La Marmotte Granfondo Alpes 2023

Taking place on at 7AM

Location: Bourg-d'Oisans, France

This is an alpine sportive that climbs Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and L'Alpe d'Huez. There is also the Ultrafondo, which starts at 5am and tackles Alpe d'Huez twice - totalling 226km with over 10000m of climbing; for more information on this, see the Marmotte Granfondo Alpes website.

The route

I've added the official ultrafondo route to, along with waypoints and the invaluable route card creator: Ultrafondo Marmotte Alpes on and Granfondo Marmotte Alpes on

You can also use a Marmotte Alpes 2023 dotwatcher to track your ride whilst you're on it, and share the tracker with your friends & family.

Getting there

I'm travelling from the east of England, and have opted to do it by land and sea:

  • Thursday Mixture of train and cycling to get down to Dover for an afternoon ferry trip to Dunkirk (probably), riding the short distance to Oxelaire for the night.
  • Friday Ride to Lille, and catch an afternoon TGV to Lyon. Then ride to Grenoble where I stay for the night.
  • Saturday Short ride to Bourg d'Oisans where I meet friends and acclimatise!
  • Sunday The day of the sportive.
  • Monday Ride to Lyon, where I catch the TGV to Lille. Overnight stay in Lille.
  • Tuesday Ride to Dunkirk in the morning, ferry ride to Dover, and ride/train it back home.

View on

Since my accommodation is all guest houses and hotels, I will be able to travel light. I will need a change of cycling clothes and a lightweight bike bag (for the TGV), but everything should fit fine into my frame bags and saddle-pack.

My motivation for this is two-fold. I want to avoid flying if possible, because of the carbon footprint. I also don't want to just "parachute" into the Alps for the sportive and leave immediately after. This way I get to savour more of the French countryside, and make more of a holiday out of it. It will add a couple of days onto the entire trip, but the cost shouldn't be much more at all - especially once things like bike & airport transfers are taken into account. If you're thinking about doing the same sort of thing, do comment below with your plans and ideas!

By John Swindells

Category: Cycling


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About the author

My name is John Swindells and I'm a keen recreational cyclist with a preference for long one-day rides. I've also previously dabbled in time trialling and cyclo-cross. See more of what I get up to on Strava!