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Seeing the Swiss Alps through the eyes of a local rider

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8 Jul 2021
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Few cyclists know the roads and routes of Switzerland's Alpes vaudoises like Alain Rumpf   
In association with Alpes vaudoises

Rumpf moved to the region in 2001 when the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) established its headquarters in nearby Aigle. He worked at the UCI for 20 years – his role included managing what would become the UCI WorldTour – and now makes a living as a photographer, writer and expert guide, leading cycling tours of the local area.

We join Rumpf and his riding friend Valérie Pellissier on a 21km ride, ascending part of the way up towards the amazing, challenging mountain pass, the Col de la Croix.

'This is my favorite loop if I have an hour or so to ride,' says Rumpf. 'It has everything: two good climbs to hurt my legs if I want to, a sweet gravel section and breathtaking views.

'After the 3.5km warm up to Villars, the loop takes the road to the Col de la Croix for the first climb,' he continues. 'At 10km, I take a right and descend on a small farm road towards Champ de Gryonne. This spot is magic: just a few kilometres from my house, I am surrounded by high rocky mountains such as the 2,789m-high Culan.

'But there’s more. The second climb starts shortly after. First on tarmac to the hamlet of Taveyanne, a group of log chalets with shingle roofs listed as a historic monument. If I have time, I stop at the refuge for a coffee and a slice of homemade fruit pie. After that the road continues to climb, but this time on gravel.

 

'At 15km, I reach the top at 1,726m. I’m now on the ski resort of Gryon-Les Chaux, with a stunning view on the Grand Muveran (3,051m), the Dent de Morcle (2,969m) and the Dents du Midi (3,257m). I love to be there at sunset.

'The descent is fantastic; 6km on a winding farm road with no traffic takes me back home in no time.'

The area is practically made for cycling, easily accessible by public transport, with well paved roads and very few cars. It's easy to see why the UCI headquarters is located in the region.

'The only traffic you can meet is maybe some cows along the way, but apart from that you're just alone in nature,' says Rumpf.

The region is not just easily accessible, but there are also packages on offer. 'One of these offers is the Tour des Alpes vaudoises, where in four days you get to ride all the big climbs in the area, and some of the smaller roads,' says Rumpf. 'You can do it self-guided, or you can come as a group.

'I think that's something that cyclists really enjoy. For me, it was really a passion to create this [tour], and I love for cyclists to come and experience it. Take a break from your crazy, busy life and maybe, hopefully, relax and have time to think about who they are and what they want.'

Book a four-day and three-night tour of the Alpes vaudoises now at alpes.ch