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How many French regions can boast a sunny climate (300 days of sunshine per year...), an amazing mountain environment (the Meije Glaciers, the Ecrins, the Pelvoux...), and as great a network of mountain bike trails? Welcome to the Queyras - Briançonnais! The area is a singletrack paradise, offering technical traverses, high ridge rides and long flowing descents... This trip offers a "real mountain" itinerary, which winds through the Hautes-Alpes from the Massif des Cerces to the forgotten valleys of the Queyras, with the discovery of numerous forts and fortified villages built by Vauban...
Itinerary start: Rendezvous with the organisation team is on day 1 at 9 am at Briançon SNCF train station. We will leave directly from the train station. Please arrive in your cycle clothing.
On request we can book the previous night's accommodation for you in Briançon.
If you are coming from the Paris area, or from the Rhone Valley, a night train arrives in Briançon on day 1 shortly before 9 am. Just in time to join the group! Please note: When booking your ticket be aware that the trip starts at Briançon railway station, but ends at Montdauphin-Guillestre railway station. A train normally leaves on Saturdays from Montdauphin at around 8 pm to the Rhone Valley and Paris.
We start our trip with a bike tour of Briançon and its many fortifications, as well as its network of steep pedestrianized streets and spectacular bridges. Perfect mountain biking terrain, and a taste of things to come! We follow the Durance, gradually gaining altitude on trails that weave their way through the larch forests. The serious climbing begins in order to reach pretty mountain pastures around the village of Granon before climbing again to over 2000 metres, in order to reach some old forts and military zones offering breath-taking views. But the best is yet to come, with a magnificent descent that passes under the Peyrolle Ridge, before dropping back down to Briançon. A descent that lasts nearly an hour and half, all on singletrack. Guaranteed grins all round!
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / ascent: approx. 1600 m / descent: approx. 1600 m
A big day in the mountains awaits us, with the mountain biking starting directly from the centre of Briançon, where we quickly join trails that lead us up the Ecrins side of the Vallée de la Guisane (right bank). After an hour and a half of riding, we cross the river, leaving the ski lifts of Serre-Chevalier behind us and climb into the Briançonnais, where our first singletrack descents await us. Night in a gîte below the Col du Lautaret. Note: it is possible to do an extra loop from Briançon at the beginning of the day before beginning the Briançon - Le Lauzet stage. This loop takes in one of the classic Briançonnais singletrack descents through the larch forests…
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 1000 m / descent: approx. 600 m (approx. 60 km and 1800 m of climbing with the additional loop).
2 mythical alpine cols today: the Lautaret and the Galibier! Except that we climb them on trails, not on the road! A magical stage, in a breathtaking setting! Once we've passed the 2 cols, we descend off-piste, making a brief incursion into the department of the Savoie, before passing the foot of the Mont Thabor (3178 m). Nestled between the Cerces and Rochilles ranges, this is a mountain biker's paradise, with superb singletrack trails joining the numerous lakes and the Clarée Valley. A super fun technical descent leads us directly to our overnight lodgings, on the edge of a river.
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / Ascent: approx. 1500 m / descent: approx. 1500 m
The Clarée still has some hidden gems to show us! We descend the valley until we reach the Durance, which we follow upstream to the Col de Montgenèvre. This stage climbs and descends, following the Italian border, changing valleys 3 times during the course of the day! A steady fire road climb takes us around the Janus and up to 2500 metres, where some spectacular forts were built! A great singletrack descent takes us to Cervière, at the foot of the Queyras!
Distance: approx. 50 km / ascent: approx. 1500 m / descent: approx. 1500 m
A change of scenery as of today, but still full of larch forests and superb singletrack... The charming Queyras Range will be our singletrack playground for the next few days. But we have to earn our ticket to paradise, by way of the Col d'Izoard. A climb on trails of course... before an off piste descent through the spectacular Casse Déserte. We then climb on singletrack, until we join the forest track that leads up to the Col de Furfande. Another unforgettable descent through alpine pastures takes us all the way down to the Guil Valley. Smiles all round!!! Beware, some sections are very exposed. Depending on your technical ability the guide may ask you to push your bike through certain short sections. We finish an already big day with a killer road climb to our night's lodgings for a well-deserved rest!
Distance covered: approx. 55 km / ascent: approx. 2100 m / descent: approx. 1750 m
An early morning climb leads us to the famous village of St Véran (highest village in Europe) where we take the time to visit the remarkable traditional architecture of the houses. We then head off for a long loop that takes us almost to the Italian border, and allows us to discover the wonders of the "Haut Queyras". Our route takes us past several high altitude lakes, with 3000 metre peaks overhead (Rocca Bianca, Pic de Caramantran...), then over narrow cols to the remotest valleys of the Queyras, and the villages of Abries and Aiguilles en Queyras. Lots of technical singletrack in a high alpine setting!
Distance covered: approx. 55 km / ascent: approx. 1450 m / descent: approx. 1800 m
This last stage takes us to the southern part of the Queyras, with another large dose of singletrack! First to the Col Fromage… which should have you salivating over the numerous singletrack trails in all directions! We choose one that leads to the pretty village of Ceillac, before leaving the Queyras on fun singletrack along the Cristillan River. The impressive Gorges du Guil lead us gradually to the valley of the Durance, and the citadel of Montdauphin, a spectacular fort built by Vauban!
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 1400 m / descent: approx. 1600 m
Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.
Itinerary end: Separation is on the last day at Montdauphin-Guillestre SNCF railway station at around 3 pm (5 pm for level 3 groups).
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