I looked at this a little closer and taking the smaller road(s) that parallel N94 would mean a lot of clever route finding decisions to link the various sections together and avoid N94. A few places put you on N94 anyway. With such a massive day we can't waste a minute finding the way or taking a wrong turn. I think the best play is an out an back - Barcelonette to Briancon and back. At least that way I'll get to climb both sides of the Izoard and Vars
And the name you are looking for with the little ring road at the top is the Col de la Bonnette - highest paved pass in Europe. We do that the following day.
When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.