Tunnel du Chambon closed. Revised opening dates, ferry and new road

8 July 2015 update to the Tunnel du Chambon and the impact on the Tour de France.

The latest on the Tunnel du Chambon is that work on the tunnel has totally stopped, since they expect the side of the mountain above to fall at any moment. Small sections of rock have already fallen and some people are camped up high on the far side of the reservoir hoping to witness the collapse of the mountain. Access to the path on the far side is strictly closed and the ferry service has been stopped due to the fear of waves that would be caused by the rockfall. Local residence below the dam have been warned to keep doors and windows closed in the event of warning sirens, in the unlikely event that a wave could flow over the dam and flood villages downstream. A helicopter service has been put in place available to locals trapped on the far side in the case of emergencies.

The area of unstable rock is about25 – 30 metres deep and 600k to 1 million cubic metres. Since April it had been moving between 5 to 10 cm per day. More recently it been moving at 12 cm to 15 cm per day.  Since 2nd July a  section of 100k cubic tonnes has been moving at 25 cm per day which is looking like the first area to slide..

As an impact of this road closure Stage 20 of the Tour de France on the 25th July between Modane and Alpe d’Huez no longer passes over the Col du Galibier, but via the Col de la Croix du Fer.

Tour du Plateau d'Emparis - Bike Oisans
Tour du Plateau d’Emparis – Bike Oisans

Many people booked into accommodation in La Grave or Briancon hoping to see the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez, have been asking about the possibility to bypass the tunnel my mountain path or track. As mentioned before, then path along the other side of the reservoir is closed and this is being strictly enforced by local police. The quickest road route is via the Col du Galibier and the Col de la Croix du Fer. However there is a very long, but beautiful option above the tunnel via the Plateau de Emparis. This track is unpaved, generally used by walkers and mountain bikers and will take a long time, but is spectacular. Details of this route can be found via the following link under Tour du Plateau d’Emparis – itineraire 4.

The closure of the Tunnel du Chambon in April, linking Bourg d’Oisans to the Col du Lautaret and beyond, has sparked widespread discussions amongst the locals and cyclists planning to visit the region, such as when will it reopen, are they building a new road and can cyclists use the ferry to bypass the tunnel?

Tunnel du Chambon
Tunnel du Chambon

On the 10th April the Tunnel du Chambon was deemed to have an extremely high chance of collapsing and was immediately closed, with initial reopening dates suggested for early July. More recent surveys have shown that up to 100 000 m2 or 250’000 tonnes of rock are shifting around 10cm everyday, threatening collapse the entire tunnel. As such the reopening of the tunnel is very much in doubt, but the authorities hope to have a solution in place prior to the opening of the ski season in December.

Chamnon alternative routeOne of the solutions put forward, is to build a reinforced structure within the existing tunnel. However the extent of the problem has forced the local authorities to sign off on a new road on the south side of the lake, which they hope to have built by the winter. Whether they intend to build and maintain two roads up the valley, or to concentrate their efforts on building one reliable route remains to be seen.

Revised route for La Marmotte 2015
Revised route for La Marmotte 2015

The consequences of this for cycling tourism is that the only road leading from Le Bourg d’Oisans towards La Grave, Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier and Briancon is essentially cut off. This has already lead to the rerouteing of La Marmotte Granfondo and almost certainly the  penultimate stage of the Tour de France from due to race from Modean to Alpe d’Huez over La Galibier on the 25th July. La Marmotte will now return to the Alpe d’Huez valley via the Col du Mollard and the Col de la Croix de Fer. The Tour de France is very likely to follow suit.

Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon
Kevin from Cycling Ascents taking the ferry around the Chambon

One of the most talked about topics amongst locals and cyclists planning a trip to the region, is the possibility of using a ferry to bypass the tunnel and get to up to the Col du Galibier. The ferry has been provided for locals stranded on the La Grave side of the tunnel to access shops and schools in Bourg d’Oisans and Grenoble. However I recently spoke to Kevin from Cycling Ascents in Bourg who, last week with some of his cycling clients, successfully used the ferry without a problem and achieved one of the most magical climbs of the Col du Galibier, thanks to almost zero traffic. However he went on to add that yesterday (21st June) his guests were turned away and told that “that due to the risk of a rockfall into the reservoir they weren’t taking anyone with bikes – only locals on business.

So officially, for the moment, the ferry is not an option for cyclists. However pressure from business owners in La Grave, at the Col du Lautaret and the Col du Galibier, that are experiencing a catastrophic effect to their trade from the closure, may force some changes here in the future.

With all this in mind, the Oisans region still has more than enough routes to keep every cyclists satisfied. Including amongst many others, routes to the following places. Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer, Alpe d’Huez and the Sarenne valley, Les Deux Alpes, Col de La Morte, Col d’Ornon and La Berarde.

double size 432x278mm masterBike Lodging is based in Le Bourg d’Oisans and helps cyclists find and book bike friendly accommodation such as that of Cycling Ascents. We still have options for La Marmotte, the final week of the Tour de France and for the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

Chalet sleeps 5 available for Alpe d’Huez Tour de France week

2 bedroom chalet available for 3rd week of Tour de France
Chalet available 3rd week of Tour de France

Due to another cancellation for €800/wk, we now have available, this beautiful two bedroom chalet in Bourg d’Arud, just along the valley from Le Bourg d’Oisans and the start of the climb to Alpe d’Huez. Totally renovated in 2014, the chalet has a modern kitchen and charming living room, a double and a triple bedroom with one IMG_0885modern bathroom. It also have a large sunny terrace with views over the Ecrins National Park. The chalet is ideal for a small family or a group of friends. It is a short walk from an open air swimming pool, tennis courts, tree top adventure trail, bars and restaurants, small campsite shop with freshly baked bread and the gondola link to the mountain resort of Les Deux Alpes with summer skiing and the vast network of mountain bike trails.

Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015

However the position is of particular interest to road cyclists thanks to the proximity to the foot of the Alpe d’Huez and various other famous climbs. The property has just become available again from the 19th – 26th, thanks to a recent cancellation. During this week, it will be possible to ride to three different location to watch the Tour de France on three different stages. In locations such as the Col du Morte, Allemont, the Col du Glandon, the Col de la Croix du Fer and of course the Alpe d’Huez.

The price for these seven nights self-catering would be just €800.

For more information, or to make a booking, contact us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

Tour de France changes to Alpe d’Huez stage 20 – Tunnel du Chambon

As expected, the route for stage 20 of the 2015 Tour de France from Modane to Alpe d’Huez has now officially been changed due to the closure to the Tunnel du Chambon. Rather than passing over the Col du Glandon, it will now climb the Col de la Croix de Fer. Details on the official Tour de France website.

Revised route profile for the Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 from Modane to Alpe d'HUez
Revised route profile for the Tour de France 2015 Stage 20 from Modane to Alpe d’HUez
Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez
Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Lodging still have some accommodation available close to the Alpe d’Huez during this week, such as the Chalet Chardon in Venosc which sleeps 5 people for €800 for a week self-catering. We also have a 3 bedroom apartment in central Bourg d’Oisans for €1100. For details contact enquiries@bikelodging.com.

2015 Marmotte Route confirmed after closure to tunnel du chambon

La Marmotte 2015
La Marmotte 2015

Following the forced closure of the tunnel du Chambon in April on the route between the Col du Lautaret and Le Bourg d’Oisans, organisers of La Marmotte Gran Fondo have been forced to re route the event.

As predicted locally the new route first uses the Col du Glandon and returns via the Col du Croix du Fer. The more detailed route is as follows.

Le Bourg d’Oisans (719m)
Col du Glandon (1924m)
Montvernier Hairpins (777)
Col du Mollard (1630m)
Col de la Croix de Fer (2058m)
Le Bourg d’Oisans (719m)
Alpe d’Huez (1880m)

The revised route will be approximately the same length (170km), with the same amount of vertical climbing (5100m).

Below is an unofficial map of the revised route.

View this route on plotaroute.com

 

Mont Ventoux Bike Hotel Malaucene

Hotel Malaucenne - Mont Ventoux
Hotel Malaucenne – Mont Ventoux

Introducing one of our most popular hotels in the Mont Ventoux region. The hotel sits right in the heart of Mauaucene at the start of the climb to Mont Ventoux. It’s so close, that from the hotels breakfast terrace, you can watch other cyclists set off on their climb up this famous mountain.

The hotel 18th century former silk farm has been lovingly converted into the beautiful hotel you see today. Each of the nineteen rooms has an en-suite bath or shower room and toilet. They are all individually designed with vintage furniture and items sourced from local favourite second hand dealers. The hotel most recent additions for 2015 are two modern and stylish self-catering lodges both sleeping up to 4 people, built in the expansive grounds.

The 12’000 meters gardens are sheltered from the outside world by ancient stone walls, with plenty of shaded seating beneath well established trees. There are plenty or secluded and private areas to relax and a large swimming pool to cool off in after a hot day.

Mont Ventoux

Not only does the hotel sit at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France’s most famous stages, but the region is blessed by the variety of cycling and mountain biking for all levels for all levels. Unlike some locations in the high Alps and Pyrenees, where every day on the bike is a mammoth day in the saddle,  this region has the benefit of a vast variety of cycling and mountain biking. Aside form the obvious three challenging climbs up the Mont Ventoux, there are also more gentle days trips such as passing through vast selection of fantastic wineries, the Massif des Dentelles, beautiful medieval villages such as Le Barroux and Crillon le Brave and the stunning river valley of Le Toulourene.

Louis Saint Joire and Florence, the French ‘parton’ speak perfect English and thoroughly welcomes cyclists to his hotel. They have a great knowledge of cycling and are usually on hand to offer advice for the perfect days ride.

For information about this or any other properties in the area, do please contact us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

 

Tour de France rooms available due to cancellation

Allemont Hotel
Allemont Hotel

Due to a recent cancellation, two twin or double rooms have become available at

one of our most popular hotels in Allemont. This hotel sits in the perfect position for the final three Alps stages of this summers Tour de France.

Stage 18 on Thursday 23rd July from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 186.5km passes over the Col de La Morte and then through in front of the hotel in Allemont before heading over the Col du Glandon and down into the Maurienne valley.

Stage 19 on Friday 24th July from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire 138km passes over the Col de la Croix du Fer a good day ride form the hotel.

Stage 20 on Saturday 25th July starts in Modane and ends up the famous 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez. The start of the Alpe d’Huez climb is just 10km from the Hotel.

The rooms are priced at €70 per person per night, with a minimum of seven night booking. This includes breakfast, afternoon (return from ride) pasta buffet and a three course evening meal.

For details of this hotel or any others in the area, then contact us on enquiries@bikelodging.com

Tunnel du Chambon open Sundays to Cyclists!

Tunnel du Chambon - Cycling
Tunnel du Chambon – Cycling

It is being suggested that the Tunnel Du Chambon may be open to cyclists every sunday, during the current closures, so that cycling tourism can get from Le Bourg d’Oisans to La Grave and the Col du Lautaret. However the report suggests that this will only be from 10am until 12pm. I guess this will have to be a fast ride up and back, or perhaps do the Marmotte route in reverse.

If this is the case, it would suggest that it might also be possibly for the tunnel to be opened to cycling traffic for events such as the Marmotte and the Tour de France (should repairs be delayed), although no suggestion has been made.

More information to follow as it come to us.

Tour de France – Available accommodation Alpe d’Huez

Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015

We still have plenty of available accommodation options for the 2015 Tour de France close to the Alpe d’Huez. Stages 18, 19 and 20 all come within a days ride of our properties in the Oisans region. Stage 18 from Gap to Saint Jean Maurienne, comes through Allemont, close to Vaujany and Le Bourg d’Oisans. Stage 19 predominantly in the Maurienne Valley, also the route for this years Tour du Etapt,  will pass over the Col de la Croix de Fer. And assuming that the Tunnel du Chambon is fixed and reopened by then, Stage 18 starts in Modane, heads over the Col du Galibier and finishes up the 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez.

Here is a selection of our properties which still have availability for this Tour de France week.

La Danchere Lodge
La Danchere Lodge

La Danchere Lodge – A great value option in a charming hotel at the entrance to the Ecrins National Park. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens with a public bar, which are one of the nicest places to relax in the area after a big ride.

Vaujany Catered Chalet – Located in one of the most desirable and picturesque villages linked to the Alpe d’Huez lift system, this modern and stylish chalet, with hot tub and games room is popular with both cyclists and mountain bikers.

Venosc Chalet - Hot tub, Sauna, Home cinema, games room
Venosc Chalet – Hot tub

Chalet Cycling Venosc – Exclusive chalet at an affordable price. 5 bedroom chalet with stunning views across the Ecrins National park, within walking distance of the picturesque hamlet of Venosc. It is run by a couple with great knowledge of the area including a professional chef. Bedrooms are very modern and stylish, all with en-suite bathrooms as are all the communal rooms in the chalet. It features a large well stocked and secure bike storage shed, hot tub, sauna, games room, cinema room, wood burning stove, UK Sky TV and free wifi through out.

Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet
Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet

Ecrins Self-Catered Chalet – A brand new chalet (2013) built and decorated to a very high standard is located in the picturesque hamlet of La Danchere at the entrance to the Ecrins National Park.

If you require any information about these or any other properties in this region or other popular cycling regions, dont hesitate to get in contact.

Bike Box Hire UK

Bike Box Hire UK
Bike Box Hire UK
Traveling with you precious bike is a very nervy thing and buying a good quality bike box can be expensive. Bike Box Hire Easy offer a simple value proposition for hiring a ‘Bike Box Alan’ – the Number 1 Bicycle case to protect your precious machines.
Alan Bicycle cases are made from super strong plastics. They can fit road or mountain bikes. However the box is very compact and will fit into your rental car at the other end.
Bike Box Alan
Bike Box Alan
Bike Box Hire offer a UK National Delivery service at cost and a local pick up service, run by enthusiastic club cyclists Paul and Wendy you will get a warm and friendly welcome.
Weight 11.2kg, Max Height 92cm, Length 113cm, Max Thickness 32cm,
Check out their website on http://www.bikeboxhireeasy.co.uk, or follow the link on our Airport transfer page and benefit from a 10% discount.

Haute Route Pyrenees 2015

Route of the 2015 Haute Route - Pyrenees 15th - 21 August
Route of the 2015 Haute Route – Pyrenees 15th – 21 August

This years edition of the Haute Route Pyrenees, see the riders start on the beautiful Basque Atlantic costal town of Anglet on the 15th August and heading in an easterly direction into the heart of the Pyrenees before finishing in Frances fourth largest city Toulouse on the 21st. This seven stage event will cover 805km with 21’ooo meters of climbing. For the first time the event will stage a pre race, non timed parade around the streets of Anglet.

The Haute Route event is open to most levels of cyclist with a good level of fitness from rookie to expert. Each stage is professionally marshalled with medical crews and mechanical support on hand, rolling road security and even a film crew. All stages are times, so team and individual times can be ranked at the end of the day in to gender and age categories.

Haute Route - PyreneesHaute Route Pyrenees 2015 Stage by Stage 

Prolog Friday 14th August: Grand Village Depart and non-timed parade.
Stage 1 Saturday 15th August: Anglet to Pierre Saint-Martin (137km, 4050m+) Col de Bagarui 1327m, Ascent of La Pierre Saint-Martin.
Stage 2 Sunday 16th August: Pau to Pau ( 159km, 2800m+) Col de Marie-Blanque, 1035m, Col d’Aubisque 1709m, Col du Soulor 1474m.
Stage 3 Monday 17th August: Pau to Hautacam (104km, 3100m+) Col du Doulor, 1474m, Hautacam, 1635m.
Stage 4 Tuesday 18th August: Argelès-Gazost to Saint-Lary Soulan (113km, 3900m+) Col du Tourmalet, 2117m, Col d’Aspin, 1489m, Col d’Azet, 1580m.
Stage 5 Wednesday 19th August: ITT Saint-Lary Soulan to Pla d’Adet (12km, 953m+) Pla d’Adet, 1660m.
Stage 6 Thursday 20th August: Sainte-Lary Soulan to Superbagnères (123km, 4100m+) Col dAzet, 1580m, Col de Peyresourde, 1569m, Port de Balès, 1755m, Superbagnères, 1791m.
Stage 7 Friday 21st August: Bagnères-de-Luchon to Toulouse (157km, 1300m+) Col de Menthé, 1349m.

Other events organised by Haute Route:

5th Edition of the Haute Route Alps 23rd – 29th August Geneva – Nice
2nd Edition of Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps 31st August – 6th September Geneva to Venice.

For more information on the Haute Route Pyrenees or any other even organised by Haute Route, visit www.hauteroute.org

Pyrenees_General_Profile_2015-01-1

Images thanks to www.hauteroute.org

For bike friendly accommodation across the Pyrenees visit BikeLodging/Pyrenees