The Maritime Alps Point to Point Tour
This is a classic XC 6 day tour and follows Napoleon's old military trail which has various forts dotted along the route. The tour explores Liguria and Piemonte in Italy and then passes over to Provence in France and follows the long distance route known as the Alta Via that passes through terrain from high alpine and lush forests to the terraced hills of the Mediterranean before finishing on the beaches of the Riviera.
Our tours are vehicle supported so all of your luggage will be transported to each overnight stop leaving you to enjoy riding your bike.
The tours run from mid June until mid September. Rivierabike usually take a month break in August however a trip can be organised either the first or last week of August.
Accommodation is based in mountain refuges and small gites / agriturismos and your luggage will be transported for you in our four wheel drive vehicles.
The trails on this tour are for the advanced mountain biker where a good level of fitness and endurance is required. Expect challenging and technical singletrack, in places and some exposure. We will use van uplift for some of the climbs and expect to be pushing your bike for some sections.
The cost for this holiday is €925 EURO and a minimum of 6 people are required. The cost includes airport transfers from Nice, vehicle support, guides, half board accommodation.
Not included are flights, insurances, all drinks, lunches (picnic and restauarant) and the evening mealdrinks on the final night.
DAY 1 - Arrival
You will be collected at Nice Airport and taken to the Santo Spirito Hotel in Molini di Triora, Valle Argentina, Italy. The rest of the day will give you chance to settle in, we will have a briefing for the trip, you will meet the guides and also assemble the bikes.
DAY 2 Molini di Triora – Pieve di Teco, 70km, 1,900m ascent , 2,100m descent.
The day will start with a shuttle uplift (or a climb if you want!!) from Molini 450m above sea level (asl) to the start of the off-road climb at 1,100m asl. We will continue to climb until we reach the highest point in Liguria – MT Saccarello at 2,250m asl. Here you are literally on top of the world with far reaching views of Corsica to the South and Mt Blanc to the North. After a picnic lunch we will continue along singletrack on the ridge to Mt Fronte 2,100m asl before starting our 2hr descent to Pieve di Teco 240m asl. Pieve di Teco is a mediavel Italian town in the Piemonte region of Italy and is our base for the night at a local agriturismo.
DAY 3 Pieve di Teco – Ormea, 60km, 2,300m ascent, 1,400m descent.
We start with a climb up to Colla di Nava 950m asl where we will visit Forte Bellarasco, the first of many Napoleonic forts on the trip. After an espresso we will continue up the mountain until we reach 1,400m asl and descend to Ponte di Nava. From here we continue to climb (or bus lift part of the way) up to 1,800, followed by an awesome singletrack descent down to Ormea at 720m asl. Here we will stay at a local hotel.
DAY 4 Ormea – Colla dei Signori, 70km, 2,300m ascent, 800m descent.
Today is the toughest day with a total of 2,450m of climbing. We start with a 1,300m climb (the bus can take some of the strain if you wish) to the summit with stunning views and in the far distance, Rifugio Don Barbera - our base for the evening. A fantastic descent down into Val Tannaro follows before climb number 2. This time a 1,000m climb which will take us to the Rifugio Don Barbera at Colla dei Signori at 2150m asl.
DAY 5 Colla dei Signori – Tende - 40km, 600m ascent, 1,500m descent
Today gives us chance to recover from yesterday with an easier and shorter day. After waking up to the sound of marmottes, we traverse along the French/Italian border on singletrack and old military roads that are littered with old Napoleonic forts and battlements. We will have lunch at Forte Centrale / Colla di Tende (1900m). We then take the GR52 a 15km singletrack descent to Tende -(800m) a bustling French town with many bars and restaurants. Tende is our base for the evening staying in a French gite.
DAY 6 Tende – Realdo - 70km, 1,800m ascent, 2,200m descent
From Tende we warm up with a gentle climb and a singletrack descent to La Brigue (800m). From here we start the big climb of the day to Colle Sanson 1,700m asl. The climb continues until we reach Cime de Marta 2,150m asl with incredible 360 degree views into France and Italy. From here we will start the main descent a 12km singletrack traversing around Mt Gerbonte… deep into Val Argentina. We will continue alittle up the valley when we reach Realdo a quaint village perchedon a 20m high cliff, Wild boar and lots of wine awaits us.
DAY 7 Realdo – Ventimiglia. 60km, 1,200m ascent, 2,600m descent.
Today we will ride the Alta Via (High Way) which is a ridge long trail that starts at 2,000m and finishes at the sea in Ventimiglia. We take the shuttle bus from Molini di Triora 450m asl to Colla Melosa at 1,550m asl. After a quick espresso at the refuge we make our way up the old military road until we arrive at Monte Pietra Vecchia at 1,950m asl.
From here we take the “Via dei alpine” a path hacked into the rock by the alpine soldiers between the two world wars.
This path traverses along a steep ridge with spectacular views until we arrive at Passo della Gouta at 1400m asl where the van will meet us with extra provisions. From here, an hour climb up to Testa del Alpe at 1,800m asl and it’s then “mostly” descending on the ridge to the Mediterranean on a mixture of singletrack and old military roads for a well earned beer and gelato. In the evening we will eat at a local seafood and pizza restaurant in Ventimiglia.
DAY 8 Departure
We will leave Ventimiglia at approx noon for the 1hr trip back to Nice Airport.
Yet another article on the fantastic riding here in Molini and Liguria
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