What you can do
With some of the best Alpine riding on their doorstep in Morzine the options are endless. If it’s your first time cycling in the Alps then you can start in the foothills and work up to the bigger mountains over the course of your stay. You could do a point to point ride, for example, Morzine to Chamonix or Morzine to Annecy with a return transfer to Morzine. Circular routes are also possible. Their day rides to suit all abilities from a gentle trip taking in the stunning scenery of the local region up to long endurance rides on which you'll tackle multiple cols and big distances.
Prices for point to point packages are €400 for up to four riders with an addition €75 per extra rider with a maximum of 7 people (large groups are possible - enquire for details).
Prices for circular route are €300 for the first 3 riders and €50 for additional riders.
Morzine Bank Holiday Weekends
Velovation have put together 3 days of riding that blend their favourite climbs and backroads with stunning scenery, classic Tour de France climbs, velvet descents, medieval towns and great food and accommodation.
Enjoy an outstanding stay at Chalet Morin and 3 days of fully supported riding. No need to take any time off work as you will return you to the airport for an evening flight on Monday! Chalet Morin has a large secure garage for bike storage and will be equipped with work stands and all the tools needed to help build your bike on arrival. It Also has a large garden and hot tub perfect for relaxing in after your day's ride.
Route des Grandes Alpes
This is an eight-day trip with six days or riding. The cost is £1,900 per person and the itinerary is as follows:
- Day 1; Arrive at Geneva where they will meet you from your flight and take you to your accommodation. A good meal will be provided along with maps and any other information for the days ahead.
- Day 2: On the first day of this epic tour you'll have 30 km to warm up our legs before the big first ascent. The Col de la Colombiere is where this tour really starts. Wild and uninhibited, this climb will give you a taste of things to come. A fast descent down to Thones and you start to climb again, up through the ski resort of La Clusaz to the Col de Aravis. The col is a low point in the impressive high ridgeline of the Aravis chain. From here you will head to Crest Voland at the foot of the following morning's climb.
- Day 3: After breakfast, it is straight into a short gentle warm-up climb to the Col des Saisies then down the steeper side into Beaufort. The road starts to climb swiftly up to the Cormet de Roseland a cat. One climb, passing the beautiful Lac de Roseland just before the summit. A fun 23km descent takes you to Bourg St Maurice where you will start to climb up to Val d’Isere. When you see the Reservoir, you know you are nearly there as the road winds gently up through a number of tunnels to the hotel in Val d’Isere for a good meal and a comfortable nights sleep.
- Day 4: From Val d’Isere it is straight up to the Iseran, an exposed and tough start to the morning but well worth it for the view from the top. The descent seems endless at 73km but well deserved and very beautiful, it brings you down to St Michel-de-Maurienne where with rested legs you'll tackle the Col du Telegraphe which at 830m height gain is a tough but good end to the day as it winds up through the trees which offer good shade on a hot day. A short descent takes you to Valloire and the hotel.
- Day 5: Following a good nights sleep there is a tough start to day 4. At 18km the Galibier is a beast, with no shade and lots of exposure. This exposure and the stunning views will make you feel on top of the world. The steep 37km descent takes you through some beautiful and unexpected landscape to Briancon where the second climb of the day commences. The Col d’Izoard, the climb at 18km is testing after the past few days riding but passes through some delightful Alpine villages to keep you interested. The descent takes down to Guillestre through the fantastical landscape of barren scree slopes punctuated by huge rock pillars.
- Day 6: Setting off from Guillestre for the penultimate day, the big one. The landscape is changing as you head further South, the day starts with the Col de Vars, it is a climb of two parts. The first is tougher and a hard warm-up. It mellows a bit as you reach the top and then it is downhill into Jausiers. This is when you really start to feel it, at 24km and 2757m the Cime de la Bonette is the highest route in Europe and with a maximum gradient of 12% the oxygen is hard to come by. The surrounding landscape is colourful yet largely deserted now but the views from the top will take your breath away once you have had time to catch it. From the top, you'll descend and finish with a little up to Valdeblore and a well-deserved rest.
- Day 7: The final day and are straight up to the Col St Martin. The terrain now has a wonderful Mediterranean and with the sea air beckoning the first climb to the top doesn’t feel that bad. The wickedly winding climb up the Col de Turini from Bollene-Vesubie is a visually satisfying climb along with the knowledge of it being the penultimate climb. Last but not least is the Col de Castillon. From Sospel the climb is short and as you reach the top the view of the sea is astounding and always very well received. The final destination is 15km downhill into Menton where it is time to relax and rest by the sea.
- Day 8: After a pretty punishing week it is time to go home, fly out of Nice or choose to stay on for a few days at the beach. You will take you to the airport if you choose to fly home today. (They will provide Friday nights accommodation but if you wish to stay in the South for a few days longer it will be up to you to find accommodation and a transfer to the airport).
Alpe d'Huez - Mont Ventoux
This is a five day trip with three days riding and costs £1,100 per person. The trip combines two of the most iconic climbs in cycling history, The Alp with its famous 21 bends leading up to Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux, known as 'The Giant of Provence'.
Starting in the high Alps on the rugged slopes of the Romanche Valley, follow in the pedal strokes of the Tour’s greatest legends and conquer “The Alp” with its 21 infamous switchbacks. From here you make your way southwards over the col d’Ornon and into lesser-known but equally breathtaking cycling terrain of the Parc National Regional du Varcors on your way to the lavender fields of Provence. You might not be in the Alps anymore but don’t be fooled, this is challenging and exhilarating cycling which will lead you to your final epic challenge, Mont Ventoux. You will tackle this beast from Bedoin, the classic route most commonly used by the Tour de France. Winding its way up through the forested lower slopes and onwards and skywards till you reach the lunar landscape of the summit. After a quick coffee stop at the famous Chalet Regnard you’ll partake in what is in their view one of the best cycling descents available, the road to Sault followed by a well-deserved lunch. To finish your tour, no ride in this area would be complete without taking in the grandeur of the Gorge de la Nesque. After a short mellow climb, you can sit back and relax knowing all the hard work is done, enjoy the final descent along the awe-inspiring cliff-hugging road that hangs to the side of the stunning Gorge de la Nesque all the way to your final hotel and a very well earned meal.
Ventoux - Antibes
This is a six day trip with four days of riding from Mont Ventoux through to Antibes via the beautiful Gorge du Verdon. The trip cost £1,450 per person.
Starting the journey on the slopes of one of if not the most iconic of cycling’s notorious climbs, Mont Ventoux “The Giant of Provence” you will surely have a taste of things to come. This journey will take you from the steep forested slopes and breathtaking views of the lunar landscape summit of Mont Ventoux southwards through the quiet roads lined with the famous lavender fields and orchards of Provence. You will pedal your way along the perfect roads of this beautiful region's cycling heaven. Day three will see you tackle one of Frances most beautiful highlights, The Gorge du Verdon with its crystal blue waters and cavernous ravines. The cliff-hugging road that winds its way up to the top of one of nature's finest creations. As you near the Mediterranean and your final destination they will show you just why this area is so loved by cyclists from all over the world. With its hilltop villages, deep ravines, perfect tarmac and roads that defy gravity, its almost as though this area was created purely with cyclists in mind. What better way to finish such a ride than with a very well deserved celebratory beer on the beach and a dip in the warmth of the Meditaranian sea.
The Big One
This is a five-day trip with threes days of riding and costs £1,100 per person. Highlights of the tour include the cols de l’Iseran, du Galibier, du Glandon and de la Madeleine, plus Alpe d'Huez's 21 bends! The itinerary is as follows:
- Day 1: Arrive at Geneva on a flight with the rest of the group and you will meet you and take you to Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise where the tour will begin tomorrow. The hotel will provide an evening meal and you will talk you through the next few days riding.
- Day 2: Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise-Col d’Iseran-Modane 90km, gain 2049m. Just the one climb today but it’s a big one. The Col de l’Iseran at 2763m is the highest road pass in Europe. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel you hit the road, it’s an uphill start but the gradient remains fairly gentle for the first part of the climb up to the world famous ski resort of Val d’Isere. Just before Val, where you'll stop for coffee, you'll pass the original village of Tignes although you are unlikely to see it. In 1952 the village was submerged beneath the Lac Du Chevril after the construction of the huge dam and only becomes visible once every ten years when the vast lake is drained for maintenance work on the dam. In 1989 the dam was painted by Jean-Marie Pierret and a team of climbers with a huge fresco of Hercules which is considered to be one of the largest frescos in the world. After your rest the real climb begins. You leave the tree line behind in Val d’Isere and head up into the barren but stunningly beautiful high mountains. It is 16km to the summit from Val and with an average gradient of 6% and a maximum of 12% you’re sure to feel the effects of the high altitude. At the summit, they provide you with your refreshments and you will have the chance to put on some warmer clothes ready to enjoy the reward for all your hard work, the breathtaking, thoroughly engaging descent into the valley on the other side. You end the day with a short climb up to tonight's hotel, a well-earned meal and a good nights sleep.
- Day 3: Modane-Allemand,Telegraphe, Galibiere, Alp d’Huez. 135km, 3439m gain. Today is a big one including three the most infamous climbs of the Tour de France; the Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibiere and the notorious Alp d’Huez. After a gentle warm up down the valley to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne you turn left onto smaller roads and the start of an epic day. First up is the Col du Telegraphe, often unclassified by the Tour who considers it to be just part of the ascent of the Galibiere. Don’t be fooled, treat this one with respect, it’s a cat 1 climb with a height gain of nearly 900m and a significant climb in its own right. The climb winds up the mountain along a tree-shaded road, never getting too steep and often relinquishing fantastic views of the Maurienne Valley below. The numerous fortifications that can be seen along the way and the huge fort just before the top give an indication of the routes historical importance as a connection between the northern and southern alps. From the top a short 4km descent into Valloire and a quick coffee stop if required takes you to the bottom of one of the most feared and celebrated climbs in Tour de France history - The Col du Galibiere. After a short steep section leaving Valloire you hit 4km of false flat, the long straight road passing up the centre of the valley giving plenty of opportunities to take in the sudden change in scenery from the green forests of the lower valley to the vast barren mountain peaks and enormous scree slopes that surround you now. Hitting the first hairpin bend at Plan Lachat the gradient starts to kick up not dropping below 7.5% and sometimes hitting 10% on the ferocious switchbacks all the way to the top. Your reward for conquering this monster is one of the most breathtaking views in all the Alps. Looking down on the switchbacks that you’ve just overcome and watching tiny specks of cyclists making their way up from the valley if the Galibiere has not already succeeded in making you feel very small it will now. The next 47km of beautiful descending take you down to the Col du Lautaret and on through the world famous mountaineering town of La Grave overlooked by the daunting La Meije Glacier, past Lac du Chambon below the ski resort of Les Deux Alps and on to Le Bourg d’Oisans at the foot of your final challenge for this epic day - Alp d’Huez. Probably the most famous climb of the Tour De France, the 21 hairpin bends have decided the winner of the yellow jersey and been the setting for many epic battles on numerous occasion. A true legend of the Tour. The first section of the climb is the steepest rearing up to 13% in places. Whilst counting off the numbered bends take in the names of all the past Tour De France winners on “The Alp” a rider commemorated on each bend with his name and the year of his win as well as the ever-widening view of the deep Romanche Valley. After bend 17 the gradient slackens off a little and you know the worst is over. After a quick break in the ski resort of Alp d’Huez to take on some refreshments and to contemplate exactly what you’ve achieved you’ll head back down taking a small side road for a real edge of the world decent into the town of Allemond on the shores of the Lac du Verney and tonight's hotel.
- Day 4: Allemand-Moutiers, Glandon and Madeleine 91.8km 2732m gain. The first of the days two climbs is the Col du Glandon with an average of only 4.8% you’d be forgiven for thinking this might be an easy one but with the climb being broken by several decents and an ever changing gradient sometimes hitting 12% it’s very hard to find your rhythm making this climb a real challenge. Sometimes described as a Pyrenean style climb, this route has a character very different to anything else you’ll find in these mountains. The road follows the Eua d’Oie river through the forests of the lower climb up past the majestic turquoise Lac de Grand Maison and it’s dam holding back 140 million cubic meters of water which steadily feed the hydroelectric power station passed further down the valley. The forest gradually gives way to bigger views and more open country, look out for the many waterfalls cascading down from mountain faces on the right of the valley and the spectacular Aiguilles de l’Argentiere on the left. While the road carries on to the Col de Fer 3km further on you exit the valley to the left over the Col de Glandon. From here you negotiate the tight hairpins near the summit following the winding road snaking it’s way down into the shade of the trees in the Maurienne valley. After stopping for lunch in the valley floor you cross the river to the town of La Chambre where the ascent of the Col de la Madeleine begins. The Col de la Madeleine connects the Maurienne and Tarentaise valleys and was first established as a route in Roman times being paved with stone in 1938 by Spanish refugees. First climbed by the TDF in 1969 it’s a relative newcomer to the Tour but having been used 23 times since it has definitely established its place as a real classic of the Tour. After 2km of gentle gradient, the road kicks up writhing its way up the mountain with an average gradient of 8% never letting up till you hit the col on the western shoulder of the Vanoise Massif. With some sections of up to 12.5%, this is a real challenge for any cyclist. You will be greeted at the top by the fantastic panorama of the Mont Blanc and Lauziere Massifs and a very well earned break at the mountain top Café. A beautiful descent takes you down into the Tarentaise valley where the minibus will be waiting to help you pack away your bikes for the transfer journey back to Geneva and your flight home.
Be warned you may need another holiday after this one!