Trek Travel’s #19 Greatest Ride In The World.
Southern France, the Côte d’Azur. It’s one of the world’s premier locations to ride a bike, and this route will show you its highlights.
Discover this ride on our Etape du Tour trip.


For 176km, and almost 3600m of climbing, you can challenge yourself on the same roads of the pros.

This time the route is a loop, beginning and ending in Nice, covering the second stage of what is planned to be the 2020 Tour de France route. A breathtaking stage in the Alpes-Maritimes, the ride features two major mountain passes over 1500m, plus a climb up to Col d’Èze, and some spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea before crossing the finish line back in Nice.

“Truly appreciated being able to ride in the Etape du Tour without having to worry about any of the logistics of the event itself or the trip logistics.”
-Linos, Trek Travel Guest

Three Things You Need to Know

The first section of the ride brings out of Nice on a steady false flat for 55km heading from the sea to the mountains. Please note that this section varies slightly from the official Etape route to run on parallel roads, in the case of riding this route under normal conditions/without road closures. You’ll arrive to your first major climbing challenge, the Col de la Colmiane, also know as Col St Martin, at the 55.6km mark. From here, you’ll be pedalling up for the next 16.3km at an average of 6.3%. The first two km will definitely warm you up if you aren’t already, then enjoy a few sections of respite during the next 9km, plus beautiful views as the road climbs along the gorge in the Vallon de Bramafan, before a steady climb for the final 5km. Enjoy the 20km descent, but take it easy on some of the early tight switchbacks.

This region is a popular training ground for many pros due to its great terrain, smooth roads and climate (with over 300 days of sunshine a year). As such, the season for riding here is quite long, but best conditions will be found late spring and early fall. Prepare for serious heat in the summer at lower elevations, and if riding in early spring or late fall, be sure to check on road conditions up high as the Maritime Alps can see good amounts of snow. Prepare for a significant temperature difference along route and bring ample layers with you. It’s easy to see temperatures at least 15-20oC lower on the cols compared to the coast, especially if riding this in shoulder season.

As you climb the switchbacks of Col de Turini, it’s easy to forget how close you are to the crowds of Nice and the climate of the French Riviera. In fact, this area has long been a tourist destination recommended for its natural spring water and fresh air. Watch for fountains along the route, stating ‘Eau potable’ and fill up your bottles with clear cool water. You should find several places to stop for food and water along route. Notably services are available at: Plan du Var 30km in, La Bolinette at 54km where you’ll find a great little pizzeria/roadside stop (Il Gatto Verde), Saint Martin Vesubie at 78km just after the Col de la Colmiane, la Bollene Vesubie at 91km just before the Col de Turini, and Lucéram at 123km.

Local Resources

These may actually be some of the lesser known cycling climbs in the region, but what they lack in reputation, they make up for in views and scenery. If you have more time in the region, be sure to also check out the Col de la Madone, Col de Brause, and Madone d’Utelle.

The Col de Turini however may be recognized from the Monte Carlo Rally. Every year in January, racers drive up from La Bollene-Vesubie to the summit and descend down to Sospel. With its many hairpin turns and narrow roadway, it’s generally one of the more technical aspects of the course.

Discover this ride on our Etape du Tour trip.

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