Classic Alps

29 August to 8 September

A totally re-worked version of the very first CCC held in 2009. A typical CCC mix of ‘Names’ and the unknown ‘CCC-special’climbs pave our way from Nice up to Annecy and back.

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The Stages

Stage 1

Carros, Nice to Digne-les-Bains

184kms / 3800m

Main climbs:
Vence, Bleine, Robines, Corobin

Our journey starts by exploring the dramatic and beautiful parts of the Var region behind Nice, full of roads that offer many pro riders their year-round training ground. The stage ends with the steep, wooded Corobin climb, often featured in the Paris-Nice race.

Stage 2

Digne les Bains to Malaucene

209kms / 4200m

Main climbs:
Hysope, La Lure, Mont Ventoux ( from Sault)

Real drama starts here with an extraordinary passage through the geological park above Sisteron. Next up the Lure climb, often called "The Ventoux Little Brother" : 25km in all with a 'bald' top. Across extensive lavender plains so typical of Provence towards the daunting skyline of Mont Ventoux. Climbed by it's "easiest" side this time to end what is clearly the "Provence Pearls"stage.

Stage 3

Malaucene to Crest

198kms / 4130m

Main climbs:
Mont Ventoux ( from Bedouin), Ey, Soubeyrand, Chaudiere

The stage opens with a second chance to experience the Mont Ventoux via it's 'classic' side. ( Option for the more 'reserved' riders to omit this loop). Then we head north through the remote, barren Drome region via very quiet, narrow and challenging roads. Lesser known climbs but ones you will not forget!

Stage 4

Crest to Grenoble

193kms / 4470m

Main climbs:
Bacchus, Bataille, Machine, Pra l’Etang

A stage completely devoted to the superb Vercors region. It's gorges, rock-skylines, wooded plateaux and tranquility combine to make this a true gem that many never consider worth a stop on their Alps tour. How wrong they are! The Col de la Machine will give you something to cherish and dine out on for a long, long time!

Stage 5

Grenboble to Annecy

198kms / 5300m

Main climbs:
Porte, Coq, Granier, Marocaz, Pres, Semnoz ( south side).

Now we come into the 'picture postcard' part of the Alps : up into the Chartreuse via the long Col de Porte ( featured often in the Tour de France) after breakfast, then onwards to another Classic Alpine peak : the Granier. After crossing the Isère valley our next Massif, via the 10km Marocaz climb, is the beautiful Mont Revard region. But the best is saved for the finale, where form the top of the Semnoz we will see the Mont Blanc, on a good day! ( Valley option to Annecy for any tired legs!)

Rest Day

Annecy

One of the most beautiful and popular locations of the French Alps. Our hotel is in town, with the Annecy lake, shops, cafés and restaurants nearby.

Stage 6

Annecy to Albertville

208kms / 5430m

Main climbs:
Semnoz ( North side), Forclaz de Montmin, Plan Bois, Croix Fry, Aravis, Saisies, Arpettaz.

To start this stage, the climb of the Semnoz from Annecy is so worth the effort, ( but can be omitted for the more 'reserved' riders). We make the most of the Annecy lake via climbs which offer us the best views before we head towards the Aravis Massif for the rest of the stage. Truly Classic Climbs queue up in front of us before the 'backroad Beauty' ( the Col d'Arpettaz) perhaps clinches the top spot in your ratings!

Stage 7

Albertville to Briancon

208kms / 5930m

Main climbs:
Madaleine, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Mollard, Telegraph, Galibier

Undoubtedly the 'Queen Stage' of this event. The CCC version of the Marmotte sportive, perhaps?! This is a truly Classic traverse of the most popular climbs of the Alps, deservedly. One to be proud of once ridden. ( There will be a shorter option for tired legs.)

Stage 8

Briancon to Valberg

187kms / 4930m

Main climbs:
Izoard, Vars, Cayolle ( north side) Valberg

The list of Classic Climbs continues: some roads are just so good there is no point in looking elsewhere! Four BIG climbs create a very simple but tough stage profile. The Cayolle from it's north side is a particular favourite of many Alpine connoisseurs. Summit finish. No short cuts on this stage!

Stage 9

Valberg Loop

186kms / 4930m

Main climbs:
Cayolle (South side), Allos, Champs, Valberg

A loop route over the ( very high) Col de Restefond-Bonette could be an option here but the lure of the trio of Cayolle-Allos-Champs, in that order, has proven to strong! These three exceptional climbs really deserve a stage of their own and with a different road back up to Valberg to finish, this makes for a quite exceptional way of celebrating the special character of the High Maritime Alps.

Stage 10

Valberg to Carros, Nice

173kms / 4270m

Main climbs:
Sinna, St Martin, Turini, Nice, Chateauneuf, Aspremont

To bring our epic journey to a close we climb most of the classic roads included in the Paris-Nice finale. The "Pearls of the Var" have given CCC riders the perfect curtain stage for years. From ski station to the sea-views of the azur expanse of the Riviera coastline, the transition is impressive, beautiful and even quite emotional for some.