Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11

Marmotte or Bust

Yes, I did use that phrase before. Thank you for so closely following / reading my blog 😂

However, at the time I spoke about my plans to do two of them, Sestriere (La Marmotta) and the classic Marmotte Granfondo Alpes during that Tour de France of 2017.

Both were a bust, whereas I didn’t even start the classic, due to the (general) weather conditions and had a flat with no spare tube(s) during the La Marmotta.

This year, being located at an even better spot to start it, I finally did ride Marmotte Granfondo Alpes, but with a twist…

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Tour de France 2021 – Stage 8

Valmeinier (Télégraphe)

The weather forecast for this afternoon looked grim, but the various sources couldn’t quite agree on when the misery would begin.

I decided not to take any chances and 1) ride a shortish stage and 2) get in the car as soon as it would.

Provided that would not be in the final kms of a(ny) climb, of course 😎

In the end, I made it back home to the supermarket near our apartment, but it had started raining by the time we got out.

On the bight side: this was supposedly the last “bad” day for now and hot, sunny days are coming.

Not sure that’s going to be any better for me…

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Tour de France 2021 – Near The Base Camp

As mentioned, we will stay in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne for my Tour de France 2021.

I’ve designated Briançon and Barcelonnette as French cycling hotspots – like Corvara and Bormio in the Dolomites – but this capital of the Maurienne Valley in the Savoie is definitely one too.

There are a lot of cols within cycling distance and a lot more further away, where opting for a car transfer seems the way to go.

The mountains on the southern side are the Dauphiné Alps and the Cottian Alps.

On the northern side is the part of the Graian Alps known as the Vanoise.

In this post, I’ll list the cols and possible routes that are “around the corner” from our base camp.

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Col du Galibier


The pass of the Col du Galibier (2,645 metres) is located in the southern region of the French Dauphiné Alps.

The tunnel at 2,556 meters used to be the only through road until 1976 – when the tunnel was closed for restoration, a loop around the summit, similar to the one over the Bonette, was constructed, reaching the ‘official’ summit of 2,645 meters.

With this loop included, it claims 9th spot in the highest paved European roads list and is listed as 5th highest mountain pass – without it, it’s ranked 11th and 6th respectively.

Like all passes in the area, it’s closed during winter, roughly between October and June.

I cycled up the Lautaret side from Le Clapier on June 9th, 2012 and found the final loop closed from the Valloire side – luckily, I could still cycle up from my end.

When I tackled the northern ascend in 2014, as when I combined it with the Lautaret from Briançon in 2017, the road was free of snow, but in 2017, it was freezing cold up there.

What makes climbing the Galibier hard, is the distance.

It can only be reached via the Col du Télégraphe from Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne and via the Col du Lautaret from either Briançon or Bourg-d’Oisans (Le Clapier).

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 5

Half a Marmotte

I originally planned this trip to follow the route of the Marmotte, but then changed my mind and plotted a ‘shortcut’ down the Croix de Fer towards the Télégraphe / Galibier.

After all, the passage from the foot of the Glandon in Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines, through the valley to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and onwards to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, is basically just adding (a lot of) miles to the trip.

In the end, I changed this stage to not include the downhill and / or side trip over the Mollard, and I transferred from the top of the Croix de Fer to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne by car because it would save us (valuable) time.

Besides, arriving at the summit of the Croix de Fer, I was already tired, with the Galibier still to come and the triple on the Ventoux planned for tomorrow…

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