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Alternative stage Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Saint-François-Longchamp Route des Grandes Alpes by bike

80,02 Km
5 h 20 min
Very difficult
Alternative stage Bourg-Saint-Maurice / Saint-François-Longchamp
Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Saint-François-Longchamp
This stage includes the iconic switch from Tarentaise to Maurienne Valley, via the Col de la Madeleine (1993m). This pass also proves very useful for those tackling the Route des Grandes Alpes® when the Col de l’Iseran above Val d’Isère remains closed. We can also put forward an extra suggestion, only suitable for adventurous, exceptionally fit cyclists – a long detour going from Moutiers, via Brides-les-Bains, up to the Col de la Loze (2304m), exploiting the high-altitude greenway between Méribel and Courchevel; its continuous steep slopes, sometimes at gradients of over 20%, made for one of the most spectacular stage ends on the 2020 Tour de France.
2371 m 3172 m

From Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Saint-François-Longchamp via the Col de la Madeleine

Route North / South

↗ 2387m ↘ 1629m

Take note, this is a long stage, 70km in length, with a shift in altitude of over 2300m in total. You start along the Avenue Verte de Tarentaise, a lovely, shaded greenway, going up to Aime. Next, we recommend you use the minor D88 road, perched above the Isère River’s south bank, taking you via the Col du Tra pass (1305m) and Notre-Dame-du-Pré, to avoid much of the very busy main road down in the valley. From the town of Moutiers, main junction for the 3 Vallées ski area, head for Aigueblanche, then the thermal spa resort of La Léchère-les-Bains, where you start on the long climb to the Col de la Madeleine (1993m), involving a 1600m shift in altitude over 25km. After the pass, you plunge rapidly down to Saint-François-Longchamp 1650, very close by. 

Route South / North

↗ 1629m ↘ 2387m

From Saint-François-Longchamp 1650, just over 300m of slope lead you to the Col de la Madeleine pass (1993m). There follows a very long descent, involving a 1600m negative shift in altitude, to the thermal spa resort of La Léchère-les-Bains. Ride on via Aigueblanche to the town of Moutiers, then climb towards Bourg-Saint-Maurice. We recommend that you go right up to Notre-Dame-du-Pré and the Col du Tra pass (1305m) before descending back down to Aime, thus avoiding the very busy main road down in the valley. From Aime, the Avenue Verte de Tarentaise, a lovely, shaded greenway, takes you gently and smoothly up to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

Don’t miss

  • Coopérative de Bourg-Saint-Maurice: in the town centre, opposite the station, the cooperative dairy for the Haute-Tarentaise is very much worth a visit, dedicated to putting Beaufort cheese and the area to the fore.
  • Col de la Loze: a tarmacked mountain path here has been transformed into a greenway. Off the Route des Grandes Alpes®, so an alternative stretch along an alternative section, it links Méribel to Courchevel. It’s so unique, with its continuous steep slopes, some involving a gradient of over 20% in the final kilometres, that it served as one of the Tour de France’s most sensational stage ends in 2020.  
  • La Léchère-les-Bains: one of the two thermal spa resorts in the Tarentaise Valley, along with Brides-les-Bains. It’s a place that highlights the potential beneficial effects of the Alps’ waters!
     

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