Raid Alps

Along with its sister challenge, the Raid Pyrenees, the Raid Alps is one of the classic cycling challenges, which sees riders attempt to ride through the spine of the Alps from the start line at Thonon les Bains on Lake Geneva, to the finish line on the Mediterranean Coast in Antibes, via a stunning 740km route. This is a true classic cycling tour and one that Le Domestique Tours feel every dedicated cyclist should experience during their riding career.

The Raid Alps is almost unique in tackling a collection of the most famous Cols in all of cycling (Iseran, Izoard, Bonette and many more) along with a frankly staggering collection of hidden gems, that ensures very few cyclists have previously ridden much of the Raid Alps route. Whether this is your first or fiftieth trip to the mountains, there will be something new and unique. From the opening stages climbing away from Lake Geneva into the shadows of Mont Blanc riders experience every type of riding you could imagine. Via high Alpine pastures, ski resorts, spectacular gorges, perilous roads clinging to cliff faces and peak altitudes up to a dizzying 2808m, riders emerge from this mountain isolation into the world famous Cote d’Azur and the finish line in Antibes, to celebrate with a well earned beer overlooking the Cote d’Azur from our finish line spa hotel. Few other cycling challenges offer such an incredibly well balanced and enjoyable riding, at a level challenging enough to keep the mountain veteran more than satisfied, but accessible enough to those who are experiencing the mountains for the first time.

In addition to the scheduled dates listed below, we have a range of dates available for private Raid Alps for 4-22 riders throughout June-September 2016. These dates are always extremely popular (see the FAQs below and our Private page for further details and to find out why), so if you are planning a Raid Alps in 2016, please get in touch with us via laura@ledomestiquetours.co.uk and we will be happy to help you plan the perfect Raid Alps package.

“Just a quick note to say thanks to the LDT team for such a wonderful trip on the Raid alps. It very much lived up to expectations and I was quite sad sat indoors in work this week reflecting on what we got up to last week!!”

Tony P – UK – Private Raid Alps June 2015

Le Domestique Tours – Let us be your Domestique

Show More

Dates & Prices

17 - 24 June 2017 7 Nights - Twin Share £1299pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
17 - 24 June 2017 7 Nights - Solo Occ £1549pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
1 - 8 July 2017 7 Nights - Twin Share £1299pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
1 - 8 July 2017 7 Nights - Solo Occ £1549pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
19 - 26 August 2017 7 Nights - Twin Share £1299pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
19 - 26 August 2017 7 Nights - Solo Occ £1549pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
2 - 9 September 2017 7 Nights - Twin Share £1299pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
2 - 9 September 2017 7 Nights - Solo Occ £1549pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
Private Groups Dates Throughout 2017 and 2018 From £1299pp BOOK NOW

Itinerary

Day 1 - Collection from Geneva

Arrive into Geneva on the morning flights where you will be greeted by the LDT team, before transferring to our hotel near the start line at Thonon les Bains. After arriving we build the bikes, have an opportunity for a quick spin, followed by our welcome briefing, dinner and an early night.

Day 2 - 110km - 3100m - Thonon les Bains - Megeve

Riding out from the banks of Lake Geneva and towards the foothills of the Alps, we tackle the lesser known Col de Jambaz (1027m) and Col de la Ramaz (1610m), which is famous for being the climb that ended Lance Armstrong's 2010 challenge for the Tour de France yellow jersey.

See Strava Route

Day 3 - 116km - 3400m - Megeve - Val d'Isere

First we tackle the Col des Saisies (1652m), before descending down to our lunch stop. After a hearty lunch we roll out for the start of our second climb of the day, the stunning Cormet de Roselend (1967m). After topping out at the Cormet we hit a beautiful sweeping descent which takes us through every alpine landscape you can imagine on route to Bourg St Maurice for a well deserved coffee stop. The afternoon finishes with the long ascent to our hotel in the world famous ski town of Val d'Isere.

See Strava Route

Day 4 - 143km - 3700m - Val d'Isere - Cesana Torinese

We roll straight into the remainder of the climb to one of the highest roads in Europe, the Col l'Iseran (2770m). Regrouping at the Col, we soak in the incredible views before descending the Iseran and beginning our climb into Italy via the Col du Mont Cenis (2083m). Being famous for appearing in the Tour de France five times, this ascent is guaranteed to have the hairs on the back of your neck rising. The day ends with a choice of finishing or Cesana or completing the Col de Sestriere, tonight, as opposed to the following morning.

See Strava Route

Day 5 - 112km - 3200m - Cesana Torinese - Jausiers

Having climbed the eastern ascent of the TdF and Giro featured Col de Sestriere (2033m), to obtain an official stamp the night before, our day begins with the Col de Montgenevre (1854m). Following a fabulous descent to Briancon we tackle the Col de Izoard (2361m), with the challenging descent providing jaw-dropping views of the Causse Desert and poignant Coppi Bartoli memorial stone. We end the day with the Col de Vars (2108m), followed by the descent to Jausiers.

See Strava Route

Day 6 - 100km - 2900m - Jausiers - Beuil

The day begins with the highest paved through road in Europe, the spectacular Col de Bonette (2802m) which offers an unforgettable start to a spectacular day. We then descend into St Etienne de Tinee for a lunch stop to refuel our tired legs! After a final short climb we end the day in Beuil with a well deserved carb heavy dinner.

See Strava Route

Day 7 - 150km - 2200m - Beuil - Antibes

Nearing the end of our journey, we pass through gorge roads and into the heart of the Alps Maritimes. The transition from high mountains to the hustle and bustle of the Cote d'Azur can be a shock, however the party atmosphere builds over the course of the day as the finish line and a cold beach-front beer become ever closer. We end the day with celebratory drinks on the Mediterranean coast.

See Strava Route

Day 8 - Return to Nice

After a final morning on the Mediterranean coast, we leave Antibes and return to Nice airport for the early afternoon flights home.

FAQ

  • What's Included?
    • Airport transfers will depart Geneva airport by 1.30pm to leave for the start line in Thonon-les-Bains and from the finish in Antibes to Nice airport for the early to mid-afternoon flights, in modern air-conditioned vehicles.
    • Seven night’s accommodation in 2/3* Alpine hotels on a twin share basis.
    • Six three course dinners and six breakfasts supplemented with LDT’s special blend of porridge, together with a range of nutrition options designed by our in-house professional chef, perfect fuelling for days on the bike.
    • Fully guided and pro level supported riding on all days from two vehicles (for groups of six plus) driven by senior LDT guides with total familiarity and local knowledge of the Raid Alpine route and wider area, mechanical support and assistance, supplies of exclusive LDT on the bike snacks, water top ups and a crate of coke cans.
    • A digital album of stunning photography to document your Raid journey.
    What's Not Included?
    • Lunches.
    • Alcohol.
    • Breakfast on the final morning.
    • Dinner on the final night.
    • Flights.
    • Incidental expenses/purchases.
  • Kit
    • The mountains can be extremely fickle and it is therefore difficult to predict the weather on any tour. Please therefore ensure you have a mix of kit to cover hot through to cold, along with wet weather. A definite must for packing is obviously a wind/waterproof gilet or jacket and full finger gloves, which are a good idea for the descents and mornings. Arm and knee warmers are also great as they are easy to adjust on the fly and help us keep things moving on the road. We also recommend that you bring your full wet weather kit in case we encounter any particularly poor weather.
    • We recommend that riders bring enough kit to cover the duration of their tour. Due to the nature of the Raid route and the daily schedule, it is not possible to provide a nightly laundry service, so while riders can hand wash kit in their rooms at night or utilsie the nearby launderette on Day 4, we recommend packing at least three sets of kit to ensure you can cope with any wet weather days.
    • We have a tool kit with us which contains the usual allen keys, pedal spanners, chain whips, cassette tools, chain splitter, track pump etc etc which guests are welcome to use throughout the tour. If you have any unusual bits on your bike such as proprietary bottom brackets or older/Campag group sets then you may want to bring your own specific tools as we can?t guarantee that we will have the correct tool in case of disaster. Due to their fragility we are unable to provide a torque wrench and therefore recommend that you bring your own if you require one for assembling your bike.
    • We recommend that you carry at least one spare inner tube along with a mini pump/co2 and a multitool with you at all times as a minimum so that if you do suffer a mechanical we can quickly take care of it. We have supplies of threaded Co2 canisters which you are welcome to borrow for the duration of the tour and either return unused, or if you do have to use them we charge ?2 per canister.
    • The Raid route takes us through several poorly lit tunnels, which require all bikes to be fitted with front and rear lights and we also regularly encounter low visibility due to low cloud or fog, so please ensure that you have both front and rear lights with you for use in these circumstances (simple LED commuting lights are sufficient). Failure to carry lights can result in a fine from the police and also risks drivers not seeing you, so please do not forget to bring/use them.
    Supported Riding
    • One of the main benefits of choosing Le Domestique Tours, is our pro-level supported riding service, which is an integral part of all of our multi-day challenges and the vast majority of our fixed base tours. However, unless you have ridden with us before, it can be difficult to understand the benefits of this service, so for more information please follow this link http://demo.blackidlabs.com/ldt/what-is-supported-riding/
    • We do not enforce an average speed requirement during our tours and will always strive to allow riders to cycle at their own speed (our two van support policy gives us the ability to provide our incredible supported riding service for 99% of the riders on our tours), however if there is a large speed differential between you and the rest of the group, we may require you to depart earlier, miss extended stops or in very extreme circumstances, complete sections of the route in the LDT support van.
    • Equally, if you are an extremely fast rider in comparison to the others in your group, or someone who does not like to stop during the course of your riding, we may have to adapt the level of support that we can provide for you. If you are at all concerned about your ability level (whether quicker or steadier than average) prior to signing up to this tour, please contact us in advance of booking and we will provide further guidance.
  • Fitness and Gearing
    • The Raid Alps is a challenging yet accessible tour that requires riders to be comfortable with long days in the saddle tackling the incredible Alps mountain range. As a result we always recommend that riders ensure they are comfortable riding the distance required on each day on a back to back basis and have experience of, or have trained for, sustained climbing.
    • Further guidance on training for your Raid can be found on our Training blog pages, while we also offer a full range of bespoke coaching options through Le Domestique Training.
    • While some riders do tackle the Raid Alps on a standard double chainset (53/39), we generally recommend that riders opt for a compact chainset (50/34), accompanied by a 27T or 28T rear cassette. This gives a good spread of gears to cover most eventualities and ensures that you have a low enough gear to keep the pedals turning. Some riders do utilise triple chainsets, however in many circumstances this does not provide a lower gear than the ratios suggested above.
GOT A QUESTION?

RAID ALPS - LET US BE YOUR DOMESTIQUE

BOOK THE TOUR OF A LIFETIME NOW