Tour de France 2014 – Epilogue

Epilogue (Col de Larche)

Since it was scrapped from the list for the brevet and it looked like an easy climb, the Col de Larche was used as a recovery ride.

Officially, cyclists are not allowed between La Condamine and Meyronnes, but – as confirmed by the tourist office – this ban is basically neglected by everyone.

While the length of 23 kilometers from Jausiers may look impressive, the first 6 kilometers are near flat, up to the split with the Vars.

But even the remaining 17 kilometers offer no more than 675 meters of elevation (4%) and only in the final 5, from Larche, the grade is a consistent 5%…

An excellent recovery ride, although the road was quite a bit busier with traffic than I would have liked and I arrived at the summit well within the hour.

But, I had seen both sides of this col when transferring back and forth to the Fauniera and I wanted to cycle the Italian section with the hairpins too.

Besides, the col is named Maddalena coming from the other end and that makes it even more irresistible 🙂

So, I descended the 6+ kilometers to Argentera from where I returned back to the summit, after which we had a coffee break at the ‘Ristorante del Lago’.

Paula then bought some cheese and other stuff from a local farmer holding shop at the summit and after a fast descend to Jausiers, my Tour de France 2014 was officially over.

Trip: 62.8 kilometers / 1,072 meters elevation gain (Garmin).

Tour de France 2014 - Epilogue: Col de Larche

Tour de France 2014 – Stage 11

Agnel and Izoard

Despite the fatigue, I wanted to go up – at least – the Agnel.

With 2,744 meters, this one is ranked third in Europe as far as paved, true passes go.

I.e. it’s not a dead end and it has no artificial loop around the top to make it higher, like the Bonette – only the Iseran (check) and the Stelvio (check) are higher passes…

As I did not really feel the need to cycle the Vars again, we transferred to Guillestre by car.

I could have started my ride there, but I saved myself the time and didn’t do so before Château-Queyras.

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 10

The beautiful Fauniera

Stage 10 involved a side trip to Italy: after a car transfer over the Larche to get to the start of the Colle Fauniera, I got on my bike in Demonte.

Why this col is more aptly referred to as “Colle dei Morti”, I found out very quickly.

With a length of nearly 25 kilometers and an elevation gain of some 1,700 meters, the average is a healthy 7%.

The start is irregular, with frequent ups and downs, where the “ups” are basically close to and over 10% – there is no easing into this one…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 9

Cayolle and Allos

I descended towards Barcelonnette – on my bike this time – in the morning to tackle the Cayolle.

Some two kilometers out of Barcelonnette, you get to the junction of the Cayolle and the Col d’Allos. The latter is also the entry to the climb up to the ski station of Pra-Loup.

Upon leaving Uvernet-Fours, you enter the more spectacular part of this climb, the Gorges du Bachelard. The road has been carved out of the rocks and is spectacular, albeit narrow.

This means any wide vehicle or vehicles higher than 3 meters, will get stuck 🙂 So no trucks, no campers and in fact, there’s not much traffic at all.

After you pass through Chapelle Saint-Blasse, the road widens a bit.

At Bayasse, a short series of hairpins leads up to the second part of the climb.

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 8

Les Petits

(Well, the Vars was not that petit as it turned out)

Today, I decided to tackle two of ‘les Petits’ on the list of cols for the brevet in the morning. These were the Saint-Jean and the Pontis the furthest away from our apartment.

So, as I was advised to avoid riding to Le Lauzet on ‘zee baik’, Paula delivered me there by car.

But actually, while seeing it from the car, it didn’t look as bad I was led to believe.

Certainly no worse then any main road in Belgium or Germany and by the look of it, traffic – i.e. car drivers – are mostly attentive when it comes to passing a cyclist.

I decided I could easily cycle this road when needed and I did so the following days…

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