See the section for Italy and France of the Trento Bike Pages.


Contributed by Marco Buffa in November 1995


I found out this tour by looking incidentally at Michelin map n. 244. It looks great as showed in the map; it doesn't look great at all when I start because it's immediately ascent (max. 12%). The slope decreases after 3 Km. and after a few Km. there's also a descent strerch to rest. There's no much traffic because the new motorway is open. After Chiomonte a new ascent stretch quite regular and straight: once passed Exilles and its fortress a couple of hairpins more steep and then descent till Saultebrand. Till Cesana Torinese there's only some brief demanding stretch. A right bend in Cesana takes to the last very demanding part: I can see its development 2 km. outside Cesana so I'm prepared to face it. A road sign saying 12% in exit from Cesana is meaningfull: a couple of hairpins helps me a bit before two straight stretches. Slope decreases approaching a set of (very wide) hairpins and verglas: it's helpful to see the height I gain although the landscape is not so magnificent. The most demanding stretch ends at the road sign Claviere; it's the last village before the frontier that it's just outside (till here: 42 km. 140 min. 1250 of devilment). A few km. take to Monginevro a winter-ski village; there's a drinking fountain in a place near the church.

The descent to Briancon is funny: I cross the route that via Nevache and Col de L'Echelle can take back to Italy at Bardonecchia. In Briancon I see immediately directions to Col de Lautaret: to escape from the traffic I start immediately the ascent. Actually, I call it ascent just because the height increases; there's no difficuty at all. The slope (and above all wind in the opposite) increase once I exit from the last village making up Serre Chevalier. The weather is getting worse and there's some rain falling; nevertheless the environment is agreable. On my left "huge" mountains (belonging to Barre des Ecrin group I think; I'm not expert about French Alps). The ascent begins to be demanding for his length: a verglas I see in the distance seems to be the end and in fact it'so. (till here: 82 Km. 270 min. 2000 of devilment) Now there's still clear sky: I take a stop because Col du Galibier seems to be very demanding without a little rest and a glance at Mejie 's glacier is worthwhile.

Route to Col du Galibier is beautiful and demanding; there are many bends that offer each time different views. Col du Lautaret becomes almost at once a little point and when I see a big stone-cylinder in front of me i understand the ascent is ended ... Error. The fact is that the built tunnel broke down and now the route go up very steep; it's less than 2 km. but very demanding. Here's the top (a narrow right bend) and suddenly a lot of mist: I can't see everything (till here 90 km. 320 min. 2600 of devilment). Luckily mist partially disappears and i can see the magnificent view: one the most beautiful according to me (with Stilfserjoch) >From side I climbed there's the roadsign saying 12% while from the other I'm going to descent it's saying 10% (I think these are only average values and not maximal values). So the south side is more steep locally but in the whole it's northside the most demanding. A stop at plan Lachat and then down to Valloire: here starts the ascent to Col Telegraph. Only the first stretch is demanding till the 6 km. sign to Col du Telegraph; like Galibier the Col is just a right bend without nothing remarkable (just men at work). The descent to St. Michel is a chanche to rest; I can already see the straight road to Modane. The descent become steeper when approaching St. Michel. Here's a last drinking fountain on the left. (till here: 123 km. 450 min. 2750 of devilment) The way to Modane is just a link-way: a lot of traffic,bad pavement no interesting landscape, but, incredible, winds blows in my direction. Leaving Modane, a steep stretch: tiredness is becoming more considerable Luckily once passed a fortress on the left a stretch of descent. I need water: I find a drinking fountain in a small village above the route (I'm too tired to remember the name maybe Sailleres or any like that). Restart it's not pleasant: development of route shows a decided slope change. Very slowly I'm facing with it; its length is about 1.5 km. After this difficult stretch I get to Lanslesbourg in descent. (till here: 164 km. 590 min. 3500 of devilment) There's a beautiful drinking fountain on the right: a stop is needed. Moncenisio ascent is regular but steep: always over 8%. At every Km. one hairpin;so I can alternatively take a glance to Maurienn and to route to Iseran. Km 4 to 7 are particularly demanding; during Km 8, there 's an interesting view over Lanslesbourg so I understand that the end is not so far. With a left bend I get out of Maurienne; a succession of plateau deceives me in believing the ascent is ended. A good point is when I reach the road sign saying "Col du MontCenis" and here's the large lake; unlukily the route skirting the lake is very undulated and at this point the minimum ascent makes me to suffer. (Till here: 184 km. 680 min. 4300 of devilment) Once left the lake there's only descent to Susa except 500 mt flat in the middle: unluckily there's a lot of mist so the surrounding environment is invisble: I'm getting to Susa easily. (till here: 205 km. 720 min. 4300 of devilment)

Questions and answers:


No: absolutely not. Galibier just after Moncenisio from Susa I think turns to be unbearable.


Susa or Modane in France to try the other way round


View from Galibier towards North and Moncenisio's lake