The landslips on the Via del Sale section have been passed without any problems by a few groups riding the rally route this summer. Should you need to back-track for any reason, further slides or damage to the trail etc, use this route. Pay attention to the junctions though, it's easy to get one junction on the ridge wrong. Rough in places. A nice route on a mountain bike.
6, Col Turini to Nice - GPS filename 6 Turini-NiceThe route takes in some of the Turini road descent to the west while heading towards Sospel but you could speed down the whole Col Turini east side instead - the road used in the Monte Carlo Rally - and end up back on route shortly after passing the village of Moulinet. This isn't a GPS mapped route, just an easy option that can also save some time. The route then climbs to the Col de Braus and takes in the Col de la Madone de Gorbio before descending towards the sea. There are two shortcut route GPS files to get to Nice faster if needed. The big one is all the way from the Col Turini to Nice, a 50km descent all the way to the sea. Could be useful for those who’ve climbed enough by then, or need to catch a flight but couldn’t resist the Via del Sale – GPS file name SCR.3 Descent to Nice. The second shortcut is from Turbie (near the end of route 6) that misses Eze in order to stay above the busier Med coast on the way to Nice – GPS file name SCR.4 Turb-Nice. Short on time for a flight or keen to avoid the sea-front traffic? Maybe take this route. Got time spare? The main route (Route 6) can end on the beach at Eze, perhaps the quietest spot along the coast here. It also includes a loop into Nice old town area, simply as it’s a shame not to see more of Nice if you have some time spare. Between Eze and Nice there’s a coast road with beaches and food + drink options and the busy tunnels around Monaco are east, behind us already. There is no finish line as such, that's intentional, but do call in at Café du Cycliste if you’re passing during open hours (8.30-5.30 Tues-Sat, 8.30-2.30 Sun-Mon).
5.2, the switchback descent of the Colle di Tenda / Col Tende – GPS filename 5.2 Tend-SBs-Turini TNR2The shorter down to Tende town, down the switchbacks, is a worthy ride rather than a shortcut. It would be a better option then the Via del Sale in bad weather or a great place to make up time - it could save up to a day over the longer route. Get your drift on and watch out for the water bars / jumps.
5.1, Colle di Tenda / Col Tende onto the Via del Sale - GPS filename 5.1 Tend-VdS-Turini TNR2If taking the longer route onto the Via del Sale there's a great refuge to eat or stay at on the way, the Refugio Don Barbera (call ahead to check if you want to sleep there). There's one short section further along where you will be glad to have a headlight of some kind. Also along this section is the optional route into Molini Di Triora, GPS filename BONUS MoliniPool where you can go for a dip in the natural pool. UPDATE – there have been landslides along this route since the 1st Rally. Between the 40km and 52km points there are areas where the mapped route is not passable and there are footpath routes to pass the landslide areas. Proceed with caution and a sense of adventure … should it be needed there is a GPS file that can cut off the section between 35km and 62km, file name VdS-Monesi Cut-off.
4.2, Stroppo to Colle di Tenda / Col Tende via Preit – GPS filename 4.2 Stroppo-Preit-TendeThis route is a more rideable climb up the Colle del Preit through the small village of Preit. It’s a stunning climb and on tarmac most of the way and good quality gravel or dirt further up. Both routes pass through good resupply points at Dronero, Demonte and Limone-Piemonte before climbing the Tende/Tenda and making a decision on the next section. There’s a shortcut option where both routes pass through Demonte, the short cut avoids two smaller (~550m gain) climbs and takes you via a larger town with bike shops and other supplies. The distance is the same and the roads are busier as most valley roads are in the Alps, but the GPS route mostly uses smaller roads off to the side of the main road up the valley. Use short cut route filename SCR.2 Demonte-Tende Flatter.
4.1, Stroppo to Colle di Tenda / Col Tende via Chialvetta – GPS filename 4.1 Stroppo-Chialv-TendeA ‘Fred Wright tribute’ section and the original TNR route that we took just to see what it was like. It’s quiet and less used with only a tiny village on the way. The section of off-road climbing will have all but the strongest riders on mountain bikes off and pushing under the gun nest overlooking the valley. Reaching the high ground via this route is arguably a more dramatic unveiling of the area beyond the top of the climb.