We recommend a bike with front suspension, 100-mm touring wheels and flexible gear ratios.
This is a wonderful circuit over the Seu mountain ridge and covering the area around Via Lattea.
We leave from Fenestrelle, in the Val Chisone, overshadowed by the disturbing presence of the fortress which shares its name.
This 18th-century defensive complex extends for 3 km along the mountain ridge. Viewed from a satellite, it looks rather like a smaller version of the Great Wall of China marooned in the middle of the western Alps.
We will ignore the road for Sestriere: we’ll be taking it on our return. Instead, we’ll head for Usseaux, from where on the road becomes quite rough and even broken in some places, especially in areas exposed to snow and high winds. From a height of 1153 metres in Finestrelle, we rapidly ascend to 2470 metres and the little lake of Lauson, which we’ll see on our left.
The gravel road we are following now begins to flatten out, with just a few pleasantly easy ups and downs. We don’t leave this altitude until we reach the mountains above Sestriere, which serve as the arrival point for ski-lifts in winter.
Two MTB competitions take place in these mountains: the Salice d’ Ulzio Gran Fondo and the Tour dell’Assietta marathon race. From this vantage point, you can see the great sweep of the Alps, the Susa Valley, Montgenevre and the Mountains of the Moon: giving you a wonderful impression idea of the grandeur of these peaks. We now begin our headlong descent towards Sestriere.
We have covered a distance of 57 km on splendid white roads, but now are quite happy to return to a metalled surface.
From now on, it’s downhill all the way until we reach Finestrelle.