The Maurienne valley is considered by many to be Europes 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 Tlgraphe.
To make this mid-week cycling experience as hassle-free as possible, we include transfers from and back to Geneva Airport. Youll 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 weve planned each days 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 were here to help you achieve your goals.
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Day 0: Travel 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 transfers 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: La Toussuire (36km with 1150m ascent)
Day 1: Montvernier, Chaussy and the Madeleine
Saint Jean de Maurienne is a Mecca for road cyclists from all around the world and today youll 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) Classic route: Montvernier + Chaussy (47km with 1200m ascent) [ride profile]
Challenge route: Montvernier + Chaussy + Madeleine (76km with 2350m ascent) [ride profile]
Day 2: Tlgraphe & 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 Tlgraphe (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 Lautaret and back up the Col du Galibier (2642m) would ensure you really make the most out of the mighty mountain. Classic route: Tlgraphe + Galibier (97km with 2460m ascent) [ride profile]
Challenge route: Tlgraphe + Galibier N & S (114km with 3050m ascent) [ride profile]
Easier option: (lift up Tlgraphe) + Galibier (72km with 1430m ascent)
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 dArves 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. Classic route: Croix de Fer + Glandon (64km with 1730m ascent) [ride profile]
Challenge route: Mollard (NE) + Croix de Fer + Glandon + Lacets de Montvernier (84km with 2345m ascent) [ride profile]
Easier route: (lift for first 15km) + Croix de Fer + Glandon (49km with 950m ascent)
Day 4: Travel home
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!
- Experience Le Tour de France classics Galibier, Lacets de Montvernier, Madeleine, Croix de Fer and more
- 3.5 days of riding in stunning Alpine landscape
- Centre-based in a comfortable 3* hotel
- Fully supported with two well-equipped support vehicles and experienced guides
- Multiple route choices each day and the flexibility to ride at your own pace
- Airport transfers from Geneva included