3 days cycling, 470km
Super exciting stages, epic long ascents, ridiculous gradients and still more to climb around the next corner – with views all the way!
What a weekend! Stage 13 is the “Grand Colombier special” with views from the summit of what’s still to come. Then the next two stages explore the stunning area between Lake Geneva and Mt Blanc and names that are better known for skiing than cycling. Hidden amongst the glamour-climbs like the Joux Plane, Forclaz or Croix Fry (where Tour fans will already be waiting) are plenty of quiet, beautiful, peaceful climbs where you’ll experience the mountains far away from the crowds. This Loop includes the Etape du Tour stage but with the added challenge of the stage before and the stage after!
There’ll be cow bells, snowy peaks, green pastures, blue-blue lakes and mountain food a-plenty.
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 under own arrangements.
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 – 138km
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 120km…
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!
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 – 152km
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 it gets serious, with a 14km ascent of the Col de Ramaz, which claims an average gradient of 7.1%, but definitely has a 12% section in there somewhere. This monster climb takes us up above the treeline, before sending us down into the busy valley of 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 just cycled stage 14 (the Etape du Tour stage) of the actual Tour de France.
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Annemasse hotel
Finish: Morzine hotel
Sunday 9th July 2023. Stage 15 – Les Gets to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc – 180km
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 we roll alongside the heavenly blue lake for 10km, en route to the first serious climb of the day – the Col de la Forclaz. We have gorgeous views of the lake as we catch our breath at the top, and then it’s onwards (briefly downwards), and upwards over the Col du Marais and the Col de la Croix Fry, lined with pretty wooden chalets that will make you want to park your bike and live here forever. There’s a shallower drag up to Megève from Flumet, and then the real fun 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 4,300m 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!
Le Loop Logistics
Start: Morzine hotel
Finish: St Gervais hotel (3 night stay for Grand Loopers, 2nd half and Mountains Week)
Moday 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