Tour de France 2021 – Other Areas (Part 1)

In my previous posts, I’ve discussed the climbs and passes starting in and close to our Tour de France 2021 base camp, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

While those may seem enough to keep a lousy climber like myself busy for the total duration of our 14-day stay, you should know better by now.

I never fail to disappoint when overestimating my “grinta” and planning more than I can handle.

Although, in the end, I usually do manage to get most of it done 😂

In the coming posts, I’ll cover (some of) the possibilities a bit further away, which may require a car transfer before getting on my bike.

Today’s post concentrates on the south-eastern end of the Maurienne valley.

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Col de l’Iseran


While the summit sign reads 2,770 meters, the official summit of the Col de l’Iseran on recent maps is 2,764 meters.

That still makes it the highest paved pass in Europe, although the artificial loop around the Bonette is claimed as such by the French, or at least those in the Ubaye valley.

However, the official pass height of the Bonette is 2,715 meters, so the Iseran, the Stelvio (2,758) and the Agnel (2,744) are higher ‘by nature’…

The Iseran is part of the Route des Grandes Alpes (in French). It connects the valleys of the Isère (Tarentaise) and Arc River (Maurienne) between Val-d’Isère in the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc in the south.

The north side of the pass officially starts at Val-d’Isère, or further down from Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The climb from the south officially starts at Lanslebourg-Mont Cenis, but you could also consider Modane as the starting point.

Post WWII the Iseran was included in the Tour de France 5 times between 1947 and 2007 – in 1996 it was also scheduled, but that stage was rescheduled due to bad weather (snow on both the Iseran and the Galibier).

In 2019, the southern ascend was again included in a stage (19), which was scheduled to finish in Tignes, but that stage eventually got neutralized at the Iseran summit, because of bad weather and a landslide.

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Tour de France 2014 – Part 1

Post stage reports of my Tour de France 2014 – part 1, with Europe’s highest “natural” pass, the Iseran.

Bellentre

For my own Tour de France 2014, our first base camp was located in the Savoie, in a small village called Bellentre. This is less than 10 kilometers from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, almost opposite La Plagne.

After a smooth trip there, we settled in our apartment “GĂŽte les Grands Champs” around 13:00 – this gave me the opportunity to go out for a first ride, although it looked like it would rain.

And it did…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 3

Iseran, Mont Cenis and Madeleine

Silly me. When I plotted this – originally 185 kilometer long – course, I was like ‘Oh, that’s 60 to 70 kilometers downhill after the Iseran – easy, peasy’…

So, I was confident I would bring this ‘Queen’s Stage’ to a good end – I guess I more or less did, but once again, my mildly disturbing optimism regarding my abilities, almost got the better of me.

Anyway, the Iseran itself was not all that interesting up to Val d’Isère, although the views passing the Lac du Chevril were already much better.

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