Road Cycling

Want to relive some of the most gruelling and memorable stages of the Tour de France?

  • Everybody remembers Andy Schleck’s 2010 win in Avoriaz after he climbed the Col de la Ramaz, Côte des Gets and finally won on the final climb to Avoriaz 1800.
  •  Who wants to experience Frank Schleck’s ‘Queen Stage’ win in Le Grand Bornand in 2009 after some serious climbing over the Col de Romme and the Col de la Colombière?
  • What about the final act in the 2006 Tour’s Alpine trilogy won by Floyd Landis with the final ascent of the steep, beyond category, Col de Joux-Plane rising from Samoëns before he plunged into Morzine?

For those looking to pit themselves against some of the most well renowned and infamous Alpine stages of the Tour de France then below are a selection of the Col climbs all within cycling distance of Samoëns; just remember to bring your 34/27 gear!

And for those looking to benefit from a professionally managed and fully guided cycling holiday in the French Alps, combined with relaxing in luxurious chalet accommodation, then why not book onto one of our cycling holidays and enjoy all the best that the region has to offer without the hassles of all the organisation.

Col de Joux Verte (1760m)

Starting Point: Montriond (Lat: 46.196742 Long 6.694283)

End Point: Morzine (Lat: 46.179192 Long: 6.708877)

Climb Details: The climb is 12.5km with a gain in altitude of 800m with an average gradient of 6.4% and a maximum gradient of 11.1% between 5km and 6km

Guiding Comment: “Very quiet climb and once you reach the goats in the village of Lindarets you know the worst is over”

Last on Tour de France in 2010

Col de la Ramaz (1610m)

Starting Point: Taninges (Lat 46.107428 Long: 6.591526)

End Point: Taninges (Lat 46.107428 Long: 6.591526)

Climb Details: Category 1. The climb is 14km with a gain in altitude of 960m with an average gradient of 6.9% but with a gradient of 10.2% between 9km and 10km.

Guide Comment: “When the sun burns you look forward to being in the tunnels after 9km but unfortunately these tunnels are steep!

Last on Tour de France in 2010

Col de la Savolière (1415m)

Starting Point: Taninges (Lat 46.107428 Long: 6.591526)

End Point: Taninges (Lat 46.107428 Long: 6.591526)

The ride can also be combined with the Col de la Ramaz to form a circuit.

Climb Details: The climb is 12.2 km long with a gain in altitude of 775m with an average gradient of 6.4%.

Guide Comment: “It starts gentle but once you leave the road leading to Les Gets it really turns nasty for the last 4 km!”

Col de la Colombière (1613m)

Starting Point: Scionzier (Lat: 46.056651 Long: 6.550297)

End Point: Le Grand-Bornand (Lat: 45.942058 Long: 6.427557)

Climb Details: The climb is 16.3 km long with a gain in altitude of 1108m with an average gradient of 6.8% but a with section over 10% near the summit.

Guide Comment: “Save your energy for the last 8 km after Le Reposoir, the heat and the steepness can cause some damage”

Last on Tour de France in 2010

Col de Joux Plane / Col du Ranfolly (1700m)

Starting Point: Samoëns (Lat: 46.083413 Long: 6.727066)

End Point: Morzine (Lat: 46.179192 Long: 6.708877)

Climb Details: The climb is 11.1km long with a gain in altitude of 989m with an average gradient of 8.9% but with 2 sections over 11% the first at 1km and the second at 6km.

Guide Comment: “According to Lucien Van Impe (5 times winner of the Tour de France mountain jersey) this is one of the toughest climbs in France”

Last on Tour de France in 2006

Grimpée d’Avoriaz (1800m)

Starting Point: Morzine (Lat: 46.179192 Long: 6.708877)

End Point: Avoriaz (Lat: 46.191901 Long: 6.775778)

Climb Details: The climb is 14.6km long with a gain in altitude of 860m with an average gradient of 6% but with a section of 11.1% at the 5 km mark.

Guide Comment: “Very gentle climb that makes you think about L’Alpe d’Huez with all the hairpins in the beginning”

Last on Tour de France in 2006

Col de Pierre Carrée (1844m)

Starting Point: Balme (Lat: 46.040240 Long: 6.613287)

End Point: Golf Course above Flaine ski station (Lat: 46.011441 Long: 6.678586)

Climb Details: The climb is 21.1km long with a gain in altitude of 1,343m with an average gradient of 6.4% and a maximum gradient of 8.4% making it a less aggressive, but longer climb than many of the col routes.

Guide Comment: “You will feel pain during the first 6km but once you have passed Arraches it becomes a very pleasant and steady climb”.

Last on Tour de France in 2009

Col des Aravis (1486m)

Starting Point: Flumet (Lat: 45.818897 Long: 6.516205)

End Point: The col is on the Savoie / Haute Savoie border (Lat: 45.872333 Long: 6.464889) but the ride can be combined with the Col de la Croix Fry on route to Thônes or with the Col de St Jean de Sixt on route to Le Grand Bornand

Climb Details: The climb is 11.7km long with a gain in altitude of 576m with an average gradient of 5% with a maximum gradient of 11.8% for a short stretch just beyond the 10km mark.

Guide Comment: “It starts off gentle but once you get into La Giettaz you need to shift back a couple of gears”

Last on Tour de France in 2010

Col de la Croix Fry (1467m)

Starting Point: Thônes (Lat: 45.881740 Long: 6.324230)

End Point: St Jean de Sixt (Lat: 45.922674 Long: 6.411046)

Climb Details: The climb is 12.8km long with a gain in altitude of 842m with an average gradient of 6.6% with a maximum gradient of 9.3% at around the 7 km mark.

Guide Comment: “After a flat part in the middle of the climb, the real fun starts”

Featured in the 2013 Tour de France and the launch pad for Rui Costa’s win in Le Grand Bornand.

Col de Romme (1297m)

Starting Point: Cluses (Lat: 46.060257 Long: 6.580424)

End Point: Romme (Lat: 46.029724 Long: 6.573408)

Climb Details: The climb is 9.3km long with a gain in altitude of 815m with an average gradient of 8.8% with a maximum gradient of 12.5% at around the 4km mark.

Guide Comment: “Pain all the way!”

Last on Tour de France in 2009

 

Suggested Circuits from Samoëns

 

The Aravis Route – 3 Major Climbs!

The route is a 140km circuit starting and ending in Samoëns and is aimed at the fitter cyclist. From Samoëns take the valley road to Cluses before heading out of Cluses in the direction of Nancy-sur-Cluses the first climb is the Col de Romme, before heading toward Grand Bornand and the infamous Col de la Colombière. From Grand Bornand the route heads in the direction of Flumet but not before climbing the third col of the circuit, the Col des Aravis. From Flumet the return route is just less than 50km passing through Megéve, Sallanches, Cluses before returning back to Samoëns.

The route takes an estimated 6 – 8 hours.

Note: For those looking for one last climb, there is an alternative route back to Cluses, by taking the road from Balme up to Arâches-la-Frasse and then via Saint-Sigismond and Châtillion-sur-Cluses and then back to Cluses.

Samoëns – Avoriaz – Samoëns

Leaving the village of Samoëns the circuit starts with the climb up the renowned Col de Joux Plane, the top of which rewards cyclists with spectacular view across the Grand Massif to Mont Blanc. After passing over the Col de Ranfolly the route drops into the town of Morzine before heading up to the highest point of the circuit at Avoriaz at 1814m.

 

Other Circuits in the vicinity of Samoëns

 

Tour du Lac Léman

A long but relatively flat route is the circuit of the Lake Léman (Lake Geneva)

Starting Point: Can be started anywhere but if travelling from Samoëns then the best starting point is the Port de Rive a Thonon

Route Details: The total loop is 170km but is not particularly demanding so takes between 6 and 9 hours. The route passes through the famous towns of Evian les Bain, Montreux, Lausanne and Geneva as well as the beautiful villages of Nyon and Yvoire (10km detour required for Yvoire).

Tour du Lac Annecy

A scenic and relative gentle route of around 40km skirting the edge of Lac Annecy.

Route Details: Starting on the lake shore in Annecy, head towards Old Annecy and then, heading in a clockwise direction around the lake, take the D909 towards the stunningly beautiful resorts of Menthon St. Bernard and Talloires – both well worth a stop-off for a swim!

From Talloires, continue on the D909 until Doussard, at the southern-most post of the lake, before taking the bike path that follows the D1508 back to Annecy.