there but it's not far to Nice old town area to explore the market and old town shops, or go onto the Promenade des Anglais and follow the bike path there west towards the airport.If the timing works for you, stock up in Sospel and enjoy a last night bivi a couple of km along the track after the Col Braus. The views to the south west are nice here. Strict Leave No Trace / ‘don't be a dick’ rules apply of course - take your litter home. Top marks to anyone carrying cold beers to share up here.Stopping at Café du Cycliste, or one of the bars on that road if you finish later, is traditional. There’s an Utile supermarket just behind the Café, a good spot for cheaper beers, also an Intermarche nearby. After that, ride past the old town area of Nice (to the north of Quai des Etats-Unis, well worth exploring), then onto the Promenade des Anglais toward the airport.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

  • Intermediate
    02:33
    31.9 mi
    12.5 mph
    600 ft
    5,850 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Col de Turini to Nice, France. Filename 'SCR.3 Turini descent to Nice'.An alternative, faster route to Nice. All tarmac, all downhill!Some busier roads towards Nice as is to be expected on the faster roads in this area, but this route is the easiest way to Nice for a tired rider. The route takes you down a 60km, 1800m descent off the Col de Turini all the way to Café du Cycliste and the seafront promenade.The Torino-Nice Rally route here is the same as used for the Torino-Nice Rally annual event. The event and route info management is in support of Smart Shelter Foundation.
    (smartshelterfoundation.org/what-we-do and torino-nice.weebly.com/smart-shelter.html)
    Torino-Nice Rally bag patches are available to any rider of the route by making a donation directly to Smart Shelter. More info / get in touch with us here -
    torino-nice.weebly.com/contact--patches.html

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    692 mi
  • Duration
    104:39 h
  • Elevation
    98,125 ft