Near the entrance to the “cycling-mecca” Maurienne valley is a great little road winding up through the woods to Col de Champlaurent. Ten fairly steep kilometres, lots of hairpins and virtually no traffic. From here, it’s possible to cross over the Heurtrières alps into the Maurienne valley via Col du Grand Cucheron.
The Maurienne Valley is one of the great cycling locations anywhere: Galibier, Iseran, Madeleine, Croix de Fer, Glandon, Mont-Cenis, etc. See here for a more detailed overview.
From Col de Champ-Laurent you get the first view of the big Alps in the distance. It’s a 3.5 kilometre descent into a high valley, then a left turn, for a 3.5 kilometre climb to Col du Grand Cucheron. This final stretch can invitingly be seen far in the distance:
This last stretch to Grand Cucheron was well shaded and a little slippery. But no problem going up.
From Col du Grand Cucheron, it’s a fun, quiet 17 kilometre descent (with an occasional uphill). From down low, if trying to close the loop, look closely at the map below as a way to avoid more than a short stretch on a busy-ish road.
Here is another loop with Champlaurent coming from a different direction.
This is a great climb. Always very quiet. For cyclo-tourists, it’s a good “long-cut” if coming from Chambéry or even Annecy and heading into the Maurienne valley.