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Velovation - Guides & Tours, Nice

Specialist in road cycling tours tailored to perfection

This company specialise in supported road cycling tours where they will help you accomplish some of the best climbs the French Alps have to offer. They offer day tours, weekend tours and week long tours so you can explore the region as much as you choose.

Climbing cols, circumnavigating beautiful lakes and exploring some of the most stunning scenery available are just bonuses to the sense of achievement you will feel after a road cycling tour of the Alps with Velovation 

The routes they plan are thoroughly researched and tested to ensure that each day provides their small groups with classic climbs, sensational scenery and a massive sense of achievement.  They will talk to you and discuss your requirements and create a plan that will meet, if not surpass, your expectations. They will plan, prepare and organise everything so that you can put your head down, focus and get the most out of your cycling.

Whilst you are cycling there will be a support vehicle available at all times with refreshments, mechanical assistance, spare clothes and parts and even a lift if it all gets too much!  You'll also have a support rider by your side to ensure everything on the ride runs smoothly and without fuss.

Velovation also has two fully qualified bike mechanics and certified first aiders who can ensure both you and your bike are well looked after.

The tours include:

  • Bike Storage: Each hotel you stay in has quality bike storage and they also supply extra chains and padlocks to ensure extra security. 
  • Lunch & Refreshments: Picnic lunches are provided on all their tours and they also offer snacks to help you on your way. 
  • Maps: You'll be provided with a map and profile of the days route, along with any other relevant and useful information.
  • Tools: They carry a comprehensive tool kit in the back of the support vehicle along with a number of basic replacement parts.
  • Hotels & Accommodation: All accommodation has been arranged for the dates highlighted in the tour. If you wish for accommodation before or after the dates, let Velovation know and they can try to help you. Meals will be included at each hotel unless otherwise stated in the itinerary.

In addition to bespoke tours, the company run the following cycling holidays (full details in the What to do section):

  • Day Trips: Various routes available to suit all abilities with point to point trips such as Morzine to Chamonix or Morzine to Annecy with return transfers as well as circular routes.
  • Morzine Bank Holiday Weekend: 3 days of cycling that covers classic Tour de France climbs, velvet descents, medieval towns and great food and accommodation.
  • Route des Grandes Alpes: An eight-day trip with six days riding. You'll travel from Morzine to La Clusaz, over various cols to reach Bourg St Maurice and up to Val d'isere. You'll then descend towards Michel-de-Maurienne, through to Guillestre, then on to Valdeblore and finally arriving in Menton by the sea. The trip has you flying into Geneva and departing from Nice. As well as the fantastic scenery, the trip will have you tackling some tough cols and the Cime de la Bonette, the highest route in Europe.
  • Alpe d'Huez - Mont Ventoux: This is a five day trip with three days of riding and combines two of the most iconic climbs in cycling history, The Alp with its famous 21 bends leading up to Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux, known as 'The Giant of Provence'. 
  • Mont Ventoux - Antibes: This is a six day trip with four days of riding. The trip takes you from the famous Mont Ventoux (The Giant of Provence) through to Antibes passing the beautiful Gorge du Verdon.
  • The Big One: This is a five-day tour with three days riding. It is an epic journey covering the Cols de l’Iseran, du Galibier, du Glandon, de la Madeleine and Alpe d'Huez's 21 bends. Be warned, you may need another holiday after this one!

What you can do

Day Rides:
With some of the best Alpine riding on their doorstep in Morzine the options are endless. If it’s your first time cycling in the Alps then you can start in the foothills and work up to the bigger mountains over the course of your stay. You could do a point to point ride, for example, Morzine to Chamonix or Morzine to Annecy with a return transfer to Morzine. Circular routes are also possible. Their day rides to suit all abilities from a gentle trip taking in the stunning scenery of the local region up to long endurance rides on which you'll tackle multiple cols and big distances. 

Prices for point to point packages are €400 for up to four riders with an addition €75 per extra rider with a maximum of 7 people (large groups are possible - enquire for details). 

Prices for circular route are €300 for the first 3 riders and €50 for additional riders.

Morzine Bank Holiday Weekends
Velovation have put together 3 days of riding that blend their favourite climbs and backroads with stunning scenery, classic Tour de France climbs, velvet descents, medieval towns and great food and accommodation.

Enjoy an outstanding stay at Chalet Morin and 3 days of fully supported riding. No need to take any time off work as you will return you to the airport for an evening flight on Monday! Chalet Morin has a large secure garage for bike storage and will be equipped with work stands and all the tools needed to help build your bike on arrival. It Also has a large garden and hot tub perfect for relaxing in after your day's ride.

Route des Grandes Alpes
This is an eight-day trip with six days or riding. The cost is £1,900 per person and the itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1; Arrive at Geneva where they will meet you from your flight and take you to your accommodation. A good meal will be provided along with maps and any other information for the days ahead.
  • Day 2: On the first day of this epic tour you'll have 30 km to warm up our legs before the big first ascent. The Col de la Colombiere is where this tour really starts.  Wild and uninhibited, this climb will give you a taste of things to come. A fast descent down to Thones and you start to climb again, up through the ski resort of La Clusaz to the Col de Aravis. The col is a low point in the impressive high ridgeline of the Aravis chain. From here you will head to Crest Voland at the foot of the following morning's climb.
  • Day 3: After breakfast, it is straight into a short gentle warm-up climb to the Col des Saisies then down the steeper side into Beaufort. The road starts to climb swiftly up to the Cormet de Roseland a cat. One climb, passing the beautiful Lac de Roseland just before the summit.  A fun 23km descent takes you to Bourg St Maurice where you will start to climb up to Val d’Isere. When you see the Reservoir, you know you are nearly there as the road winds gently up through a number of tunnels to the hotel in Val d’Isere for a good meal and a comfortable nights sleep.
  • Day 4: From Val d’Isere it is straight up to the Iseran, an exposed and tough start to the morning but well worth it for the view from the top. The descent seems endless at 73km but well deserved and very beautiful, it brings you down to St Michel-de-Maurienne where with rested legs you'll tackle the Col du Telegraphe which at 830m height gain is a tough but good end to the day as it winds up through the trees which offer good shade on a hot day.  A short descent takes you to Valloire and the hotel.
  • Day 5: Following a good nights sleep there is a tough start to day 4.  At 18km the Galibier is a beast, with no shade and lots of exposure. This exposure and the stunning views will make you feel on top of the world.  The steep 37km descent takes you through some beautiful and unexpected landscape to Briancon where the second climb of the day commences.  The Col d’Izoard, the climb at 18km is testing after the past few days riding but passes through some delightful Alpine villages to keep you interested.  The descent takes down to Guillestre through the fantastical landscape of barren scree slopes punctuated by huge rock pillars.
  • Day 6: Setting off from Guillestre for the penultimate day, the big one. The landscape is changing as you head further South, the day starts with the Col de Vars, it is a climb of two parts.  The first is tougher and a hard warm-up.  It mellows a bit as you reach the top and then it is downhill into Jausiers.  This is when you really start to feel it, at 24km and 2757m the Cime de la Bonette is the highest route in Europe and with a maximum gradient of 12% the oxygen is hard to come by.  The surrounding landscape is colourful yet largely deserted now but the views from the top will take your breath away once you have had time to catch it.  From the top, you'll descend and finish with a little up to Valdeblore and a well-deserved rest.
  • Day 7: The final day and are straight up to the Col St Martin.  The terrain now has a wonderful Mediterranean and with the sea air beckoning the first climb to the top doesn’t feel that bad.  The wickedly winding climb up the Col de Turini from Bollene-Vesubie is a visually satisfying climb along with the knowledge of it being the penultimate climb.  Last but not least is the Col de Castillon.  From Sospel the climb is short and as you reach the top the view of the sea is astounding and always very well received.  The final destination is 15km downhill into Menton where it is time to relax and rest by the sea. 
  • Day 8: After a pretty punishing week it is time to go home, fly out of Nice or choose to stay on for a few days at the beach. You will take you to the airport if you choose to fly home today. (They will provide Friday nights accommodation but if you wish to stay in the South for a few days longer it will be up to you to find accommodation and a transfer to the airport).

Alpe d'Huez - Mont Ventoux
This is a five day trip with three days riding and costs £1,100 per person. The trip combines two of the most iconic climbs in cycling history, The Alp with its famous 21 bends leading up to Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux, known as 'The Giant of Provence'. 

Starting in the high Alps on the rugged slopes of the Romanche Valley, follow in the pedal strokes of the Tour’s greatest legends and conquer “The Alp” with its 21 infamous switchbacks. From here you make your way southwards over the col d’Ornon and into lesser-known but equally breathtaking cycling terrain of the Parc National Regional du Varcors on your way to the lavender fields of Provence. You might not be in the Alps anymore but don’t be fooled, this is challenging and exhilarating cycling which will lead you to your final epic challenge, Mont Ventoux. You will tackle this beast from Bedoin, the classic route most commonly used by the Tour de France. Winding its way up through the forested lower slopes and onwards and skywards till you reach the lunar landscape of the summit. After a quick coffee stop at the famous Chalet Regnard you’ll partake in what is in their view one of the best cycling descents available, the road to Sault followed by a well-deserved lunch. To finish your tour, no ride in this area would be complete without taking in the grandeur of the Gorge de la Nesque. After a short mellow climb, you can sit back and relax knowing all the hard work is done, enjoy the final descent along the awe-inspiring cliff-hugging road that hangs to the side of the stunning Gorge de la Nesque all the way to your final hotel and a very well earned meal.

Ventoux - Antibes
This is a six day trip with four days of riding from Mont Ventoux through to Antibes via the beautiful Gorge du Verdon. The trip cost £1,450 per person. 

Starting the journey on the slopes of one of if not the most iconic of cycling’s notorious climbs, Mont Ventoux “The Giant of Provence” you will surely have a taste of things to come. This journey will take you from the steep forested slopes and breathtaking views of the lunar landscape summit of Mont Ventoux southwards through the quiet roads lined with the famous lavender fields and orchards of Provence. You will pedal your way along the perfect roads of this beautiful region's cycling heaven. Day three will see you tackle one of Frances most beautiful highlights, The Gorge du Verdon with its crystal blue waters and cavernous ravines. The cliff-hugging road that winds its way up to the top of one of nature's finest creations. As you near the Mediterranean and your final destination they will show you just why this area is so loved by cyclists from all over the world. With its hilltop villages, deep ravines, perfect tarmac and roads that defy gravity, its almost as though this area was created purely with cyclists in mind. What better way to finish such a ride than with a very well deserved celebratory beer on the beach and a dip in the warmth of the Meditaranian sea.

The Big One
This is a five-day trip with threes days of riding and costs £1,100 per person. Highlights of the tour include the cols de l’Iseran, du Galibier, du Glandon and de la Madeleine, plus Alpe d'Huez's 21 bends! The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1: Arrive at Geneva on a flight with the rest of the group and you will meet you and take you to Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise where the tour will begin tomorrow. The hotel will provide an evening meal and you will talk you through the next few days riding.
  • Day 2:  Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise-Col d’Iseran-Modane 90km, gain 2049m. Just the one climb today but it’s a big one. The Col de l’Iseran at 2763m is the highest road pass in Europe. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel you hit the road, it’s an uphill start but the gradient remains fairly gentle for the first part of the climb up to the world famous ski resort of Val d’Isere. Just before Val, where you'll stop for coffee, you'll pass the original village of Tignes although you are unlikely to see it. In 1952 the village was submerged beneath the Lac Du Chevril after the construction of the huge dam and only becomes visible once every ten years when the vast lake is drained for maintenance work on the dam. In 1989 the dam was painted by Jean-Marie Pierret and a team of climbers with a huge fresco of Hercules which is considered to be one of the largest frescos in the world. After your rest the real climb begins. You leave the tree line behind in Val d’Isere and head up into the barren but stunningly beautiful high mountains. It is 16km to the summit from Val and with an average gradient of 6% and a maximum of 12% you’re sure to feel the effects of the high altitude. At the summit, they provide you with your refreshments and you will have the chance to put on some warmer clothes ready to enjoy the reward for all your hard work, the breathtaking, thoroughly engaging descent into the valley on the other side. You end the day with a short climb up to tonight's hotel, a well-earned meal and a good nights sleep.
  • Day 3: Modane-Allemand,Telegraphe, Galibiere, Alp d’Huez. 135km, 3439m gain. Today is a big one including three the most infamous climbs of the Tour de France; the Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibiere and the notorious Alp d’Huez. After a gentle warm up down the valley to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne you turn left onto smaller roads and the start of an epic day. First up is the Col du Telegraphe, often unclassified by the Tour who considers it to be just part of the ascent of the Galibiere. Don’t be fooled, treat this one with respect, it’s a cat 1 climb with a height gain of nearly 900m and a significant climb in its own right. The climb winds up the mountain along a tree-shaded road, never getting too steep and often relinquishing fantastic views of the Maurienne Valley below. The numerous fortifications that can be seen along the way and the huge fort just before the top give an indication of the routes historical importance as a connection between the northern and southern alps. From the top a short 4km descent into Valloire and a quick coffee stop if required takes you to the bottom of one of the most feared and celebrated climbs in Tour de France history - The Col du Galibiere. After a short steep section leaving Valloire you hit 4km of false flat, the long straight road passing up the centre of the valley giving plenty of opportunities to take in the sudden change in scenery from the green forests of the lower valley to the vast barren mountain peaks and enormous scree slopes that surround you now. Hitting the first hairpin bend at Plan Lachat the gradient starts to kick up not dropping below 7.5% and sometimes hitting 10% on the ferocious switchbacks all the way to the top. Your reward for conquering this monster is one of the most breathtaking views in all the Alps. Looking down on the switchbacks that you’ve just overcome and watching tiny specks of cyclists making their way up from the valley if the Galibiere has not already succeeded in making you feel very small it will now. The next 47km of beautiful descending take you down to the Col du Lautaret and on through the world famous mountaineering town of La Grave overlooked by the daunting La Meije Glacier, past Lac du Chambon below the ski resort of Les Deux Alps and on to Le Bourg d’Oisans at the foot of your final challenge for this epic day - Alp d’Huez. Probably the most famous climb of the Tour De France, the 21 hairpin bends have decided the winner of the yellow jersey and been the setting for many epic battles on numerous occasion. A true legend of the Tour. The first section of the climb is the steepest rearing up to 13% in places. Whilst counting off the numbered bends take in the names of all the past Tour De France winners on “The Alp” a rider commemorated on each bend with his name and the year of his win as well as the ever-widening view of the deep Romanche Valley. After bend 17 the gradient slackens off a little and you know the worst is over. After a quick break in the ski resort of Alp d’Huez to take on some refreshments and to contemplate exactly what you’ve achieved you’ll head back down taking a small side road for a real edge of the world decent into the town of Allemond on the shores of the Lac du Verney and tonight's hotel.
  • Day 4: Allemand-Moutiers, Glandon and Madeleine 91.8km 2732m gain. The first of the days two climbs is the Col du Glandon with an average of only 4.8% you’d be forgiven for thinking this might be an easy one but with the climb being broken by several decents and an ever changing gradient sometimes hitting 12% it’s very hard to find your rhythm making this climb a real challenge. Sometimes described as a Pyrenean style climb, this route has a character very different to anything else you’ll find in these mountains. The road follows the Eua d’Oie river through the forests of the lower climb up past the majestic turquoise Lac de Grand Maison and it’s dam holding back 140 million cubic meters of water which steadily feed the hydroelectric power station passed further down the valley. The forest gradually gives way to bigger views and more open country, look out for the many waterfalls cascading down from mountain faces on the right of the valley and the spectacular Aiguilles de l’Argentiere on the left. While the road carries on to the Col de Fer 3km further on you exit the valley to the left over the Col de Glandon. From here you negotiate the tight hairpins near the summit following the winding road snaking it’s way down into the shade of the trees in the Maurienne valley. After stopping for lunch in the valley floor you cross the river to the town of La Chambre where the ascent of the Col de la Madeleine begins. The Col de la Madeleine connects the Maurienne and Tarentaise valleys and was first established as a route in Roman times being paved with stone in 1938 by Spanish refugees. First climbed by the TDF in 1969 it’s a relative newcomer to the Tour but having been used 23 times since it has definitely established its place as a real classic of the Tour. After 2km of gentle gradient, the road kicks up writhing its way up the mountain with an average gradient of 8% never letting up till you hit the col on the western shoulder of the Vanoise Massif. With some sections of up to 12.5%, this is a real challenge for any cyclist. You will be greeted at the top by the fantastic panorama of the Mont Blanc and Lauziere Massifs and a very well earned break at the mountain top Café. A beautiful descent takes you down into the Tarentaise valley where the minibus will be waiting to help you pack away your bikes for the transfer journey back to Geneva and your flight home.

Be warned you may need another holiday after this one!

Watch this...

Reviews

  • "I cycled from Morzine to Menton through the Alps with seven others; a route which included almost every Alpine climb that exists and most have been used on the Tour de France at some time.Challenging? Absolutely! I had never ridden anything like it before and , living in the UK had precious little terrain to gain experience of such terrain. When you attempt something like this, you need all your energy and focus to be on your legs and the bike. You can’t afford any slip ups in the arrangement of accommodation, food, water or support.Tony and his team were absolutely awesome in every respect. Perfect food, plentiful water and snacks; always ready when needed to take excess clothing or supply needed layers, fully conversant with the route and pitfalls, full of advice about pace, strength preservation and each member giving encouragement and support just when needed. Perfect dinner companions and great friends by the end of the trip.I cannot recommend this team highly enough and will definitely be using their services to cross off those few cols we did not attempt and to take on a few more in other parts of the world!" - Customer Feedback
  • "I did the Route des Grands Alpes with Velovation. The Velovation team was awesome: great route planning and support throughout. They were always in a good mood and made the trip one to remember." - Customer Feedback
  • "Riding with Velovation through the Alps over the last three years could not have been better. The routes planned by Velovation were spectacular; and ascending and descending the iconic climbs was thrilling. One would expect this type of experience when riding in the Alps. However, Velovation enhanced that experience.  For Mark and his team nothing is too much trouble. All needs and eventualities are carefully planned and catered for.  Attention to detail is everything and Mark makes full use of his experience to deliver a great package for all his customers.  From the choice of roads to ride, the abilities of a mixed bunch of cyclists, the range of food to feast on, the places to stay in, Velovation get it right every time" - Customer Feedback
  • "Some of the best alpine guiding I have experienced. The team met all our  expectations and more. I ended each day with a huge grin on my face." - Customer Feedback

What to bring

  • Bike: For weekend tours Velovation suggests that you bring your own bike.  While they can advise you on hiring a bike in France it is generally better that you have your own. You need to be comfortable on your bike for long periods of time.
  • Helmet: The Velovation team expect you to wear a helmet at all times while riding. 
  • Clothing: Appropriate clothing, the climbs can be hot but the long fast descents can get cold especially if you are damp from the hard climb.  Extra layers can be kept in the support vehicle so that you don’t have to carry them but please ensure that you bring good quality kit.


Location: Morzine


Style

Level: Intermediate | Advanced


Stats

Typical Duration: Weekend | 1 day | 7 days


Services

Activities: Cycling

Catering: Full-board

Guides & Instructors: Cycling Guides


Facilities

Suppliers of: Servicing & Repairs


Contact

Open Seasons: Spring | Summer | Autumn

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