Professional Cyclist Ade Hill of Alp Cycles shares his view from the top.
So it seems that many people who spend their winters here sliding down the amazing slopes of the Les Trois Vallees are now heading back in the summer months to hit those same heights on bikes! Whether mountain biking or road biking, the diversity of the Alps has something for everyone.
13 years ago, unlike many who live in this area I arrived at the airport for the start of my first winter with a bike bag not a ski bag and quickly realised I had landed slap back in the middle of some of the best riding in the world. Not long after this I set up my Road Cycling travel company Alpcycles. Now, 11 years on and with us on the cusp of winter 2018/19, I thought I would take a look at what’s going in the local road biking scene for the summer of 2019.
The Tour de France
Firstly, the Tour de France 2019 route was recently announced and it’s great to see that there are 2 Stages close by and one on our doorstep. Stage 20 on Sunday 27th July is the penultimate stage and will start just 30 minutes down the valley in Albertville. The route will take the riders over plenty of local climbs including the Cormet de Roseland before summiting at Val Thorens at a heady 2300m. It is sure to be the scene of some epic battles and a real decider as the riders then head off to the final stage in Paris and tie up the 106th edition of this unmissable race.
To make things even more exciting, this route has also been announced as the Etape du Tour 2019 stage. This means that on Sunday 21st July we’ll see 15,000 amateur cyclists tackling the 135km stage with 4450m of climbing….. and just a few days later you get to watch their cycling heroes ride those same roads as the professional peloton arrives. This is cycling heaven!
Haute Route Alps 2019
Later in August, Courchevel will see a stage finish of the Haute Route Alps 2019. For those of you who don’t know it, Haute Route Alps is the world’s toughest amateur 7 Day Granfondo. Which in 2019 will see road cyclists travel from Megeve to Nice on gruelling mountain routes. Competitors will be covering around 110-150km and 2,800m of climbing a day. They’ll be passing through on Monday 26th August when they finish Stage 2 of the 2019 edition in Courchevel and depart again the following morning. If this sounds like your kind of adventure then get in touch with The Alpcycles team as we’ll be there supporting our guests with complete packages for these events.
A completely new col
But personally, I think the most exciting thing for road cycling in the Trois Vallées area in 2019 is the new tarmac route that has very recently been laid from Courchevel Altiport up to the stunning Col de la Loze at 2300m. The climb is around 7km long at an average incline of 6.5% with the steepest pitches of 17%. Pretty challenging for any keen rider!! Snaking its way up through the valley’s ski fields that we all know and love.
I managed to sneak up there on the bike before the snow arrived and it was truly breathtaking with panoramic views to rival anywhere else in the Alps. Best of all cars are “interdit” which means no traffic. This will be a cyclists only route, shared with the runners and roller-skiers of course next summer.
So make sure you pay the Trois Vallées a visit next summer and clip into your pedals and test yourself on some of the best roads the French Alps have to offer.
Alpcycles has been providing road cycling specific weeks, weekends & bespoke trips since 2007. We’re now an official tour operator for classic granfondos including: La Marmotte, Maratona dles Dolomites and the Haute Route.