Colconquerors - Cycling Holidays French Alps

The Summits of 2018

The Summits of 2018

Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Italian Dolomites)

Located in the Italian Dolomites the Tre Cime di Lavaredo are on border between the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Belluno which is the border between German and Italian speaking locals.

The road cycling climb ends at the Refuge Auronzo which sits at 2340m and offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks (Cima Piccola, Cima Grande and Cima Ovest). By the time you’ve arrived at the refuge you most certainly deserve the views as the last few km of the climb up from lago di Misurina at 1754 meters is certainly punchy.

A little known fact is this years Star Wars spin off “SOLO” was filmed on location here.

We visit the Tre Cime di Lavaredo twice a year in June and July during our Ultimate Italian Dolomites Tour.

Stelvio Pass (Italian Alps)

The Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps - The best cycling climb ever?

At 2757m in altitude and located in the Italian Alps Stelvio needs no introduction to us cyclists. Its summit is located just 200m from the Swiss border and offers the opportunity of climbing to the summit from three sides. A significantly more challenging day than the triple Ventoux!

The classic side northern side has 48 tight hairpins each numbered with a stone to help us keep track of how much of the challenge remains before the summit. The summit of Stelvio is the base of the glacier which is a summer only ski resort with the lifts being accessible only during summer months making it quite unique.

Each season we visit the Stelvio Pass in June and September as a part of our Ultimate Italian Alps Tour. You even have the opportunity to climb all 3 sides in the day!

Cime de la Bonnette (French Alps)

Col de la Bonnette - Cime de la Bonnette the highest paved climb in France

The Cime de la Bonnette claims to be Europe’s highest paved road, however this is somewhat contentious as the Pico de Veleta in Spain reaches over 3000m. However the Cime de la Bonnette is certainly France’s highest paved road coming in higher than the Col du Galibier and Col d’Iseran.

The Cime de la Bonnette at 2802m is 87m higher than the Col de la Bonnette which can be found just below at 2715m in altitude. One thing is for sure and that’s the views are amazing as you approach the Cime from either direction.

The Cime de la Bonnette can be found during our Galibier to Ventoux Raid that runs in July and September.

Mont Ventoux (French Alps technically!)

Cycling the Iconic Mont Ventoux a rewarding experience

Many consider Mont Ventoux to be the hardest of all of the climbs that feature in professional bike racing. The allure of the climb became stronger with the legendary Tom Simpson sadly passing away on the mountain in 1967.

Mont Ventoux from a geographic perspective is part of the Alps range although most consider it to be separate due to the distance from the main peaks and also distinct lack of peaks surrounding Ventoux at 1912m in altitude.

There are 3 possible ways on a road bike to the summit and this provides the possibility of climbing to the summit via all 3 routes in a single day and entering the Club des Cingles. Each climb has its own challenge depending on the order you ride them during the day!

We are found at Mont Ventoux in May and October to benefit from the early and late season sunshine in Provence (it’s much further south than the main Alps) during our Ventoux Challenge Weekends and again in July and September at the end of the Galibier to Ventoux Raid.

Col d’Iseran (French Alps)

Iseran the highest paved pass/col in France

The Col de l’Iseran is officially the highest paved Col in Europe. As mentioned before the Cime de la Bonnette is not classified as a pass so the Iseran takes this crown. With the summit at 2770m the effect of altitude and associated lower oxygen level plays a big part especially during the later stages of the climb from both sides (either Val d’Isere or Bonneval sur arc in the Maurienne Valley). There always seems to be more of an effort in the last kilometre than that of the Galibier and that’s saying something!

The climb on bike in either direction is always memorable and the scenery stunning especially in the latter stages when the surrounding glaciers dominate the skyline. In early season it’s not uncommon to have snow banks either side of the road that are 6 to 7 meters high and this summer could be even higher due to the heavy snow fall. The Col de l’Iseran is in fact nearly always the last Col to open in France each summer due the the huge effort required to clear the snow on the northern (Val d’Isere) side.

We cross the Col de l’Iseran on day 2 of our Alps Challenge Weekends that run in July and August.

Pico de las Nieves (Gran Canaria)

Pico de las Nieves - The high point of any Gran Canaria cycling tour or camp

Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak on Gran Canaria standing at 1949m above sea level. The name translates as ‘peak of the snows’ although these days it’s rare to have snow at any time of year so much so that when it does arrive the schools close and they take the kids up mountains to see it!

There are many routes to the summit of Pico de las Nievas with most being over 45km in length from one of the coastal resorts (usually Mogan, Maspalomas or Agaete on the north west) and each has a unique feel in part due to the distinct change in climate and vegetation between the north and south of the island (the north being far more lush that the more arid south). Which ever route is taken the changes of scenery during the climb to the summit are amazing not to mention the view back to the south coast once you arrive at the summit.

We visit Pico las Nievas many times between November and March each season and it’s included in our Gran Canaria Island Challenge cycling weeks running in November and March when you can climb it from several different sides.

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