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Tour 1995,  26 July - 2 August

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Lignières - Jaunpass - Pillon - Croix - Villars-sur-Ollon1773080
Villars-sur-Ollon - Grand St-Bernard - Châtillon1432100
Châtillon - Ivrea - Sesto Calende - Alpe di Neggia2132100
Alpe di Neggia - Bellinzona - Biasca68260
Biasca - Lucomagno - Versam - Splügen1613060
Splügen - Maloja - Julier - Cunter1222640
Cunter - Chur - Bonstetten181960
total106514200

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Stage 1 (26 July 1995): Lignières - Jaunpass - Pillon - Croix - Villars-sur-Ollon

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The 1995 bicycle tour had long been uncertain: i had back pains since a couple of months. Finally, i decided to try. From Lignières, i rode down to Le Landeron. From there, on mostly flat roads, i headed towards Murten/Morat, further towards Fribourg, but then went around that city. Unfortunately, my back was already aching. The roads were slowly getting steeper, but the first real climb started from the region of Gruyères. Riding up to the Jaunpass was still not too bad, but when i reached the pass, i could barely get off my bike and walk a few steps. My back was aching terribly. I was already thinking of giving up, but now that i was in the mountains, i did not want to cross again the plateau to go back home. So i decided to continue for a while.
This was the best thing to do: from there on, it went better and better. During the afternoon, the pains slowly vanished and i could enjoy the next three passes, Saanenmöser, Pillon and Col de la Croix. I rode to the second one together with two other cyclists. And on the top of the last one i talked a while with a young lady who had climbed the pass from the other side. I was thinking that, yes, it had really been better not to give up. After the descent, i stopped at Villars. The hotel i found was rather expansive but comfortable. Unfortunately, the dinner they had was nothing for a hungry cyclist!

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Les Prés (Lignières)0920 
Lignières5800 
Le Landeron10430 
Ins / Anet2048050
Bellechasse24430 
Salvenach33570140
Schiffenen39530 
St. Ursen52690160
Tasberg53660 
Römerswil5470040
Marly59620 
Les Chenalettes (La Roche)67810190
Hauteville73710 
Botterens7974030
Montsalvens (Broc)80720 
Châtel-sur-Montsalvens83880160
Lac de Montsalvens85850 
Charmey8689040
La Tsintre87850 
Jaun971020170
Jaunpass1061510490
Reidenbach112840 
Saanenmöser1281280440
Saanen1341010 
Gsteig1471180170
Col du Pillon1571550370
Les Diablerets1601150 
Col de la Croix1691780630
Villars-sur-Ollon1771250 
total177 3080

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Stage 2 (27 July 1995): Villars-sur-Ollon - Grand St-Bernard - Châtillon

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The next morning, descending towards Bex, i saw a famous cyclist: Pascal Richard. He was coming the other way, climbing to Villars. I recognised him... but he didn't recognise me. (Perhaps he would sometimes prefer to be able, like me, to ride incognito?) Once in the valley, i followed the main roads towards Martigny. After crossing the town, i began to climb to the only pass of the day: the Grand Saint-Bernard. One pass, but 2000 meter to gain in altitude. And this on the steps of some historical characters like Hannibal or Napoleon!
It was not a difficult climb, but long, long. It took me about three hours, including some short pauses. Most of the climb was on a broad road with a relatively important traffic, but then most of the motor vehicles disappeared into the tunnel and the last kilometers were quite. At the pass, i stopped at the hospice for a small lunch. Then i started the long descent to Aoste. Losing so much altitude in short time meant rapidly increasing temperatures. So i was thirsty again when i reached the valley. And then i found quite strong headwinds to continue to the east. I finally stopped at Châtillon, the bottom of the Valtournanche (the valley from the Cervino = Cervin = Matterhorn). The hotel i found was new, comfortable and not so expansive... but absolutely boring. International standards. Could have been anywhere else in the world. The restaurant where i had dinner was more interesting: enough pasta for a cyclist, with a glass of wine and a dessert for less than 10'000 Lire. A bargain.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Villars-sur-Ollon01250 
Bex16410 
Martigny3647060
Sembrancher49710240
Orsières56910200
Bourg-St-Pierre691650740
Bourg-St-Bernard751930280
Grand St-Bernard822470540
Etroubles1001260 
Aosta116590 
Nus130530 
Chambave138470 
Châtillon14251040
Gléréyaz (Châtillon)143470 
total143 2100

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Stage 3 (28 July 1995): Châtillon - Ivrea - Sesto Calende - Alpe di Neggia

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The first part of the third stage was to continue down the valley, but now more or less to the south. There was more and more traffic, and the roads were quite bad. I was therefore glad when i reached Ivrea and could turn to the east again. My goal was the Lago Maggiore, and i therefore had to go across several valleys. This means that i had some climbs and descents, but nothing worth to write about. After Biella, there were so many insects that it was impossible to stop for even one minute. At least not with my yellow dress which was attracting all sorts of flies and mosquitoes.
When i reached Sesto Calende, at the south tip of the Lago Maggiore, i thought that i had done the hardest part of the stage. I just had to ride along the lake and find a place to stay. I rode so to Maccagno, one of the last places before the Swiss border. I went to the tourist information, but they told me that every single room in the region was already booked. Bad luck. Especially because, from there, i did not want to continue around the lake, but rather over the mountains. Then, what other choice did i have than riding up to Indémini? It was a beautiful climb, but i was slowly getting tired. I had more than 200 km when i entered Switzerland. At Indémini, i asked if they had a place to stay for the night. One was occupied, and at the other one... there was nobody around. Well, i still had to go further. And the road was really steep. It is finally at the pass (Alpe di Neggia) that i could stop. It was almost seven o'clock and i was very tired. But very happy: a beautiful view, nice people, a good dinner and finally a deep sleep in the cabin, with the fresh air of the mountains and the sound of cow bells in the night.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Gléréyaz (Châtillon) 0470 
St-Vincent356090
Berriaz9380 
Pont-St-Martin29340 
Ivrea46240 
Taglio Grosso59580340
Mongrando70320 
Biella78420100
Rivone88240 
Porrino9128040
Rolino94230 
S. Bernardo10629060
Gattinara107260 
Enea11835090
Cureggio120290 
Gàttico12838090
Sesto Calende140200 
Ispra15122020
Laveno168200 
Castelveccana17627070
Luino185200 
Maccagno19122020
Indemini208970750
Alpe di Neggia2131400430
total213 2100

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Stage 4 (29 July 1995): Alpe di Neggia - Bellinzona - Biasca

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The long previous stage had brought me already quite close to the next goal: Biasca, where i wanted to visit two friends of mine, the twin sisters Michela and Roberta. It was planned that i would arrive in the afternoon and i had thus plenty of time.
After the breakfast, i first had a long and winding road down to the lake (Lago Maggiore). There were already several cyclists coming the other way: it was Saturday and the Alpe di Neggia seems to be an appreciated goal for training and other bicycle rides. From Vira towards Bellinzona, i came partly in a heavy shopping traffic (again: Saturday). Then i crossed the Ticino river and took the smaller and quieter road on the west side of the Riviera towards Biasca. It was an easy ride, and i reached Biasca already around noon. Because i was too early, i decided to ride a bit further, into the Blenio valley. Near Semione, i took a bath in the river. Then i went back to Biasca.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Alpe di Neggia01400 
Vira14210 
Magadino15200 
Cadenazzo2421010
Giubiasco2924030
Bellinzona32230 
Gorduno3527040
S. Carpoforo (Gorduno)36240 
Gnosca3827030
Spineda (Gnosca)39250 
Iragna5028030
Biasca5430020
Semione61400100
Biasca68300 
total68 260

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Stage 5 (31 July 1995): Biasca - Lucomagno - Versam - Splügen

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I stayed the Sunday with Michela, Roberta and her parents. We went together to the mountains. There, in the forest, they were repairing an old small house (a 'rustico' as they call it there) and we looked at what they had done so far.
After this day off, i was back on saddle early on Monday morning, actually as my friends were still sleeping. For the first few kilometers, i already knew the way from two days before. So far, the Blenio valley had a gentle slope. The real climb came after Olivone. It was quite long but still not very steep. The sky was overcast, and it was quite chilly as i was going up to the Lucomagno. I was therefore glad to take a warm tea at the restaurant of the pass. Then, however, i still had to go uphill for a short distance: there is an artificial lake just after the 'natural' pass and the road climbs a bit to go around it. In the descent, despite my wind jacket, it was really cold. But i soon arrived at Disentis and it was slowly warmer. Just after this town, i followed the signs for the bike road towards Ilanz. This was a bad idea, because it brought me to gravel roads. I had to go up on the left side of the valley to join again the main road. I did not lose much time, but was really angry about this kind of trap!
It was almost noon as i arrived at Ilanz, where i bought a small picnic. Then i continued on the nice road over Versam which i already knew from my 1991 tour. From Bonaduz to Thusis, i could ride along with a local cyclist, and we could relay each other against the wind. Then i took the Via Mala, historically, as its name suggests, obviously a difficult passage through a wild canyon of the Rhine river. Nowadays, it's not such a bad road at all, and fortunately most of the traffic takes the highway parallel to it. On the way, i crossed Jacques, a cyclist from Neuchâtel who i know from training camps. As usually, he was descending at breathtaking speed. So fast that he didn't see me at all! After the Rofla canyon (wild and beautiful), i arrived in the high valley of Rheinwald, the goal of this stage.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Biasca0300 
Ponte Leggiuna437070
Malvaglia5360 
Acquarossa14530170
Torre18760230
Olivone24890130
Hospezi Lucmagn4419201030
Pass Lucmagn45197050
Sogn Gions521590 
Curaglia591330 
Fontanivas621070 
Mustér / Disentis 64114070
Brulf (Mustör)651020 
Cavardiras671130110
Madernal69970 
Punt Grondo70103060
Sumvitg73104010
Ilanz97700 
Carnifels (Versam)108940240
Versam110910 
Versamer Tobel112730 
Zault11478050
Bonaduz119660 
Rothenbrunnen125620 
Thusis134720100
Zillis142940220
Andeer14698040
Sufnersee1551400420
Splügen161146060
total161 3060

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Stage 6 (1 August 1995): Splügen - Maloja - Julier - Cunter

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After a night at Splügen village, i took the road to the Splügen pass. Because of the altitude of the valley, it was no longer a very long climb. From the pass, entering Italy, i noticed that the road was not so well maintained. The first villages also appeared half abandoned. The worst were the tunnels: without light, but with potholes. Apart of this, the descent was beautiful. And long, very long, from well above 2000 m altitude down to almost 300. At Chiavenna, i stopped to help two young cyclists who were trying to repair a flat tire but did not have the proper material with them. They were trying to make the round trip over the Maloja and Bernina in one day. I bid them good luck, knowing that they had a hard task.
Both the vegetation and the architecture were clearly showing that i was once more south of the Alps. This, however, was no to last very long because i went to the east after Chiavenna, towards the beautiful Bregaglia valley and the Maloja pass. This pass has two completely different sides: a steep climb from the Bregaglia, but almost flat from the other side (from the Engiadina). I reached the pass in the early afternoon and continued to Silvaplana. I was refilling my bottles at a fountain as a mountain biker came along who had the same dress as me, wearing the colours of the same local bicycle shop (Prof, St-Blaise)... from the other corner of the country. He was in that region for a mountain bike championship. After exchanging a few words with him, i continued towards the Julier pass. On its other side i finally looked for a place to stay overnight. It was at Cunter that i found an hotel room. In the evening, because it was the 1st of August, the Swiss national celebration day, i could enjoy the fireworks.
It is only several days later that i talked to my brother and we realised that we had been riding over the Splügen on the same day, even more or less at the same hour. Because he was coming from Chiavenna, we should have met somewhere close to the pass on its Italian side. As far as we could reconstrut it, he was probably taking some pictures a bit further from the road as i passed... Just missed each other.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Splügen01460 
Splügenpass92120660
Monte Spluga121910 
Pianazzo231400 
Cimaganda31910 
Chiavenna40320 
Castasegna51680360
Stampa58990310
Casaccia681460470
Passo del Maloja741820360
Segl Baselgia811800 
Silvaplana85182020
Pass dal Güglia932280460
Bivio1021770 
Cunter1221180 
total122 2640

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Stage 7 (2 August 1995): Cunter - Chur - Bonstetten

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The last stage of the tour was nothing new for me. Because i already knew the landscapes and the roads, i concentrated more on my speed. Since i was first descending and then had tailwinds (between Reichenau and Chur), i could maintain a good average speed. After three hours riding, i was by the Walensee (lake) and had already 100 km on the counter. Because of some headwind and the final climbs, the average speed later dropped, but it was still 30 km/h as i reached Bonstetten.
This had been my longest bicycle tour. I was glad about it. Slowly but surely, however, i was becoming difficult to find new passes in the Swiss Alps: i now had done most of the them...

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Cunter01180 
Tiefencastel8850 
Valmala (Alvaschagn)10960110
Sils i. D.20680 
Thusis2272040
Rothenbrunnen31620 
Bonaduz3666040
Reichenau38590 
Tamins3963040
Felsberg45570 
Chur4960030
Masans52570 
Stelli (Chur)5359020
Untervaz Station58540 
Zizers6056020
Sargans77480 
Mühlehorn104420 
Mülital10546040
Rüti (Bilten)118420 
Oberbilten11945030
Allmeind (Bilten)121420 
Reichenburg12344020
Buttikon125420 
Siebnen13045030
Oberrieden161410 
Gattikon164550140
Langnau a.A.166470 
Albispass171790320
Türlen173650 
Habersaat17567020
Aumüli179580 
Schladhau18064060
Bonstetten181550 
total181 960


PS / 4.12.1996