The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is an incredibly diverse region in southeast France. Large swathes of the landscape are shaped by the rugged peaks of the Alps. But you can also discover idyllic river landscapes and striking volcanic cones, as well as rich culture and delicious food. Nestled France’s border with Italy and Switzerland, the region is especially known for one thing – the Tour de France. As the location of numerous Tour de France stages, the area has become a true Mecca for racing cyclists. In this Collection, we guide you over nine spectacular climbs that you simply have to ride on your road bike.
This Collection gives you enough rides to have a really great racing bike holiday. You can really let off steam here thanks to the numerous legendary passes. You can choose to take on the passes one by one or combine them to make a really challenging Tour. Of course, a certain amount of fitness will come in handy on alpine terrain. The Tour de France routes will test you on the hills like never before. Only once you’ve ridden the passes yourself, will you understand how it feels to reach the top.
You can easily travel to the region by car, train, or plane via Geneva, Annecy, or Grenoble.
All you need is your bike, a little stamina, and basic equipment for long Tours in the Alps such as sufficient tools, a few spare parts and a first aid kit. A wind and rainproof jacket is also essential as after a long climb comes a chillier downhill ride!
This ascent to the 'Pas de Peyrol' has everything you could wish for as a racing cyclist: crisp climbs, wonderful views and in between a very good opportunity for a break. This tour starts in Anglards-de-Salers, where almost 35 kilometers and a whopping 1,200 meters of altitude are waiting for you. Due to the partly hilly route profile, it is at least 430 meters downhill.Before you get into the saddle, you should definitely check whether the pass is really open - at least if you don't want to button it up in the middle of summer. Because it often happens that the Puy Mary is closed due to heavy snowfall - this can still happen in June. If the pass is open, you can start. For the first five kilometers you roll relaxed on the flat or even slightly downhill. When your legs are ready, the first gentle ascent is waiting for you.The small river “Le Mars” runs parallel to the road. In addition to the fantastic view of the mountains, there are also some small, idyllic villages for a change over the first ten kilometers. Now at the latest your legs should be on tour, because shortly afterwards the first steeper ramps come, until you finally get that real pass feeling for the first time when the road to the 'Col de Neronne' winds up to 1,242 meters above sea level. Once you've done that, you can take a deep breath, take a sip and shake the lactate off your legs. The first big stretch of the driveway is done!After a flatter passage, the second act now follows: Shortly before kilometer 30 you should be fully operational again. The last few kilometers are really tough. Up to 18 percent incline are waiting for you - but also the magnificent backdrop for a glorious summit photo, the pride of having made it, a little refreshment in the restaurant 'Chalet de Puy Mary' and the anticipation of an exhilarating descent. Before that, you are again spoiled for choice: Do you just drive the route back or do you extend your tour on one of the other roads that lead to the pass?You can find suitable outdoor travel offers in the region here: chamina-voyages.com/themes/auvergne.
In 2020, the Grand Colombier will be in the very big spotlight of the Tour de France for the very first time: after it was already part of the Tour in 2012, there will even be a mountain finish here in 2020. Before you can stand on the summit like the pros and celebrate, a lot of work is necessary: on this 73-kilometer tour, an impressive 3,010 meters in altitude as well as two other impressive mountain passes await you.You don't have much time to warm up on this route. Immediately after the start in Artemare, things go uphill. At the beginning the incline is still relatively moderate, but there are also one or two short outliers that get your circulation going. But it only really gets down to business when you have passed the small, idyllic village of Virieu-le-Petit. Now it's time to press and bite. With nine to 20 percent, the next four and a half kilometers can at least be described as brutal - it is one of the toughest climbs in the Alps. You will soon crack the 1,000-meter mark and let your gaze wander over the mountains. The first of three climbs is conquered.The following descent is a nice reward and a well-deserved change. A few sharp turns and a rush of speed later you roll through the small town of Lochieu - this is where climb number two begins. This is not quite as demanding as the first, but with a gradient of up to 14 percent it also has some ramps. At the beginning the road is straight and evenly uphill, but as soon as the switchbacks come, you will have to get out of the saddle every now and then. After about ten kilometers you will reach the plateau of the Col de la Biche with a big grin on your face and the start of a 25-kilometer descent.Once in Culoz, the actual ascent to the Grand Colombier begins via the Tour de France route. After the "preload" you can really feel on the long and demanding ascent how the professionals fare here in the race. But in contrast to them, absolutely nothing speaks against the fact that you treat yourself to a little break every now and then before you proudly reach your today's milestone. Crazy: You conquered three incredibly difficult climbs in a row today.You can start the return journey directly via Virieu-le-Petit. By the way, exactly this route (only in the opposite direction) is also ideal if you want to climb the Grand Colombier without the other two climbs. If, on the other hand, all of this is still not enough for you, we have a “little” extra mission for you: To be accepted into the somewhat crazy club of the “Society of the Fêlés des Grand Colombier”, you have to do all four possible climbs of the Grand Can do Colombier in one day. But that's another story, which you can find more information about here: felesducolombier.fr/deutsch/startseite.You can find bike travel offers around the Grand Colombier here: bugeyvelo.com/?lang=en
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A single ascent that is "only" 22 kilometers long, is it worth it? The answer to this question can only be: absolutely! On this tour there are actually only this one ascent and one descent in front of you, but the 1,750 vertical meters to the pass are really quite a chunk. So it's no wonder that countless testimonials from many amateur racing cyclists, but also from various prominent Tour de France riders such as Lance Armstrong and Tony Rominger, report a true love-hate relationship with this climb.It starts off really well: shortly after the start in La Chambre, a gentle warm-up is the order of the day. But after the first switchbacks, the ascent picks up noticeably and you will have to pedal properly. From now on it remains evenly steep. It's demanding, but easy to calculate, so that you can find your rhythm and slowly screw your way up. It is also really beautiful here: It is worthwhile to look from the low-traffic side street to the beautiful mountain landscape all around. In this way, the altitude meters melt away almost with pleasure.Before you start your final spurt on the pass, you will reach Longchamp. Here you can take a short break, fill up your supplies or treat yourself to refreshment in a café before you start the last few meters to the Col de la Madeleine. On another five kilometers the road hits a few more hooks, but then you've made it: the highest point of the tour has been reached!Now the motto is: put on your windbreaker and let's go! It's almost all downhill for 26 kilometers - that's a wonderful reward for the long ascent. From the destination in Notre-Dame-de-Briançon you can continue your tour and drive back to the starting point on your own or take the train to help: it will take you back to La via Albertville and Saint-Pierre-d'Albigny in around two hours Chambre.You can find more details about the pass and cycling tours around the Col de Madeleine here: maurienne-tourisme.com/visiter_bouger/col-de-la-madeleine-sud-768326
Normally it can be quite rattling on remote mountain passes somewhere in the mountains. Not so on this one: On this ascent with more than 2,000 meters of altitude, you can enjoy wonderfully smooth, almost virgin asphalt over large sections. A real dream for every racing cyclist!But there is more: Not only is the asphalt brand new - it is also reserved exclusively for cyclists. One reason for this is the fact that the Tour de France will be a guest here in 2020. On the other hand, this road is part of a larger tourism project that is intended to make the area more attractive, especially for cyclists, over the summer. The project called “Via 3 Vallées” will later connect Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens.Today, however, you are satisfied with the Col de la Loze, which already has a lot to offer. 2,020 vertical meters spread over around 36 kilometers are definitely a challenge! It starts in Notre-Dame-de-Briançon very relaxed at first. You follow the L'Isère river and later the “Le Doron de Bozel” to Brides-les-Bains - a 14-kilometer warm-up program, which also means that most of the ascent is spread over the remaining ones 22 kilometers. In other words: from now on there is a lot to do for your legs!The road first leads you up to Méribel - the place has already been part of the Tour de France several times. This is where the newly paved part of the route begins, which brings you up to the Col de la Loze. It gets really steep again, but the driveway over the slippery surface in the middle of the impressive mountain landscape is still awesome. Once at the top, you can be proud of yourself: You have just conquered the most difficult pass in the French Alps!You can do a nice lap from Notre-Dame-de-Briançon: From the pass, the new asphalt leads you to Courchevel - from here you share the roads back to the starting point with motorized road users. Alternatively, you can of course simply drive back the route from the pass.Would you like to find out more about the Savoie Mont Blanc region? Then you will find more tour suggestions, offers and accommodation here: savoie-mont-blanc.com/en/Discover/Summer-active-holidays
The ascent to Alpe d'Huez is probably one of the most famous Tour de France routes. And as it is, it's entirely up to you whether you despise the legendary 21 corners as mainstream or if they are a real myth on your road bike todo list.The fact is, however, that this driveway is full of Tour de France flair: the road is painted from bottom to top and every curve is named after one of the stage winners of the racing bike spectacle. And even the - admittedly not particularly pretty - retort ski resort Alpe d'Huez somehow has a very special charm and you can well imagine what is going on here when the professionals of the tour are guests. The best thing about this tour, however, is that it is basically doable for everyone: The ascent is not particularly long and not particularly steep, so that it can also be done by road bike newbies. Perhaps that is also the reason why it had to be driven by the pros twice in a row in the Tour anniversary year 2013?The start of the ascent is quite unspectacular on the river La Sarenne, where a sign tells you: Here we go! That happens very directly: Without further ado, it goes into the mountain and it doesn't take long until you find yourself in the middle of curve number 1. 20 more are waiting for you and they follow each other quite close - at least it won't be boring on the route. Which is also due to the fact that you should always be attentive: The curves are often confusing and the road is used by motorized traffic.Whether you love the 21 corners of Alpe d'Huez or not: in the end you have mastered a real classic! And if you are in the mood for more, the region has a few more real hits in its program, for example with the 'Galibier' and the 'Croix de Fer'.Are your calves tingling already? Then take a look at a few suitable travel offers for your cycling holiday here: uk.bike-oisans.com/cycling/cycling-holidays.
The Galibier was once the first alpine pass to be crossed as part of the Tour de France. That is why there is a memorial stone in honor of its founder Henri Desgrange on the south side, just below the top of the pass. There is no shortage of real Tour De France flair on this ascent, which, by the way, is the fifth highest paved alpine pass. Apart from that, especially in the upper part, the barren mountain landscape is simply impressive. And as a bonus to all of this, there is also a second pass: The 'Col du Télégraph' is, so to speak, the 'pre-pass' of the 'Galibier', without which nothing works if you want to conquer your big brother.The starting point of the tour is the small town of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. You cross the river L‘Arc and it goes straight to the point: From now on you will only drive uphill for the next 35 kilometers with a small break. The first thing on the program is the 'Col du Télégraph', which will bring you to the actual starting point Valloire. If you are planning a longer stage trip or if you prefer the 'Galibier' a little bit by bit, Valloire is ideally suited as a stage stop: There are accommodations and refreshment stops here.The higher you get, the more impressive the landscape becomes. In the upper part you can expect a bare, rough mountain landscape, but also grandiose views of what has already been achieved and what is still ahead of you. Shortly before the steepest part of the route, there is even a small mountain inn where you can strengthen and refresh yourself for the final spurt. Once at the top you can be really proud of yourself and put a big hook on your road bike todo list!The best way to get back to the starting point of the tour is to simply drive back the route. There is also the possibility of doing a lap - but this lap is extremely long and garnished with additional passes, probably a size too big for most normal racing cyclists.There are many other passes around the Col de Galibier - called “The Giants of Maurienne”! You can master them all on your bike on this eight-day tour: maurienne-tourisme.com/offre-sejour/cols-geants-de-maurienne
At 2,764 meters, the Col de l'Iséran is one of the highest alpine passes ever. It is very close to the Italian border, or on the border with the Italian Piedmont. And he is in good company: not far away you come to the famous Galibier, the Col du Télégraphe or the Col de la Loze. In theory, you could put together a pretty tough pass round from all of these sections. This tour is a little more "relaxed": It describes the ascent to Col de L‘Iseran from the French municipality of Modane, which you can easily reach by train.From the start, you first head for Lanslebourg, the actual starting point of the south ramp of the Col de l'Iséran. Up to this point the route runs parallel to the L‘Arc river and climbs quite slowly. It goes on like this for a while after Lanslebourg, even if a couple of crisp climbs are waiting for you in between. It only gets really "exciting" from Bonneval-sur-Arc, when the route bends towards the mountain: Now it becomes significantly steeper and the route winds up in several bends to the pass. Once at the top, a unique mountain world awaits you: You don't just see the high mountains in the background, you are, so to speak, right in the middle.For the return trip you can take the north ramp via Val d’Isère, which is usually heavier. Or you just go back the same way - in any case, a really long descent is waiting for you!To explore even more of the landscape around the Col de l'Iseran, you should take several days. That's why we've prepared a four-day cycling adventure for you that you can book directly as a complete package: mytriptailor.com/en/tour/cycling-great-alpine-way
Under "normal" circumstances you would probably not even know the Col de la Croix de Fer, because it is off the usual tourist routes. But what is normal when you are a racing cyclist? This pass has already been part of the Tour de France 18 times, or even 19 times after 2020, making it a real classic. But this climb is not only prominent, it is also really nice to drive. It offers variety, great views and gradients from "easy" to "more is not possible".But at the beginning you don't have to go all out. The first six of the almost 30 kilometers to the pass are challenging, but very even. So you can first find your step. You climb out of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and into the magnificent mountains. The first big highlight is not long in coming: the view of the Aiguilles d'Arves opens up again and again to give you goose bumps. The view to the three peaks can even be covered with snow. On the ascent, you should therefore rather look more than too little off the road so as not to miss this sight.What follows is a kind of carrot and stick. Nasty gradients of up to 17 percent are followed by flat recovery sections that almost make you feel safe until the next ramp is waiting for you. Finally, a short descent heralds the end of this interplay.The following section to the Col de la Croix de Fer is characterized by a relatively relaxed and, above all, even ascent, always accompanied by the L’Arvan river, which you occasionally cross. If you need a break, then the “Speed Wheel” restaurant is ideal. Nothing can go wrong with this name. Your final spurt begins behind the town of Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves: six more hairpin bends are waiting for you, which you can count down from here. Once again you have to give everything, especially on the last kilometer.If you have made it and stand proudly on the legendary summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer, you can enjoy the wonderful view. After putting on your windbreaker to start your way back, you have two options: you can return the same way or continue north to La Chambre. In any case, the descent will be really good.There are many other passes around the Col de la Croix - called “The Giants of Maurienne”! You can master them all on your bike on this eight-day tour: maurienne-tourisme.com/offre-sejour/cols-geants-de-maurienne
Hardly any other alpine pass offers more variety. The path to the Cormet de Roselend leads through green forest, barren landscapes, past a beautiful lake and offers everything from a short coast to a grueling climb to make a racing cyclist's heart beat faster. This route is, so to speak, a challenge, a feast for the eyes and diversity in one.The beginning is very solid. From Beaufort you first warm up. There are a few vertical meters to conquer right at the beginning, but these are still quite moderate. Right at the beginning you turn off the main road and draw the first spikes on your track on the parallel side road. You still have to step inside for a very short time. But you can also get over the 1,000 meter altitude mark in no time at all.After a casual descent, a tough alpine pass feeling is finally waiting for you. The road quickly gets steeper and steeper until you struggle up the mountain with 22 percent. Now you really have to give it your all, grit your teeth and grit your bum, in short: It's a dream!In between, there are always real delicacies for you as a small motivational injection. For example the Col du Méraillet, which rewards you with a magnificent view, or the panorama at Lac de Roselend. There is not such a beautiful mountain lake on every route. Here you could take a break, enjoy the beautiful view and then do the rest of the ascent. From here it's only eight kilometers to the pass.The further you get up, the more unreal the mountain landscape appears to you: The mixture of barren rock and lush green creates a very special flair and is sure to impress you so much that the last few meters of altitude will fly by. And so, all of a sudden, you hit the home straight: You made it!For the descent you can take a longer loop via Bourg-Saint-Maurice or roll back the same way. From Lac de Roselend there is an alternative route that first leads along the lake and then runs back to the starting point via Areches.Would you like to find out more about the Savoie Mont Blanc region? Then you will find more tour suggestions, offers and accommodation here: savoie-mont-blanc.com/en/Discover/Summer-active-holidays