2011 ETAPE du TOUR
MONDANE to ALPE d’HUEZ
After a fast roll down the valley from Mondane, we reach the foot of Telegraph after 19km, and the climbing begins.
And then the climb continues and continues! After around 1000 metres of 7%, we will reach to top of Telegraph, then descend a little to Valoire, maybe to enjoy a little rest and refreshment.
Then follows another 1000 metre climb to the top of Galibier, again with a gradient of around 7%. At over 2500 metres, the air seems a bit thinner and we are really in bare maountain territory! The air will probably be cooler, and the views should be breathtaking!
There follows an amazing descent of nearly 30 miles, with a brief flat section at the Col de Lauterait after the hairpin descent of Galibier. We then continue down a straighter, fast section for around 24 miles! The valley is extremely picturesque, though you are unlikely to want to stop to appreciate it!
At Bourg-D’Oisans the road flattens out at last – I would expect a water station or food station here before the final great climb of the day – the fabled Alpe d’Huez!
The first two straights reach a gradient of round 12%. After each straight, the flatter bends allow some relief. It is worth having plenty of water for this climb – if it is hot you will need it! Temperatures of over 37 degrees have been known on the lower slopes especially if the wind is in the wrong direction! Fresh drinking water is preferable to drinking from the stream which trickles through the noss at the side of the road! The bends are numbered to give you a sense of progress!
Then finally you should arrive at the huge village at the top, with cafes, car parks….
A bit of refreshment is well deserved!