Dallaglio Cycle Slam 2018
27 May - 14 June 2018
FRANCE // SWITZERLAND // ITALY // SLOVENIA // CROATIA
DAY 1: 28TH MAY - EVIAN TO CHAMONIX
120km / 2132 m
We begin this year’s Dallaglio Cycle Slam on the shores of the first of many lakes that we will be encountering. Evian is not only the home of the world famous bottled water but the start of the 2018 Dallaglio Cycle Slam. We can see the snow-capped Alpes from our hotel but unusually for the Slam, we take a circuitous route on the first day and skirt around the hills passing through many picturesque villages until we hit the valley in Cluses. For the first time, we see some familiar roads that we first rode along in 2014 but that year we were heading from Chamonix. To avoid the busy valley roads we take the odd hilly detour through some great alpine villages until we hit the outskirts of Chamonix.
65km / 2528m
There is only one way out of Chamonix to Verbier that doesn’t involve a helicopter and that is uphill. The Col des Montets is the first named climb of the trip although I’m sure after a night in Chamonix it might be given a few new names. That said, it is a gentle drag before a short descent into Switzerland and the Col de la Forclaz hits us as climb number two. A pretty speedy drop down into Martigny and out again along the valley road sees us hit the final drag up to Verbier.
110km / 2023m
Another relatively short day awaits us today, easing into the day with the first 10km being downhill with breath-taking views. We get out of the busy valley road as quickly as we can and are soon climbing once more. The relatively unknown Col du Lein is another veritable alpine treat with some fantastic views both on the way up and on the way down. Once we have cleared the climb, it is back on the flat valley roads for the rest of the day, whilst the overall gradient is upwards, there is nothing too troubling to deal with after lunch, in fact the plentiful cycle lanes and riverside lanes will be a real treat.
131km / 3110m
The amount of climbing today might alarm some riders but don’t worry too much, it is spread pretty evenly over the first half of the day and only sees the one categorised climb, the 14km Nufenenpass. Once crested, it is pretty much downhill all the way to the front door of the hotel in Bellinzona, a lovely town with not one or two but three castles!
96km / 1810m
With the Alpes just a mere blip on the horizon, today sees us encounter lake number two, the mighty Lake Maggiore en-route to Como. After following the side of the lake for the early part of the day, we soon turn off and take a pretty direct route towards Como. Lake Lugano is lake number three of the trip – two lakes in one day is a real treat. After we have passed the lake we hit Mendrisio, site of the 2009 Cycling World Champs and then make our way through the vineyards and sleepy villages before arriving at Como to complete Stage 1.