Elevation of the route
Waytypes of the cycle route
Surface of the cycle route
Which direction to ride the Route des Grandes Alpes®?
Most riders opt to cycle north to south, but the Route des Grandes Alpes® is just as interesting tackled south to north. Did you know, for example, that the some 18,000m of shift in altitude along the whole main route are harder going south to north, as the climbs are shorter that way?
Six to eight days of cycling
To complete the most direct route, 720km in length and involving 18,000m of positive shift in altitude, count six to eight days of cycling. However, you can of course make up your own journey, making use of the main route plus its six alternative stages. In total, including main route + alternative stages, there are 26 stages classified either as Difficult or Very Difficult… but these are made very much easier if you use an e-bike (in French, a vélo à assistance électrique, or VAE).
Additional alternative stages
Every year, we aim to add enticing alternative stages that answer specific criteria, for example adding safety or interest for cyclists. One example: the alternative stage via L’Alpe d’Huez and the Col de Sarenne pass, which ticks all the boxes:
- Cyclists thus avoid the dangerous stretch shared with motorized traffic along the trunk road between Bourg d’Oisans and Chambon Lake.
- Cyclists can then tackle the iconic 21 hairpin bends up to the ski resort of L’Alpe d’Huez.
- The views from the Col de Sarenne and over the Oisans mountains are magnificent.
So, now you know – the Route des Grandes Alpes® is a challenge that will help you move mountains!
Easier with e-bikes!
To make the route more accessible to a wider number of cyclists, there are recharging points for e-bikes (vélos à assistance électrique, or VAEs, in French) dotted along the way, roughly every 30-40km. This means that people with different levels of fitness and experience can enjoy the adventure together if heading out as a group, some using conventional bikes, others e-bikes. Riding an e-bike makes tackling major mountain passes manageable, offering cyclists a good balance between effort and enjoyment!
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