Tour de France 2021 – Stage 5

Côte d’Assois and Plan du Lac

A rather short stage today, mainly due to the miserable weather.
It was drizzling and raining, the temperature was around 15 degrees Celsius, dropping to 10 later – and higher – on.

I only got on my bike because I was hoping, despite the forecast(s), that things might improve, but I have not done myself a service.

I eventually was wet and chilled to the bone and – probably related – the back pain was worse than “normal” when climbing.

Anyway, a day not cycled is a day lost, so there’s that…

I decided to get to Fourneaux by car again, close to where I was two days ago, so I would have a short warm up before getting up the “Route Panoramique” alternative of the road leading to the Iseran.

As you can see above, from where I started, that was 59 kms, but it was not my intention to ride that today, even before I saw the bad weather.

So, just past Modane, I turned left and started the ascend of the Côte d’Aussois.

That’s more of a challenge from this end than from Sollières, which I did in 2017’s Tour de France, after coming down the French end of the Mont Cenis, having climbed the Italian end, Montcenisio from Susa.

As it had started pouring down harder during this ascend, I already had to change my outfit when I reached the crucifix at the Aussois “summit”.

That didn’t make the (undulating) descend any less chilly, but still.

In Sollières, I turned left, got up to the first hairpin of the short, steep ascend in the direction of Lanslebourg and turned left onto the D126 for the climb up Plan du Lac.

Obviously, I have discussed that in one of my posts about the 10 million options I have around here, but sadly, I had forgotten this is actually a brutal climb.

Apart from a short respite after 7 kms, before you take on the wide open upper part of the climb, it’s between 8% and 11% everywhere.

I would have though that Garmin – and other brands – would have fixed the GPS reception under poor conditions by now, but I already noticed -3% in the display when I had a short 6% uphill in the Aussois descend.

And now it was stuck at anything between 0% and 5%, with the occasional 7% showing during the steepest sections.

Luckily, despite I knew I was having a bad day, I can tell by the gearing I need that the Edge is lying anyway, so I stopped paying attention and muddled along.

Much to my dismay, where I had hoped to find some sort of refuge for a coffee or something at the summit, there was nothing.

A big parking lot, with the occasional shuttle bus picking up and dropping off hikers and the ”Auberge de Bellecombe”, which was (open but) deserted and holding a sign “For our guests only”.

So, I changed into dry clothing, threw the bike in the car, forfeiting a freezing and dangerously wet and foggy descend, and asked Paula to drive to Lanslebourg.

There we found a “crêperie” and I had the “Everest”, a crêpe with banana, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, topped off with whipped cream.

Bite me…

Total for today: 35.5 kms with 1,636 m of elevation.

Link to Strava, Ride with GPS and Relive.

The Edge original and corrected altitude profiles:

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