Cyclists fly out to France and make their way to Aix-Les-Bains, register with the pie team on arrival, followed by dinner and the Event briefing.
We start the day with a short spin next to the lake out of Aix-Les-Bains, before heading into the hills. The main focus of the day is the Col du Galibier – we approach from the north with a 35km climb, gaining 2120m in height at an average gradient of 6.1% (maximum gradient is around 10%). Mercifully, the route then takes us downhill all the way to the next hotel. Dinner will be taken at the hotel or in a local restaurant.
Today is “double col day”, with the route being divided into two sections with almost identical climbs. It’s uphill straight out of the hotel as we begin our ascent of the first col of the day – the famous Col D’Izoard. The climb from Briançon is 19km long, with an 1100m gain in height at an average gradient of 5.8% and a maximum gradient of 9%. The top of the climb is marked with a monument, next to which you’ll find the all-important pie support crew on hand to offer refreshments and encouragement.
We then descend for 30km, before beginning our ascent of the Col de Vars. Again, the ascent is 19km long, with an average gradient of 5.7% (overall ascent of 1,111m). The final section of the day is another 30km downhill ride, with a short, sharp sting in the tail around the hairpin bends up to the ski resort of Pra-Loup and the welcome sight of the hotel.
The final day! There is a short descent back down into the valley, before the final major ascent of the tour as we take on the Col de la Bonette. Tantalisingly, there is a loop at the top of the Col which ascends slightly into the “highest paved through route” in the Alps – a must for any serious cyclist! The climb itself is 24km long, ascending 1589m at an average gradient of 6.6%. Fittingly, the Col de la Bonette is the highest point of the trip and so it’s a 115km descent from here all the way to Nice for celebratory beers on the promenade!
Later in the evening, we enjoy a well-deserved celebratory meal, and friends and family are more than welcome to join (subject to availability).
Travel home at your leisure.