Promo: Alpcycles Favourite Alp Loops

As we all head into the 2019 road cycling season, Alpcycles thought that over the coming weeks they would give you a taster of some of their favourite local loops that you can tackle on their Alpcycles June Weekend in the Alps with their team of guides supporting you on the road the whole way

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Promo: Alp Cycles Favourite Alp Loops

Col du Petit St Bernard – How about a quick spin to Italy?

As we head into the 2019 cycling season, we thought that over the coming weeks we would give you a taster of some of our favourite local loops. You can expect to tackle these on our Alpcycles June Weekend in the Alps with our guiding team supporting you on the road the whole way.

This ride is an all-time favourite with our clients and is always used on the last day of any of our week-long camps or weekends. We call this our “coffee” ride and is a great finish to a tough few days of climbing in the Alps.

The Col du Petit St Bernard, or the Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo if climbed from the Italian side, is 2,188 metres and on the France-Italy border located between Savoie France, and the Aosta valley, Italy. So it’s all ways pretty cool to pop across the border to grab a decent Italian coffee! We normally have a gentle spin in from Aime to get the legs ticking over.

This can be via the cycle path beside the Isere river or the back road via Peisey. Either way is a nice spin and fairly quiet. The climb starts just outside Bourg St Maurice in the Tarentaise Valley which is a pretty famous ski town and also famed for other big TDF climbs such as La Plagne, Col de l’Iseran and Cormet de Roselend to name a few…

The reason this climb is so loved is that it averages only 4.4% with a max gradient of 6% which in comparison with most Alpine climbs is very easy, but it is 31 kilometres long, so that kind of makes up for the gentle gradient! The road is quite wide and just hairpins away. You do in peak season get a fair bit of traffic but normally you can ride two a breast and just line out if and when a car approaches, so never too much of a problem.


We normally try to ride up in a few small groups at varying speeds and on the early slopes with the gentle gradients this is possible. But with the climb being so long, you still have to treat it with respect…. On the way up there are some fantastic views across to the Beaufortain and the ski resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes as well back down to Bourg St Maurice below.

After 22km you reach the resort of La Rosiere and then pick up signs for Italy. From here, the last 9kms of the climb are probably the toughest especially if the wind is against you. The whole time from here, you can see the Hospice near the summit so you know you’re getting near but the road keeps turning away and keeps you guessing. In early season, end of May to early June, the Petit can have some impressive snow banks either side of the road after a big winter season making for some great photo opportunities.

Normally, clients get to the Hospice and think that’s the summit….and if people are battling each other for the KOM, many a sprint has been launched to early with the actual summit being 1km up the road! Once the hard work is done, we spin across the border into Italy to grab a café macchiato and normally sit in the sun outside the bar and you’re surrounded by stunning views and the mighty Mont Blanc behind you.

Then for our clients, as this is a last day’s ride, it is just an out and back so we finish off with a gentle 31km descent back down to Bourg St Maurice generally peppered with photo stops before a regroup and then back to base to pack bikes and have a few beers.



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