“Every fan of the sport needs to ride the legendary Alpine cols. Ride through road racing history as you take in iconic climbs like the Colombière, Izoard and Alpe d’Huez. Riding these roads for yourself makes watching the pros in the Tour even more special.”
– Simon Mottram, Rapha CEO
Day 1: Évian – Megève
Stats: 130 kilometres, and 3,070m of climbing
Major Climbs: Col de la Colombière (1,613m), Col des Aravis (1,486m)
Spectacular views as you depart from the shores of Lake Geneva towards the warm-up climbs of the Col de Cou and the Plaine Joux, which ease us into the first big test, the Colombière. Be sure to save something for its tortuous final kilometre at 10%. The gentle and pretty Aravis follows.
Day 2: Megève – Brides Les Bains
Stats: 140 kilometres, and 3,500m of climbing
Main climbs: Col des Saisies, Cormet de Roseland
We roll out from Megève to ride the Col des Saisies before the delights and surprises of the Cormet de Roselend, with its wooded valleys and ice-scoured rock faces. A sinuous descent to Bourg St Maurice follows, where Johann Bruyneel famously came off on an unexpected bend.
Day 3: Brides Les Bains – L’Alpe d’Huez
Stats: 130 kilometres, and 4,190m of climbing
Major climbs: Col de la Madeleine (1,993m), Col du Glandon (1,924m), L’Alpe d’Huez (1,850m)
A route worthy of a Grand Tour stage, finishing atop Alpe d’Huez. En route are the monstrous ascents of the Madeleine and Glandon, some of the best and most historic riding in the northern Alps.The Glandon starred in stage 18 of the 2015 Tour de France, with a wonderful solo win by Frenchman Romain Bardet, while Alpe d’Huez saw one of the most thrilling stages in recent Tour history.
Day 4: L’Alpe d’Huez – Jausiers
Stats: 163 kilometres, and 3,495m climbing
Main climbs: Col d’Izoard (2,360m), Col de Vars (2,108m)
We descend from Alpe d’Huez via the beautiful back road, the Col de Sarenne, before the long steady climb of the Lautaret. Enjoy the descent to Briançon before tackling another legendary climb, the Col d’Izoard, Fausto Coppi’s mountain. The Col de Vars brings us close to the Italian border before we reach Jausiers.
Day 5: Jausiers – La Martre
Stats: 125 kilometres, and 2,600m of climbing
Major Climb: Col d’Allos (2,250m)
The stunning climb of the quiet, wooded Col d’Allos also features in the 2015 Tour de France. It’s one of the gems of the Alpes-Maritimes. We’ll descend the way the pros will climb all the way to Castellane, passing the beautiful, topaz-coloured Lac de Castillon, and our evening’s destination, the pretty village of La Martre.
Day 6: La Martre – Nice
Stats: 118 kilometres and 2,100m climbing
Major Climbs: Col des Lattes (1,174m), Col de Bleine (1,439m), Col de Castellaras (1,248m), Col de Vence (963m)
From the Alpes-Maritimes and the arrière-pays of Nice to the sea – you won’t believe such amazing mountains are so close to the Mediterranean. The wooded switchbacks of the Col de Bleine are testing, but the descent is fast. Our final col is Vence, a favoured training slope for the area’s many pros. Nice, the Italianate capital of the Côte d’Azur will provide us a chic welcome and a memorable celebration meal.