Guided tour

GranFondo & Sportive Coaching Camp

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Key Features

France

Country

French Alps

Region

guided

Trip Type

Intermediate

Difficulty

Training Camps

Adventure type

4*

Accommodation

7

Nights

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Overview


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Our GranFondo & Sportive Coaching Camp is designed as the best possible preparation for mountain sportives and GrandFondos like the Etape du Tour, the Marmotte, the Haute Route or the Tour du Mont Blanc. We were the official coaching & training partner to the Haute Route for the 4-year period 2014-2017, and we are now the official coaching and training partner to the Marmotte and the Tour du Mont Blanc. We thus know these events intimately!

Why do we call this a "coaching" camp and not a training camp? The fundamental difference is that on a coaching camp you benefit from one-on-one coaching from professionally qualified coaches. With our help, you will improve your climbing and descending skills on iconic rides like the col de la Colombière, the Aravis, the Glières and the Croix-Fry, and then test yourself on the amazing col de la Loze...

So does this mean constant pressure? No: the coaching focus is on skills, not on pushing you hard. We suggest adopting a steady endurance pace, but it's your call to make the camp as easy or as challenging as you want. Different groups will form so that you can ride with people at a similar pace.

The coach to rider ratio is 1:5 or better, ensuring that you will have plenty of one-on-one coaching. There is a strong focus on technique with plentiful use of video for analysis and feedback. You can have a daily debrief with your coach and also join evening Coach’s Corner sessions on topics such as the use of power, training plans and tips for riding sportives.

We base this camp in the outstanding Hotel Beauregard 4*, a wonderfully welcoming, comfortable hotel complete with spa, swimming pool and gourmet restaurant. Post-ride massages and osteopathy sessions are available on demand.

The total number of participants is limited to 16, to ensure a friendly, close-knit group where everybody can get to know everybody. Come as guests, leave as friends!

Bike hire is available on request.

What's the plan

Itinerary

Day 1:

Tour de la Tournette (91km, 2,300m), including the col de la Forclaz, the col de l'Epine and the col de la Coix-Fry.

We begin the week with this classic local ride, during which the coaches observe your basic bike handling, cornering and climbing skills. After descending to Thônes we take a very quiet road to the (easy) col de Bluffy, before continuing to the spectacular col de la Forclaz. From here there are stunning views across Lake Annecy and the Massif des Bauges. We descend all the way to the valley floor and a few km of flat before the charming col de l’Epine. The return to La Clusaz is via the col de la Croix-Fry. Less than 12km, this is nevertheless a tough climb that must be treated with respect. Throughout the ride, we pay close attention to your pacing to ensure you stay at the right level for a long endurance ride.

Day 2:

Plateau des Glières (77km, 1,750m), including the col des Glières and the col des Fleuries.

Today we begin with the short but steep climb to the Plateau de Glières, first used by the Tour de France in 2018. There’s a short gravel section over the top before a long descent. The coaching focus is on climbing technique and pacing. We look at your seated pedalling technique and how it varies between the moderate and steep pitches, and we look at your standing technique to help you “dance” on the pedals like a pro. The second climb, to the col des Fleuries, is much easier and will allow us to contrast climbing techniques between climbs of different gradients. We return to La Clusaz up the beautiful Gorges du Borne, in time for one of the Beauregard’s excellent buffet lunches.

Day 3:

Descending clinic (68km, 2,300m), including the col des Aravis, the col de Plan Bois and the col de la Croix-Fry.

Descending is a crucial skill to master if you are going to ride in the mountains. Our goal today is to help you make a big improvement in your ability to descend confidently. We begin by warming up on the 6 km climb to the col des Aravis., where we organise a descending clinic. Each rider has the opportunity to descend multiple times with a coach and to be videoed multiple times. This enables us to provide immediate feedback, and the video allows you to observe your own technique. We then back-track to the col de la Croix-Fry and let you loose for an optional uphill time trial, finishing with a well-earned coffee at the summit café. From there, it is a short descent home for lunch, but there’s always the hard option of adding the col de Plan Bois!

Day 4:

Col de la Loze (23km, 1,700m)

The col de la Loze is a newly paved road connecting Méribel to Courchevel. It gained instant fame in the 2020 Tour de France and is sure to become a regular on the Tour in the next few years. We will take a minibus ride from La Clusaz to Brides-les-Bains, and climb to the col de la Loze after warming up along the valley floor. The climb is fairly straightforward until Méribel. From that point it is anything but! The gradient changes wildly and includes several sections at 20% and above. Without doubt, it is the most challenging climb used by the Tour de France: you can feel justly proud once you reach the summit. We will lunch in the area before driving back to La Clusaz.

Day 5:

Tour des Aravis (97km, 2,350m), including the col des Aravis and the col de la Colombière. Option: col de Romme.

This is a highlight of the week: the Tour des Aravis, including the mighty Colombière, from the tough side of course! The ride begins by the climb to the col des Aravis and the descent to Flumet, where we turn left and go through the famous ski-station of Megève. Descending from Megève we enjoy stunning views of Mont Blanc before the flat ride out along the valley floor to Cluses, where we will regroup and refuel before tackling the Colombière. The climb is 16 km long, rising 1,100m. There’s an easy bit in the middle at Reposoir, and the hardest bit is at the end. Your reward is a delicious blueberry tart in the summit café! There’s a tough option for the brave: add the col de Romme.

Day 6:

Tour du Mont Charvin (99km, 2,450m), including the col du Marais, the col de l'Arpettaz and the col des Aravis.

Another stunning ride, the Tour du Mont Charvin takes us first down to Thônes, over the col du Marais and along the valley to Ugine. From here we climb the remarkable col de l’Arpettaz, with its 49 hairpin bends. Many of these are in a shady beech forest before reaching the high alpine pastures. There’s a refuge on top for a coffee and cake before the precipitous descent to the balcony road to Flumet. We finish the ride by coming back over the col des Aravis from the south side, to close the loop on an exceptional circuit.

NOTE: all itineraries can be lengthened or shortened depending on the abilities and preferences of the group.

Other key

Highlights

  • Iconic Tour de France climbs
  • Expert coaching, on and off the bike
  • Outstanding 4* hotel with secure bike storage
  • Excellent food: all meals included (breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner)
  • Small groups, matched by level
  • On-the-road support vehicle with free energy drinks and snacks
  • Mechanical assistance
  • Coach’s Corner evening seminars on cycling performance
  • Airport transfers (Geneva airport one hour)
  • Official Tour Operator, registered and approved in France
  • Full financial protection (International Passenger Protection Ltd.)
  • Bicycle hire (optional extra)
  • Massage or osteopathy (optional extra)
  • Written summary of your strengths and focus areas as a cyclist
  • Photographs and videos taken during the week (digital copies)

Interested in this trip?

Find out more by enquiring today!