Saturday 2nd July held the beginning of the 103rd Tour de France, the multi-stage bicycle race held primarily in France. This year the 21 stages cover a staggering 3,519 kilometres (2,187 miles)! That is the same distance as travelling from our Portsmouth office to John O’Groats… a whopping 3 times! To make this more impressive, competitors have to achieve this in just 20 days with 2 extra days set aside for (well-deserved) rest.
Mountains have been a part of the Tour de France since 1910. This year’s participants have plenty of alpine ground between the 5th and 20th stages, where the ride heads from the Massif Central to the Alps via the Pyrenees and the Jura. From the 21st – 23rd July, Mont Blanc will be surrounded with crowds praising both the stunning backdrop and the inspiring cyclists as the route takes riders from Sallanches to Megève (21st July); Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc (22nd July); and Megève to Morzine-Avoriaz (23rd).
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Why are the Alps good for cycling?
The stunning scenery and breath-taking mountain roads make for an incredible ride. Savoie Mont Blanc in particular has 68 mountain passes, famous road cycling climbs and diverse terrain which create a trip holding something for everyone. La Maurienne, ‘the world’s largest cycling area’, is home to some of the most impressive climbs in the Alps including the Cols of Galibier, Glandon, Madeleine, Iséran and Croix de Fer. The Maurienne offers 56,000m of ascent over these 9 passes (others include Mont Cenis, Télégraphe, Chaussy, Mollard and Grand Cucheron).
The best views of the Tour
The picturesque town of La Clusaz is perfectly located in the Haute-Savoie region between mountains and Lake Annecy, and this year the Tour de France passes through the centre of the village (23rd July 2016)! The village is full of character with traditional architecture holding shops, restaurants, bars and a chocolatier; whilst maintaining its cosy-mountain charm with features such as locally sourced trees planted in the centre and weekly markets every Monday morning. The traditional and friendly village also has the added bonus of being easily accessible from Geneva and Calais.
Accommodation near to the action, can be found at our 4* self-catered Les Grandes Alpes apartments - currently just £366pp* for 14 nights (saving £46pp), based on the week commencing 16 July 2016. This includes a free Détente Plus pass** which gives access to beaches at Talloires and Angon, mountain lifts, summer tobogganing, tennis, archery, crazy golf, ice rink, swimming-pool, leisure centre and resort shuttle bus.
*Apartment prices based on 5 sharing a 2 bedroom apartment, including transport. Subject to availability, T&Cs apply. Accommodation only holiday packages also available. Insurance and transfers also bookable. Holidays are fully ABTA bonded.
**For stays of minimum 7 nights between 2nd July and 4th September, one free Détente Plus pass per apartment, valid 8 days, giving access to the beaches at Talloires and Angon, mountain lifts, summer tobogganing, tennis, archery, crazy golf, ice rink, swimming-pool, leisure centre and resort shuttle bus. For those requiring a card, a passport size photo is needed. For stays of minimum 7 nights between 2nd July and 4th September, one Enfant Roi pass per family applies to children under 12 years, including:
• 1 Détente Plus card, valid 8 days, as above
• Free meal in participating restaurants in the resort (with minimum 2 adults)
• Free drink in participating bars /brasseries in the resort (with minimum 2 adults)