This route leaves Calvi on the infamous D81B heading south to Galleria. It's a relatively flat route with the main climbing coming towards the end however the excitement starts as soon as you leave Calvi with steep descents to the Med on your right for a good portion of the first half of this ride. The roads are narrow and winding. The surface in parts and particularly as you turn inland are potholed. There's little or nothing in the way of stores en route so keep an eye out for the odd drink stop.
The scenery is truly breathtaking and opens up as you pass the turning for the Pointe de Revellata on the right and the 500 year old Chapelle de Notre Dame high up on the left. The road, carved out from the rocky escarpment descending to the sea, follows the coves and inlets of this undeveloped stretch of coastline with the occasional track to access some of the more remoter beaches. On some of the bends all you'll have in front of you is open sea and that strange feeling that you're about to cycle on to it's surface but it's far below and the road will carry you off into the next bend.
After around 32km you will descend on a poor surface to a junction and a superb vista (picture above) with the Fango Valley opening up in the distance. There's a wide river bed which will have little water flow in the warm weather but fills up in the late winter/early spring with snow melt. You're now on Tour de France terrain and the rest of this route follows the concluding kms of the third 2013 stage. Following the D81 now through a remote part of the region look out for wild boar skins on the fences to your right. Up ahead the road appears to disappear but don't worry it's the
Col de Marsilino, 443m and the way through the Grand Barriere. The main climb of the day with a maximum gradient of 12% and with a couple of kilometres before the Col where it will be plus 7%.
Enjoy the fast descent down to the left turn towards the airport and then the T30 (N197) at the roundabout back into Calvi.
© M.Lund 2013-17