La Marmotte — June 29-July 6, 2014
Southern Corsica — June 9-16, 2014
L'Etape du Tour & Pyrenees — July 16-24, 2014
Pyrénées Traverse — Sep. 10-17, 2014
Around Mont Blanc in 6 days — July 5-12, 2014
Tour 2013 : Ventoux, Alpe, Annecy + Finale — July 14-21, 2013
A Week In Provence — June 22-28, 2013
France’s Sportive Double: La Marmotte and L’Etape du Tour — June 28 - July 8
L'Etape du Tour: Pyrénées Tour de France Trip — July 11-20, 2012
Milan - San Remo Gran Fondo — June 7-12, 2012
French Alps Traverse — June 16-22, 2012
Ventoux + Alpes — May 30 - June 6, 2012
Pyrénées Traverse — September 2-7, 2012
Spring Traverse — April 12-16, 2012

a backroad ride to the sun

Join us for the fifth anniversary of this Duck Store classic!

It’s a common fantasy of cyclists here in the verdant pine vestiges of the Haute Savoie: An on- the-bike escape south to the eternal sun of the Cote d’Azur.

The only thing better than cycling across the Alps, is doing it on blissfully quiet, traffic-free roads. On them, you discover the essence of cycling. Terrain hugging switchback ramps with amazing, ever-changing vistas. Serpentine descents though fantastic gorges. Long valley runs, flanked by alpine vistas. All illuminated by a summer sun that pulls you ever south to the Mediterranean.

DuckStore has concentrated a complete trans-Alpine experience into a classic 5-day ride from Annecy to Nice through some truly spectacular and remote corners of the French Alps. This DuckStore client favorite (2012 will be our 4th year) features a challenging 655km route, 9,810m climbing, and constantly changing scenery and topography.

Discover special and unique spots even few French folks know about like the Bauges mountains, the Mathésine plateau and its 3 lakes, the Souloise and Strait gorges, the Devoluy, the Col de Noyer, Champsaur, the Seyne valley and Barles Gap. You’ll have challenging, classic climbs, many of which have been featured in Tour de France, Dauphine or Paris-Nice stages virtually to yourself.

And after transitioning through the magnificent Gorges de Verdon, Cheiron Mountain, Aiglun Gap and the Col de Vence, you’ll descend into the quintessentially Provencal village of Vence, into a setting out of a Peter Mayle novel, and finish by dipping your toes into the Mediterranean sea along Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. There you’ll bask in the Riviera sun, and toast an incredible week with new friends over Bouillabaisse and Cotes de Provence rose.

Trip facts (tableau)

Dates June 16-22, 2012.  (7 days / 6 nights)
Start/End Geneva, Switzerland Airport/Nice, France
Cities/Towns Annecy, Uriage les Bains,  Saint Disdier,  Digne les Bains,  Le Mas, Nice.  
Riding Six (6) guided days on the bike.
Difficulty Level Challenging.  For those who enjoy riding up and down mountain passes.
Highights -  Quiet Alpine routes with low traffic and fantastic scenery
-  Scenic Valleys and Gorges.
Climbs - Col de Lechaux               -  Col des Près
- Col de Marciau               -  Col de Noyer     
- Col de La Morte             -  Col de Malissol
- Col de Manse                 -  Col de St. Barnabé
- Col de Pinpinier             -  Col de Ferrès
- Coursegoules                 -  Col de Vence
Lodging 6 nights in cycling friendly hotels and auberges
Meals Three daily meals included. 
Support - Technical support van.
- Professional mechanical support and upkeep
- Snacks, energy drinks and food for all rides
- All Ground transportation
- Bicycle storage facilities
- Culture document with trip related  information
- Bi-lingual guides.
Group Size 8 riders  
Cost $1,890     All taxes and service charges included.  

 

Itinary

Day 1 – Saturday June 16, 2012: Arrival & Welcome

You’ll fly into Geneva, Switzerland, where we’ll pick you up and shuttle you in our air-conditioned van to our base in Annecy. We’ll help you put your bike together, and work the kinks out of bike and body with a light spin around the same Lac d’Annecy course used for the 2009 TdF final time trial. Then it’s a group welcome dinner, and a stroll along the canals of this old city where you’ll get to know your teammates for the coming week of cycling.

45 km / 150m climbing.

Day 2 – Sunday June 17; The Bauges

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll head south out of Annecy along the lake, and quickly find our climbing legs in the Bauges mountains. This regional park is home to a range of fourteen 2,000 meter summits, and with serpentine, spectacular, and traffic-free roads. You’ll climb the Col de Lechaux, Col des Prés , ride past La Saint-André. After an abundant picnic feed, you’ll be fueled up for our final afternoon ascent over the Col de Marcieu and a descent into our stopover town of Uriage les Bains in the foothills of the Alps just east of Grenoble..

105km / 2,080m climbing.
Col de Lechaux (897m), Col des Pres (1,135m) Col de Marciau (1,060m)

Day 3 – Monday June 18 – Climbs along the Drac

Spinning low gears is the order of the day. We’ll head out early, swinging east around Grenoble via Uriage Les-Bains, heading to the hidden 6.5% Col de la Morte via the town of VIzille. Then it’s over the short but tough (8.6%) Col de Malissol before a descent into Pont Ponsonnas and a picnic lunch. We’ll then cross the Drac river, and gradually climb up again through St. Sebastien and Défilé de la Souloise to our ‘summit’ finish for the day in the town of Saint Disdier en Devalue.

124 km / 2,150m climbing
Col de la Morte (1,368m), Col de Malissol (1,155m), Saint Disdier (1,160m)

Day 4 – Tuesday June 19 - Col Noyer, Manse and the Gorges Blanches.

Right out the blocks today we’ll tackle the Col de Noyer – a climb featured four times in the Tour de France. This 4-5% grade climbing 1,654meters will provide the perfect warm up. Then it’s over the Col de Manse and a descent to Serre Poncon before a long spin along the scenic Gorges Blanches. In the afternoon, we’ll pass through the Seyne Valley and Clues de Barles (Barles Gap), before arriving at our Hotel in Dignes les Bains –a picturesque old Roman city famous for its lavender trade and for being the opening scene in Victor Hugo’s les Miserables. We’ll be far from miserable though, as we tuck into a feast for the appetite as fitting as the feast for the eyes we experienced today.

144 k / 1,980m climbing
Col de Noyer (1,654m), Col de Manse (1,268m), Seyne (1,157m)

Day 5 - Wednesday June 20: The Verdon Gorges

Today the scenery changes. We’ll warm up along the Bleone river to Les Ragots, then turn south climbing 790m to Les Cardaires before dropping to Bras d’Asse. A backroad climb to St. Jurs, and it’s a ride along the balcony of the Gorges de Verdon, and the most breathtaking views on this trip. You wind through walls of limestone that’s become a rock climber’s mecca. Then it’s back over the Col de Barnabé and Col de Pinpinier to our hotel in Le Mas.

135km / 2,190m climbing
Les Ragots (490m), Les Cardaires (790m) , Bras d’Asse (490m), Gorges de Verdon (1,201m), Pont St. Maymes (1,001m), Col de Barnabé (1,365m, Col de Pinpinier (1,130m).

Day 6 – Thursday June 21. Over Col de Vence to Nice.

The Cote d’Azur is calling… we’ll climb out of Le Mas past Clue d’Aiglun , Aiglun and over Col de Ferres. Then it’s one last challenge via Bézaudon les Alpes and over Coursegoules (1,004 meters of climbing). You’ll cruise over the Col de Vence into this typical Provencal city. A quick pastis stop, and a celebratory descent into Nice along the Corniche du Var. We’ll dip our toes into the Mediterranean at the Promenade des Anglais, and seek out a Bouillabaisse and some cold Provence Rose to toast a memorable trip.

100km / 2,190m climbing
Col de Ferrès (605m), Bézaudon les Alpes (835m), Coursegoules (1,004m), Col de Vence (963m), Corniche du Var (220m). Promenade des Anglais (0m).

Day 7 – Friday June 22. Departure