Tour de France

As I do most certainly not object to an opportunity to destroy myself in other areas than the Dolomites, I have no problem with organizing my own versions of the ‘Tour de France’.

Although my cycling heart belongs to the Dolomites, Paula is more charmed with the French part of the Alps, so sometimes you have to compromise 🙂

We planned a first trip there for the summer of 2010, but Paula ended up in the hospital on our day of departure, so those plans were put on ice until 2014. In September 2017, I went back for another ‘Tour de France’…

Regions

RhĂŽne-Alpes

Certainly one of the areas popular among cyclists, more specifically the (Haute-)Savoie and IsÚre regions.

If you’re looking for famous climbs like Alpe d’Huez, La Plagne, Croix de Fer or Madeleine to name a few, as well as Europe’s highest natural pass the Iseran, this region is for you.

The Lautaret (IsÚre) and Télégraphe/Galibier (Savoie) are also waiting for you here and they both connect to the neighboring Haute-Alpes.

On the Iseran

Alpes-CĂŽte d’Azur

South of the RhÎne-Alpes, this region is most known for the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Haute-Alpes, although the Vaucluse is home to the infamous Ventoux.

In the Haute-Alpes you’ll find a score of well known climbs, like the Lautaret/Galibier (the other end, from Briançon) the Izoard and Risoul. The Agnel is leading into Italy, the Vars is connecting to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

There, you will find the Allos, Bonette and Cayolle, both of which, like the Col des Champs, connect to the southern Alpes-Maritimes.

Where to stay?

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

I really enjoyed our stay in Jausiers, close to Barcelonnette. I guess Barcelonnette can be compared to a village like Cortina d’Ampezzo or Val Gardena.

And there are plenty of cycling adventures to undertake from there.

View form Jausiers towards the Bonette

You can even get a ‘Brevet des 7 Cols d’Ubaye’, for which you need to climb the Bonette, Vars, Cayolle and the Allos. Plus three lesser known and smaller climbs: Saint-Jean, Pontis and the MontĂ©e de Sainte-Anne. Those last two are quite steep by the way…

Other than those, the area offers some climbs to other ski resorts, like Pra Loup and le (Super) Sauze and the Col de Larche. A little further out, on the south side of the Bonette, you can go from Isola to Isola 2000 and the Col de la Lombarde.

While we were there, I was able to squeeze in a stage involving the Agnel (French side) and the Izoard, so those are not too far out either, though you have to get over the Vars first…

Hautes-Alpes

Looking at the map of the area, either Guillestre or Briançon looks like the place to start your cycling adventures. The two cities are connected by the Izoard – Guillestre is at the base of the Vars and Risoul. Briançon, at the north side of the Izoard, is located at the base of the Lautaret and the climb up MontgenĂšvre, leading into Italy.

I’m expecting a lot of fun and new opportunities – Col du Granon, Sestriere, Finestre – during our Tour de France 2017.

Savoie

Both during our training stage and our first week in the Tour de France of 2014, I discovered that the area around Moutiers is not so bad either. In 2014 we were based close to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, with three major cols starting from there: Petit Saint-Bernard, Cormet de Roselend and the highest ‘natural’ pass of Europe, the Iseran.

Actually, there are five cols to be had, if you count the dead end climbs to the ski resorts of les Arcs and the more famous La Plagne.

From Moutiers you can eat your heart out on the 35+ kilometer long climb to Val Thorens, near the summit of which we stayed during our training in 2012. Just north of Moutiers, you can find the Madeleine…

IsĂšre

Probably the obvious choice for this area, would be Le Bourg-d’Oisans, although Allemond or Vaujany offer good alternatives. We stayed in Villard-Reymond during our 2012 Alpe d’HuZes, but that village turned out to be rather remote…

Tour de France 2017

In September of that year, I paid another visit to the French Alps for my very own Tour de France 2017.

Other than during my previous Tour in 2014, when we switched locations four times, I picked a single location for our base camp that year: Briançon.

Like Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Jausiers in 2014, the city of Briançon is strategically located at the base of several mountain passes…

More on this trip here.

Tour de France 2014

After I had a taste of the French Alps during our 2012 training for Alpe d’HuZes, I eventually organized my first Tour de France in 2014. We were located close to Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Barcelonnette respectively.

During that tour, that was originally planned for 2010, the ‘Brevet des 7 Cols d’Ubaye’ was on the to-do list.

I also engineered a ‘little detour’ to pay a visit to BĂ©doin, with the objective of obtaining the CinglĂ© du Mont Ventoux.

You can find everything you never wanted to know about that trip here.

What about the Pyrenees?

As of now, I have not yet gathered a lot of ‘intel’ on the Pyrenees. I very nearly organized another Tour located in the area, but that plan didn’t make it, in favor of another Giro.

However, I most likely will get there eventually. After all, my (cycling) life will never be complete if I have not cycled up legendary cols like the Aubisque, Peyresourde, Tourmalet or Luz-Ardiden 🙂

The Col Informer

Cyclopaat’s life being what it is, this is yet another project dedicated to his idiotic cycling adventures.

On these pages, you will find info on the more ‘famous’ climbs he’s had the pleasure to die on himself. The info you find on great sites like ClimbByBike are often too generic – just profiles, which usually mean jack shit  – to give you the whole picture.

The guys at The Col Collective provide great short movies on them, in which it looks even easier to climb a giant like the Bonette than Cyclopaat can possibly make up writing about it, so they’ll be added as they become available.

Anyway, have fun – or walk away while you still can – and feel free to share this page with your enemies…

NameCountrySummit
Grossglockner Austria2571
Col AgnelFrance2744
Col de la BonetteFrance2715/2802 (Cime)
Col de l'IseranFrance2764
Col du GalibierFrance2556/2642 (loop)
Alpe d'HuezFrance1860
Croix de FerFrance2068
Passo GaviaItaly2621
Passo delle StelvioItaly2758
Passo del MortiroloItaly1852
Monte ZoncolanItaly1735
Passo GiauItaly2236
Colle FaunieraItaly2478
FurkapassSwitzerland2436
GrimselpassSwitzerland2164
St. GotthardSwitzerland2091
UmbrailSwitzerland2501

Cycling the Alps

Coming from a basically pancake-flat country – he actually lives below sea level – it’s amazing how much Cyclopaat likes cycling the Alps. Even on a good day, he’s an average climber at best, but he claims it’s all about the views.

More often than not he barely makes it up a (famous) mountain pass, returning afterwards to his apartment half past dead, only to prepare himself to take yet another beating the next day.

It’s anybody’s guess what might be going on in that head of his, but he seems to be determined to ‘conquer’ every single climb he can find in the Alps. Or maybe that should read ‘be conquered by’.

This destructive desire – he calls it ‘grinta’ – doesn’t allow for basic things like a ‘rest day’ once in a while.

“I WILL REST WHEN I’M DEAD!” is his standard answer to pleas to DO have a rest day every now and then…

Despite his efforts, during every cycling the Alps trip he discovers many more climbs for him to die on, so the list of links on this page to the reports of his insane expeditions will most likely continue to grow.

Read moreCycling the Alps

The Col Collector – Been There, Done That

There are many climbs that I’ve put on the bucket list over the years and on this page you’ll see an overview of the ones I’ve been able to tick off. Other than those, I discover (many, many) more, every time I plan a new expedition 🙂

For more info on cols I have made information pages on, click on their names. You can find reports of my struggles on every respective climb by clicking the link next to the starting point / place of it.

This list only contains climbs with a summit above 1,000 meters and includes some in other areas than the Alps or Dolomites, mainly the Vosges and the Black Forest.

NameCountryStartSummitElevationLengthGrade
Col de l'IseranFranceBourg-Saint-Maurice (2014)2764194948,04,1
Passo delle StelvioItalyPrato (2008/2015)
Bormio (2011/2015)
27581808
1533
24,3
21,5
7,4
7,1
Col AgnelFranceChĂąteau-Ville-Veille (2014)2744134520,77,0
Col de la BonetteFranceJausiers (2014)
Saint-Étienne-de-TinĂ©e (2014)
2715
- 2802 (Cime)
1589
1652
24,0
25,8
6,6
6,4
Passo GaviaItalyBormio (2011/2015)
Ponte di Legno (2011/2015)
26211404
1363
25,6
17,3
5,5
7,9
Grossglockner AustriaFusch (2009/2017)
- Fuscher Törl
- Edelweissspitze
- Hochtor (Fuscher Lacke)
- Franz Josephs-höhe (Guttal)
2571
- 2394
- 2571
- 2504
- 2369
1766
- 1589
- 177
- 245
- 510
21,4
- 19,6
- 1,8
- 4,0
- 8,6
8,3
- 8,1
- 9,8
- 6,1
- 5,9
Col du GalibierFranceFrom summit Lautaret
Via the Lautaret
- Le Clapier (2012)
- Briançon (2017)
Via the Télégraphe
- Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne (2014)
2556
- 2642 (loop)
602

2001
1461

2095
8,5

42,7
36,4

35,1
7,1

4,4
4,0

6,0
UmbrailSwitzerlandSanta Maria (2011)2501112613,28,5
Colle FaunieraItalyDemonte (2014)2478170023,97,1
FurkapassSwitzerland(Hospental) Realp (2015)243689812,37,3
Col du GranonFranceBriançon (2017)2413122116,87,2
Col d'IzoardFranceD947/D902 (2014)
Guillestre (2017)
Briançon (2017)
23611002
1538
1176
14,2
34,3
19,1
7,1
4,3
6,0
Val ThorensFranceMoutiers (2012)2340186136,05,2
BerninaSwitzerlandLa Motta (I/CH - 2011)
Tirano (I - 2015)
- Poschiavo (CH)
Samedan (CH - 2015)
2328221
1887
- 1307
607
3,1
36,3
- 17,5
20,4
7,1
5,1
- 7,5
3,0
Col de la CayolleFranceBarcelonnette (2014)2326119029,14,1
Tre Cime di LavaredoItalyMisurina (2015)
- Solo Scalata
2320568
- 475
7,5
- 4,1
7,5
- 11,7
Forcola de LivignoItalyLivigno (2011)
La Motta (2011)
2315450
263
12,1
4,0
3,7
6,7
Passo del FoscagnoItalyValdidentro (Isolaccia) (2011)229194615,46,1
Passo SellaItalyPlan de Gralba (2011)
Canazei (2015)
2244373
758
5,5
11,4
6,8
6,6
Passo PordoiItalyCanazei (2015)
Arraba (2015)
2242786
637
13,0
9,4
6,0
6,8
Col d'AllosFranceBarcelonnette (2014)2240110817,56,3
Passo GiauItalySelva di Cadore (2011)
Cortina d'Ampezzo (2015)
- Pocol
22361314
1046
- 716
10,1
14,5
- 8,6
9,1
7,2
- 8,3
Passo PennesItalyVipiteno (2011)2211126314,58,7
Passo d'EiraItalyPonte del Rezz (2011)
Livigno (San Antonio) (2011)
2208189
394
3,0
6,7
6,3
5,9
Passo ValparolaItalyLa Villa (2011) (2015)219280213,95,8
Col du Petit Saint-BernardFrance / ItalyBourg-Saint-Maurice (2014)
La Thuile (I - 2014)
21881373
747
31,0
13,2
4,4
5,7
Colle delle FinestreItalySusa (2017)2176169218,29,3
GrimselpassSwitzerlandOberwald (2015)216479612,16,6
Pass dal Fuorn / OfenpassSwitzerlandPunt la Drossa (tunnel) (2011)21494339,34,7
Arc 2000FranceBourg-Saint-Maurice (2012)2130131526,05,1
Passo GardenaItalyCorvara (2011/2015)
Ponte Gardena (2015)
2121599
1654
9,6
31,9
6,2
5,2
Passo FalzaregoItalyCortina d'Ampezzo (2011)
Caprile (2015)
2117913
1119
16,4
20,5
5,6
5,5
Col de VarsFranceLes Gleizolles (2014)
Guillestre (2017)
2109796
1112
14,6
18,8
5,5
5,7
Passo Monte GiovoItalyVipiteno (2011)2094112415,07,5
St. GotthardSwitzerlandAirolo (Via Tremola - 2015)209193212,77,3
Col du Mont CenisFranceLanslebourg (2014)
Susa (2017)
2081682
1691
9,8
30,3
6,9
5,2
La PlagneFranceAime (2012/2014)2080141921,46,6
Croix de FerFranceSaint-Jean-de-Maurienne (2012)
Allemont (2014)
20681522
1292
30,0
27,5
5,1
4,7
Passo FedaiaItalyCanazei (2011)
Caprile (2015)
2057617
1059
13,9
14,1
4,4
7,5
Col du LautaretFranceLe Freney-d'Oisans (2012)
Le Clapier (2017)
Briançon (2017)
20571138
1416
876
27,8
34,1
27,7
4,1
3,9
3,1
NockalmstrasseAustriaEbene Reichenau (2008)
- GlockenhĂŒtte
- Eisentalhöhe
* Excl. drop between summits
2042
- 2024
- 2042
922
- 904
- 512
25,4 *
- 12,2
- 6,8
3,6 *
- 7,4
- 7,5
SestriereItalyCesana Torinese (2017)
Sauze di Cesana (2017)
Pragelato (2017)
2035694
495
515
11,4
6,5
10,1
6,1
7,6
5,1
WĂŒrzjoch / Passo delle ErbeItalyPiccolino (2015)
- Ponte RĂŒ
* Incl. 2,8km/155m drop
2004922
- 610
15,2*
- 6,5
6,1
- 9,2
Col de la MadeleineFranceLa Chambre (2014)
La LĂ©chĂšre (2014)
1993
(Officially 2000m)
1529
1550
19,1
24,5
8,0
6,3
Col de Larche / Colle della MaddalenaFrance / ItalyLes Gleizolles (F) (2014)
Argentera (I) (2014)
1991682
313
16,1
6,5
4,2
5,0
Cormet de RoselendFranceBourg-Saint-Maurice (2014)1967115419,46,0
Croix de ToulouseFranceBriançon
- Paved section Rte du Pouët Ollagner (2017)
1962
- 1847
5074,810,5
Torri di Fraele ItalyTurri Piano (2011/2015)19416008,47,1
Bormio 2000ItalyBormio (2015)19387359,97,5
Col du GlandonFranceLa Chambre (2014)
Allemont (2014)
19241472
1152
21,3
24,1
6,9
4,8
Mont Ventoux
Cinglé du Mont Ventoux (2014)
FranceBedoin
MalaucĂšne
Sault
19121639
1535
1152
21,4
21,2
25,7
7,6
7,2
4,5
GerlitzenAustriaArriach - Gipfelstrasse (2008)
Tschöran - Alpenstrasse (2008)
1911
1764
1031
1224
10,7
12,0
9,6
10,2
Passo del TonaleItalyPonte di Legno (2011)188464610,95,9
Passo CampolongoItalyCorvara (2015)
Arabba (2015)
1875307
295
6,2
4,0
5,0
7,4
Passo del Mortirolo
(Passo della Foppa)
ItalyMazzo di Valtellina (2011)
Edolo (2015)
- Bivio Monno
18521300
1153
- 961
12,4
17,2
- 12,7
10,5
6,7
- 7,6
Col de MontgenĂšvre
Colle del Monginevro
France
Italy
Briançon (2017)
Cesana Torinese (2017)
1850649
510
14
9,2
4,6
5,5
RisoulFranceGuillestre (2017)1850883136,8
Alpe di SiusiItalyCastelrotto (2015)18447549,28,2
Montée de Saint-AnneFranceLa Condamine (2014)18405606,59,0
Alpe d'Huez
(Alpe d'HuZes Challenge 2012)
FranceLe Bourg-d'Oisans
Rochetaillée
18151071
1104
13,2
22,6
8,1
4,9
Tre CrociItalyCortina d'Ampezzo (2015)18055758,17,1
Col de l'EchelleFranceBriançon (2017)176257722,62,4
Passo FurciaItalyLongega (2011/2015)
Valdaora (2015)
1759754
736
12,3
9,1
6,1
8,1
Monte ZoncolanItalyOvaro (Liariis - 2011)1735120510,511,5
(Grimpée) Villard-ReymondFranceLe Bourg-d'Oisans (2012)172196613,17,3
Col des SaisiesFranceBeaufort (2014)165795715,06,4
Col du TélégrapheFranceSaint-Michel-de-Maurienne (2014)156685611,87,3
Rossfeld (Höhenring-Panoramastrasse)GermanyUnterau (2012)
Hallein (2012)
15601063
1123
11,4
14,0
9,3
8,0
Passo PineiItalyPonte Gardena (2011)144297315,36,4
Col d'OrnonFranceLa Paute (post AD6 2012)137364311,15,8
Col Saint-JeanFrancePas de la Tour (2014)133342710,04,3
Grand BallonFranceCernay (2016)1325103320,85,0
Col de PontisFranceLe Lauzet-Ubaye (2014)13015065,010,1
KandelGermanyWaldkirch (2016)124197011,88,2
SchauinslandGermanyFreiburg im Breisgau (2016)
- Talstation
1200927
- 709
17,9
- 10,9
5,2
- 6.6
Col de PlatzerwaselFranceSondernach (2016)11836488.27.9
Passo ApricaItalyTresenda (2015)117680113,26,1
Ballon d'AlsaceFranceSaint-Maurice-sur-Moselle (2016)11656199.26.8
Petit BallonFranceWihr-au-Val (2016)116385214.26,0
Vorderbrand (DĂŒrreck)GermanyMitterbach (2012)11505814,612,6
HochschwarzeckGermanyRamsau (2012)10403956,16,5

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