Tour de France to go ahead at end of August after coronavirus delay

The Isère region, in France, is a destination of choice for all cycling

It has been announced that the Tour de France will be taking place this year (29 August to 20 September 2020). For cyclists, Isère – in the heart of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region – is known for its famous mountain passes and legendary climbs where some of the most memorable moments of the Tour de France have taken place. 

With a variety of panoramas and landscapes, an elevation gain of more than 3,800 metres (158 metres above sea level on the banks of the Rhône in the Vienne region and up to 3,983 metres on the summits of the Oisans) the Isère offers a fabulous playground and competition area for all types of cycling. 

From the notorious 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez to vast plains, hills and forests, including the routes of the Vercors, Belledonne or Chartreuse. Pedalling on roads and trails in Isère is ideal for all cycle holidays, from a short break to an action-packed adventure. 

Tour de France: Three Unique Days in Isère Film about The Tour de France in Isère

This year, the Tour de France provides a fabulous showcase for the Department with exceptional cycling routes that navigate Isère’s varied landscapes. With three exceptional days in Isère and two forays north to Crémieu and south to Corps during stage 4 and 15, Isère is in the spotlight for the Tour de France 2020. 

The cycle race, which is due to start in Nice – with the Grand Départ on 29 August 2020 – will spend three days in Isère: 14 September for the rest day; 15 September (stage 16) for a 164 km 100% Isère section between La Tour-du-Pin – the starting town for the first time – and Villard-de-Lans; and on 16 September riders will leave Grenoble to reach Méribel in the Savoie. 

On 15 September, the 100% Isère stage crosses the Chartreuse via the Col de Porte (one of the first mountain passes featured in the Tour, as early as 1927). Afterwards, the riders will head towards Grenoble before attacking the Revel in the Belledonne massif and reaching the Vercors via the Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte climb. The finish takes place in Villard-de-Lans at 1,023 m, after a last ascent of 2.5 km with a gradient of 6.8%. This ski resort has already hosted the tour 12 times: six times as the starting town and six times as the finishing destination. 

On 16 September, Grenoble is the starting city for the queen stage, a 168 km section that ends at the top of the Col de la Loze in Méribel (Savoie). It’s a beautiful entry into the mountains from Grenoble city. 

New Label 

Isère obtains the Bike and Cheese label (Vélo & Fromages)
Cheese and cycling, what’s not to love? From challenging climbs to family friendly cycles, Isère has 87 routes combining cycling and cheese including two itineraries in the Pays de St Marcellin and The Tour of the Four Mountains in the Vercors. The “Bike and Cheese” project includes visits to farms, tours around cheese maturing cellars and meetings with cheesemakers alongside existing cycle routes. Meet the passionate artisans who make the cheese and discover the diversity of the region’s culinary heritage. The label has just been awarded to the Department of Isère by the Association of French Departments. There are now 45 Departments committed to the Bike and Cheese concept.

What’s New

Development of the Accueil Vélo 
The Accueil Vélo (Cyclists Welcome) label has been given to 75 businesses and tourist attractions throughout the department that have been approved for cyclists, with many along the ViaRhôna and the V63 cycle routes. The Accueil Vélo is a national mark distinguishing professionals who are committed to offering a welcome and quality services adapted to the needs of touring cyclists along cycle routes. 

More electric bike routes 
With a 21% increase in 2018 and more than 300,000 units sold, electric bikes are forever on the rise. Because of this, electric-bike routes are rapidly being developed across Isère with a department-wide scheme led by Isère Attractivité, which includes a special brochure showcasing 13 iconic routes that are also featured on the Isère Outdoor App. 

13 iconic itineraries for electrically assisted road and mountain bikes
Isère Attractivité has produced a new brochure highlighting 13 unforgettable trails across its region for electrically assisted bike and electrically assisted mountain bike. Each itinerary explores an unmissable natural site or cultural feature in the Isère region. The marked routes, from 10 to 30 km, are accessible for beginners and families. Packed with practical advice offered by Julien Rebuffet, director of the Moniteurs Cyclistes Français (French Cycling Instructors), the brochure gives practical tips and highlights specific services along each route, such as rentals, places to visit, accommodation and other providers who welcome cyclists.

A website dedicated to the Tour de France in Isère 
The website  is dedicated to the Tour de France 2020 in Isère. It highlights the region’s attractions during the event and showcases Isère as a cycling destination. The App provides practical information for both residents and visitors about locations and attractions along the route of the Tour. It also links through to other resources about cycling in Isère offered by Isère Attractivité:

Bicycle Exhibition at the Dauphinois Museum in Grenoble, from October 2020 to June 2022 
Isère’s year of cycling ends with an exhibition at the Musée Dauphinois. Showcasing historic two-wheel rides such as the Penny Farthing to the sleek lines of modern racing bikes, it celebrates the bike as an indispensable means of transport and a sport that brings people together. The exhibition also showcases documents from the collections of the National Museum of Sport in Nice, the Museum of Art and Industry in Saint-Étienne, the Geo-Charles Museum in Échirolles and the Dauphinois Museum. 

New Developments

Espace Bel’Velec cross-country mountain biking area in Les 7 Laux
This area consists of eight cross-country mountain biking trails representing 111 km in length and 4,118 metres of ascents. It extends across the Prapoutel resort to the villages of the Belledonne balconies below. Beginner (or nervous) cyclists can also enjoy the landscape on electrically assisted mountain bikes. Les 7 Laux Easy Riders school offers supervised courses on a loop route of its choice and rents out electric mountain bikes.

New Experiences 

Hydrogen bike riding in Vienne Condrieu
The Vienne Condrieu region offers 10 hydrogen bikes for hire at the Tourism Pavilion for guided rides from the end of June 2020. Equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, they have a range of 100 km and a charging time of only one minute.

Yoga combined with cycling in Ornon 
In the heart of the Col d’Ornon resort, Marc and Anita welcome guests to a quiet-green setting. Their gîte hosts up to 35 people and is the ideal starting point for exploring Oisans’ passes and landscapes, with local tips on the different cycle routes provided by Marc. After a hard day of cycling, Anita offers 90 minute or two-hour yoga nidra sessions with guided meditation. Price: €310 / £276 per person for five days full board with complimentary yoga lessons.  

Staying in Isère for the Tour de France

Adventures with friends
Fancy a weekend e-biking with friends? The Gîte des Carriers in Montalieu-Vercieu, on the left shore of the Rhône River, is close by the Vallée Bleue activity centre. Activities include kayaking, hydrospeeding, fishing and swimming. Inside, the gîte is spacious, with welcoming living spaces and large comfortable bedrooms. It is an ideal starting point for heading off on an electric bike and riding along the banks of the Rhône by the ViaRhôna and the Tour de la Vallée Bleue. The Gîte has the ‘Accueil Vélo’ label; it offers a secure bike garage, provides a cycle repair kit as well as all documentation for cyclists. A two-night stay costs from €740 / £659 for up to 14 people sharing between 1 September to 30 November 2020.

Explore the Chartreuse massif your way
The Ateliers du Cucheron maison d’hôtes, situated at 1,140 metres altitude, hosts groups of friends looking for a place to stay in the heart of the Chartreuse Regional Natural Park. This two-night package includes three days’ exploring while spending time in a friendly, convivial home-from-home. After a generous breakfast, take to the saddle of an electric bike and ride along a 13 km route and discover the little hamlets of Saint-Pierre de Chartreuse. The more adventurous can climb Chartreuse’s mountain passes. Back at the Ateliers du Cucheron, relax in the wood-fired hot tub with the magnificent mountains as a spectacular backdrop. In the evening, the hosts prepare homemade food made with delicious local produce. The property has a bike shelter with a charging station for electric bikes. A two-night stay costs from €454 / £404 for up to six people sharing a guest bedroom on a B&B basis and access to the hot tub between 24 August to 18 October 2020.