- Legendary Tour de France challenges every day
- ‘Warming up’ on Mont Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’
- Blue skies, fresh air and snow-capped peaks
- ‘Top of the world’ sensations on the summit of the Izoard
- Ticking off lots of Tour de France classics
- Riding through Provençal lavender flelds, synonymous with the region
- The final challenge of the legendary Alpe d‘Huez
The Skedaddle team really do work very hard to make the whole experience as good as it can get. I cannot fault their enthusiasm and commitment!
You will be met by your Skedaddle representative on arrival and transferred to Bedoin where we spend our first night. After building bikes we’ll settle in for the evening and dine together at which time your Skedaddle guides will talk through what is in store for your week ahead.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,300 Metres Approx.
Main Climb: Mont Ventoux
We begin our adventure with one of the most feared climbs in professional cycling – the legendary Mont Ventoux. The mountain dominates the countryside and can be seen from miles around in all directions. Ventoux has featured in the Tour de France numerous times since 1951 and today we are going to climb it from the most challenging, most famous and most notorious side – the ‘classic’ Tour de France route from Bedoin. It’s a challenging opening to our tour, with little in the way of a warm up, but the mountain is something of a cyclists’ Mecca and you’ll be in good company with literally hundreds of cyclists making the journey to the summit every day during the summer months.
The celebrated British cyclist Tom Simpson died on this ascent during the 1967 Tour de France and on the way up there is an opportunity to visit his memorial, pay your respects and catch your breath before tackling the final km to the summit of the mountain.
After reaching the summit we descend to Sault where we can enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing onwards through the beautiful Provence countryside to the pretty village of Peyruis which will be our home for the night.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,600 Metres Approx.
Main Climb: Col d‘Allos
After a long warm up through Provence’s famous lavender fields, we move into the southern Alps. The main climb of the day, the Col d’Allos runs more or less parallel with its 2 sister climbs the Col de Cayolle and the Bonnette de Restefond, with them all converging within 8km of each other on the far side of the range.
Initially the Col d’Allos (2,250m) follows a stunningly beautiful gorge before opening out onto a winding meadow approaching the summit. Here we will observe, for the first time of many in our tour, Napoleonic forts, some of which have been converted to restaurants and cafes. The views from here are epic and far reaching and we will, if the conditions are good, catch our first glimpse of the ‘Haute’ (high) Southern Alps. We’ll then descend swiftly from the Col d’Allos. For those in need of a little more, there is an opportunity to tackle the short but punchy climb of Pra-Loup, the setting of Bernard Thévenet’s infamous victory over Eddy Mercx in the 1975 Tour de France, where he managed to turn what had been a one-minute deficit at the foot of the climb into a two-minute advantage at the top.
After an epic day in the saddle, most riders prefer to continue straight down into the valley and along to Jausiers for a well deserved rest.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,600 Metres Approx.
Main Climbs: Col du Vars and Col d‘Izoard
Our first climb is the Col du Vars which nearly always features alongside the Col d’Izoard when the peloton visits the region. Today, we will be riding both cols together just like the pros in the 2017 Tour de France.
We begin the day gently as we head up a narrow valley, moving towards Italy. We turn off in the direction of Vars just before reaching the border and begin a beautiful and varied climb which switches back numerous times, offering a chance to see the native ground of squirrels or marmots as we near the summit.
From here we have a long and exhilarating descent to Guillestre, followed by a beautiful ride through the gorged valley to the foot of the Col d’Izoard. The ascent is very beautiful with some of the most dramatic scenery of the journey, and just prior to reaching the main summit the road drops away with a short 0.5km descent into a barren landscape of scree slopes with protruding pinnacles of weathered rock known as the Casse Deserte. Soon the road begins to rise again and the famous Bobet and Coppi memorials can be seen mounted on the rocks on the left hand side of the road just before reaching the summit.
Leaving the Casse Deserte, we descend into the fortified town of Briancon before pedalling a few km out of town to Saint Chaffrey where we lay our heads for the evening.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,700 Metres Approx.
Main Climbs: Col du Lauteret, Col du Galibier
After a few km of relative flat we immediately commence our assault on the Col du Lauteret. This climb is a main transitional climb which connects the southern Alps to the northern Alps and beyond to Grenoble. The climb is steady all the way to its summit and the kilometres pass surprisingly quickly.
We then tackle one of the monuments of Le Tour, the Col du Galibier, a monster of a climb which featured twice in the 2011 Tour de France to commemorate its 100-year association with the great race. The Galibier is one of the more challenging alpine climbs and definitely one of the most scenic, with a steep and narrow road to the summit which seems to twist and turn for an eternity. The air is noticeably thin as we approach the summit and the peak is often snow-capped even during mid-summer. From here we enjoy a descent to Valloire which is our base for the night. As this is a shorter day you will have time to enjoy arguably the most famous col in France and to rest up in the late afternoon in the pretty village of Valloire.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,000 Metres Approx.
Main Climb: Col du Glandon
We begin with a short leg warming climb out of Valloire up to the top of Col du Telegraphe before descending into the jaw dropping scenery of the Maurienne valley.
After some valley riding we then move onto the Col du Glandon, a remote climb with ever changing scenery of pine forest, meadows and rugged peaks. From the top of Glandon an extra 3km leads us to the summit of its sister climb, the Croix de Fer, where we can enjoy a quick coffee before heading down to the lower part of Vaujany and the shores of the Verney lake where we usually have our picnic lunch. Here we can replenish our energy reserves in preparation for the challenges that lie ahead tomorrow.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,475 Metres Approx.
Main Climb: Alpe d’Huez
This is the day every cycling fan dreams of, the day we ride the most famous of all alpine climbs – the legendary Alpe d’Huez – 14km of sheer hairpinned bliss. As we climb in the tyre marks of the greats of the Tour de France, we count down each and every one of the 21 famed hairpin bends before finally reaching this high ski station.
After lunch, we descend back to Vaujany by a lesser known back road, with fantastic views over the valley below to Bourg d’Oisans.
The southern region of the French Alps includes some of the highest and most challenging mountain passes in European road cycling and our route takes us over a number of the more serious Tour de France cols and as such involves a lot of climbing. Two or more significant climbs per day is not uncommon and many will include steep and challenging sections.
Road surfaces are generally good although mountain weather can take its toll. Caution should be exercised, especially when descending as occasional potholes and gravel patches do occur.
Descents are as frequent and as long as the ascents and many feature numerous tight bends and switchbacks. Competent and confident descenders will undoubtedly enjoy the downhill stages, however all riders will be expected to exercise caution.
Traffic is generally light throughout, however it can become more busy on occasional stages approaching towns and villages.
Road Cycling Grade
45-80 miles / 80-130 kms per day
For cyclists with stamina & a good level of fitness
Long & challenging days
Multiple tough or high altitude ascents, with steep sections over extended distances
Long & often technically demanding descents
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 an enthusiast. It’s probably your main hobby and possibly the only sport you take seriously. You’re in pretty good shape and you ride as often as you possibly can. You might participate in the occasional cyclo-sportive and when you do, you probably opt for the longest distances. You love bikes and fantasise about the latest model or the joy of a new set of wheels. You love challenges and you’re looking for a tour with plenty of climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You’re happy to do your turn at the front of the pack if the need arises. You know you can ride a century and probably have done a few. It sounds like you are a Grade 4.
Your holidays have always surpassed expectations and this, my sixth in eight years, was no exception. Our tour guide worked tirelessly!
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 Marseille airport (MRS)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Geneva airport (GVA)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (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
9 things about cycling in France...
Not only is it home to world-class cuisine and some of the most beautiful landscapes, it’s also the spiritual home of cycling...
Mont Ventoux to Alpe d'Huez
Find our more about two of the most iconic climbs in Tour de France history!
Why We Love Climbing Mountains
What makes it special? The companionship, the scenery, the challenge?
Edward, Hampshire, UKExcellent...
Your holidays have always surpassed expectations and this, my sixth in eight years, was no exception. Breakfasts were consistently good throughout, all buffet-style. The picnic lunches excellent as always. I also really appreciated the berry tart (Col de Vars?) and the spag bol atop the Glandon. Dinners varied quite a lot but where there was little choice, pasta and rice were available, just what was needed.
Our tour guide John worked tirelessly to ensure we all had a wonderful time and maintained a steady pace without feeling it was too hurried. The route instructions were printed, with more detail than usual, given that the group would quickly split up on the road.
Nick, Somerset, UKExcellent
Looking at the itinerary I thought this would be a tough challenge, throwing in an ascent of Ventoux on the first days riding. However the days riding were organized very well with great support from Stuart and the others and I was pleasantly surprised to cover some of the biggest cols in the Alps without (much) trouble.
The Telegraph (2018), 52 amazing holidays to take in 2018As seen in the press...
The Tour de France will don Lycra once more between July 7 and 29 – but keen cyclists can pedal ahead of the professionals by riding some of the race’s grand peaks in June. Saddle Skedaddle has an eight-day “Mont Ventoux to Alpe D’Huez” guided jaunt scheduled for June 23-30 (with a second departure on August 18). The trip will, of course, ride the two mountain beasts in question (three weeks before the tour tackles the latter on July 19).
Kathy, Trinidad and TobagoThe team were so supportive...
The Skedaddle team really do work very hard to make the whole experience as good as it can get. I cannot fault their enthusiasm and commitment. It was great to have the support vehicle which was never far away even though the cyclists were well spread out, it was always on hand when needed which was a bit of an achievement in it’s self.
Favourite day was cycling Col de Vars, mostly for the spectacular scenery on the down hill which really took my breath away. Favourite moments was every single summit reached! I’m not a great hill climber and Just felt so happy to have made it.
Darren, Nottinghamshire, UKFantastic trip, highly recommended to any cyclist :-)
Everything was very well organised, with lots of info before and during the holiday. Our guides Stuart had a huge depth of knowledge of the route and cycling in general. He was mega organised all the time and managed to help everyone throughout the day.
Thomas, London, UKThe itinerary was exceptionally well planned...
Having optional climbs as an add-on is a brilliant idea. Our guide Stuart was supportive and encouraging at all times. He was also a great source of interesting facts and anecdotes about the Tour and the world of professional racing. It really helped to get us feeling as though we were following in the footsteps of the ‘giants of the road‘!
The trip featured a well-chosen selection of accommodation (tricky to do when accommodating a cycling itinerary), with a couple of particularly comfortable locations. Having two nights in the same location at the end of the trip was very nice as it saved having to pack stuff up again, and the Chalet was lovely.
Stuart, Lanarkshire, UKThis is one of the best adventure/holiday I have ever been on...
I would highly recommend this holiday to anyone. Great chance to meet new people and see new places!
Jill, Aberdeen, UKThe organisation could not have been better...
The local guides went out of their way to provide a healthy varied lunch every day, and the selection of dinner spots was also excellent. It is very clear that they researched very carefully good quality and value ahead of the trip, and have established good business relationships with restaurant and hotel owners, all to the benefit of the cyclists! Really excellent (and I don’t usually say this).
There was a real attention to details. And it is no easy task pleasing riders of all abilities all very independent and with multiple dietary needs. I also greatly appreciated Jen’s knowledge of cycling and the willingness to give coaching tips and encouragement.
Stephen, Cumbria, UKExcellent...
Our guide leader paced me up Alp dheuz for a new PB, top tour leader! To be honest when I first booked I considered it as expensive, but you had the route I wanted and it was confirmed. My eyes opened on route to the quality and the work involved and you see its expensive but worth it.