In our quest to conquer the most epic climbs reachable on our road bikes, for this year’s edition of Among the Giants, there was only one country left in the Alps pending visit. With this, France will be the home of the fifth edition of ATG, coming full circle after having been in Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Austria in the previous editions.
Widely known as the greatest bike race in history, the Tour de France always provides the most demanding challenge for the professional peloton and the French Alpine region will be a clear example of it. Between the 5th and 9th of September, a select group of people coming from different points of Europe will be staying in Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes).
With the same passion for cycling and a common objective in mind, we will create a strong bond in a matter of days while climbing some of the giants of the French Alps. Supported by different brands, we will discover a new area of amazing landscapes and challenging roads while creating friendships and long-lasting memories in this adventure.
The chosen basecamp
The French Alps offer many ‘cols’ (climbs and mountain passes) above 2.000 m spread throughout the three national parks, which are worth climbing no matter your level of enthusiasm for the sport. For ATG5 we will be staying in Montgenèvre, a commune close to Briançon just at the border with Italy. Located at around 1.860 m above sea level, the commune is completely devoted to winter sports, skiing being the main attraction. In spite of that, in summer the place totally changes, as the rocks under the pointy summits show up and green grass grows everywhere.
As roads open up after the snow melt, the possibilities for cycling increase substantially. The ski station becomes a MTB and DH bike park, the gravel paths become rideable, and the mountain passes that were close are now safe to be ridden again. Aside from that, at the slopes foot, the terrain becomes a golf course, with holes at both sides of the border, and endless options for hikers of all levels. Surrounded by high peaks, water creeks, and green trees and fields everywhere, Montgenèvre and the surrounding region of the Hautes-Alpes represent the ideal Alpine destination with all the necessary facilities to enjoy nature and outdoor sports.
As of this year’s Tour, stages 11 and 12 passed through the region, climbing the hors categorie Col du Galibier (2.642 m) twice, once for each side, and the HC Col du Granon (2.413 m). Nonetheless, from where we will be staying, there are other nearby giants such as the Col d’Izoard (2.362 m) and Col de Vars (2.108 m), or the Colle delle Finestre (2.176 m) with a nice gravel ending section at the Italian side of the border. Besides, being in a ski station means that, on every ride, we will have to climb back to the Col de Montgenèvre to get back home, which will not make things any easier.
For the fifth edition of Among the Giants, we will join forces with different profiles and brands that fit perfectly with the values of our project. Looking back in time, we are proud of the direction of our project since the first edition in the Dolomites.
The American brand is mostly known for manufacturing some of the best rims and wheelsets available in the market. Moreover, they recently entered carbon-frame production with the release of last year’s Custom Road Bike and this year’s Melee. One can see ENVE products in the most exclusive and high-end bikes as well as on the podium of downhill races, the Giro d’Italia, or the local crit. Thus, it is clear that they always have a product that fits the requirements of the individual.
The software brand represents the ideal ally to keep track of all your sports activities, from paddle surf in the ocean to trekking in the Alps. Over the years Strava has consolidated itself as the app of choice to prepare, log, and analyze all your challenges no matter the difficulty. The brand mainly focuses on cycling, running, and swimming, for which they offer special features that adapt to all users. Besides, they are involved in many projects from promoting sports to different communities to helping improve individuals’ performance.
Ever since 1959, the Italian brand has been producing custom carbon frames. Their work revolves around the customer’s wishes as they try to materialize them in their unique dream bike. Being totally handmade, each one of their creations is individual, from the geometry to the final paint job. They have traditionally made road bikes, but as trends advanced they gradually included disk brakes and gravel frames in their catalog always keeping their standards and high-end finishes.
The bike shop originally from Barcelona is the place to go to get the latest and more exclusive materials for your cycling outings. They are dealers of a large selection of cycling clothing brands, including their own line, as well as many unique and top-end bike builds including road and gravel bikes from custom frame builders to more popular brands. In the last years, they have expanded to other cities and you can normally find them organizing and participating in racing events.
The specialty coffee roasters Wattios from Terrassa opened their business and shop with something clear in mind: providing a caffeine boost that fulfills the desires of the most demanding athletes. Involved in cycling, they know what a cyclist wants while training or riding on his weekend ride. They have a product that is free from preservatives, additives, and sugars that they specifically choose and roast to offer the best quality. Is not only about drinking coffee but the whole experience around it.
The Italian brand of sunglasses is a clear example of design, functionality, and longevity with a neat line of eyewear made up in an independent studio of designers, sportsmen, and adventurers. Their products are handcrafted in Italy, with devoted attention to their perfection, precision, and complexity. These are tested and verified by themselves, with the finality to be used in all kinds of situations. With this, they offer a wide range of colors and combinations so that you find your perfect match.
Since 1993 the German cycling clothing company has been developing high-quality garments for all riding conditions made under the highest social and ecological standards. They design clothes that make you stand out from the rest and provide excellent riding sensations for all cycling disciplines, from long-distance gravel to competitive road cycling and MTB. Aside from providing high-end clothing, their motto is ‘eye on the future’, with which they take ecofriendly, fair, independent, and equal initiatives and engage in social movements.
The station ski from Montgenèvre is widely known in both France and Italy. Not only do they offer a great selection of activities in winter but in summer as well. As the snow melts, the ski slopes turn into MTB trails and at the foot of the slopes, an international golf course appears. Aside from that, there is the possibility to hike around, try the local cuisine, or do family activities such as rafting, summer camps, a forest adventure park, or daily group sports, all with excellent accommodation possibilities and facilities.
A very important part of cycling is the moment before and after the ride. The British brand proposes several options to store your cycling shoes by attaching them by the cleats, an easy way to find them before your ride, and a convenient manner to store them after. Besides, they have a system to carry them if you go on a trip and an alignment setup to always have your cleats in the perfect position. A must for all those people who like their stuff tidy and with a touch of customization.