Another alpine classic that often tickles our fancy: An Italian gem, in the foothills of Mt Blanc. La Thuile is a small ski resort, around 45 minutes drive west of Aosta, an hour south of Chamonix (France). If you've heard of it before, both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia have passed through several times.
Where is it?
The land of Pizza, Coffee and Bianchi. Italy. It's easily accessible from Aosta and Courmayeur, you can cycle up from Pre-Saint Didier (the road is... spectacular) but it's also fairly busy in peak season.
What's the riding like?
There is a charming path that climbs up to the Little St. Bernard Pass, with a fairly fruity 7% start in the Pont Serrand area, before it increases up to 8% as you approach the second half. For a real adventure, you can keep riding and you'll cross over in to France, where you can ride down to La Rossiere. Again, some spectacular alpine terrain will greet you. The roads are generally fairly quiet and the riding is really, really good fun (if you enjoy pain, which clearly you do if you're reading this).
Keen? Here's some details.
- As we're talking about another alpine pass, late May-early November are the riding months
- La Thuile is a mountain biker town which means they're open for business in July onwards, with bars, restaurants and hotels ready to serve
- There is a great Spa in Pre-Saint Didier (QC There), which requires booking but can be a sublime way to ease the end of day aches and pains.