The Grand Tour on Pedals: the best for road bikes ain the Marittime Mercantour area concentrated in nineteen destinations. On the map, there is a big “eight” that concatenates the most interesting hills in the south-western Alps. A cycling circuit identified and tested in 2011 by the parks and by the great champion, Claudio Chiappucci, with the collaboration of the French Cycling Federation committees of the Alpes Maritimes and the Alpes de Haute Provence, the Bicingiro Fiab cycling-tourism association, Valle Gesso Sport and the Entracque Bike Gelas. An itinerary of about 500 kilometers and 11,000 vertical meters in stages, depending on your training, with helpful facilities along the way.
You can reach the important tourist sites and get to the historical, great ascents to climb the Restefond-Bonette, Cayolle, and Turini hills and on the “Route des Grandes Alpes”, which joins the Lemano Lake with the Mentone. Most of the crossings in the area reach heights of over 200 meters and many of them are closed, due for snow, for most of the year (generally from mid-October to mid-May).
There are also little known climbs, but these still hold great satisfaction: the Monte Ray, Madonna del Colletto or the amaranth throats of the Daluis. For all roads, you must use your head: you ride along often narrow and winding mountain roads, where stones can sometimes fall.
Together with destinations for those who love the asphalt, there have been added the main locations suitable for mountain bikes. There are seven centres along numerous routes where you can find schools with instructors and guides. Three of these centres are geared towards skiing and, in the summer, offer the possibility to use the transportation facilities for the mountain bike.
Inflate the tires, fill the water bottles, wear your helmet and enjoy the Southern Alps from the saddle. But, beware, before you leave, there is something you should know...