Tour de France 2021 – Stage 9

Col du Pré (Roselend) and Les Arcs

For today, we had a good weather forecast, so during our ride to, and while I was preparing to get on my bike in Villard-sur-Doron, it was raining.

But, by the time I was ready to go, the last drizzle had stopped, although it was still cloudy and chilly.

So I kept my long sleeved jersey on for a little while after starting the ascend of the Col du Pré.

Once the misery for that climb starts, at Arèches, I had to take it off quickly…

This climb or the other end of the Cormet de Roselend was on the menu in my Tour of 2014, but a long wait and heavy rain spoiled that.

The first 4 kms of the Col du Pré are certainly only a “warming up” for the pros – or at any rate, better climbers than me – but from Arèche, the grades hardly drop below 10%.

While the views are breathtaking, probably even more so on a clear day, that kind of climb, even if only 7 kms, is an eternity.

At the summit, there wasn’t much to be seen, as apart from the marker, it was too cloudy to take in the panorama.

I put on two extra layers of clothing and went down to the Barage de Roselend.

The view on the passage over that was worth taking a picture somewhere in the middle and at the other end (note: very steep uphill sprint finish) we took a picture at the Col de Méraillet.

Another one that came as a surprise to me, but a col is a col…

After a short – too chilly – coffee break at the Chalet, I went alongside the lake for the final of the Cormet from there.

That final is about 6 kms long, but not anywhere near as difficult as the Col du Pré.

Looking at both alternatives, the Cormet de Roselend from Beaufort, or the Col du Pré detour, the former is more regular, while the latter has the steeper grades, but also a ~3 kms, ~250 m downhill to the barrier.

Neither is easy, though…

The descend to Bourg-Saint-Maurice was fast, but I did get into a quarrel with a French idiot that refused to let me pass, even though I was lot faster.

Not for the first time this happened, but this one was very “vocal” after I finally managed to overtake him on the inside of a hairpin.

Down in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, I overthought the climb up to Tignes again, but again decided against it.

So I turned towards Les Arcs, a series of ski resorts, I had only once cycled, back in 2012.

The weather was a lot better than during that climb, where there was still snow and it was freezing cold higher up.

My physical condition hasn’t changed much, as I was hospitalized again in 2013, after I had finally recovered from my 2012 crash.

Plus, I’m nearly 10 years older now.

Still, this time, I actually enjoyed the climb itself, but the views even more.

We went up a bit further past the Arc 2000 sign but there – again – was nothing much to be seen, let alone there be a place for a coffee break.

Despite its name, Arc 2000 is already located a little higher than 2,000 m and Strava puts me at 2,110 at my turnaround point.

After a mostly flying descend, interrupted by slower parts with degraded asphalt, I turned towards Arc 1800 near Arc 1600

(Don’t get me started, it’s confusing af to find your way at what is generally referred to as “Les Arcs”…)

I was hoping to find a good place for a short break there, but literally all parking spots within a reasonable walking distance of the centre and/or further away, were occupied.

So, we descended down the other end, towards Peisy-Nancroix were we did find a place for a short break.

We then went on down to Landry, where I put the bike in the car.

This descend actually has a name when you ascend it: Montée de Peisey-Nancroix. It’s 12.7 kms at 6.4%, but with some hefty > 9% sections…

Total for today: 105 kms and 3,020 m of elevation gain – that’s my first over 3,000 this tour.

Link to Strava, Ride with GPS and Relive.

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