Tour 2023,  14 - 18 July

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Chambéry - Cochette - Vorger - Albertville871190
Albertville - Courchevel - Loze - Moûtiers882010
Moûtiers - Tra - Roselend - Beaufort832310
Beaufort - Croix-Fry - Le Chinaillon872220
Le Chinaillon - Romme - Bogève - Genève941600

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Stage 1 (14 July 2023): Chambéry - Cochette - Vorger - Albertville


When you're travelling, you often make some wonderful, if fleeting, encounters. Today at the fountain stops and especially on the train that was taking me from Geneva to Chambéry.
Arriving at the starting point of my tour at 11:30, i immediately set off for the first small pass above Chambéry, the Col de St-Saturnin. Fortunately, part of the climb was in the forest, so it wasn't too hot. From there, my road was heading south towards the Isère valley, for following it a bit up. The pretty Col de Cochette awaited me next. After the descent to Ste-Trinité, i found myself on a bigger road, but fortunately with a cycle lane. I crossed the Isère again. It was really hot. Towards Grésy, there were roadworks with a diversion signposted for cyclists... but only in part. I asked three people, but didn't get a proper answer. After a bit of wandering, i finally found the way that would allow me to avoid the roadworks without having to go all the way back down to the Isère.
Just before Albertville, i climbed to the left towards the Coleron and Vorger passes. It was very hot on these exposed slopes. The winding descent was beautiful, and then the return to Albertville was along the river (ignoring a senseless one-way sign that didn't really apply to bicycles).

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Côte Rousse336090
Croix-Rouge Dessous4340 
Col de St-Saturnin641070
Le Châtelard2734070
Planche Morette31270 
Col de Cochette36590320
La Charrière40310 
Pont du Bourget51290 
Le Bourget5234050
Le Chiriac (Albertville)7034020
Col du Vorger77710140
total87 1190

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Stage 2 (15 July 2023): Albertville - Courchevel - Loze - Moûtiers


A heatwave warning had been issued for the region, so i got in the saddle as soon as i could after breakfast. I headed south into the Isère valley. It wasn't a very interesting route but at least there were plenty of back roads to avoid the main traffic. I stopped in Moûtiers to book a hotel room, which meant i could leave my little pannier there instead of having it do the rest of the loop.
I then headed for Brides-les-Bains, before climbing to Courchevel. The day's goal was the Col de la Loze, which had been specially tarmacked for bikes a few years earlier. I was lucky: it was quite overcast. In any case, as i was climbing, the temperature couldn't rise much. It was only after the last buildings of Courchevel that the road was reserved for cyclists. A pretty road, but with very irregular gradients, clearly designed more as a sporting challenge than as a useful passage.
By the time i reached the pass, my collection of all the all-road passes over 2000m in the Alps was complete. Then came the long descent. As far as Méribel, some of it was very steep, but of course it was still in very good condition. The rest of the way too, which is great for the arms and shoulders when you have to lose around 2000 m of altitude!

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
D915 x D90f33590110
Les Verdons562080610
Pont des Verdons572040 
Col de la Loze612300260
D915 x D90f83590 
total88 2010

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Stage 3 (16 July 2023): Moûtiers - Tra - Roselend - Beaufort


From Moûtiers towards Bourg-St-Maurice, you can simply follow the Isère valley, this part of which is called Tarentaise. Unless you've decided to do some passes, and then shortly after Pombières you can climb up to Notre-Dame-du-Pré and the Col du Tra. It's a serious climb, but a beautiful one with almost no traffic. In the village and on the pass, everything was already decorated for the passage of the Tour de France three days later.
The descent was beautiful too, except that after Mâcot-la-Plagne there was more traffic. But at Bellentre i was able to take the cycle path almost as far as Bourg-St-Maurice. As it wasn't yet 11 o'clock, i was able to tackle the climb up to Cormet de Roselend before it got too hot. I didn't force the pace and everything went well up to the col. After that, there were more people and, above all, more vehicles, both parked or on the move. On the descent, the view soon opened up onto Lake Roselend, which was very blue-green in this fine weather. After riding partly around the lake, i reached the Méraillet pass and continued towards the dam and then the Col du Pré. The climb was very pretty but at the pass itself there was nothing to see but parked cars. The descent was quite steep as far as Arêches, but after that there was hardly any need to touch the brakes down to Beaufort, the day's goal.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Les Plaines554040
Col du Tra151310770
Pont de Bellentre30760 
Cormet de Roselend5819701160
Les Gras641590 
Col de Méraillet66161020
Barrage de Roselend671570 
Col du Pré711700 
total83 2310

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Stage 4 (17 July 2023): Beaufort - Croix-Fry - Le Chinaillon


The fourth stage began on the Doron valley road, slightly downhill. It was at Queige that I turned right to climb up to Forclaz de Queige. It was a quiet little road, but still a little steep. On the other side of the valley, i didn't continue towards Ugine but descended through the hairpin bends directly into the Arly valley. From the bottom of the descent to the start of the next climb at Marlens, i was able to follow a good cycle path in its entirety. The next pass on my route was the Col de l'Épine. This was also a small road with little traffic and a nice descent cut by a slight ascent. Unlike the day before, when I'd met more cyclists early in the morning, today the number was only increasing. From Serraval, there was just a short, easy climb to the Col du Marais, then a quick descent to Thônes. At this point, you couldn't miss the right-hand turn towards the Col de la Croix-Fry, which the Tour de France had used the day before. Even though i don't really like going back and forth over passes, from the Croix-Fry i still had to go for the nearby Col de Merdassier. An easy one. The descent to La Clusaz was nice but then there was a lot of traffic all the way over St-Jean-de-Sixt to Le Grand Bornand. Fortunately it was much quieter on the way up to Colombière. I took the opportunity of passing through Chinaillon to stop off at a hotel in this tourist resort.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Le Plan (Queige)11540 
Forclaz de Queige15870330
L'Île (Ugine)22400 
Col de l'Épine36950490
Le Bouchet-Mont-Charvin39930 
Col du Marais4683070
Col de la Croix-Fry631470820
Les Étages641460 
Col de Merdassier65150040
Les Étages661460 
La Croix-Fry671460 
Villeneuve (Le Gd-Bornand)80910 
Le Chinaillon871290380
total87 2220

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Stage 5 (18 July 2023): Le Chinaillon - Romme - Bogève - Genève


I didn't even have half the climb left to the Col de la Colombière. In the cool of the morning, it was a simple pleasure. The descent too, because at that hour there were still very few vehicles on the road. And if i had only done half the ascent, i also did only half the descent. Indeed, at Le Reposoir, i took the road up to Romme, a steady climb before levelling out for the last two kilometres. The descent to the Arve valley was fairly steep, with some twisting bends. After crossing the Arve near Cluses, i was able to take a cycle lane along the river. I left it to head towards Marignier and then St-Jeoire. From there, the road climbed gently towards Onnion, but then became steeper up to the Col d'Avernaz. There, i reached the high plain of Plaines Joux, which i left again to ride down towards Bogève. After a short detour via the small Col du Perret, the descent continued towards the south-west. But not for long, as i soon turned right to climb up to the Col de Ludran and arrive at St-André-de-Boëge. After again a very short climb, it was a long descent down the Menoge valley to its confluence with the Foron near Bonne. I was now on a road with lots of cars and lorries, but that meant i didn't have to make too many detours towards Annemasse. Change of scenery from this town: a recent cycle (and pedestrian) path leading directly to the Eaux-Vives district of Geneva. A fine cross-border achievement. All that remained was to head for the end of Lake Geneva, cross the Mont Blanc bridge and get to Geneva-Cornavin station to catch a train home.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Le Chinaillon01290 
Col de la Colombière51610320
Le Reposoir12970 
Col de Romme181300 
La Garette (Cluses)27490 
Les Valignons32470 
Col d'Avernaz531230440
Col du Perret6196040
Les Eaux65870 
Col de Ludran6694070
Pont de Fillinges75540 
Cornavin (Genève)9439020
total94 1600

PS / 19.8.2023