C High Road tours are rated ‘Challenging‘. Climbing mountain cols in the Alps requires a high fitness level. This is even more true when you do so over multiple days. High Road Alps 2013 ascends more than 10,000 meters (30,000 feet) in 8 days and is designed for riders who have strong confidence and a clear idea of their abilities. This tour is perfect for cyclists training for a big event or as the main objective of a cycling season. If you are unsure this tour is right for you, contact us.
Day 1: Transfer to The Alps We will pick you up at Nice airport in the morning, carefully pack up your baggage and bikes and then get to know each other a little on our drive to our first base in the Alps, Briançon. Once there we’ll check into our guest house, Chez Bear, have a welcome drink, a short ride (time permitting), then a home-cooked dinner. Lunch and dinner included.
After a gentle freewheel down to Briançon, we pass by the impressive walled upper city and make our way to our tour’s first mountain pass, Col de Montgenevre (1854m), straddling the French/Italian border. We make a fast descent into Italy, then ride north to our 2nd col of the day - l’Echelle (1762m). This is a short climb, but a good way to let the legs know what is up ahead! We descend from Col de l’Echelle into the beautiful Vallée de la Clarée, and a gradual downhill the rest of the way home. Dinner tonight is at a great little restaurant across the border in Italy (you’ll want those carbs for tomorrow!). Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 3: Modane → Col du Télegraphe → Col du Galibier → Col du Lautaret → Briançon (80km, 2000m)
Today is the real deal! You will be driven to Modane, from where you will climb a true classic of the Tour de France – the Col du Télegraphe (1566m) / Col du Galibier (2645m) combo. After a short warm-up from Modane you hit the forested slopes of the Col du Télegraphe, a substantial climb itself, but a mere prelude to what is to come after the alpine village of Valloire. A quick coffee or snack is all you should take here because a mythic mountain awaits – Galibier. This epic climb has been used in the Tour de France many times since 1911 and in the 2011 Tour de France it became the highest ever stage finish. You are climbing in the pedal strokes of legends! Descend home via another TdF pass, the Col du Lautaret (2058m). Dinner will be cooked by our hosts at Chez Bear. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 4: Briançon → Col d’Izoard → Col de Vars → Jausiers (100km, 2350m)
On our third day in the high mountains we leave Briançon and make a long, southerly journey over mighty Col d’Izoard (2361m), then a fantastic ride down through the ‘desert’ of the southern side, followed immediately by a long run through the canyon of the Combe du Queyras. Near the end of our day we ascend the Col de Vars (2108m), which brings us into the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and our home for the next two days – Jausiers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 5: Jausiers → Cime de la Bonette → Jausiers (60km, 1545m)
Today is our ‘easy’ day, but only because you have the afternoon off. After breakfast we will attack the Cime de la Bonette (2860m), the highest paved through-road in Europe, and a very challenging climb. You are rewarded for your hard work, however, with incredible views from the summit, all the way to the Mediterranean on a clear day. After one of the best descents in the Alps, your afternoon is free to do with it as you like (Tip: rest those legs – our climbing isn’t finished yet!). Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 6: Jausiers → Col de la Cayolle → Annot (100km)
This morning we leave the lovely Ubaye valley via the scenic Col de la Cayolle (2326m). This climb was one of our favorites when we did our research – both the ascent and the descent, with its complete change in scenery and great roads. We are still in the high Alps but now the air is slightly dryer, the sky is a bit bluer and you know that the sea not too far away. Tonight we stay in a local hotel and dine on the typical cuisine of this regioni. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 7: Annot → Col de Saint Raphael → Nice (105km, 1343m)
It’s nearly time to celebrate, but not quite yet! Our last day of riding is also our longest, but considering we will go from 600m above sea level down to zero by day’s end, it certainly won’t be our toughest. Don’t worry, though, there will be some climbing along the way, which will seem tame in comparison to what your legs have gotten used to over the previous 6 days. We will aim for an early entrance into the Côte d’Azur (Col de Saint Raphael – 876m), so you will have plenty of time to celebrate your great accomplishment. Tonight’s accommodation is luxurious and you are free to eat where you like. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 8: Transfer from your hotel to Nice airport After checkout we will drive you down the Promenade to Nice airport. All your hard work is over now and you can relax and enjoy the (very short!) ride, but maybe we’ll talk about where you’d like to do your next High Road tour…we’re always open to ideas!
Accommodation for our first 3 nights is at Chez Bear, a private guest house that specializes in catering to cyclists and their hungry needs! Chez Bear is located just minutes from Briançon, listed as a World Heritage Site since 2008. Your guest house is also ideally situated for access to some of the most famous Tour de France climbs in the Alps – Col du Galibier and Col d’Izoard, to name just two (yes, we’ll be climbing both!)
Perched above the bustling town of Barcelonnette, Le Montana is an ideal place to call home for the next two days. We will be minutes from the restaurants and shops of town, but a world away in terms of solitude. The Ubaye Valley is a cycling mecca, with access to multiple giant cols in the beautiful Mercantour National Park. If you have any aches and pains, Le Montana can arrange well-earned massages.
On our penultimate ‘stage’ we stay in the typical town of Annot, classed as a ‘village of character’ by the Hautes Alpes Department. Our hotel for the night, Hotel Beauséjour, is located right on the town’s main square, and will offer us a quiet and comfortable rest for our last push to the Mediterranean tomorrow!
For our last night we are treated to some true luxury (because we deserve it!), at the historic Hotel Negresco (listed as a Historical Monument) in Nice, right on the famous Promenade des Anglais and steps away from the sparkling blue Mediterranean. Pamper yourself as you like tonight because there’s no riding to do tomorrow!