On successful completion of the Raid the Velo Club Thononais will issue a certificate and medal that will honour our efforts and reward our achievement on completing one of the world’s greatest trips on a bicycle
Monday 7th August
This will see us collect our transport for the trip down to Thonon Les Bains. We will be travelling in a VW 6st Kombi Transporter T30 which will have adequate space for bags, bikes and passengers.
Packing of the van will need to be completed by the evening of Monday 7th
Tuesday 8th August
This will be an early start for us to catch the crossing - the last check in is 05:20. It would be good to leave Tring at about 03:00 to give us adequate time to make our connecion.
We arrive in France at 07:25, once in Calais the journey down to Thonon-les-Bains is approximately 8hrs – with stops we should arrive at our overnight accommodation at around 16:30 – 17:00. This will give us time to build bikes, have some food and an early night, as on Wednesday the adventure will continue in earnest.
On the 8th we are staying in the Ibis Budget hotel on Avenue de la Grangette, 74200 Thonon-les-Bains. Three single bedded rooms have been booked with an option for breakfast.
Day 1: Wednesday 9th August
Thonon-Les-Bains to Megeve
2 carnet stamps today at Col des Moises and le Praz-de-Lyz (2)
We have a gentle warm up from the shores of Lake Geneva before we hit the first climb, the Col des Moises (1118m), and collect our first carnet stamp. Our route takes us through lovely pine forests and over the stunning foothills of the Alps. We musn't be be fooled though, the Col de la Ramaz (1557m) is respectable, and we are stopping for the night in Megeve, a ski resort, so don’t imagine that there isn’t much climbing involved! An additional carnet stamp will be required and obtained from le Praz-de-Lyz.
Day 1 route is 108km and 2880m of Ascent
We are staying at the 3* Au Vieux Moulin which can be found at 188, Rue Ambroise Martin, 74120 Megève. This retreat has been booked with 2 rooms with 3 single beds. Food will be available in the hotel along with breakfast.
Day 2: Thursday 10th August
Megeve to Val-d'Isère
1 carnet stamp at Arêches Beaufort (3)
A beautiful ride today through some of the most iconic areas of the Alps in the shadow of Mont Blanc. We start with the Col de Saisies (1633m) and a fabulous descent into Arêches-Beaumont. The climbs come thick and fast: Col du Pre (1740m), Cormet de Roseland (1968m) and completion of the day at the Alpine ski resort of Val-d'Isère. A single,but well earned, carnet stamp today will be collected at Arêches-Beaufort.
Day 2 route is 118km and 3806m of Ascent
We are staying at the 3* Le Fornet, 73150 Val dʼIsère. This retreat has been booked with 2 rooms with 3 single beds. Food will be available in town with the hotel providing breakfast.
Day 3: Friday 11th August
Val-d'Isère to Cesana
3 Carnet stamps at Col de l’Iseran,Col de Mont Cenis and Col de Sestriere (6)
We start the day with the ascent of the Col de l’Iseran (carnet stamp)before before an incredible 31kms descent. Nip up the Col de Mont Cenis (2081m) for our second stamp of the day before we roll down across the Italian border into the town of Susa. Cesana is just a 35km ride from here up the valley, gently uphill. We will need to ascend the Col de Sestriere (2035m) for our final stamp of the day before retracing our route back down to Cesana for our nights food and sleep.
Day 3 route is 143km and 3454m of Ascent
We are staying at the functional 2* Olympic Mountains, Viale IV Novembre 35, 10054 Cesana Torinese, Italy. This hotel is located next to the ski lift and has a bar. Booked with 2 rooms with 3 single beds. Food will be available a short walk away at the sister hotel Casa Cesana with our hotel providing breakfast.
Frenchman Antonin Magne changes gears in the Col de l'Izoard during the 9th stage of the Tour de France between Briançon and Digne on July 16, 1936. Magne finished eighth of the stage won by his compatriot Léon Level.
Memorial to Coppi and Bobet
Coppi in full flight
Mémorial col de l'Izoard
Louison Bobet 1953
View from Col d'Izoard
Day 4 route is 115km and 3261m of Ascent
Located in Jausiers, Chalet les Moineaux,Quartier de l'Auche, 04850 Jausier, offers a panoramic terrace with a mountain view, a sauna an outdoor and a heated swimming pool. With a view of the surrounding hills, all of the rooms at Chalet les Moineaux feature wooden furniture and a parquet floor. Each heated room is fitted with a desk, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a shower. This basic and functional bed and breakfast lodge will provide us with orange juice, pastries and jams for our breakfast, for an extra cost. Dinners with traditional dishes from the region are available, upon prior reservation. There is a restaurant 500 metres from the property and a supermarket is 8 km away. We are booked for 3 rooms with 2 single beds in each.
Day 5: Sunday 13th August
Jausier to Valberg
No Carnet stamp today (8)
Sunday sees us on the "Queen Stage" of the trip leaving the small town of Jausiers to the start of the ascent of the highest road going over a col in Europe, on the Cime de la Bonette (2802m). It's a long climb (23km) but is fairly steady and we earn an incredible 53km descent from the top to St Saveur de Tinee. Just one more little cliff hugging climb to go; the Col de la Couillole (1678m) before we reach Valberg for our well earned rest.
The Cime de la Bonette is home to Europe’s highest paved road, and is… what’s that you say? It’s not Europe’s highest paved road? Then why does it have a sign at the top saying it is? It’s one of life’s little mysteries. Officially the Pico del Veleta in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains is the highest ‘proper’ road, reaching just over 3,300m. Still, the Cime de la Bonette is at least France’s highest paved road, which isn’t to be sniffed at. However, if you’re talking about Europe’s highest cols things get even more confusing, because the Cime de la Bonette is not quite the same as the Col de la Bonette. A ‘col’ is a pass – a road that passes over the top of a climb en route to a descent down the other side – whereas the road around the Cime de la Bonette (‘the peak of the Bonette’) is just an extra loop for sightseeing, which bumps the altitude up to 2,802m, versus the 2,715m of the Col de la Bonette.
Three other European cols beat that: the Col Agnel, which straddles the French/Italian border, at 2,744m; the Stelvio Pass at 2,758m in the Italian Alps; and, beating them all, the Col de l’Iseran at 2,764m in the French Alps.
Day 5 route is 105km and 2646m of Ascent
Our bed for the night is the 20 room Hôtel l'Adrech de Lagas in Valberg, a basic sleep, but adequate for our needs. There are a number of restaurants in town for our evening meal, although being Sunday this may be difficult! We have 2 rooms booked to sleep 6 in single beds and breakfast is provided on site.
Day 6 : Monday 14th August
Valberg to Antibes
2 Carnet Stamps at Beuil and Saint-vallier-de-Thiey (10)
We start with a stunning descent through the Gorges de Cian today before climbing the Col de St Raphael (876m) and undulating across some fabulous countryside – dryer and distinctly Mediterranean! The last main col of the Raid is the Col de Bleine (1439m) followed by a 27km descent to St Vallier de Thiey. One more pimple to cross, the Col du Pilon (786m) before we head into suburban Cote d’Azur. Heading towards the coast we can have a celebratory toe dip and a maybe something to drink!
Day 6 route is 148km and 2959m of Ascent
After our festivities, our bed for the night will be the Hôtel Campanile Antibes located in downtown Antibes at 2317 Chemin De Saint Claude, 06600 Antibes, 2 rooms and 3 beds in each plus breakfast before we set off back to Calais and home.