Saturday, July 9, 2011

Alpe D'Huez: Switchbacks Gone Wild

Alpe D'Huez is a legendary hors categorie climb in the French Alps. It is most famous for its 21 hairpin switchbacks as the road winds from the small village of Bourg D'Oisan to the ski station at Huez. And recently, Alpe D'Huez has become a staple of the Tour. Marco Pantani, Lance Armstrong, Frank Schleck, and Carlos Sastre have all won stages at Alpe D'Huez.

I time-trialled the climb on June 25th, and it was a lot tougher than I expected. The average gradient is 8%, but this is misleading as the flatter sections are offset by 4-5km of 9-10% pitches. The total ascent is just over 1100 meters. However, the switchbacks break up the 14km road, and the scenery is truly amazing. 

The time trial record is 37 minutes. Because I filmed my time trial, I decided to deliberately slow down so that you could study every hairpin turn in fine detail. Here it is...

And if you want to see how the pros do a bergzeitfahren in Le Tour, click here.

1 comment:

  1. The grandaddy of all climbs! The tour crowds (in your "bergzeitfahren" link) are frightening!