Friday 19th May welcomes back the best of professional road cycling with the arrival of the Giro d’Italia. The iconic race for the Maglia Rosa (pink Leader’s Jersey) is the first of cycling’s three major Grand Tours each year and will pass through Verbier on Stage 13, deep into the second of three weeks’ racing.
Verbier is no stranger to testing the professionals and is perhaps most notable for seven-time Grand Tour champion Alberto Contador’s stage 15 victory in the 2009 Tour de France, where he took the yellow jersey on the way to overall victory. It is also a regular climb and finish on the Tour de Suisse, with fan-favourite Esteban Chaves winning stage 8 of the 2014 edition and former World Champion Rui Costa winning stage 1 of the 2012 edition.
The finish line is normally in Verbier when road races come to town but in true Giro d’Italia style the race organisers have a brutal new super-climb from Le Chable to Croix de Coeur, before heading down to Sion and a finish climb to Crans Montana. Verbier will be just more than halfway up and for those who like to know the stats, the climb from Le Chable will be 15.3 km long, climbing 1,352m up to an altitude of 2,174m, at an average gradient of 8.7%. Most of our guests will know the top of this climb for the restaurant and as a welcome coffee or lunch stop when skiing on the slopes of Savoleyres, covered in snow with almost 360 degree views… oh how different it will be this week!
Our team is full of keen cyclists, but Dan (CFO) leads the way as the only one of us who has done the whole segment from Le Chable to Croix de Coeur in one go and he’s pretty sure he’s covered off the whole route of this stage. Why not search for the Strava segment to see if you can beat his time?
Verbier is one of Switzerland’s most popular cycling destinations across all disciplines – both on- and off-road – and with the help of e-bikes everyone can enjoy the mountains on two wheels. While you can challenge yourself up a Giro d’Italia or Tour de France climb, or take on a championship cross-country or downhill course, there really is something for everyone and there are plenty of much gentler (read: flatter!) routes to explore and enjoy the mountains on two wheels. It’s not all up- and downhill.
Among the vast array of summer activities we can help arrange when you stay with us in the summer, our team are always happy to help if you’re looking for a new route – and we can help put you in touch with the best guides and coaches if you want to go somewhere new or learn skills.
Maybe you would like to try an e-bike for an afternoon, go mountain biking for the week, or tick off some of Switzerland’s best alpine road climb before returning to your chalet for an evening on the terrace or balcony with one of the best views in the world!
Our Verbier-based team will be out cheering on the riders on Friday for what is sure to be a spectacle.