Day 1 – Bienvenue to Annecy French Alps and a Dauphine week to remember!
Fantastic afternoon/evening with our Aussie & American Guests, I was greeted with a ‘there really is a Bridget!’ With a huge smile, yes there is! Bienvenue to Annecy & Practice Bicycle!
So lovely to hear their ‘ohh WOWs’ and this was just the start…
Time for a welcome drink, apero time in a perfect relaxed setting followed by flavours of France in our ‘local favourite restaurant’ in Annecy. Is it always like this with Practice Bicycle – bien sûr! A fantastic week unfolds, lots of laughs, such fascination with it all and it hasn’t even begun! Anyone feel like a ‘genepi’ ?
Day 2 – Criterium Dauphine Stage 5 La Tour-de-Salvagny / Mâcon
Riding the gentle rolling roads west of Annecy, fields of sunflowers, blue sky, the roads to ourselves…just perfect. Our Non Cycling guests discover french monuments, wine tasting, local cheese production, admiring the magnitude of this delightful area ! Riding through the Val du Fier gorge with the overhanging cliff face and the sounds of rushing water was a highlight. Time for a cafe stop on the River Rhone in Seyssel the chocolate eclairs are worth stopping for. Surrounded by a sea of vineyards our challenging ride continues along the Rhône River with views of the Pre Alps, Chaine des Aravis and Mont Saleve 1379m, worth every pedal stroke ! We’ve made perfect time to enjoy the Dauphine Stage finish in Macon, what a perfect ‘live viewing’ spot 100m from the finish line as Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb) powered to the line to take the victory, time to relax enjoy Burgundy flavours along the banks of the Soane River, Rhone & Soane in one day.
Day 3 – Criterium Dauphine Stage 6 Villars-les-Dombes / La Motte-Servolex
Yesterday rivers of France today it’s two lakes and tasting local wines on the hill top terraces, admiring the Dauphine Peloton on the switch backs of the Cote Jongieux. Easy start to the day, fantastic all down hill, well nearly to Lac Bourget for a morning cafe surrounded by green mountains. Appetites were high as was our excitement with the Dauphine peloton fast approaching. A sensational lunch spot amongst the terraces, what a perfect day to witness the peloton up close amongst the vines. What a ride by our Aussie favourite – Ritchie Porte (BMC) who took ‘yellow’ with Jacob Fugslang (Astana) the stage win !
Day 4 – Criterium Dauphine Stage 7 Aoste / Alpe d’Huez
Historic day for the Criterium Dauphine climbing Alpe d’Huez from the north side for the very first time ! With a historic ride for us taking on the Col de Sarenne 1999m before arriving at Alpe d’Huez. Transfer to Bourg-d’Oisans this morning in the heart of the mythical Alps and the perfect spot to start our climbing day. It didn’t have to be difficult today, but the views were out of this world with the Barrrage du Chambon 1044m enough for some. With the best climbers in the world racing hard behind us, we had ample time to relax in the ski resort with amazing gastronomique tastes at altitude. Changed and refreshed it was super to admire the pain of the ‘warriors’ of the road as they gasped across the finish line at Alpe d’Huez – Pete Kennaguh (SKY) what a ride for stage honors today!
Day 5 – Criterium Dauphine Stage 8 Albertville / Plateau de Solaison
The final stage for this year’s Criterium Dauphine on our local roads of the Aravis Alpine Range. With everybody feeling the effects of great riding the last few days, we had to squeeze one last challenge into the perfect bike tour week. For us it was the Col du Colombiere 1613m. Its always a great cycling holiday for our guests when we can show them the Grand Alps. Not just because of the breathtaking route and you are pedaling on some of the most famous cycling roads in the world also the chalet restaurant lunch which makes every pedal stroke deserve every mouthful of hearty food. This unique ‘live viewing spot’ was the perfect end to a classic race tour holiday. The podium contenders were splintered all over the mountain chasing for their place on the final classification. Exciting racing, challenging riding, perfect french flavours…what a Dauphine week to remember.
Day 6 – Where do we ride today? Until next year, see you all again, Thanks for being part of a great week at Criterium Dauphine 2017.