Valberg represents a transition point in the geography of this part of France…to the South, the red stone of the gorges, to the North the high mountains of the Mercantour National Park. This sportive gives you the best of both.

Starting in the ski resort of Valberg, the route is neutralised down the first descent but through the town of Guillaumes at the bottom the clock starts ticking! From there, we descend but more gently through the Gorge du Daluis – here, the iron in the ground has oxidised giving the rock an incredible rusty red/brown hue – and there is a sheer drop in places as we wind our way through the narrow gorge. Once in the valley, we turn and start climbing, cresting the Colle Saint Michel before continuing north to Colmars.

In Colmars, we turn right and tackle the 1000m ascent of the Col des Champs. If it’s a hot day, we’ll be grateful for the tree cover on the way up the western side, but once at the top, the views open up magnificently. This is a quiet road with little traffic, and on the descent you can expect the marmots to be out in force! Completing the circle and returning to Guillaumes, we begin the final climb back up to Valberg via Peone, 14km up to 10% in places.

We arrive the previous day and explore the beautiful Mercantour region, with the opportunity to tackle some of the most renowned climbs in southern France: the Col de la Bonette, Col de la Cayolle, Col de Couillole, Col d’Allos, Pra Loup and many more.

Combine this event with an exploration of the fantastic cycling the Côte d’Azur has to offer, based in beautiful Beaulieu-sur-mer down the road near Nice…make it a long weekend to remember or extend to a full week of riding.