Cent Cols Challenge Corsica

With stages still averaging 200km but with climbing limited to a ‘mere’ 3800m average per stage, this is a perfect CCC for those whose knees shy away from incessantly steep gradients. Most of the climbs are long but steady, which does not mean they feel easy. We will meet far more animals than cars on the roads and though villages are frequent, shops are rare; modern life has yet to even scrape the surface of tradition in most of these remote locations. Road surfaces vary as much as the local economy, with pristine new tarmac making mysterious but sometimes brief, occasional appearances. Changing hotels every other night will take much of the off-bike stress out of this CCC but the temptation of a day on the beach, rather than another day in the saddle, might prove too much for the weak-minded.

Each CCC features:
  • Groups limited to 34 riders
  • Support from Rapha staff on and off the bike
  • Four-vehicle support caravan
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • Ride nutrition, breakfasts, roadside feed stops and meals
  • Ride guides and mechanic support
  • All but one evening meal and ride nutrition is included
  • Twin-room accommodation
  • 3 single rooms available on each Cent Cols Trip – 15% supplement payable on balance

Secure your place on the Cent Cols Challenge Corsica. Only 34 places are available. Deposit cost: £1000 / US$2000 / €1400

Pay deposit now »

Cent Cols Challenge Gallery & Testimonials

Thanks to my fellow riders for your mix of passion, toughness, and relentless optimism. It was really inspiring to see you guys both hammering it out AND smiling day after day. It has definitely changed the way I view the sport, and probably life.

As a two-time CCC participant, I now know the power of the Challenge and the often bewildering way in which it stirs up a tempest of emotions and thoughts and feelings. But I also now know its power to crystallize and clarify things that were previously muddled and inchoate.

I know I have said it before, but a fantastic product – great ride, amazing scenery, very reasonably priced, well organized, well supported and great people.

Bastia » Bastia

Total Distance

1883km

Total Elevation

37,030m

Key Climbs

Col de Casardo, Vizzavona, Col de Sorba, Col de Sevi, San Martino di Lota

Dates

18th - 28th May 2015

Full price of trip

£3050 (excluding airfare)

Bike hire

Bike hire is not available for this departure

Thanks to the attention the visiting pro peloton has granted it in recent years, Corsica is now gaining the popularity it has always deserved as one of the best ways to enjoy cycling in the Mediterranean. These 10 days leave little of the island unexplored.

Day 1: Bastia to Corte

Stats: 220km, 4,200m
Key climbs: Cols de Terghine, San Stefano, Bigorno, San Gavino, Casardo, San Cervone.

Following a brief but grand view of the western coast from the Col de Terghine, the route takes us due south across wooded hills, through remote villages and over eight main climbs. We almost come back to sea level after a 26km downhill section, near San Guiliano, before an even longer climb due west up to the Col de Casardo. From here it is a bumpy ride further inland to the busy town of Corte.

Day 2: Corte to Corte

Stats: 190km, 4,380m
Key climbs: Cols de Vergio, Sevi, Vizzavona, Serra, Bellagranajo

A stage of contrasts. The opening climb, the Col de Vergio, requires upward cycling for almost 50km and is rightly considered the most beautiful and challenging on the island. Narrow roads with jaw-dropping views keep the mind occupied. An equally entrancing road awaits on the downward side, towards Porto. Then another of Corsica’s wildly remote roads tackles rocky hillsides taking us south-east, eventually finding the N193. It is a long slog to the top of the Vizzavona but at least the original road up remains, allowing us to battle the climb away from traffic. Another smaller upward section spoils an otherwise perfect descent section to the stage’s end.

Day 3: Corte to Propriano

Stats: 195km, 3,850m
Key climbs: Cols de San Quilico, Erbajo, Morello, Sorba, Verde, Vaccia, Ste Eustache

After the exceptionally beautiful climb to the Col de Sorba, the greater part of this stage follows the green spine of Corsica, a fabulous mixed forest through which the D69 struggles to find its way. Most of the tarmac on this stage seems brand new, though some clearly isn’t. The Verde tops the stage, leaving three climbs and some fabulous descents before we see the sea.

Day 4: Propriano to Propriano

Stats: 177km, 3,400m
Key climbs: Cols de Bavella, Vaccia,Granaccia, Bellevalle

From one port to another, our route first goes inland, heading towards the curious rock formation of the ‘Aiguilles de Bavella’, which can be admired from the col of the same name. Back down through the charming village of Zonza, we then head north-east along more twisting roads, taking on the Col de Vaccia from its southern side this, before rolling along a bumpy section that includes several cols but no major climbs. A very pleasant 28km, more or less downhill, finishes the stage.

Day 5: Propriano to Porticcio

Stats: 177km, 3,400m
Key climbs: Cols de Bavella, Vaccia, Granaccia, Bellevalle

From one port to another, our route first goes inland, heading towards the curious rock formation of the ‘Aiguilles de Bavella’, which can be admired from the col of the same name. Back down through the charming village of Zonza, we then head north-east along more twisting roads, taking on the Col de Vaccia from its southern side this, before rolling along a bumpy section that includes several cols but no major climbs. A very pleasant 28km, more or less downhill, finishes the stage.

Rest Day

Today is a time to take things easy at our hotel in Porticcio. Relax on the beautiful white beach, then enjoy the second of three nights we’ll spend in this fabulous resort.

Day 6: Porticcio to Porticcio

Stats: 195km, 3,900m
Key climbs: Cols de Cortone, Chenova, Crichetto, Val d’Eze, Scalella

A southern swoop along the coast opens the stage, before some sharp climbing inland towards the Col de Cortone, which dominates the forest of Chiavari. The profile from here until the 1,200m Col de Scalella is particularly jagged. More narrow roads (few back lanes are left unexplored by the end of our trip) eventually take us to the 20km section to the top of the Scalella. Another long descent down to sea level closes the stage perfectly.

Day 7: Porticcio to Porto

Stats: 188km, 4,000m
Key climbs: Cols de San Bastiano, Bocca di Sarcoggio, Ambiegna, Sevi

This bumpy ride takes us first along the west coast, along a gently rising (and falling) road, before veering off again onto the ‘lost roads’ common on the island. Harsher climbs are to be found along the way but the stage really comes alive in the last 60km. This contains a section of spectacularly wild and apparently forgotten tarmac, followed by the severe climb up to the Col de Sevi – with its 12% final kilometre. The 22km descent down into Porto is one of the best pieces of road you could ever wish to cycle on.

Day 8: Porto to Porto

Stats: 170km, 3,500m
Key climbs: Cols de Vergio, Sevi, St Antoine, San Martino, Osini

The shortest stage of the event but starting with the longest climb – from sea level to 1,400m in 36km. Descents galore follow, before a beautiful ridge section with distant sea views. Finally, we plunge down to sea level for a rollercoaster ride taking us to the grand finale of this stage: part one is the road to the beach via Col d’Osini; part two is the descent through the famous red-rock Calanches of Porto. Quite exceptional.

Day 9: Porto to Ile Rousse

Stats: 209km, 3,300m
Key climbs: Cols de la Croix, Salvi, Bocca di a Battaglia, San Colombano

The first of the two-stage ‘tour’ of the north of the island. An 80km coastal stretch is a real treat to open the stage, taking us to Calvi. From here, we turn inland for some higher view points of the azure Meditteranean. This stage includes the toughest climb of the Challenge, with a few quite steep bits. After this battle, the rest of the stage seems gentle but always entertaining.

Day 10: Ile Rousse to Bastia

Stats: 162km, 3,100m
Key climbs: Bocca di Vezzu, Ste Lucie, Serra, San Martino di Lota

To begin the ‘Tour of Capi Corsu’ we first traverse the Desert des Agriates, from St Florent up along the rocky coast on perfect roads to Abro, from where we take the high road to Pino – a very dramatic piece of tarmac. Cutting east here, across the Cap via the impressive Bocca di Ste Lucia, we then descend to the much tamer east coast to enjoy a fast 20km on a sweeping smooth road. But then we head up to San Martino for some more infinity views of the azure blue sea. This stage is less predictable then might be expected and makes a perfect curtain call to this very special series of rides.

Secure your place on the Cent Cols Challenge Corsica. Only 34 places are available. Deposit cost: £1000 / US$2000 / €1400

Pay deposit now »

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