100 cols, 10 days – a unique journey that tests and builds the body and spirit in equal measure.
Introduced in 2016. All of the great giants of the Alps feature, along with little-known backroads. This is a route for those who want to push their challenge to its extremes. This is one of the four most demanding Cent Cols that will be collectively ridden at an average speed of 20 km/h.
The Cent Cols Challenge is the brainchild of endurance rider Phil Deeker: his determination, commitment to riding and will to explore has created one of the ultimate tests of what is possible on a road bike. Cent Cols Challenges take place across Europe, criss-crossing entire mountain ranges to combine the classic routes and climbs from the Grand Tours with lesser-known backcountry gems.
Flights, bike hire and travel insurance are not included.
Because of the distances, and the huge physical and psychological challenge, the Cent Cols are for the strongest and most experienced riders. On most days riders should expect at least 8-10 hours in the saddle, and to be self-sufficient for long periods of time. The remoteness of the terrain also means that accommodation and food are less luxurious than on Rapha’s other trips. However, Phil Deeker and the Rapha team of guides, mechanics and soigneurs take care of all logistics and everything riders need, letting you focus your mind and legs on the cols. It is usual that some riders don’t complete the parcours. But, thanks to the stunning settings and the camaraderie, and possibly to reserves they didn’t know they had, riders often find they rise to the demands of the trip and take their riding to a new level.
Double occupancy as standard
|Arrival day Meet us at the first night accomodation|
|Day 1 Grenoble - Belley||173 KM||5,200 M|
|Day 2 Belley - Annecy||213 KM||5,900 M|
|Day 3 Annecy - Albertville||180 KM||5,150 M|
|Day 4 Albertville - Bourg St Maurice||140 KM||4,500 M|
|Day 5 Bourg - Sestriere||182 KM||5,200 M|
|Day 6 Sestriere - Gap||213 KM||5,250 M|
|Day 7 Gap - Alpe d'Huez||202 KM||5,800 M|
|Day 8 Alpe d'Huez Loop||207 KM||6,100 M|
|Day 9 Alpe - Vassieux-en-Vercors||194 KM||3,700 M|
|Day 10 Vassieux - Grenoble||172 KM||3,500 M|
|Departure day Transfer day|
See full itinerary
The Chartreuse stage, with special views over the Lac du Bourget. The hard climbing begins at km 2, and this stage sets the flavour for the whole event. After the classic ride up to the Granier, the route explores lesser known roads, culminating with the formidable Mont du Chat (one of the hardest treasures in the Alpine cupboard).
Col du Cucheron, Col du Granier
From the Ain to Annecy, the Richmond / Grand Colombier duo will be the stand-out feature today. A wonderful plateau section follows the opening climb before some steep passages arrive mid-stage. The Semnoz makes a monumental finale to this long, challenging day.
Col du Grand Colombier, Semnoz
The Aravis stage, with some classics in between the ‘back-road’ climbs. The longer the Arpettaz remains a ‘secret’, the better and today could be considered a classic Alpine route, with the Plan Bois & Arpettaz slipped in for good message.
Col de l'Arpettaz
Today’s stage features some truly dramatic Alpine roads here and the opening climb is as hard as any on the event while the up & back Petit St. Bernard climb ends the stage in fitting drama.
Col du Petit St Bernard
A Franco-Italian stage, with the monumental Iseran to open and the classic duo of Finestre/Sestriere to close. A truly herculean day, but one which rewards your efforts with superb descents and stunning views.
Col de l'Iseran, Col de la Madeleine, Colle di Finestre, Sestriere
Another Italian-Franco stage, and one which promises a mix of the classics and unknown gems. The Izoard is always a special treat, but the latter part of the route with the Pontis, Fillys and Mont Colombis will leave an impression.
Col d'Izoard, Mont Colombis
The Devoluy Plateau will catch the eye of those who haven’t seen it before. As will the unique CCC method of arriving at Bourg d’Oisans. Finally, where everyone else finishes at the Alpe, the CCC of course continues along the “Route des Lacs” to the Col de Poultran.
Col du Poutran
The CCC version of the Marmotte, with more kilometres & more climbs, including a lesser-ridden loop behind St Michel de Maurienne, as well as the Sarenne.
Alpe d'Huez, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Galibier, Col de Sarenne
Up the way the Tour came down in 2015, the Col de Morte opens the penultimate day’s climbing before we head into the Drome and then the Vercors for some more fun. Steady rather than steep climbs mark this stage, typified by the final long but gentle climb up to the Col de Rousset.
Col de la Morte
The drama of the Vercors roads provide a fitting way to end this event. The Combe Laval / Col de la Machine section is often quoted as one of the most impressive roads in France and, followed by the Pra l’Etang, you’ll never forget this Northern Alps grand finale.
Col de Chalimont
Ride routes and on-bike food/food stops were outstanding!
— CCC Pyrenees 2015
I think what makes these rides so very special is the fact that Phil and Rapha Travel even dare to attempt them: on paper, they look ridiculous and in practice, they are just that - but also, somehow, possible. Most riders have reserves they never knew existed and Phil's planning and ability to improvise, results in the majority of riders completing stages and events beyond their wildest dreams.
— CCC rider, May 2016
All our trips are physically demanding, but some are harder than others. Cent Cols Challenges are the toughest challenge. Our guides will support every rider to go beyond their usual level of riding, but you should be able to spend up to 10 hours in the saddle for multiple days.
We ask all customers to pay a deposit (usually £500/$800/€650) when they book, which confirms their reservation. The balance is due 60 days before departure – we’ll get in touch to remind you when it’s time. If you book less than 60 days before departure, we’ll usually ask you to pay the full trip price upfront.
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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)
Hours: 8.30am-5.30pm (PDT)
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)