Le Tour des Stations: the new Swiss granfondo

Grand Tours Project

Nov / 17 / 2017

A new sportive will take place in Switzerland on August 11, 2018: le Tour des Stations. This event will link 11 mountain resorts in the beautiful region of Valais, including the world famous destinations of Crans-Montana and Verbier. I live very close and this event will use roads I love and train on in summer. To say that I’m stoked is a vast understatement.

There will be three courses to choose from:

Ultrafondo: 220km and 7,400m of climbing

Starting from the valley in Martigny, the course will take participants to Ovronnaz, Anzère, Crans-Montana, Vercorin, Nax, Saint Martin, Les Collons, Nendaz, la Croix de Coeur before the final descent into Verbier. With more than 90km of climbing, this is a challenge that only the fittest athletes will be able to achieve. It reminds me of the Platintour version of the Alpenbrevet which I completed a few years ago. The ultrafondo will also be open to teams of 3 riders, with each of them completing a section of the course.

Granfondo (Look Marmotte Valais): 130km and 4,500m of climbing

Using the same course as the ultrafondo but with a start in Crans-Montana, this is a more classic format. Together with the legendary Marmotte Alpes (which I did in… 1993) and the more recent Marmotte Pyrenées, it is part of the Marmotte Granfondo Series and should attract the biggest number of participants.

Mediofondo: 50km and 2,200m of climbing

Starting from Conthey with ‘just’ the climbs to Nendaz and the Col de la Croix de Coeur, this option is accessible to cyclists looking for a first big alpine experience. It is similar in difficulty to the Sella Ronda loop, the shortest course of the Maratona dles Dolomites. The mediofondo will also be open to e-bikes.

A big part of the event uses small roads which are ridiculously scenic: participants are in for a treat. But the best is kept for the end: the Col de la Croix de Coeur (2,174m), just before the descent towards the finish in Verbier. 14.7km at 7.5%... it is a big climb. With a twist: the top 6km above La Tzoumaz are unpaved. I couldn't be more excited: Switzerland has many hidden gems and this is one of them. For me, this climb is the equivalent of the Colle delle Finestre, the iconic gravel climb of the Giro d’Italia. Judge it by yourself: I took the photos below with my wife Lillie in 2014.

So… well done, Valais. You’re giving us the opportunity to ride some of your best roads with thousands of passionate cyclists next summer. Who’s in? We’ll be there and look forward to showing you this beautiful region. Watch this space for more information soon!

If you liked this, you may want to read our story on the Col du Sanetsch, another Swiss hidden gem in Valais. Or check our blog for more!