ETAPE du TOUR 2012 ALPINE ROUTE
It’s a tough route! Like all tough problems, it is best tackled one section at a time!
Albertville to Feissons – 10.5 miles
The first section is quite flat, rising gently towards the mountains.
Feissons sur Isere to Bonneval
The climb up Madeleine starts with 2 miles of 10%
It then slackens to an easier 7%
About half way up Madeleine we will get a rest as we pass through the village of Bonneval, which has flat and even downhill sections for two and a half miles.
Bonneval to Col de Madeleine
For the second part of the climb, after starting at 6%, the gradient varies between 7% and 11% in a fairly random way finally easing off in the last few hundred yards, and we are rewarded with magnificent views.
We will have climbed 1655 metres –over 1/3 of the total at this point.
Col de Madeleine to Col de la Croix de Fer
The 12 miles of descent will be welcome!
The first half of the next climb is reasonable, the gradient being 7% for most of the way, though in places the gradient reaches 10%. At the half way mark we arrive at the village of St Colomban des Villards. Surprisingly, this is about the half way mark for the entire route, both in terms of distance and climbing.
The second half of the climb up Croix de Fer, like the second half of Madeleine, is the toughest, rising to between 9% and 13%. The views from Col de Glandon make the climb feel worthwhile, and the last mile and a half to the top of Croix de Fer are easier, with a gradient of 5% to 7%.
Col de la Croix de Fer to the finish!
After climbing 1600m to Croix de Fer, we are rewarded with a fast 9 miles of descent to Bellville.
The next climb to the Col du Mollard has an average gradient of less than 7%, though the gradient is quite variable, and reaches 10% in places.
The descent from Col du Mollard to St Jean de Maurienne is narrow with sharp bends, so care will be needed!
Crossing the town of St Jean de Maurienne will offer some relief before we tackle the last climb. The road out of St Jean starts with a short steep section of 9%, but the gradient rapidly eases off to 7%. It will be with some relief and excitement that we arrive at the finish as the last few hundred yards are fairly flat!