Upcoming trips in Provence and Switzerland

Story and photos by Alain Rumpf

Oct / 27 / 2015

It’s been a busy and exciting past few weeks with the launch of the Grand Tours Project website and the preparation of our Giro and Maratona tours. But there’s more. We are spending a lot of time on maps, searching through our past rides on Strava, speaking to our friends…and dreaming about two more adventures for 2016.

We live in Switzerland and I don’t think we will ever have enough of the riding here. Inspiring alpine landscapes, incredibly quiet roads, fairytale villages…. Authenticity is the word here. And everything is so accessible thanks to the legendary Swiss public transport network.

We only miss one thing: a Grand Tour. No Tour, Giro or Vuelta to showcase our climbs to the world to attract passionate cyclists to tick boxes from their bucket list. Switzerland is the best kept secret of Alpine riding.

No Grand Tour? That’s not a problem, we’re just designing our own. A true Grand Tours Project. In August 2016, we’ll take you on the Mont Ventoux, the Passo Stelvio and the Angliru of Switzerland. We have them all here in our backyard - and more. Here’s a hint from one of our recent trips:

Speaking of Mont Ventoux… A regular feature in the Tour de France since 1951, the Giant of Provence witnessed the victories of many champions from Charly Gaul and Eddy Merckx to Chris Froome. At its foot, the Lubéron region is a cycling paradise. It’s just one small road after another, meandering through vineyards and lavender fields. Villages on hilltops are a great excuse to test your legs and to stop to enjoy the local specialties with a glass of local rosé wine.

The Mont Ventoux is high on every cyclists’ bucket list, and there’s a reason. There are 3 different roads to the top. The most famous one from Bédoin climbs 1,610 meters in 21 km. The last kilometres from Chalet Reynard are endless, through a lunar landscape. Weather can be hot at the bottom and freezing at the top with gale force winds.

Above: The lunar landscape of Mont Ventoux

My pregnant wife Lillie and I climbed Mont Ventoux from the relatively easier side of Sault while we were exploring the region earlier this year. Read here her account on Ella CyclingTips.

We’re finalising the details of our spring and autumn adventures in Provence so that you can test your legs on a Grand Tour iconic climb and enjoy the art de vivre provençal in the warm weather of southern France.

Stay tuned...