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France - Alp D'Huez Express

France - Alp D'Huez Express

Degree of difficulty - C

This five day Alpine cycle is designed to give the rider a chance to experience some of the famous challenges that face the Tour de France rider. But unlike the Tour de France the distance is kept to around 100km per day, so giving a chance to mere mortals to tackle these iconic climbs.

Alpe D'huez will undoubtedly be the highlight for many people, so our first day is shorter to fully enjoy this challenge! After tackling this Tour icon on our second day we then continue over the Col de Seranne (also used in the 2013 Tour) to continue on the gentle slope of the Lautaret.

On our third cycling day we have an option for the climbers which includes the spectacular Col D'Izoard, a mighty 2360 metres high and a geological wonderland at the top in the Casse-Deserte. The other route includes some lesser climbs and descents as it rests a little above the Durance River valley with wonderful views. Both routes come together in the ski resort of Guillestre.

We continue to stick to the backroads with some more climbs and descents as we get great views across the Lac de Serre-Poncon.  Gap is our final night together,  a town which easily combines the gentle energy of Provence with its lively and colourful city centre and the purity of the Alps.

Day 1 Friday 6th September 2019      Arrive Grenoble
Direct Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Lyon ( booked direct by participants )

One set group transfer from Lyon airport to Grenoble (approx 75 minutes). The city is known as the capital of the Alps and cable cars can bring you to the most famous of its sights, the Bastille, which sits in a dominant position, affording great views of the city and surrounding mountains.

Day 2 Saturday 7th September       Grenoble to Bourg D’Oisins (126km)
Owing to its position at the base of the Alps, we will quickly find ourselves in typical beautiful Alpine scenery, where crystal clear lakes give way to the backdrop of majestic mountains.

We will make our way to Bourg D’Oisans over the Col D’Ornon.

This is a fantastic quiet road that has a gentle gradient, which was also used in the 2017 Tour De France. We then take on the 13km/1000m ascent on the hairpins of what is probably the worlds most famous climb, Alpe d’ Huez. After the obligatory photos we descend the same route to our hotel in Bourg d’ Oisans.

Bourg D’Oisans is at the base of Alpe D’huez and in the summer months buzzes with cyclists, riding to or from the mountain, recounting their story in a local bar or buying the inevitable souvenir jersey.

Day 3 Sunday 8th September           Bourg D’Oisans to Briancon (85km)
Though this day is short from a distance point of view it involves plenty of climbing with over 3000m of height gain. Most of the climbing is at reasonably gentle gradients.

From Bourg D’Oisans we head upstream on the Romanche Valley and begin climbing after just 5 km. After a short sharp start the road levels and we can enjoy magnificent views over Lac du Chambron. The gradients are gentle here, rarely reaching 6% , as we very gradually climb over 30 km up to the Col du Lautartet (2058m).

It is from here the real climbing begins as we turn North onto the climb to the Col du Galibier (2642m). There is a noticeable difference in the gradient and the landscape here. The trees have disappeared and rock strewn alpine meadows with occasional snow banks backed by Glacier capped peaks fill our panorama.

Its is 8.5km from the Col du Lautaret to the Col du Galibier but the road narrows and ramps up with an average gradient of 7% and sections which reach beyond 10%. After taking the photos at the top we descend to return to the Col du Lautaret.

We then have a further 27km which is almost entirely descending to Briancon whose fortified old town is a UNESCO world heritage site and sits on top of a steep hill guarding access to four valleys.

Those who still have energy have the option of continuing past the hotel and riding over the Col de Montgenevere, a 10km climb into Italy.

Day 4 Monday 9th September          Briancon to Gap (126km)
Todays main climb is probably the most spectacular in France.

The Col D’Izoard was a mountain top finish in 2017 tour. It is a mighty 2360metres high 19km long and has a geological wonderland at the top in the Casse-Deserte. The descent through the gorges of the Guil river are also breathtaking.

Our route criss-crosses the Durance Valley taking Embrun and including the climb of Puy Sanieres and much of the route of Stage 17 of the 2013 Tour de France (TT won by Chris Froome). These roads provide superlative panoramas across Lac de Serre-Poncon to the surrounding Alpine peeks. We continue to stick to the back roads with some more climbs and descents as we get great views across the Lac de Serre-Poncon.

Gap, a Tour stage finish in 2015 easily combines the gentle energy of Provence with its lively and colourful city centre and the purity of the Alps.

Day 5 Tuesday 10th September Gap to Grenoble (123km)
The final day includes two more Tour de France climbs.
The Col de Manse has been used in the Tour de France a few times, twice in 2013 and as recently as 2015. It has always added some intrigue and controversy as the descent is technical. The summit has one of the 6 historic “Refuge Napoleans” at the summit.

The second climb of the day is the Col de Noyer. This climb has been used sparingly by the Tour, having been crossed only 4 times. This is a pity as the climb is a very pretty one with breath taking panoramic views with on one side, Le Devoluy’s arid ridges and on the other, the natural greenery provided by the Drac Valley.
The mountains still provide a wonderful backdrop but the major climbs are now left behind heading back to where it all began in Grenoble.

Day 6 Wednesday 11th September Departure
Depart Gap on one set transfer to Lyon Airport (75 minute journey) and onward flight to Dublin.

2019 Tour Price
€1165 per person sharing ( price based on a minimum group size of 16 ).
€1430 single room

Tour Includes

  • Five Nights Hotel accommodation
  • 5 x dinners & 4 x Lunch
  • Snacks along the route
  • Back up vans with drivers and full mechanical support
  • Cycling guides at the ratio of 1 guide per 10 cyclists
  • Set Transfer to/from Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport
  • Transport of Bikes to/from Dublin
  • Fully researched route on quiet backroads
  • Flights to and from Lyon are not included and to avail of transfers to and from the tour clients must be on our advised flights

Self Guided Tour Information

The information is currently being updated. New content coming soon.

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.

As always please contact us in the office for more information (info@cyclingsafaris.com).

We do not organise flights to the tour but we will organise a set collection to and from the tour to Lyon Airport

On the 6th of September we recommend everyone to be on the Aer Lingus flight departing Dublin 11.40 and arriving in Lyon at 15.00
On the 11th of September we will bring the group back to Lyon airport for the Aer Lingus flight to Dublin departing at 15.40

Of course you can take an earlier flight and meet the group at the airport for the transfer or make your own way to and from the tour start and finish points

Thanks so much, Aidan, Duncan and Marcin for a fantastic trip!  
Day 2 was the most epic, hardest day on a bike, but within your excellent advice, on clothing, ascending and descending, eating - things went better.
Be back next year for sure!

Anthony O Malley 2018

Just a quick note to say thanks for all the organisation of the trip. 
Not having been to the Alps before it was certainly an experience to see the Col's first hand .... and not merely on 'Tour TV'.

Tony Brabazon, 2015

I think it is a great route and one that many enthusiastic amateurs such as ourselves would enjoy as much as we did. You should promote it more widely.

Gerry Hassett 2014

The trip is really well balanced. Day one is nice and scenic and good preparation. Day two is a challenge and we all enjoyed having a crack at Alpe D'Huez which is really special. 

Gerry Hassett 2014

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