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Southern Alps

22 June - 2 July 2020

From Provence to Piemonte : a journey of contrasts hard to beat.

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Final chance to ride this route.

This route first explores the back roads of Nice,with a pleasant loop stage, before heading due west towards the Verdon region for some dramatic views of the famous Gorges. From here, we cross the purple plateaux of ‘Lavender Provence’ on our way to Sisteron, via the eastern end of the Luberon massif. A choppy ride awaits as we approach the Giant of Provence. The Ventoux stage is naturally the headliner for many who ride this event. We even take on some extra climbs as well as the three ascents, to make this day out quite exceptional. After a slightly less tough “transition” stage heading back east, we arrive in the Alpes de Haute Provence for some truly iconic climbs such as Allos, Cayolle, Champs, Bonnette. An excursion into Italy allow us to include the wonderful Agnel, Sampeyre and Dei Morti climbs. Which just leaves us to find a way back into France….. the CCC has an option that groups have loved for several years now. The cols of Braus, Bruis, Turini and Chateauneuf mean that this journey remains “lively” right until the end!

Please email Phil for any questions.

That Ventoux stage…..But then each stage felt like the best day on a bike ever, until the next day!
S Cody, S Alps 2015

The Stages

Stage One

Carros Loop

188KM / 3950M

Main climbs:
Vence, Pimpinier, Bleine, Ecre

A perfect intro stage to the magic of the Southern Alps with iconic climbs such as the cols of Vence and Bleine combined with some lesser-ridden roads, packed with gorges, corniche roads, and panoramas towards both the Mediterranean and the Mountains. Quality tarmac and no steep passages should make this stage a real leg-loosener for the nervous CCC peloton.

Stage Two

Carros to Castellane

199KM / 4680M

Main climbs:
Vé Gauthier, Rourebel, Valberg, Buis, Sainte Barnabé

After some more of the better back roads of the Maritime Alps, we take on the first mountain summit in the ski station of Valberg. The descent through the purple Gorges de Dalius is a star feature of this stage, as is the cheeky Col du Buis, ( only four kms, but very 'memorable' ones!). Remains a steady climb up above the Lac du Verdon which affords superb views of the turquoise waters as well as the best descent of the event so far, into the very charming tourist town of Castellane.

Stage Three

Castellane to Sisteron

185KM / 4090M

Main climbs:
Abauc, Chateauneuf, Corobin, Hyssope

A truly spectacular stage opening with a passage through the marvellous Gorges du Verdon and concluding with the fascinating "Route du Temps" through the geological National Park above Sisteron. Some steep passages and some very remote areas mark this transition stage between the Var and the Vaucluse.

Stage Four

Sisteron to Vaison-La-Romaine

212KM / 3890M

Main climbs:
La Lure, Negron, Muze, Perty, Ey, Perponcher, Propriac

The "Ventoux's Little Brother" ( Montagne de la Lure) opens this stage with a 22km classic rise to the satellite masts. From here we cross due west towards Ventoux Country, via the impressive Cols du Negron and Perty. With scary views up to the Mighty Ventoux, we weave our way up and over view yards north the of the Bald One to the historic town of Vaison la Romaine, our base for three nights.

Stage Five

Vaison-La-Romaine loop

201KM / 5690M

Main climbs:
Notre Dame des Abeilles, Suzette, Mont Ventoux-N, Mont Ventoux-E, Mont Ventoux-S

The stand-out stage of this event, of course : a triple ascent of the Mont Ventoux with the gorges de la Nesque and two other considerable 'bumps' adding to the fun. This circular route pays tribute to the "Giant of Provence" by tackling it first from Malaucene, then from Sault and finally from the classic Bedoin side. A big day out which will be unforgettable, hopefully for good reasons! (In case of a 'weather window' between bad-weather days, we will ride this stage AFTER our rest day.)

Rest Day

Vaison La Romaine

Stage Six

Vaison La Romaine to Gap

199KM / 3580M

Main climbs:
Soubeyrand, Reychasset, Espreaux, Foureysasse

A final fling amongst the barren hills north of the Ventoux, with more impressive views towards the King of Provence and then on across the southern part of the Drome region towards the balcony roads that will take us through National Park and down into Gap, our gateway to the High Alps. This is our transition stage back to the Alpes de Haute Provence and should offer riders something of an easier stage before taking on the Higher Roads of this event.

Stage Seven

Gap to Barcelonette

204KM / 4830M

Main climbs:
Garcinets, Saint Jean, Allos, Champs, Cayolle

After a couple of 'warm-up' climbs out of Gap we hit the Ubaye valley, leaving the Lac de Serre Poncon behind on our left and heading towards the first of the Garnd Finale climbs of this event. An outstanding trilogy of three classic Alpine climbs ends this stage in an almost loop from and back to Barcelonette. The Allos is the most frequented of the three; the Champs the most remote, and the Cajole the most impressive ' and also the longest and toughest, and so naturally the one saved for the end! Alpine Classic can get no better !

Stage Eight

Barcelonette to Guillestre

190KM / 5020M

Main climbs:
Bonette de Restefond, Lombarde, Larche, Vars

Another Classic Alpine stage first going over the highest paved road in Europe, then taking on the often-used Col de Lombarde in the Giro ( which takes us down temporarily into Italy. A long steady rise to the wide open Col de Larche brings us back into France where the toughest side of the Col de Vars awaits us to end another day with the Alpine Giants.

Stage Nine

Guillestre to Cuneo

184KM / 4680M

Main climbs:
Agnel, Sampeyre, Essischie, Dei Morti

The Feast of Alpine Giants continues here with the magnificent Col d'Agnel bringing us back into Italy an dropping us to the foot of the narrow, wooded climb to the Colle di Sampeyre. This is merely a taster of the magic to follow on the Essischie/ Dei Morti climb, with the most impressive monument tribute to Il Pirata ( Marco Pantani) at it's summit. Perhaps the best descent of the event follows, before a quiet cycle route provides a relaxed run-in to Cuneo for a well earned pizza and gelato!

Stage Ten

Cuneo to Carros

187KM / 4550M

Main climbs:
Tende, Braus, Bruis, Turini, Chateauneuf, Aspremont

A long steady haul up to the Colle di Tende is our way back into France, where we have to ride four kms of downhill gravel road as part of an unforgettable 64-hairpin descent! From here our day is far from done. The Bruas and Brouis are typical local favourite climbs but are then outshone by the imperial Col de Turini, which is often considered the most beautiful climb of this area. A couple of shorter, but steeper climbs are on our route back to Carros, where the magnitude of this epic journey will start to dawn on all CCC riders!

Col du Buis is only 4kms from the junction to the top, but everyone always remembers this one.....:)) The Gorges du Verdon will always give, give and give.... The colour of Provence : as if the sunlight alone wasn't enough to capture our hearts. Three times up this one. Every time a new story. This mountain is so different to any other. It's minimalism is only one of it's many attributes. Col de Cayolle. Wild, beautiful. Silence only broken by the whistling of the marmottes. Ride brave, ride bold. Fearless. (Cayolle) Dei Morti. A magic moment on a magic mountain. This is a ver special place. There is always a way through. Sometimes it doesn't mean going over. Usually does though! Col des Champs. Light-play. A moody place with a unique feel. And what a descent!