- Legendary Tour de France challenges every day
- The unusual Casse Déserte landscape at the top of Izoard
- Paying homage to the Coppi and Bobet memorials
- Conquering the 2,800m summit of the Cime de la Bonette, Europe’s highest road
- Exhilarating descents from Col de l‘Iseran and the Restefond
- Last night celebrations on the French Riviera
We will meet you at Geneva airport to transfer you to your first night’s accommodation in Thonon les Bains. Help will be on hand if you require assistance to build your bike and if time permits, we’ll suggest a suitable gentle route to stretch your legs.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 2,800 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Col de Ramaz
We’ll start the day with a short ride to the lake shore where we can mark the beginning of our journey with that all important group photo before weaving our way through the streets of Thonon to get onto the route.
There is nothing too demanding on the first day and it is a great opportunity to find our climbing legs as we enjoy the spectacular scenery. It is not entirely without challenges however and within the first 11km we will have 3 cols under our belts; Cols des Moises, Mouilles and Jambaz, all just over 1,000m with little descending between them. A little later in the day we come across the Col de Ramaz (1,608m) which will be our biggest test of the day.
Our final challenge of the day delivers us to Megève (1,107m), a luxurious ski resort town, considered to be one of the finest in France. It’s well worth taking a wander round the boutique lined streets later, even if it is just window shopping!
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 3,700 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Cormet de Roselend
Our day begins with a short descent out of town before reaching Col des Saisies at 1,633m, which is quickly followed by the Col du Pré at 1,703m. From the top of the Col du Pré there are beautiful views of the bright blue Cormet de Roselend lake, a great photo opportunity. Both the Saises and the Cormet de Roselend featured in a stage of the 2002 Tour and this was the stage used for the Etape du Tour, the same year.
For much of the day we can admire stunning views of the permanently snow-capped Mont Blanc as it towers above the surrounding peaks.
We finish the day by climbing the first stages of the Col de l‘Iseran, ending in the world famous ski resort of Val d‘Isère, where we will spend the evening.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 3,400 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Col du Galibier
What lies ahead today is likely to be, for many of us, the most challenging stage of our tour. Having climbed approximately two thirds of the Col de l‘Iseran already, we start our day by completing the remaining, and most spectacular, 10kms to reach the summit of the second highest mountain pass in France, where we will regroup, enjoy the magnificent views and wrap up for the lengthy and exhilarating descent to the base of Col de la Telegraph which follows.
We’ll spend the rest of the day in the company of the Telegraph and its big brother, the Col du Galibier, two of the most famous climbs in Tour de France history, which, when paired together as they so often are, make for an unforgettable afternoon’s cycling.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,700 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Col d‘Izoard
A shorter but no less dramatic day awaits which we begin with a morning assault of the stunningly-beautiful Col d‘Izoard, a regular feature in professional cycling and a gateway to the high alps.
On reaching the summit we are welcomed by an unusual and rugged Casse Déserte landscape, where, once again we will don extra layers as we prepare for the descent, two kilometres into which we may wish to pull in to admire the monuments erected to commemorate legendary Tour de France winners Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet.
Finally, having descended to the town of Guillestre we end the day with the Col de Vars, a spectacularly pretty climb littered with the remains of numerous Napoleonic forts which hark back to the time when this region of the alps was the main frontier between France and Italy.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 3,300 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Col del la Bonette
We have a dramatic, challenging and spectacularly beautiful day in store as we take on the Col de la Bonette. The highest point of the stage, and indeed our entire journey, is the Cime de la Bonette, sitting at 2802 metres above sea level. The cime is in fact a supplementary loop constructed 87 metres higher than the actual mountain pass, built with the sole purpose of putting the region on the map and staking a claim as the highest paved road in Europe and the highest point ever reached by Tour de France.
After admiring the magnificent views from the rarified summit we indulge in a thrilling 26km descent which swiftly delivers us to Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée where we will regroup before dropping even further into the gently-descending Vallée de la Tinnée.
By the time we’ve lost 2000m in altitude it is time to start climbing once again as we embark on the Couillole, a relatively minor col but a dramatic one into an ever-more Mediterranean terrain. We end this fantastic stage with a spectacular descent through the beautiful Gorges de Cians and one final minor climb to the peaceful and secluded hamlet of Puget Rostang.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,500 Metres Approx.
Climb of the Day: Col de Bleine
The high alps and the majority of the climbing might well be behind us but with around 100 miles of fantastic riding still ahead of us, our final day in the saddle still gives us a lot to look forward to.
We begin by retracing the last few kilometres of yesterday’s stage as we drop down to Puget Théniers and cross the Vars river before starting to climb the Col de Saint Raphael. It is the first of a series of relatively minor cols that we will explore via a network of narrow country lanes which wind their way through numerous pretty hamlets and villages such as Sigale and Le Mas.
After completing the Col de Bleine, the last significant asset of our entire journey, we’ll pass through Grasse, capital of the world’s perfume industry and one the French Riviera’s major attractions, before making our way down to sea level, emerging at the coast near to the historic resort town of Antibes.
From Antibes we will make our way along the glitzy coastline of the Côte d‘Azur, ending our adventure on the world-famous Promenade des Anglais where we can celebrate with a glass of bubbly and customary dip in the Med.
The terrain is what you might expect from one of Europe’s major mountain ranges. Including numerous serious Tour de France cols, the tour involves a lot of climbing. Two or more significant climbs a day is not uncommon and many will include steep sections. Take caution when descending as the odd pothole and gravel patches do occur. Many descents feature numerous tight bends and switchbacks. Confident descenders will enjoy the downhill stages whereas less confident riders will be expected to exercise caution.
Road Cycling Grade
60-100 miles / 95-160 kms per day
Designed for cyclists with good stamina and a high level of fitness
Consecutively long, challenging days with multiple serious or high altitude ascents
Frequent steep or very steep stages occasionally over extended distances
Includes long and often technically demanding descents
Serious road riding for experienced riders
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
You’re not unlike a Grade 4 rider, in fact you’re probably the same person, but you’re looking for the ultimate challenge. You’ve ridden in the high mountains on numerous occasions and you’re keen to push your boundaries a bit further. You’re well-equipped with all the gear necessary to keep yourself warm and safe in the mountains in all conditions, a self-sufficient rider who likes to get on and ride with minimum fuss and faffing. Your riding experience is the most important aspect of your trip. You live to ride, love to climb and the prospect of consecutive days of long distances and/or multiple extended or high altitude ascents fills you with joy. You’re a very competent descender, but you understand the risks of road riding and always ride with your own safety, and that of your companions, at the forefront of your mind. You’re already fit and you’re prepared to work hard to stay in shape in order to get the best possible experience out of your holiday. You will love a Grade 5.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Geneva airport (GVA)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Nice airport (NCE)
What's not Included
A) Bike hire (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Meals not stated in the itinerary
D) Single room (available if required)
E) Travel insurance
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
A day in the life on a cycling holiday
Eat, ride, relax, repeat! We take a trip inside the mind of a cyclist as they navigate their day on tour...
5 tips for descending
What goes up must come down! If you’ve conquered that big hill it is time to enjoy the reward...
Mind hacks to help you up hills
Easy mental strategies that will help you learn how to love hills!
Fantastic holiday. Spectacular scenery, roads, climbs and descents. Excellent support from the guides. Great camaraderie within the group, we all got on with no problems. Lovely hotels (especially the chateau!)
The guides were all excellent – supportive and enthusiastic. Every aspect of the trip had been thought out and follow through with professionalism. No negatives at all.
Very challenging and beautiful rides- great support from Skedaddle staff- great food and accommodation. Helpful advice on riding from staff and loads of helpful info. Before the trip I wasn’t sure about the valuer for money on this trip – but on seeing the amount of support provided, the accommodation and food I certainly think it was good value. Some accommodation, such as the castle, was outstanding!
The guides were both excellent in giving me tips as a novice mountain rider. I learnt a lot.
Peter, GlasgowWould be difficult to beat!
This trip was way above my expectations. The route was spectacular, the guides were professional and the logistics were handled impeccably. The choice of accommodation was excellent each night. It was agreed with the other riders at the end of the holiday that it would be very difficult to beat the Raid Alpine with Skedaddle in terms of challenge, enjoyment and great scenery/culture.
Carolanne, ScotlandFirst time with Skedaddle and had a wonderful holiday!
I liked the fact that when I rang the Skedaddle office I could speak to the same person who knew the trip I was going on, so I wasn’t just ‘a number‘. There was a bit more of a personal touch. In the past when I have called the office to ask about trips, the staff have been very honest about them, I like that. Rather than just trying to sell a trip.
I loved cycling into Antibes and along the seafront to Nice. For me this trip has been the ultimate cycling experience. To have cycled on roads that were in the Tour de France – WOW!! To have cycled up the highest paved mountain pass – amazing!! Can cycling get any better? My hire bike was a brand new Giant bike – it was like Christmas getting a new bike! The bike was very similar to my own bike so I was extremely happy. I would consider hiring a bike on another trip
Nothing was too much bother. Very helpful, highly organised, informative. Because this was my first trip with Skedaddle, I really didn’t know what to expect. Everything was so well organised.
For me, being female on my own, its a fantastic way to see the world on a bike feeling safe – you can’t put a price on that!
You know I will join another Skedaddle holiday! David (the tour leader) was his usual enthusiastic and encouraging self – I can’t believe I did this trip – and I think I have probably repeated the feedback I gave last time.
Michael, LondonTour leader service
Skedaddle’s David is a pleasure to ride with, organised, helpful and a great guy to share a beer or a bite to eat with.
Everyday was good. I guess the stand out days would be the 100 or so miles from Susa to Barcelonnette (tough and a great sense of achievement once complete) or the much shorter ride from Barcelonnette to Auron, up the Col de la Bonette. An enjoyable if long climb and spectacular views from the top.
I don’t think the trips are cheap, but I certainly think they are worth the money.
Daryl, LeicestershireHard, but rewarding!
All days were hard but rewarding and it was so cool to see the writing left from the Tour de France!
Gordon, CumbriaThe whole trip was excellent - as always with Skedaddle
David went the extra mile for all members of the group and made sure everyone was given the same level of attention and support, and he coordinated Imy and Vanessa brilliantly to make sure all our needs were met, food and drinks were there at the right times and that the van was never far away when bags and snacks were needed – But don’t tell him!
Your product is just so good, it will always be Skedaddle for me :-)