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Lyon to Lyon - 5 Stages, taking in some of the most famous climbs and varied scenery in the French Alps


‘Ride The Rollercoaster’


If challenging yourself over serious Cols is your thing then this is the trip for you.  With average daily distances of over 100km and route profiles resembling that of a saw blade, these rides will really test your leg power.  The climbs are as long as they are beautiful, but then so are the descents on this route through scenery that seems to offer too many excuses to stop and take yet another picture.  As always, with Red Lantern Cycling providing the organisation and support so you can enjoy the ride at your own pace.

Currently available for bookings of 4+ riders only - Priced from £1300 per person


Contact us for details on suitable dates

Sample itinerary at a glance:


Day 1 - Arrival

Arrive at Lyon Airport late afternoon/evening, where you’ll be met and driven the approximately 60-minute journey to your accommodation close to Grenoble.  If you haven’t taken advantage of our Bike Transfer service you’ll have time to unpack your bike before we get together for an informal briefing on the days ahead.


Day 2 – Grenoble to Bourg d’Oisans - 115KM.  

Taking the scenic route to Bourg d’Oisans this tour starts gently, heading uphill to the first Col of the day, the Col d’Ornon (1371m).  It’s a nice warm up for the legs, as although at over 14km in length this pretty climb is a long one compared to those you may find in the U.K., it never gets too demanding.  The same cannot be said of the main event of the day: l‘Alpe d’Huez (1860m).  This is a different story altogether, but that doesn’t deter cyclists from all over the world making the pilgrimage to the most famous climb in road cycling, and pitting themselves against it.  It's not uncommon for riders to get a feeling of dread the first time they turn the bend at the bottom of the climb, to be confronted by what appears to be a wall of tarmac.  But this is an exciting journey through the 21 hairpin bends that help this road snake its way up the face of the mountain.  You learn a lot about yourself here.  On the way back down to your accommodation take the time to cheer on those still making their way to the top.


Landmark Climbs: Col d’Ornon and Alpe d’Huez.


Day 3 – Bourg d’Oisans to Briançon - 150KM.

A classic route.  Taking inspiration from the famous la Marmotte cyclosportive, regarded as one of the toughest one day challenges open to amateur cyclists, this route provides a real test.  First up is the Col de la Croix de Fer (2067m), a Red Lantern Cycling favourite and a climb of outstanding beauty, which rises and drops through forest and pasture, and passes by tranquil man-made lakes on its way to a summit which offers stunning vistas.  After the descent down the other side, and lunch, next up is the Col de Télégraphe (1566m),  often overlooked as a stepping stone on the way to the bigger climb beyond, but at 12km in length at an average gradient of around 7% you won’t be able to freewheel up it.  Don’t push yourself too hard though as the biggest test of the day follows shortly after.  The road over the Col du Galibier (2646m) is one of the highest anywhere in the Alps, and from the north side is tough even without the two previous climbs in your legs.  After the obligatory pictures next to the memorial to Henri Desgranges, credited with creating the Tour de France, take the opportunity to spin some of the lactic acid out of your legs on the descent as you head to Briançon, for a good night’s rest that will have been well earned.


Landmark Climbs: Col de la Croix de Fer, Col de Télégraphe and Col du Galibier.


Day 4 - Briançon to Barcelonnette – 100KM.  

After yesterday’s ascent of Galibier there is yet another classic Col on the route today, the Col d’Izoard (2360m). A staple of le Tour, you cannot really come to this part of the world and not ride the Col d’Izoard, a captivating ride with a memorial to the great Italian rider, Fausto Coppi, at the summit.  From here the road descends through the rock jungle that is Casse Déserte and on to Alpine meadows, which signal that you are approaching the final ascent of the day, the Col de Vars (2109m).  At almost 30km in length and with 1130m of altitude gain this is a long climb.  A tough day, and as you rest up overnight in Barcelonnette you can take real pride in your achievement.


Landmark Climbs: Col d’Izoard and Col de Vars.


Day 5 – Barcelonnette 3-Col Loop - 125KM. 


Something a little different today.  After the exertions of the last few days you may fancy a bit of a rest today but this area has some fantastic routes, so even if you can’t bring yourself to attempt our main ride today we’ll provide you with information on others you may like to try.  The main event today is a tough loop which takes in the Col de la Cayolle (2326m), the Col des Champs (2087m), and the Col d’Allos (2240m).  There is a lot of climbing on this route, but it never stays too steep for too long, and the quiet, narrow roads that feature heavily on this ride through unspoilt countryside are the reason that some say that this is their favourite area of the Alps to cycle in.  Accommodation is again in Barcelonnette.


Landmark Climbs: Col de la Cayolle, Col des Champs and Col d’Allos.


Day 6 - Gap to Grenoble – 70KM.


A short transfer to Gap begins our day before we head out, albeit in the opposite direction, to the point where Lance Armstrong famously went cross-country in the 2003 Tour de France.  After the big Cols of the last few days the TdF rated 2nd category Col du Noyer (1664m) and the 1st category Cote de Laffrey (900m), one of the first mountains to ever be used in le Tour, should not present too many problems as we take our last opportunity to enjoy the Alps and head to this tour’s finish in Grenoble.  The final night’s accommodation is in Grenoble, with a chance to reflect on the achievements of the previous few days, before transfers to Lyon for your return home are made the following day.


Landmark Climbs: Col du Noyer and Côte de Laffrey.


Currently available for bookings of 4+ riders only - Priced from £1300 per person


Contact us for details on suitable dates

What’s included:


6 nights in 2-star (minimum) accommodation on a shared occupancy basis

Breakfast, packed lunches and six evening meals (1st night dependant on arrival time)

Luggage transfers between stopovers

Vehicle support during your rides

Transfers from and to Lyon Airport (at recommended flight times)


What’s not:


Travel to and from UK airport


Travel Insurance

Drinks with meals

Meals other than those specified

Subsidiary or sundry expenses


NB. All routes are subject to favourable weather and road conditions.

Red Lantern Cycling  Road to Croix de Fer - Touching the Sky, Ride the Rollercoaster