choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or Alps

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aquilegia
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choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or Alps

Postby aquilegia » 7 May 2014, 3:04am

I'll soon be touring in France with a friend who would like to ride up at least 2 of the more famous Tour de France climbs. They could be in either the Pyrenees or the Alps. I've already biked up some of the famous and some of the not-so-famous climbs in both mountain ranges. (Personally, I have no interest in the TdF, but I do enjoy touring in mountains.) I think that our choice will come down to one of the following 2 options: Either the Col d'Aubisque followed by the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, going west to east. Or climbing Alpe d'Huez then the Col de la Croix de Fer in the Alps.

I've already biked up the Col du Tourmalet (east to west, preceded by the Col d'Aspin) and told my friend I'd do it again if we do west to east and do the Col d'Aubisque which would be new to be. I've biked over the Col du Lauteret to Grenoble, but didn't go up to Alpe d'Huez, which begins from that road.

Have any of you biked up either of these Alpine climbs and/or the Pyrenees climbs, and have recommendations or thoughts about them?

The rest of our biking in France will be outside of the mountains, and we'll take trains between regions since our time is limited.

stu1102
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Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby stu1102 » 10 May 2014, 10:20am

I have rode Croix der Fer, Galibier and Alp D'Huez as part of an Etape

My view is perhaps to tackle Croix der Fer 2067m and Galibier, rather than the Alp

I would be inclined to tackle der Fer and Galibier if I were you, both IMHO are spectacular Cols to climb. You have 3 options to climb the Croix der fer:

From Barrage Du Verney :Follow the D199 from Bourg d' Ossians to Rochetailee. Turn right and follow the D526/D44 to the Barrage du Verney and to the top. LENGTH 27.53 KM Average Gradient (AG)=4.7 maximum Gradient (MG) 11.1 between 12km and 13.1

Comments; this way up has spectacular scenery and the way we climbed up, its was the first climb of a long day!. In the second half of the climb waterfalls cascade down to the valley floor while mountains are to your immediate left

From St Jean de Maurienne similar to Barrage for scenery----AG=5.05 MG=11.5 Length 30km

From La Chambre this is a long gruelling climb and way up

Galibier

Again 3 ways to tackle it, I list the way we climbed which is considered the more classic way

From Saint Michel de Maurienne via the Col de Telegraph (this was the way we tackled it after the Croix de Fer)

Follow the E70-A43 from Saint Jean de Maurienne to Saint Michel de Maurienne turn right and follow D902 to the top

Length=35.25km AG= 5.48% MG= 15% short section at 6.5 km

Climbing the Galibier is spectacular there is no other way to describe it, the best moments of my life on a bike, no doubt

I would suggest you purchase a reference book for the climbs the book I use is:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-High-E ... 0857386247

the book also lists the Pyrenees climbs as well

Image

aquilegia
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Joined: 6 Sep 2008, 9:15pm

Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby aquilegia » 10 May 2014, 1:42pm

Thanks for your comments, stu1102. We'd be doing this at about the end of the first week of June, and I'm afraid that the Galibier will likely still be closed. I see that the Croix de Fer is already open.

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TrevA
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Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby TrevA » 10 May 2014, 3:25pm

In 2012, my wife and I had a camping holiday based near Bourg d'Oisans. We did several day rides taking in the TDF climbs. We did the Galibier one day, from Bourg taking in the Lauteret on the way. This was in early June and the Gailibier was open, although there was still snow piled up at the side of the road at the top. The next day we did Alpe d'Huez. We also rode Col d'Ornon and Croix de Fer on other days.

Alpe d'Huez is not very long, but very steep. I enjoyed the Galibier more, as it's a long gradual climb up the valley to the top of the Lauteret then a shorter but steeper stretch to the top of the Galibier. The last half mile is really steep. All climbs should be open in early June unless there are freak weather conditions.

I've also done a moving-on tour of the Alps, taking in many TDF climbs, starting and finishing in Geneva. We stayed in hotels so travelled fairly light. This was in July, when the Tour was on and we managed to catch a couple of the stages. We did Col du Glandon. Galibier from Briancon and some of the climbs further north - Aravis, Colombiere, Cormet de Roseland, Col de Saises, Col d'Iseran. Again, all roads were open and it was actually very hot. We found that we couldn't do Col climbing in the middle of the day, so tried to do climbs first thing in the morning, straight after breakfast.
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hondated
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Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby hondated » 10 May 2014, 8:23pm

stu1102 wrote:
From Barrage Du Verney :Follow the D199 from Bourg d' Ossians to Rochetailee. Turn right and follow the D526/D44 to the Barrage du Verney and to the top. LENGTH 27.53 KM Average Gradient (AG)=4.7 maximum Gradient (MG) 11.1 between 12km and 13.1

Comments; this way up has spectacular scenery and the way we climbed up, its was the first climb of a long day!. In the second half of the climb waterfalls cascade down to the valley floor while mountains are to your immediate left



Totally agree as that is the route I took. Mind you it took me two years as I gave up on my first attempt and I had to return the following year to do it.

Gearoidmuar
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Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby Gearoidmuar » 10 May 2014, 8:36pm

I've done some in the Alps and more in the Pyrenees. Never did Alpe d'Huez but did the Galibier, Telegraphe, Madelaine, Lauteret, Cime de la Bonnette etc. I've done the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Marie Blanque, Aspins, Peyresourde etc. but for me, the best climb is the climb to the Bielsa Tunnel followed by the descent through it (now lit, but not when I did it, three times) and the fanstastic descent to Ainsa.

aquilegia
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Re: choice between famous Tour de Fr climbs in Pyrenees or A

Postby aquilegia » 11 May 2014, 8:51pm

Thanks everyone for the additional comments. As for the Galibier, it will very likely still be closed. It opened last year on 8 June, and I think there was a lot of snow in the Alps this past winter.

BTW, I happened to see the Tour de France quite by accident many years ago. I cross the Col d'Allos from the south early one morning when the Tour was going to be coming partially up the north side of the pass. I only learned about the Tour route the night before. I was riding the opposite direction from the Tour. The police had closed the road to cars but permitted me to keep riding because I was a few hours ahead of the Tour. I'm glad I saw it, but it was quite a circus. I'd go out of my way to avoid it in the future.

My favorite alpine pass was one of the easiest, the Grosse Scheidegg in Switzerland. Magnificent views of the North Face of the Eiger, and no traffic.