Ride like a pro: Tour de France Gran Fondos 2024
Almost every hobby cyclist knows the Letape du Tour. The original Gran Fondo of the Tour de France is a real highlight in the cyclosportive-race-calendar and is also an excellently organised event. But there are lots of other events which leads over spectacular mountains and roads, to create a real Tour de France atmosphere.
Le Galibier Challenge
Date: June 2, 2024
Start – Finish: Saint Michel de Maurienne – Col du Galibier (Saint Michel de Maurienne)
Routes: 115 km / 335 hm, 35 km / 2100 hm
Tour de France climbs: Cols de Beau Plan | Col du Télégraphe | Col du Galibier
The name alone gives you goosebumps. After all, it is one of the stone myths that generations of Tour de France participants have climbed. For the first time in 1911. Since then, the Tour de France has been on the 2642 meter high Alpine pass more than 60 times. Most recently, in 2022, the Galibier was “crossed” twice. In 2024, the Alpine giant is part of the 4th Tour stage on July 2nd.
The Le Galibier Challenge is the first high mountain event in the French amateur calendar and leads on the long route over Cols de Beau Plan, Col du Télégraphe with the finish on the Col du Galibier. The double pack of Télégraphe and Galibier adds up to a climbing party of over 30 kilometers and more than 2000 meters in altitude.
For safety reasons, the time is stopped at the top of the Col du Galibier – after a total of 78 kilometers on the long route. Afterwards, the descent to the finish town of Saint Michel de Maurienne is made at a free pace. The distance of 110 kilometers includes the descent into the valley.
Les 3 Ballon
Date: June 1, 2024
Routes: 178 km / 4020 hm, 93 km/ 2200 hm
Start – Finish: Ronchamp – La Planche des Belles-Filles
Tour de France climbs: Le Ballon de Servance | Le Col d’Oderen | Le Col du Hundsruck | Le Ballon d’Alsace: | La Planche des Belles-Filles
Tradition meets modernity at this Gran Fondo in the Vosges. The two routes lead over epic Tour de France passes. While the 13.2 kilometer climb to the Ballon d’Alsace was the first official mountain ever at the Tour de France in 1905, the finish at Les 3 Ballons is on the Planche des Belles Filles.
The 5.5 kilometer climb, with ramps of up to 19 percent, made it onto the Tour de France route for the first time in 2012, but has since been the scene of thrilling uphill finals six times – most recently in 2022. This year also saw the newly launched Tour de France for women end with a victory by Annemiek van Vleuten.
Lapierre GF Mont Ventoux
Date: June 9, 2024
Start – Finish: Vaison la Romaine – Mont Ventoux / Vaison la Romaine
Routes: 122 km* / 3600 hm, 100 km* /2600 hm
Tour de France climbs: Mont Ventoux
Off to storm the “white giant of Provence”. At the eponymous amateur race, both distances end at the top of the bare mountain at 1909 meters altitude. The ascent on the long variant is classic via Bedoin and the Chalet Reynard. The shorter route leads via Sault to the Chalet Reynard and then further up. On the way, as a warm-up at the foot of the 21 kilometer long and on average 7.6 percent steep climb, there are still some smaller passes to master. Even if the finish is at the top, the day is only over after a neutralized 30 kilometer long descent from the summit down to Vaison la Romaine.
- plus a neutralized 30 kilometer long descent to the start and finish town of Vaison la Romaine
GFNY Lourdes, Tourmalet
Date: June 23, 2024
Start – Finish: Lourdes
Routes: 157 km / 4064 hm, 99 km / 2321 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet
In 2023, the Pyrenean pass Tourmalet was not only part of the Tour de France – on the 5th stage – but also the roof of the Vuelta a España. So the highest point with its 2115 meters, which the pros had to climb on the 13th stage of the Vuelta.
Ambitious amateur cyclists can take on one of the most legendary passes in cycling on June 24, 2024. After the start in Lourdes, the approach is “classic” via the Col d’Aspin. 12 kilometers long and on average 6.5 percent steep, the road winds up to almost 1500 meters in altitude. A form test before it goes over the big one. From the west side of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, almost 1300 meters in altitude have to be overcome on about 17 kilometers. On average 7.4 percent, but only 11 percent steep at the peak, the Pyrenean mountain can be climbed well. From there, the route leads predominantly downhill over the final 50 kilometers to the finish and pilgrimage town of Lourdes.
Date: June 30, 2024
Start – Finish: Bourg d’Oisans – Alpe d’Huez / France
Routes: 177 km / 5000 hm, 226 km / 6300 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col du Glandon, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez
The marmot – but the event is by no means as cute as the frolicsome rodents. Rather, the route is similar to a queen stage of the Tour de France. From Bourg d’Oisans, the participants climb the Col du Glandon. After the descent down to Saint Michel de Maurienne, the double pack of Col du Telegraph and Col du Galibier awaits – a total of 2000 meters in altitude over more than 35 kilometers.
Down over the Col de Lautaret, Bourg d’Oisans is reached, from where it goes up the 21 hairpin bends to Alpe d’Huez to the finish. For those who still haven’t had enough and want to see more marmots in the mountains, the organizer has a bonus: At the Ultrafondo Marmotte Alps, the route is extended over the Col de Sarenne and it goes up to the Alpe a second time. But then it’s over. The Alpine double pack is reminiscent of the 18th stage of the 2013 Tour de France.
JPP Neuf de Coeur
Date: July 7, 2024
Start – Finish: Cluses – Carroz
Routes: 130 km / 3500 hm, 100 km / 2400 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col de la Colombière, Côte des Fleuries,
Not the best at the end, but right at the beginning. Only a few kilometers after the start in Cluses, the climb to the Col de la Colombière begins. A Tour de France pass that is regularly found on the route map of the Tour de France. Most recently in 2018 when Julian Alaphilippe won the 10th stage in Le Grand Bornand. The climb is 18.4 kilometers long and is almost treeless in the sun.
The participants have to climb over 1100 meters in altitude to the pass crossing at 1613 meters. The fast, easy-to-ride descent to Le Grand Bornand rewards the efforts of climbing. From there, the race leads through the Aravis Valley over the Glieres plateau, to send the participants over the Col des Fleuries in the further course. A climb that is at the beginning of the 15th stage of this year’s Tour de France. In a wide arc, it goes back towards the finish, which is in Carroz – not far from the start town of Cluses.
Cyclo Les 3 Cols 2024
Start – Finish: Barcelonnette
Routes: 122 km / 3300 hm, 59 km / 1690 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col de la Cayolle, Col des Champs, Col d’Allos
The event in the French Maritime Alps is small but fine. Because it is limited to only 500 participants. Les 3 Cols sends the starters on an epic ride over three two-thousanders. The event is modeled on the 16th stage of the 1975 Tour de France when Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Thévenet fought an unrelenting battle here and Merckx lost the Tour against Thévenet.
The Tour de France often visited the 2240 meter high Col d’Allos in the early years. In the past it became quieter. In the last 50 years, the Tour was only here five more times. Most recently, Simon Geschke won his Tour stage in the jersey of Team Giant-Alpecin in 2015 at Allos.
Cyclosportive de la Madeleine
Start – Finish: La Chambre – Col de la Madeleine
Routes: 135 km / 4700 hm, 115 km / 3750 hm, 60 km/ 2650 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col du Mollard, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Chaussy, Col de la Madeleine
The finish is at almost 2000 meters – the Col de la Madeleine. One of the high mountain passes of the Tour de France. Since 1969, the legendary pass in the Savoy Alps has already been the scene of a Tour de France stage 25 times. However, there has never been a mountain finish there. That is reserved for amateurs at the Cyclosportive de la Madeleine.
The Col is climbed in the race from the south via the small town of La Chambre – the climb is 19.3 kilometers long with an average gradient of 8 percent. Depending on performance and desire, hobby athletes can climb one or more alpine passes as a warm-up before.
The hardest is certainly the 135 kilometer long route with a total of four passes – Mollard, Croix de Fer, Chaussy and Madeleine. But once you reach the top, a view of the Mont Blanc massif rewards and compensates for all the hardships.
GFNY Alpes Vaujany
Start – Finish: Vaujany
Routes: 118 km / approx. 4000 hm, 43 km / 1800 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon,
Copyright: GFNY This amateur race from the GFNY series starts in the mountain village of Vaujany in the middle of the French Alps. After a short descent, the participants are faced with the climb to the Col de la Croix de Fer at 2067 meters altitude.
The road winds for a good 25 kilometers first through the forest and then past the Lac de Grand Maison to the summit. Although the climb is only 5 percent steep on average, there are ramps of up to 19 percent, on which the Tour peloton also struggled up on the 12th stage in 2022. While the participants of the shorter route may climb just under 5 kilometers back up to Vaujany after a cooling descent, the starters on the longer route face a second “heavy chunk”.
Coming from the Maurienne valley, they are faced with the Col du Glandon. After 20 kilometers with an average gradient of 7.4 percent, the participants have climbed the Tour pass, which was crossed for the first time in a Tour de France in 1947. After the descent, the last remaining grains can be shot at the 8.6 percent final climb to the finish town.
Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées
Start – Finish: Argelès-Gazost – Luz Ardiden
Routes: 163 km / 5600 hm, 106 km / 4085 hm
Tour de France climbs: Col du Tourmalet, Horquette d’Ancizan, Col d’Aspin, Luz Ardiden
The Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées is worthy of a queen stage of the Tour de France. Not because of the impressive altitude gain of 5000 meters on the 163 kilometer long route. It’s the resonant names of these climbs in the Pyrenees: twice the Col du Tourmalet, plus the Hourquette d’Ancizan, Col d’Aspin and the final climb to Luz-Ardiden. Mountains where the Tour has already been decided and that have written and will continue to write history. At the 2023 Tour de France, the Tourmalet was the final climb of the 6th stage. And the Pyrenean climb made the decision at the 2023 Tour de France Femmes.
For those who find all this climbing too much, they can start on the shorter, 106 kilometer long distance and save themselves the Hourquette d’Ancizan and Aspin, and also finish in Luz-Ardiden – after a final climbing party of 13 kilometers with an average gradient of 7.5 percent.