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REF: #08007

Raid Alpine - Geneva to Nice

Designed by M. Rossini, the official route starts in Thonon Les Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva and finishes in Antibes on the Mediterranean coast; a stone’s throw from Nice.

  • Half board hotel
  • French Alps —Thonon-les-Bains > Antibes
  • Activity Type
    • With guide
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 20
  • Features
    • Ensuite rooms


Everyone who takes this ride is looking to join that exclusive list and receive their medal for completing the RAID Alpine. This is a great challenge, a fantastic experience and, as always, we make it a fabulous holiday too. Polka Dot Cycling Holidays is always about the climbing but it is also about the experience. You will be part of history and passing some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. We offer you the best quality and use our knowledge to make this the most enjoyable challenge of its kind!


  • Transfers - pickup from the airport and transfer to your first night’s accommodation. At the end the holiday we will drop you off at the airport for your return journey. Please note the Pick Up and Drop Off airports relevant to this holiday. If you wish to travel by train or drive, please remember to contact us at least 4 weeks in advance of your departure.
  • Luggage Transfers - we will transport your luggage to the next hotel each day and it will be waiting for you in your room on your arrival. No lugging bags at the end of a long day in the saddle!
  • Full Support - Mechanical support, including inner tubes, tyres, spare wheels etc. and a minibus on hand to ensure you have enough drinks and snacks
  • Accommodation - we use mainly 3 accommodation in beautiful Alpine resorts and towns. If there isn’t a 3 option we then use the best available 2* hotels. Please note all prices quoted are based on two people sharing a room. We can of course arrange single occupancy at an extra cost of £250/person.
  • Buffet style breakfasts.
  • Day/Ride Food - On our trips you eat like the pros! With the constant use of energy we know that the best way for people to be comfortable and keep their energy up; they must eat “little and often”. This means no bloating, discomfort and loosing energy. We carry a full range of snacks and energy drinks (Your Sports Fuel) suitable for cyclists along with quiches, baguettes, fruit, cakes, sweets (like the infamous Haribo!), cereal bars, nuts, crisps and more. For most of our clients, this means all they need to purchase is their evening meal.
  • Evening Meals - For a supplement of £175 we can include all your 7 evening meals which will consist of a three course meal at the hotel or local restaurant. For most of our clients, this means all of their food is paid for. However if you wish to eat less in the evening or to go a la carte then please choose our standard option and pay for your meals separately. (If you want to take this option please make a note in the Special Requests Box on the booking form.)
  • RAID Alpine Medal - official inscription to the RAID Alpine including carnets and medals.
  • Guides - Experienced guides, who have ridden these types of events before and have a vast experience of the French Alps.
  • Information Pack - with full holiday details including, routes, maps and advice on riding in the Alps as well as full contact details.
  • Garmin Downloads - daily Garmin routes available
  • Polka Dot Cycling water bottles

Not included

  • Bicycles - most of our customer prefer to bring their own trusty steed that they know and love, however if you would prefer to hire a bicycle please contact us and we can arrange this for you. Please see our Bike Hire section on our website for more information on the bikes available.
  • Evening Meals - “Ride Food” is provided during the day, but we understand that after a day’s riding people have different needs from dinner; whether it be something light or a banquet, you can now choose your own. Each evening we will recommend some great places to stop and take in the local French cuisine. We will also reserve a table for the whole group but you don’t have to use it. For more details see FAQs.
  • Drinks or minibar costs (including beers, soft drinks and coffees).
  • Flights - flights are not included in the price of the holiday.
  • Travel Insurance - travel insurance is not included, but is a condition of our booking terms and conditions. We partner Cyclosure for the provision of specialist cycling travel insurance. For more information, please go to our - Travel Insurance section under our FAQs section on our website.


Arrival Day – “Bonjour!”

We will meet you at Geneva airport to transfer you to your first night’s accommodation in Thonon Les Bains. Help will be on hand if you require assistance to build your bike and if time permits, we can suggest a suitable gentle route to stretch your legs and check your bike, if you wish. We will inform you well before the trip commences of when your transfers times will be. For information on arriving by train or car, please see our FAQs section.

Day 1 – Day 6 – Riding Days

The French Alps are beautiful and majestic with some of the most famous climbs and passes in the world. The RAID Alpine was devised by Mr George Rossini (who is Italian!) to travel between Thonon and Antibes, his summer and winter homes. He created this route to provide a significant challenge for any keen cyclist to cover some of the best climbs in the French Alps. Due to some problems with the original route, in 2013 he amended the randonée to include the Telegraph and the Galibier so it now covers the three highest passes in France. This is the parcours we cover with official carnets, registration onto the official site and medals for completion.

The week’s riding will be structured as below:

  • Sunday “Let’s Go Straight to Number 1” – approx.. 4.5-6 hours in the saddle – today you will tackle your first category one climb Col De Ramaz where Lance Armstrong infamously cracked in his last tour. Going to Megève. Col De Ramaz = 116km, 2800m climb.
  • Monday “And the Hits Keep on Coming” – approx.. 5-7 hours in the saddle - today we ride the Col de Prè, Saises, Iseran and Cormet de Roselend … phew! But you also get a chance to have lunch by the lake at the Roselend. Going to Val D’Isère. Prè, Saises, Iseran & Roselend = 117km, 3400m climb.
  • Tuesday “Climbing the Giants” – approx.. 5-7 hours in the saddle – It’s time to finish the Col de l’Iseran and then tackle the Telegraph and the Galibier. Going to Briancon. Iseran, Telegraph & Galibier = 151km, 3080m climb.
  • Wednesday “Less is More” – approx.. 4-5.5 hours in the saddle – believe it or not this is quite an easy day climbing the Col D’Izoard and Col Du Vars and going through the stunning Casse Desert. Most of our clients really enjoy today as it is shorter so they can get to bar sooner and more time for recovery. Going to Jausiers. Izoard & Vars = 91km, 2350m climb. Thursday “Time to Get High!!! a.k.a the Bonnette” – approx.. 5-6.5 hours in the saddle – today we are tackling the highest pass in Europe and ascending the Bonnette de Restefond and a little known but tough climb the Couillole. Going to Valberg. Bonnette & Couillole = 105km, 2960m climb.
  • Friday “On to the Med!” – approx.. 5-6.5 hours in the saddle – more descent than climbing; only a few short climbs remain before you hit the sea but some beautiful gorges along the way. As you finish in Antibes we’ll go to the sea front to dip your bike into the Mediterranean. 150km, 2280m climb.

Departure Day – “A Bientôt!”

Today we all say farewell, with lots of memories and a great sense of achievement. After breakfast, we will transfer you to Nice airport for your return journey. If you decide to get a late flight, Nice airport has a good left luggage facility in Terminal 2 and it is only a short hop from the airport into the old town or a ten minute walk down Promenade des Anglais if you wish to get some sightseeing in before you leave.


Accommodation - we use mainly 3 accommodation in beautiful Alpine resorts and towns. If there isn’t a 3 option we then use the best available 2* hotels. Please note all prices quoted are based on two people sharing a room. We can of course arrange single occupancy at an extra cost of £250/person.


Main Climbs: Ramaz, Saises, Cormet de Roselend, Iseran, Telegraph, Galibier, Izoard, Vars, Bonnette de Restefond

Cycling Highlights:

  • 30+ cols – 6 over 2000m
  • Stunning lake at the top of the Cormet de Roselend
  • Col de l’Iseran – 2nd highest pass in France
  • Famous Tour climb of the Col du Galibier
  • Unusual Casse Déserte and the Coppi-Bobet memorial of the Col d’Izoard
  • Bonnette de Restefond, the highest pass in Europe with spectacular views
  • Amazing descent of the Gorges de Cian
  • Dipping your toes in the mediterranean sea!