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Morzine has a deserved reputation for excellence when it comes to road biking holidays in the French Alps. It is part of the legendary Portes du Soleil area and is perfectly positioned for road cyclists who want to tackle some of the region’s most iconic hill climbs.
Morzine road cycling holidays can incorporate the Col de Joux Plane, Col de la Ramaz and the Col de l’Encrenaz to name just a few, all of which have been used in past Tour de France routes.
A ‘hors categorie’ ascent in the Tour de France, the Col de Joux Plane route stretches between Samoëns and Morzine. To date, it has been featured in the Tour de France 11 times, and cylists find this a real challenge – and not just the amateurs. This iconic col is well known for putting Lance Armstrong in serious trouble during the 2000 Tour de France. The start and climb is hard, averaging 13% at ‘La Combe Emeru’ hamlet. However, the panorama of Mont Blanc and the stunning views are worth it! So I have been told…
As well as the cols there are other challenging routes, that don’t involve as much uphill. The Tour of Lake Geneva, passing through Evian, Montreux, Lausanne and Geneva is a fabulous tour. Quite a long bike ride, but not as challenging as a ‘famous Col’. There are great valley bottom routes too that provide much easier terrain and make for great introductory or rest day rides. It’s really up to you how easy or how hard you want to make your road cycling holiday in the beautiful French Alps.
My father in law, Jean-Claude Rodriguez has been the president of the Cycling club in Morzine for the last 40 years!! Together with the tourist office, he has put together a great road cycling guide of all the top cycling tours in the area. It gives you all the details of the road cycling tours in and around Morzine, showing you exactly where to go, what altitude you will climb to and how long it will take.
In the Summer, Jean-Claude and the cycling club host two races from the church in Morzine, up to Avoriaz. It’s a 12km climb with 800m ascent. The first is on the 14th July (French Bastille day) and the second race is on the second Sunday in August. This is an iconic route, time climbed officially during the 1975 Tour de France. The best time, 33 minutes, is still held by Bernard Hinault. A clocking-in and -out machine is available all summer so you can time yourself, if you can’t make the official races.
For the rest of the innumerable cycling tours, then you can have a sneaky peak at Jean-Claude’s cycling log. He has the timings and itinerary of the best routes to be had in the area. But it stays a family secret!!
Since 1975 the mountains and cols in and around Morzine-Avoriaz have provided many memorable stages of the famous Tour de France. It tends to run through Morzine every 3 to 4 years and usually provides an overnight rest stop. In July 2010, the 97th Tour de France ran through the village and covered a total distance of 3,600 kilometres. Morzine-Avoriaz played a huge part in this tour, playing host to the arrival stage in Avoriaz, rest day in Morzine and then the departure from Morzine.
We were lucky to have Phil Anderson staying at Chalet Morzine during the Tour de France, the iconic Australian, who was the first Australian to wear the yellow jersey and finished 4th for the team Peugeot in 1983.
Chalet Morzine Top Tip!If you want to follow in the footsteps of these champions, then don’t hesitate to book your road cycling holiday in the French Alps, at Chalet Morzine, where you can pick up the expert tips from Jean-Claude…
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