Cascade Bicycle Club has invited back last year's European tour company, CYCLE MILES, to do another advanced, mountain pass style tour. You'll get the best in food, accommodation and ride support while enjoying the most wonderful scenery in the world. We hope to feature a different Miles trip each summer!
For the Tour de France Alps Tour, we combine a 6-stage-ride over the legendary passes of the Tour de France, through remote regions of the Sea Alps with a chance to watch two stages of the most important cycling race in the world!
The tour starts just outside of Geneva, Switzerland in the ski resort Morzine and ends at Menton, on the beautiful Côte d’Azur. We will watch Stage 10 and Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2005 on-site! You will ride the Col de l’Isèran, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Col d’Izoard, and many more, which makes for a cycling experience unmatched anywhere else in the world.
This tour will provide deep satisfaction to every trained cyclist with many challenging ascents of the highest category, tiny roads over rather unknown but very scenic passes, superb twisty descents and breathtaking views over the unique Alpine landscape.
All this, mixed with warm, family-style hotels, delicious food and wine, top on-road catering service, after-ride buffets in the relaxed ambiance of peaceful villages. Last, but not least, Miles offers a totally carefree ride with GPS navigators that will make this journey an unforgettable experience.
Arrival day: Sunday, July 10, 2005
Arrive at Geneva Airport, and meet your tour staff. We will have a 50-mile transfer to our hotel in Morzine. The Hotel is situated south of the Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) in the amazing landscape of Haute-Savoie. You'll enjoy a welcome dinner and pre-trip meeting.
Day 1: Monday, July 11, 2005
Distance/elevation: 64 (32) miles / climbing 8950 (4300) feet.
Route: Morzine Col de la Colombière La Clusaz Col des Aravis Flumet Col des Saisies
We assemble the bikes and leave Morzine, headed for the wonderful French Alps. We offer two options for the first day of riding. The hard-core cyclists, who can't wait to conquer their first Col, start right from the hotel, while those who prefer an easier start after their long journey enter the vans and get driven up to the first mountain pass, the Col de la Colombière. On the descent we pass the village of Le Grand Bornand, where the hardest stage of 2004's Tour de France took place. A stunning descent brings us to the small mountain village Flumet. There starts the final 2500 foot climb up to the Col des Saisies to our hotel for the night, situated right on top of this Col!
Day 2: Tuesday, July 12 2005
Distance/elevation: 63 miles / climbing 8500 feet.
Route: Col des Saisies Beaufort Col du Pré Cormet de Roselend Bourg St. Maurice Val d'Isère
Prepare yourself for one of the greatest experiences professional cycling can offer: watching a Tour de France stage live and in person! We will leave early, riding our bikes over beautiful narrow roads through the Montagne du Beaufortain, climbing one of the nicest passes in the whole Alps, the Col du Pré. Make sure to pack your camera on that day! Riding over the dam leads us to the final 1200 feet of climbing up to the Cormet de Roselend, where we will wait for the Tour de France peleton to arrive. After the Tour passes, it will be time for us to continue our ride. With its perfectly paved switchback, the road to Bourg St. Maurice is definitely one of the best descents in the Alps. Along the Isère river we climb up to the famous ski resort Val d'Isère,
Day 3: Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Distance/elevation: 66 miles / climbing 6250 feet.
Route: Val d’'sère Col de l'Isèran Lanslebourg St. Michel de Maurienne Col du Télégraphe Valloire
This day offers two very famous cols and another chance to see the pros going for yellow! Starting the day at an elevation of 6000 ft requires climbing 3000 ft to get on top of the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps, the Col de l'Isèran. This early morning workout rewards you with the exciting view over the majestic summits of the Massif Vanoise and the longest descent you have likely ever done! 45 miles, more or less steep with only a few flat sections bring us down to the little village St. Michel de Maurienne. It's here where another famous climb of the Tour de France begins, the Col du Télégraphe. The pros will get into this one later, so we have the chance to ride up the switchbacks and search for the perfect viewing spot. After seeing the guys suffering we head on to our wonderful hotel in the small mountain village Valloire.
Day 4: Thursday, July 14, 2005
Distance/elevation: 66 miles / climbing 7850 feet.
Route: Valloire Col du Galibier Col du Lautaret Briancon Col d’Izoard Guillestre
This day starts with an absolute highlight: the Col du Galibier, not only one of the highest passes but also probably one of the most famous climb in the history of the Tour de France. Then we reach Briançon, the highest city in Europe, where another legendary climb begins: the Col d’Izoard . Enjoy the really unique and breathtaking landscape and the perfectly paved road up to the summit. The little Tour de France museum, presenting many historic facts and pictures on top of the Col, is worth a visit. After the descent through the amazing Casse Dessert, we ride through the wild and gorgeous Valley Combe du Queyras. Guillestre, a very vital and picturesque village, which has hosted the Tour de France several times, marks the end of this wonderful stage.
Day 5: Friday, July 15, 2005
Distance/elevation: 70 (78) miles / climbing 7500 (10160) feet.
Route: Guillestre Col de Vars Barcelonnette Col de la Cayolle Guillaumes Valberg
Today we enter the northern edge of the Sea Alps and Provence. You will enjoy this fascinating landscape, which is different from everything you have seen the days before. Don’t forget your camera and enough film or storage cards. Immediately after leaving Guillestre, we tackle the 13-mile ascent up to the Col de Vars. A narrow road along limestone cliffs and waterfalls leads us to the Col de la Cayolle. We think it's one of the three most beautiful passes in the Alps. You will have a perfect panoramic view over the whole Mercantour National Park, probably, giving you a tinge of regret at having to leave this naturally beautiful area. The small town of Guillaumes marks the end of this descent and the end of the stage if you choose the shorter ride-option. Enter the vans here and enjoy the 20-minute drive up to the ski-resort Valberg (or ride to the top with your guides!)
Day 6: Saturday, July 16, 2005
Distance/elevation: 84 (73) miles / climbing 8600 (5300) feet.
Route: Valberg - Col de la Couillole - Col St. Martin - Col de la Porte - Col St. Roch - Col de la Madone Menton
We promise you that this day will stay burned in your mind for years to come! You will ride on tiny, remote and very scenic roads through the unique landscape of the Sea Alps and get to know the best road descent that we have ever ridden. Everyone preferring an easier ride today should get into the vans waiting at the bottom of the longest climb of the day up to the Col de St. Martin. The final climb brings us up to the Col de la Madone, a nearly forgotten road that insiders in the cycling world probably know better than local non-cyclists. This route marks Lance Armstrong’s training climb, during those years when he lived here at the Côte d’Azur. The summit is one of the best spots around to have a great overview over the coastline, so we chose this place for a relaxed afternoon with a huge final MILES-buffet to celebrate an appropriate end of a great week in the Alps!
Day 7: Sunday, July 17, 2005
Recovering day at Menton. Go swimming, shopping and enjoy the French lifestyle!
Departure day: Day 8: Monday, July 18, 2005
Departure van transport provided to the Nice airport.