ROUTE 3: A ride around Bardonecchia, Piedmont Peaks
High in the Alps, this ski resort unlocks amazing riding in France as well as Italy
I first came to Bardonecchia in 2004 when the town was gearing up to host the Turin Winter Olympics. There seemed to be dust, cranes and half-built hotels everywhere. Returning now, it’s lovely - just a nice-sized Alpine town snoozing through the summer, happy to see bikers to keep things ticking over until the skiers return in winter. But thanks to its Olympic legacy, it has fantastic facilities.
It also has some fantastic motorcycling roads on its doorstep. Not the Frejus Tunnel - these are the Alps and there are passes everywhere. Our route starts with the climb over the tight and spectacular Col de L’Echelle, into France (much more fun than any tunnel). From France’s highest city, Briançon , we head along a stretch of the Route des Grandes Alpes, over the majestic Col du Galibier and Col du Telegraphe, before returning to Italy over the pass my friend Rich described as “the best road I’ve ever ridden”: the Col du Mont Cenis.
For a half-day ride, you could return to Bardonecchia from Susa after crossing Mont Cenis. But our route has more thrills in the foothills of Piedmont rather than over high peaks. Not that there’s any shortage of altitude and challenging corners, especially sweeping past the ski areas of Colle Sestriere. It’s a fantastic ride - a gold medal candidate for sure.
Maps and downloads for a ride around Bardonecchia
Route 1 (our route): Start/finish: Bardonecchia. Distance: 205 miles. Riding time 6.5 hours. Suggested stops: AM coffee Col du Galibier, lunch Col du Mont Cenis, PM coffee Cumiana.
Route 1 map, Download GPX file
Please note: This page contains the route files for The RiDE Guide To Italy which came free with RiDE magazine in July 2015. These website page are not regularly updated, so please check all critical information before you travel. All route files are in .gpx format. Garmin and BMW users can download the main file, which contains all the routes and our recommended hotels as separate waypoints. TomTom users can download the individual routes and use the Tyre software to convert them. For many routes we also have Google Map links. However, as Google Maps will not plot routes over seasonally closed high Alpine passes (such as Stelvio) when they’re shut, these may not work for every route all year round.