Cycling in the French Alps is an experience not to be missed!
On a ride from the King of the Mountains chalet Tour de France history is
never far beneath your wheels; the names of many renowned cyclists remain on
the tarmac from Tours past. You can expect some breathtaking scenery along
the way; snow-capped mountain panoramas, lush valley pastures, pristine lakes,
rivers and waterfalls. Whether you're passing through beautiful Alpine villages
or breaking up your ride on a sunny restaurant terrace or two, there is always a warm welcome
- Ride famous climbs and cols of the Tour de France such as the 21 hairpins
of Alpe d'Huez, all accessible from the King of the Mountains chalet.
- Experience the excitement of a mass-participation ride in the French countryside at either a cyclosportive or cyclorandonnee event.
The riding here is beautiful and plentiful but rarely flat! From undulating rides in the foothills to challenging 'hors categorie' climbs, you will find plenty of variety.
- King of the Mountains are always happy to recommend routes and itineraries depending on what you want from your days' cycling. We provide riders with detailed maps and ride advice (where to find food, water and places of interest, etc.), or, if you prefer to plan your
own itinerary, you will find maps and guidebooks in the chalet to assist
COLS AND CLIMBS ACCESSIBLE FROM THE CHALET
Since 1952, the climb of l’Alpe d’Huez has been a finish for
many a dramatic stage of The Tour de France. Recent Tour history saw it as
the finish for Stage 17 during the 2008 Tour, won by Carlos Sastre of Spain. In 2011, Pierre Rolland took on the Spanish "armada" of Sanchez and Contador to claim a classy French win atop the Alpe after a day of tireless work for his team leader, Thomas Voeckler. History has a habit of being made up there.
- The King of the Mountains chalet is only 10km from the foot of
- Ride the famous 21 hairpins that zig-zag for 13.6km up
the mountain. From the valley floor at 719m you will rise to an impressive
1850m (that's almost the equivalent to riding up Ben Nevis!).
- Have your moment of Alpe d'Huez fame - as you near the final hairpin (during
summer months) there is often a photographer waiting to take your souvenir
snapshot, or maybe take home a souvenir diploma issued
by the Tourist Office to those who have completed the legendary climb!
- King of the Mountains have electronic timing chips that sit in your jersey pocket
and are then detected by transponders along the roue giving you an accurate time of ascent.
- Every Thursday morning in July and August, the Bourg d'Oisans Tourist Office arrange a time trial up the Alpe and it is a lot of fun. It's always different riding up with a number on your bike!
The first Alpine climb introduced to The Tour de France in
1911 by Tour founder Henri Desgrange. One kilometre before the summit from the col du Lautaret side, there is a
marble monument commemorating his work.
This climb is often used in The Tour de France before Alpe d'Huez. There
are stunning views from the summit towards the peaks of the
Aiguilles des Arves and there is also a welcoming bar at the summit with a
A beautiful route passing many rural villages, pastures
and the blue lake of the Barrage de Grand Maison. There are far-reaching views to Mont
Blanc from the summit.
An open ride taking
you through the town of La Grave and on to the summit where the road to the Galibier can be seen snaking above you.
Has been used many times in the Tour de France. Deux Alpes itself is a large
and lively ski resort with many shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.
After climbing Alpe d'Huez it is possible to continue on some 8/10km to the
Col de Sarenne. From here the descent takes you through wild countryside and many pretty villages making a circular route back to the foot of Alpe d'Huez.
The Col de Sarenne can also be approached from the Barrage du Chambon, close
to the foot of the Deux Alpes climb.
Your local col! It was first used in the Tour de France
in 1966 and most recently in 2013 when it was climbed from the South during
stage 18 (Gap to Alpe d'Huez), won by Christophe Riblon for France. A beautiful climb that follows
the stunning Liganarre valley. Laurent Jalabert famously left the road early
in his career, while riding for Toshiba during the Tour de France, on a bend
just below our village, so take care!
There are many lesser known, but equally challenging and beautiful cols, climbs and passes in the area here such as the fearsome Col de Parquetout or Col de Luitel. For those with cars this also opens up the possiblity of riding cols a little further afield such as the Col d'Izoard, Col de la Madeleine, Col du Noyer or even Mont Ventoux!
A Cyclosportive is a mass participation cycle ride attracting
hundreds, sometimes thousands, of entrants. It is up to you to choose your
pace; whether you tuck into a bunch or take a leisurely spin, you will find
there's always a great atmosphere amongst the riders.
- Each cyclosportive usually offers a choice of 2 or 3 circuits,
each varying in distance and difficulty.
- All routes are extremely well marshalled and the first
few kilometres invariably take place on closed roads.
- There are regular feed and drink stations en-route, and when you finish
an inclusive buffet lunch is provided.
- At larger cyclosportives you may be given a timing chip so
that you receive an accurate time and placing, and on some occasions the
organisers give a gift to each rider as a memento of their day.
- As well as cyclosportives, there are many 'Cyclo Randonnees'
held in the local area. These are very similar to cyclosportives; less high
profile, but equally as well organised, they differ in that they are non-competitive with no
mass starts or timing. These randonnees take place most weekends throughout summer. Riders can sign-up on the day of the event for as little as EUR5 and no medical certificates are required to participate.
If you would like to take part in a cyclosportive during your stay with King of the Mountains, then we will happily advise you on local events, all of which we have completed ourselves.
- Challenge Vercors, Sunday 25th May 2014 (TBC). 3 events; 42km 600m climbing, 126km 2,300m climbing or 160km 3,200m climbing.Takes place in the beautiful Vercors region, taking in stunning villages, gorges and tunnels along each route. www.sportcommunication.com
- La Vaujany, Sunday 29th June 2014. 173km 3,850m climbing or 109km 2,450km climbing. A tough event with the longer course passing our door and eventually finishing in the ski resort of Vaujany. www.sportcommunication.com
- La Marmotte, Saturday 5th July 2014. See below.
- La Granfondo Les Deux Alpes, Sunday 24th August 2014. 150km with around 4,200 metres of climbing, as well as a 70km option, with 2,400 metres of climbing and a 50km option too, with 1,700m of climbing. This event also has the option of signing up for a TT up Les Deux Alpes on the day before. A beautiful but very challenging ride with lots of climbs, the finale being up to the ski resort of Les Deux Alpes. A tough day in the saddle! www.sportcommunication.com
Please note that it is a condition of entry at all cyclosportives
that you are able to produce a medical certificate from your doctor stating
that you have been declared fit to participate in cycling events. Without
such a document you will not be permitted to ride. Some cyclosportive organisers accept a race licence in place of a medical certificate.
Your cyclosportive entry fee is not included in the price of your
THE MARMOTTE 2014
This takes place on Saturday 5th July 2014. Attracting around 8,000
riders, The Marmotte is one of the best known and most challenging of all cyclosportives. Underestimate this event at your peril!
- Departing from Bourg d'Oisans (just 10km from the King of the Mountains chalet), its'
route takes in the Col du Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraph, Col du Galibier
and Col du Lauteret, finishing with the climb up Alpe d'Huez. In total a circuit
of 174km and between 4,000m and 5,000m of climbing!
- Our proximity to the start and finish lines of The Marmotte and the cols that make up the route
mean that we are an ideally situated base, whether training and acclimatising before the event,
participating or spectating.
- During the Marmotte week, King of the Mountains offer transport to and from the registration centre in Alpe d'Huez; the start is an easy, 15-20min spin by
bike, all downhill.
- For more information and entry details visit; www.sportcommunication.com.
YOUR BICYCLE AND KIT
- Gearing is personal choice; a 39/25 combination is manageable in theory for strong racing cyclists,
but a compact or triple chainset will make life easier on many of our Alpine climbs.
Should you wish to change your gearing during your holiday, individual Shimano, Sram or
Campagnolo sprockets can be bought in the cycle shops in nearby Bourg
- Wheels: we strongly recommend running a strong and reliable wheelset in the Alps, with sturdy tyres
that are free of nicks and/or excessive wear, allied with (unpatched) quality inner tubes.
The heat build-up and speeds involved riding in the Alps are not conducive to running your lightest race set-up.
Nobody wants a puncture at speed...
- It may be a good idea to service your bike before you
travel, paying particular attention to brake and tyre condition and chain
- Essential kit to bring: spare tubes, puncture repair kit,
hand pump and chain breaker tool. We do
have track pumps in the workshop and hold a small stock of some of the
more straightforward items you may need.
- Lights are not essential as you shouldn't be riding in the dark, though
a rear light for tunnels is useful.
- Whilst it is not a legal requirement to wear cycle helmets in
France, we strongly recommend that you do so at all times, particularly on
descents. The attitude of most Continental road users to cyclists is very
good, but there is always someone in a hurry to get somewhere!
- There are 3-4 bike hire options in the local area. Hire bikes here tend to be equipped with triple chainsets are either aluminium or full carbon frames. Please let us know at the time of
booking if you wish to hire a bike, the duration of hire
required and your frame size. The cost of cycle hire (between 25 and 35 Euros per day) is not included in the
price of your holiday.
TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE
- If travelling by air, it is worth checking individual airline
policies on the transportation of bicycles and other sporting
equipment. Often they will charge a minimal amount for handling such baggage.
- Always allow extra time to check-in when travelling with
- The London, Paris, Brussels and Lille Eurostar service
will accept bicycles if the 'registered baggage' service is used, items are
guaranteed to be ready for collection within 24 hours after registration.
- The French railway (SNCF), allow bicycles on most trains.
TGV trains only accept bicycles that are packed in a bike bag. Alternatively,
bikes can be transported in luggage carriages ‘fourgon’, but these
are not always available.
- YouTubeis a great video resource when looking for information on how to pack a bike box - a sometimes exasperating task...
EATING AND DRINKING ON RIDES
- Energy drinks, bars, gels and supplements are available
from sports shops, chemists, cycle shops and some larger supermarkets in
France, however, the majority of these shops will shut between 1200 - 1430
for lunch. Please be aware that some brands that you are familiar with using may not be available here in France.
- There are many restaurants, cafés and
snack bars in the villages, towns and often at the summits of
some climbs. Cyclists are always welcomed.
- For a small charge we will prepare you a well balanced, high energy,
- You will find that you tend to drink more than usual on a ride in the
Alps. This is due to a combination of altitude and heat. In most villages
and towns you will find ‘bassins’ - troughs/fountains with taps
fresh water. These are ideal for topping up drinks bottles unless
marked ‘eau non potable’ (not drinkable).
The Oisans area has plenty to offer mountain bikers; a good mix of cross
country, freeride and downhill for all levels.
- As well as trails that can be accessed from the King of the Mountains
chalet, the Alpe d'Huez area has over 200km of marked mountain bike
- The Megavalanche downhill course in in nearby Alpe d'Huez is one
of the largest in the world. It descends for 30km/2,800m from
the Alpe d'Huez glacier to the valley.
- Mountain bikes can be hired from many locations nearby.
- During the summer months there are several mountain bike Randonnees held
in the area.
As well as plenty of superb cycling, the area around the King of the Mountains
chalet boasts some great on and off-road running. In nearby
Bourg d'Oisans there is also running track. Within 20 minutes of the chalet
there are several indoor and outdoor 25m pools as well as open
water swimming in the lake at Valbonnais.
The 2014 Alpe d'Huez Triathlon
- Long Course, Wednesday 30th July 2014: Swim 2,200m (open water), Bike 115km (mountain course including Alpe d'Huez), Run 22km (at altitude of 1,850m-2,000m).
- Short Course, Thursday 31st July 2014: Swim 1,200m (open water), Bike 30km (including Alpe d'Huez), Run 7km (at altitude of 1,850m-2,000m).
For further details of the courses and on-line entry forms for the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon visit www.alpetriathlon.com
Please note that it is a condition of entry that you are able to produce a medical certificate from your doctor stating that you have been declared fit to participate in such races.