As the Mecca of the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez and the 21 bends remain a marquee stage of the Grande Boucle. 21 panels to give rhythm to the cyclist’s effort for a count-down over 9 miles, 3,670ft difference in height on a average of 7.9 % slope. Each day during the summer, an average of 1000 riders climb this mythical ascent, be it occasional riders or experts, over 6000 cycle tourists participate in Marmotte Granfondo and 2000 are remitted a diploma making their climb time official.
Alpe d’Huez really is the Mecca of cycling, and one should absolutely do this cycle race once in a lifetime !
Alpe d’Huez climb in figures
- Bends: 21
- Departure: 2,351 feet
- Arrival: 6,100 feet
- Difference in height: 3,749 feet
- Length: 8,89 miles
- Average steep: 7,9 %
- Highest steep: 14 %
- Climb record: 37’35’’, average speed of 14,34 miles/h (Marco Pantani in 1997).
After a warming-up on the straight roads of the Oisans valley, you will reach the foot of the famous ascent of the Alp. 10 minutes after you have crossed the starting line, you’ll get to the heart of the matter… no more flat stretch. Starting from 737m, the first severe slope takes you to bend 21 (806 m) and continues with a fearful climb up to bend 17 at 965m.
Once you’ve passed this bend, you can recover on the 200m gentle slope crossing the village of La Garde bend 16.. Then, the sturdiests give a boost and pick up speed, the others puff and blow untill bend 15 (1025m) where the slope gets steeper again on about one km. By bend 14 with the monument dedicated to Joachim Agostino you’ll feel quite fit.
A gentle slope will take you to Ribot d’en Bas (down below), out of which you’ll understand why next hamlet is called Ribot d’en Haut (on top). Bend 12 welcomes you at 1161 m and string of bends 11/10/9 is the consecration of your condition whatever it may be. Last moment of lower difficulty, your arrival at Saint-Ferréol (1390 m – cemetary of Huez) where those in distress can slake their thirst. Next, the ascent and crossing of the village of Huez.
From bend 5 to 2, you get to the heart of the matter again untill the crossing known as the Patte d’oie crossing, where the 3 last bends are linked on a slope similar to the first part of the ascent.
The climb to the resort ends with bend 1 (1713 m) which is very wide, before you come out in Vieil Alpe and pass through the tunnel. Up by chalet Le Camigane you are cheered up by the red flame marking the last kilometer until the top part, gently flater between the two roundabouts. 300 meters left and you’ll have it over and done with the 21 most mythical bends of the realm of cyclism.
Afficher Alpe d’Huez ascent on a larger map
Alpe d’Huez winners
- 1952 Fausto Coppi (Italie)
- 1976 Joop Zoetemelk (Pays-Bas)
- 1977 Hennie Kuiper (Pays-Bas)
- 1978 Hennie Kuiper (Pays-Bas)
- 1979 Joachim Agostinho (Portugal)
- 1980 Joop Zoetemelk (Pays Bas)
- 1981 Peter Winnen (Pays-Bas)
- 1982 Beat Breu (Suisse)
- 1983 Peter Winnen (Pays-Bas)
- 1984 Luis Herrera (Colombie)
- 1986 Bernard Hinault (France)
- 1987 Federico Echave (Espagne)
- 1988 Steven Rooks (Pays-Bas)
- 1989 Gert-Jan Theunisse (Pays-Bas)
- 1990 Gianni Bugno (Italie)
- 1991 Gianni Bugno (Italie)
- 1992 Andrew Hampsten (USA)
- 1994 Roberto Conti (Italie)
- 1995 Marco Pantani (Italie)
- 1997 Marco Pantani (Italie)
- 1999 Giuseppe Guerini (Italie)
2001 Lance Armstrong (USA)
- 2003 Iban Mayo (Espagne)
2004 Lance Armstrong (USA)
- 2006 Frank Schleck (Lux)
- 2008 Carlos Sastre (Espagne)
- 2011 Pierre Rolland (France)
- 2013 Christophe Riblon (France)
- 2015 Thibaut Pinot (France)
Alpe d’Huez climb certificate
From May to September, Alpe d’Huez Tourism will hand over to all the touring cyclists ascending the 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez, more than 2000 diplomas of the ascent of Alpe d’Huez (by foot or by bicycle), certifying the time of their ascent. This diploma is offered for a small fee of 1€, the total amount collected is remitted eache year to a charitable association. In 2017, the Alpe d’Huez Ski Club has been chosen. The money will be used for an handiski operation such as sit-skiing.