Without question, Alpe d’Huez is one of the most famous climbs in cycling having featured in the Tour de France 28 times since its first appearance in 1952.
It may not be the highest, or the longest, mountain located in the Rhone-Alpes but its 21 hairpins, each of which bare the name of a past rider (or two) who has won at its summit, certainly add to its mystique with every pedal stroke.
From Le Bourg d’Oisans the ascent up to the ski station is 13.2km in length with an average of 8.1 per cent. If you plan to ride an event like La Marmotte (read our guide on how to tackle one of Europe’s toughest sportives) where Alpe d’Huez comes at the end (after the Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier) then definitely keep something in the tank, especially for the early part of the climb which is the steepest.
In the height of summer it can be a real furnace with little shelter, although it does boast a photographer on its slopes 365 days a year so you’re guaranteed a souvenir photo at the top – just remember to smile!
Average gradient: 8.1 per cent
Maximum gradient: 11 per cent
Start elevation: 744m
End elevation: 1,815m
Elevation gain: 1,071m