Alps/Tour de France Bike Tour in 2009

Mary and I did our first bike tour with Breaking Away in the Alps in July 2009. Mary heard from a colleague that it was possible to bike along with the Tour de France, so she persuaded me and Greg Antal (another colleague) to join her on this Alps/Tour de France bike tour. Greg told us that we needed to train, so we did several rides together up Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain in San Diego County and were ready when we got to France 🙂 We biked 61 miles during our two warmup days, and Mary and I biked 340 miles during the seven-day tour. This was a large tour with 31 guests (!) and four guides: Greg Hogan (the owner), Mitch Clinton, Guillaume Dassonville, and Giorgio Bausman.

Here is the itinerary for the tour.

Days -1 & 0 (Wednesday & Thursday, July 15 & 16): We arrive in Geneva on Wednesday afternoon and shuttle to Divonne-les-Bains in France, where we spend two nights. We do warmup rides of 18 miles on Wednesday and 43 miles on Thursday by Lake Geneva back and forth across the border between France and Switzerland.

Day 1 (Friday, July 17): Shuttle to Valleiry, a short distance from Geneva in France, and then bike 51 miles to Aix-les-Bains.

Day 2 (Saturday, July 18): Bike 50 miles from Aix-les-Bains to Albertville over Mont Revard (1,537 m) and Col du Frene (950 m).

Day 3 (Sunday, July 19): Bike from Albertville to the base of the Col du Glandon, shuttle to the top, and then bike down the other side and up Alpe d’Huez (1,780 m). We bike 60 miles. Greg A finishes but gets sick and shuttles the rest of the tour 😦

Day 4 (Monday, July 20): Shuttle to the top of the Col du Lautaret. Then bike over the Col du Galibier (2,642 m), down to St Michel, and up the valley until we reach newly tarred road. Finally shuttle over the Col de l’Iseran to Val d’Isère. We bike 40 mi.

Day 5 (Tuesday, July 21): Bike from Val d’Isère to Bourg-St-Maurice where we check out the finish line for today’s stage of the Tour de France. Continue biking over the Cormet de Roselend (1,968 m) and then up the Col des Saisies (1,650 m) to Les Saisies where we spend two nights. We bike 56 miles.

Day 6 (Wednesday, July 22): Before the racers arrive at Les Saisies for today’s stage of the Tour, we bike a 37-mile loop through Flumet and Villard that goes over the Col de la Forclaz (1,527 m) and then up the Col des Saisies again. We finish just before the racers go over the col!

Day 7 (Thursday, July 23): Bike 46 miles from Les Saisies over the Col des Aravis (1,487 m) and Col de Croix Fry (1.477 m) to Annecy, where the biking for our tour ends. Watch the time trial for the Tour with a capital “T”, and then shuttle back to Divonne-les-Bains to end our special tour!

Photos and commentary follow.