There are many cycling events that bill themselves as the hardest one-day endurance test, but the Tour of Mont Blanc is arguably the hardest world over. At 205 miles and 27,000 feet of elevation gain, this is what you call an extraordinarily challenging day in the saddle! The adventure starts with headlamps at 5 am and encompasses circumnavigation of the famed Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The route includes ascents of many famous climbs that are commonly included in World Tour pro events, including the Tour de France: Col des Montets, Col de la Forclaz, Station de Champex-lac, Col du Grand Saint Bernard, Col du Petit St. Bernard, and the might Cormet de Roseland.
The Tour of Mont Blanc is open to solo riders but also has a duo classification if you want to share duties with a partner. The relay exchange takes place at the halfway point of the Grand Saint Bernard pass. Naturally, the event takes extensive preparation.
The race host city, Les Saisies, located in the Mont Blanc region of France, is a picturesque destination renowned for its natural beauty and incredible cycling opportunities. Nestled in the French Alps, Les Saisies offers a captivating mix of challenging mountainous terrain, breathtaking landscapes, and a charming alpine atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for a cycling vacation.
- Cycling Routes: Les Saisies and the surrounding Mont Blanc region boast an extensive network of cycling routes catering to riders of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking demanding climbs or a leisurely rider looking for scenic routes, you’ll find a variety of options. The region is famous for its challenging mountain passes, including the iconic Col des Saisies, Col de la Croix Fry, and Col des Aravis, which have featured in professional cycling races like the Tour de France. These climbs offer stunning vistas and a sense of accomplishment for cyclists.
- Natural Beauty: The Mont Blanc region is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural beauty. Towering snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and charming alpine villages create a picturesque backdrop for your cycling adventure. The Mont Blanc massif, with its majestic peak, provides a dramatic and breathtaking panorama as you traverse the region’s roads and trails.
- Cycling Infrastructure: Les Saisies and its neighboring towns are well-equipped to cater to cycling enthusiasts. You’ll find well-maintained roads with cycling-friendly signage, designated cycling lanes, and bike rental shops to facilitate your biking needs. The region’s commitment to cycling is evident in its infrastructure, making it safe and convenient for cyclists.
- Outdoor Activities: While cycling is the highlight, Les Saisies offers a range of other outdoor activities to complement your vacation. Hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, and even summer skiing on the nearby glaciers are popular options. After a day of cycling, you can relax and unwind by exploring the local cuisine, indulging in wellness activities, or simply taking in the tranquil alpine ambiance.
- Culture and Heritage: The Mont Blanc region is steeped in rich culture and heritage. The alpine villages showcase traditional architecture, local customs, and warm hospitality that enhance your overall experience. You can immerse yourself in the local traditions, sample regional delicacies, and explore historical landmarks, such as Annecy, a charming medieval town known as the “Venice of the Alps.”
- Accessibility: Les Saisies is easily accessible from major cities in France, Switzerland, and Italy. The region is well-connected by road networks, and the nearest international airports are Geneva and Lyon. Once you arrive, you can easily navigate the area using public transportation or by renting a car.