3 days cycling, 382km
Back-road climbs, classic climbs, flying descents, Alpine views, camper-vans lining the famous summits: you have it all in the Alps.
If you’d love to give the Alps a go but are daunted by the scale of the full Tour de France stages, this is for you.
We’ve shortened each stage to make sure you have the time and energy to enjoy the highlights – and there are many. You’ll see lakes, valleys, snow-capped mountains and perfect winding roads and you’ll share the camaraderie of the Le Loop peloton who’ll cheer you on and encourage you every kilometre of the way.
After climbing and descending through some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery, over climbs your heroes will take on one week later, a view of Mont Blanc as you roll into St Gervais is the cherry on your Tour cake and an amazing way to celebrate the achievement of riding three challenging days in the Alps. For even more description, see the main Alps Loop description.
Note on the Lite option: Some people love knowing they’ve completed full stages; others love knowing they’ll finish before dinner. For us, there’s no better or worse and everyone will be welcomed as equals… because if you’re happy cycling, we’re happy for you.
Arrival & Departure:
Thu 6th July: Arrive to Belleville en Beaujolais hotel by 7pm for arrival briefing
Mon 10th July: Depart from St Gervais Les Bains hotel.
Thursday 6th July: Arrival day
Arrival to Belleville en Beaujolais hotel by 7pm for arrival briefing.
Friday 7th July 2023. Stage 13 – Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier – 103km
This is a Big Name Day but don’t let the excitement (trepidation?) of the Grand Colombier distract you from the beauty of the preceding 85km…
To start with Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne is a charming medieval town, also the Jura are genuinely breath taking mountains and top that off with some of the nicest descents of the Tour. If you cycle this stage, you’re in for a lot of lovely surprises.
Happily, on this stage we get to warm up gently, crossing the Saone valley as the Jura get ever closer. The green meadows and dramatic rocky outcrops lead us to the first (of two) big climb of the day -up onto the Hautville-Lompnes plateau (it’s high – you can ski here), famed since the 1920s for its health-giving fresh air (seriously). A long descent sweeps us down towards Culoz, the starting point for our second (massive) climb. Grand Colombier is always a treat when it appears in the Tour de France – it’s a steep, challenging road (17.4km at 7.1%, but touching 12% in places), with some of the most photogenic hairpins you’ll find anywhere and views out over the Rhône river and Lac Bourget (plus Lac d’Annecy, Lake Geneva, the Alps and even Mt Blanc if you’re lucky). Stunning!
Lite: This stage is a great way to start a Loop; not too long and focused on just two big climbs. However, if you’re really worried about managing it all, we’ll give you a lift to the first feedstop at 35km and your day just became a 100km beauty.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Belleville en Beaujolais hotel or transfer to Chatillon sur Chalaronne (TBC)
Finish: Transfer to Annemasse
Saturday 8th July 2023. Stage 14 – Annemasse to Morzine – 127km
This stage packs an almost unbelievable 4,100m of climbing into its relatively short length, with six major cols, and barely a kilometre of flat road. There’ll be views of Lac Léman (that’s Lake Geneva to the anglophones) as we pull away from Annemasse, but we’ll more likely be focused on the climbing ahead starting with the relatively benign Col de Saxel – it’s a gentle ascent through forests and meadows and nice warm-up for what’s to come. Next up is the Col de Cou (7km at 7.4%), quickly followed by the Col du Feu (5.8km at 7.8%) and the relatively trouble-free Col de Jambaz. We then enjoy a long descent, with a scenic balcony section (will you interrupt the descent to top for photos?), down to Mieussy – and then comes your short cut, taking you straight to Samoens, where we embark on our final challenge – the 1,691m Col de Joux Plane (11.6km at 8.5%). Some might find it difficult to relish this final ascent because your legs will be weary, but there’s a beautiful lake at the top, a blessed downhill finish into Morzine and the knowledge that you did all of this on a bike.
Lite: Start out the day with everyone else but at 87km you take a short cut direct from Mieussy to Taninges, cutting out 25km and all 1000m of the Col de la Ramaz climb. Your day is now 127km with 3100m of climbing.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Annemasse hotel
Finish: Morzine hotel
Sunday 9th July 2023. Stage 15 – Les Gets to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc – 152km
There are some tricky gradients in today’s stage (few of us will enjoy the 17% section during the final climb up to Saint-Gervais for example) but they are amply compensated for by some of the finest scenery the Alps have to offer. We have an easy start, with 30km of downhill or flat before we tuck into the 920m Col des Fleuries, which takes us over the hills to Annecy. Once there you roll alongside the heavenly blue lake for 10km and take your Lite short cut which is a long, shallow drag that turns into a shallow climb up to Megève, and then the fun that you’ve been saving yourself for begins – a fast descent down to Domancy, and then a really steep climb up towards Saint-Gervais, with the hardest section coming early on, to ensure that, after 3,200m of climbing, your legs really are finished by the time you reach the top. One week later the pros will be here, making history on the exact same climbs and their legs will be finished too!
Lite: A double short cut in the middle of the day takes you along the valley (with a 500m climb over 28km instead of 3 up/down climbs) from Bluffy to La Praise, removing 28km and net 1100m of climbing. So your day is now 152km with 3200 of ascent. This is probably a 2hr saving.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Morzine hotel
Finish: St Gervais hotel (3 night stay for Grand Loopers, 2nd half and Mountains Week)
Monday 10th July: Departure day
Departure from St Gervais under own arrangements.
Stage profiles: All available stage profiles are displayed on our Route page. The Tour de France publish maps and profiles for every stage in June. Until then we have profiles for the mountain stages and the most significant climbs only.
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
The price of this Loop is based on a nightly cost of £175 plus a supplement of £20 for a very nice hotel in St Gervais.
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy in January)
- All food (3 meals and the best feedstops you’ve ever seen)
- Fully signed route, the stuff of legend
- Mechanical, medical and moral support
- Luggage Transfers
- Coach transfers to the next stage start when the stages aren’t contiguous
- Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
- Bike Transport (£30 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
- Evening massage (£10 or €10 per massage if you’d like one – highly recommended)
- Beer/wine/drinks at dinner