Top climbs of the Riviera
Col de la madone
Col de la Madone is the most famous climb of the French Riviera. Lance Armstrong used to train on to test his fitness ahead of the Tour de France.
You can start the climb from different sides and different places, but generally, the Menton side is the most popular and difficult. The pros start the clock generally from the bus stop sign, after the first hairpin. From there, it is a 11.95km climb, with 800m drop and average 7%
The climb is quite irregular, with two flat sections on the second part, and the pavement isn’t very fast.
Until Saint Agnes, the climb is 8% average, with the steepest part at the beginning. The climb offers a some beautiful views on the mediterranean, and if you want to make a little stop in Saint Agnès, you will find a lovely traditional French village.
The best time is Richie Porte in 29’05’’ at 24.7km/h average speed
Are you ready to challenge his time?
Col d’Eze is the nearest climb from the sea, and raced every year by the pros in early March for Paris Nice. Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2020 will climb it once completely, and a second time halfway point to « les quatre chemins »
The climb starts at the traffic light in Nice. Follow the signs « Grande Corniche, La Turbie ».
The first 2km are the toughest, between 8-9-10%. Once again it is pretty irregular, with a long flat section to recover before the first half finishes. Then the road goes steep again at « les quatre chemins » with 9 percent for 600m. The last two kilometers are flat, even going down towards the Finish line. The climb averages 5% but it feels much harder than that. But the suffer is worse it, as the more you’ll go up, the more the view is magnificent. Going up there almost everyday, I am never tired of this view on Cap Ferrat, Nice, Esterel, La Turbie, Mont Agel. Towards the finish line, you will have a stupendous panorama on the French Alps.
Best time is Bradley Wiggins in 19’12’’
Col de Braus
Col de Braus is a very popular climb and a must do in your list. The climb starts in l’Escarène and at the top you will go down towards Sospel, a lovely Village on the Bevera river.
The climb is 10.3km long, 662m drop, averages 6.4 percent with two sections at 15%. It is clearly a tough one, that’s why professional cyclists love it. The road is quiet, no traffic, you are in the nature. On the last km, you will have a beautiful view on the hairpins, typical to Col de Braus.
The Tour de France 1947 used the climb in the 1947 stage Digne to Nice and Fermo Camellini won the stage!
I highly recommend you to refill your bottles at the fountain in l’Escarène as the temperature can get pretty high, and there is absolutely no shade.
You can easily do a loop from Beaulieu sur mer, going to Nice, l’Escarène, Sospel, col de Castillon, Menton, and back.
Best time is hold by Joe Dombrowski in 25’07’’