Another day in Swiss cycling paradise

Story by Alain Rumpf

Sep / 21 / 2016

Well surfaced roads, little traffic, big alpine views: this is cycling in Switzerland. Grand Tours Project is based in the Swiss Alps and we get to experience this every day. We also love to share it with other passionate cyclists and yesterday was a great opportunity.

A group of cycling journalists invited by Switzerland Tourism and hosted by Gstaad Saanenland had an ambitious goal: to ride the final part of the 17th stage of the 2016 Tour de France from Gstaad to Finhaut-Emosson. 114 km and 2,700m of climbing over the Col des Mosses (1,445m), the Col de la Forclaz (1,527 m) and finally to the finish line up on the Emosson dam at 1,965 m. Our mission was to support them. A dream job! And this is a route we know well, having ridden it many times, and most recently in July on our Western Switzerland and Le Tour de France trip.

We had a fantastic day. Climbing 540m over 13.3km out of Château d’Oex, the Col des Mosses was a good ‘warm up’ before an exhilarating descent into Aigle. This town in the Chablais vineyards hosts the headquarters of the UCI, the international cycling federation, where we had a great lunch.

Then a very welcome and powerful tailwind pushed us up the Rhone Valley to Martigny, at the foot of the Col de la Forclaz. With 1,022m of climbing over 13km, this climb can be intimidating. Unless you ride an e-bike! Some of the participants switched to one of the beautiful machines provided by Scott Sports and it was an eye opener for everyone. By making it so much easier to master big mountains, e-bikes give an opportunity to cyclists of all levels to experience riding in the Alps.

A quick descent into Trient and the final challenge was awaiting us: the climb to the Emosson Dam, where Ilnur Zakarin won a hard fought Tour de France mountain stage in July.

I was on the bike with Luca to support our brave group on this hard climb (913m over 10.7km - yes that’s 8.5%), while Vaughan was providing food, drinks and cheers from the roadside with the van, helped by Patrick from Scott Sports.

Congratulations Gill, Katrina, Jayne, Julie, John and Mark: you all made it! We hope the rest of your stay in Gstaad goes well. The Saanenland is a fantastic playground for cyclists where we love to ride ourselves. It’s only two (beautiful) passes away from our home!

Get to enjoy the same experience on our fully supported cycling trips on the most beautiful roads of Europe. Check our tour list here.

Coaching a GREAT group from @gstaad_pr To Emosson over Col des Mosses and Col de la Forclaz. We all made it!

A photo posted by A Swiss With A Pulse (@aswisswithapulse) on

Above: Luca and John all smile in Emosson after a big day on the saddle

Above: At the foot of the Col des Mosses

Above: Coffee break at the Col des Mosses

Above: The Col de la Forclaz starts in the vineyards above the city of Martigny

Above: Yes, the Tour de France was here

Above: You can go anywhere with an e-bike!