The Sun Trip Tour 2019 will take place from July 6 to July 20. It will be divided in eight stages within which participants will be free to choose their own itinerary.
The most probable routes will cover 1,300-1,500 km, with ascending elevations that could exceed 35,000 meters for the most daring participants!
Here is the Solar Tour of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes introduced stage by stage.
Stage 1: Puy en Velay – Auvergne Mountains Bivouac (≈175 km)
This introductory stage on July 6-7 will offer a gentle start through hilly less known landscapes. Towards the end, this leg will, however, be more challenging to everyone as the bivouac will be held in the wilderness on the other side of the splendid Puy Mary. The exact location will be submitted later.
A radical change of scenery as we dive into what rural central France has best to offer.
Stage 2: Vulcania / Riom, Limagne & Volcanoes (≈100 km)
The idea behind this stage held July 8-9 is simple: ride a cross section of the Monts d’Auvergne massif! Participants trying to win the King of the Mountains Challenge will find the best playground to score points, while those who wish to avoid the ascent can head towards the Clermont-Ferrand plain. Accommodation on July 8 will be at the Clair Matin lodge in Saint-Ours, but the proper meeting point will be on the morning of July 9 at Vulcania!
Stage 3: Vulcania – Divonne les Bains (≈400 km)
From 10am to 3pm on July 9, the Sun Trip Tour will be meeting the Vulcania Park visitors to promote new energies. This will also be an opportunity for participants to learn everything there is to know about volcanic activity in the Auvergne mountains. Mid-afternoon, the group will embark on this year’s longest leg, through the Puy-de-Dôme, Loire, Rhone and Ain departments. It should be mostly flat for two and a half days, but one can also cross the Jura mountains before heading towards Divonne-les-Bains (checkpoint at the Cize-Bolozon viaduct).
Stage 4: Divonne les Bains – Chamonix (≈110 km)
After a musical bivouac on the shores of the Divonne lake, the solar bikes group will make a stopover in the center of Geneva (Switzerland) on July 12. It will be an opportunity to put the Swiss teams in the spotlight and get people talking about the Sun Trip in a country that has a passion for solar projects (such as Solar Impulse, Solar Planet or Solar Stratos). We’ll return to France on the greenway connecting with Annemasse. Participants can then choose to take it hard or easy working their way towards Chamonix through the Blanche Valley.
Stage 5: Chamonix – Val Cenis (200-250 km)
July 13-14. Through the mountains of Savoie Mont Blanc (such as Mount Megève, Col des Saisies, Cormet Roselend), this will certainly be a key stage for the climbing specialists. Chamonix was the start proper for the Sun Trip 2018 to China and will be the Alpine crossing starting point for the Sun Trip Tour 2019. Some might opt for a detour through Switzerland and Italy, climbing the Great and the Little Saint Bernard passes before reaching the highest Alpine pass: the Iseran, 2770 m above sea level!
Please note that those who want to conserve their energy can ride in the Albertville plain and the Maurienne Valley instead.
Day off in Haute-Maurienne Vanoise
On July 15, participants will enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the Haute-Maurienne valley and get accommodation at the Ethic Etapes CIS de Val Cenis.
During that day, our partners will be holding events and latecomers can take the time they need to reach the rest of the group.
Stage 6: Val Cenis – Pinerolo (≈100 km)
A short but explosive leg on July 16! It will begin with a required passage through the Mont-Cenis pass at 2081 meters over sea level, an ascent that should be tackled as a pack, a first ever on a Sun Trip event. After the Mont-Cenis Lake dam, participants will head towards Suze (Italy). From that point, the bravest may try to climb the terrible Col de Finestre, with the last 10 km unpaved…
Pinerolo will be the only stopover outside France, in a city that hosted the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in May 2019. Dinner will be held at the Veloce Club bowling alley and accommodation will be provided in the Monastero della Visitazione Santa Maria.
Stage 7: Pinerolo – Die (350-450 km)
July 17-19. This leg is probably the most unpredictable of all. Riders could return to France either through the very difficult Agnel Pass (2744 m), or through both Sestrière and Col de Montgenèvre. The Massif des Ecrins will then probably be passed by the south or possibly by the north, while some might decide to go as far as the Baronnies Provençales National Park. What an opportunity to score points AND to enjoy breathtaking scenery!
One thing for sure, the most difficult parts will be over when they get to Die.
Stage 8: Die – Valence (70 km)
Saturday, July 20, a parade day will complete the picture. Our adventurers will be happy to ride on the plains and arrive downtown in the capital of the Drôme Department. Valence is a city at the crossroads of several major cycling routes in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.
There will be a final communication effort to showcase the solar bike concept. From then on, the Sun Trip will turn its gaze towards China, with 2020 in mind!