45.0906° N, 6.0649° E
Alpe d’Huez cycling climb is arguably the most famous cycling climb on the planet with tens of thousands of cyclists each year making the pilgrimage. A climb which has determined Tour de France races and which has seen incredible battles. Won by legends such as Coppi, Hinault and Pantani but does the climb live upto its reputation?
The start is not easy. In the first 6 bends to La Garde (bends 21-16) the gradient goes up to 11%, making it easy to go to hard to early. Pacing yourself is important.
The signpost at La Garde – You have 10 kilometers and 874m of ascent to go. Here Pantani attacked Jan Ullrich to win the stage in 1997
Morning light on one of the 21 Hairpins on Alpe d’Huez. In this section Tom Pidcock attacked with 8km to go and won the 2022 Alpe d’Huez stage. He is the youngest winner ever.
The legendary corner 11 – A monster, expertly engineered hairpin which prominently defies gravity.
In this photograph you can see Huez in the middle ground and Alpe d’Huez in the morning light above.
Dutch Corner and the Church at Saint-Saint-Ferréol. This section has become world famous because of the thousands of dutch cycling fans who swamp this corner to see dutch cycling legends such as Jan Ullrich battle with Lance Armstrong on this famous climb.
You are now at 1390m with some respite before the village of Huez. However this is no time to back off. Keep working!
The village of Huez being illuminated as the sun rises. In the background the church at Dutch Corner and the magnificent mountainous backdrop.
From Huez you have 320m to ascend and 4 kilometers to go. This is where Coppi attacked Jean Robic to win the stage. Winning this stage meant that Coppi won the Tour de France.
Above Huez the climb feels very different to below. Now you are firmly above the tree line. Lush greens, open sweeping hairpins and incredible views.
One final hairpin bend to take you to Alpe d’Huez village
Openly declared as the most famous climb in cycling when you ride and finish Alpe d’Huez you can close your eyes; imagine the battles and the hurt which has been inflicted on this climb. Likely to yourself too.
There are more beautiful, more epic and definitely harder climbs out there, but Alpe d’Huez is a pilgrimage which as a cyclist you must do.
When is the road open / Closed?
The road is open all year round
How many hairpin Bends does Alpe d’Huez have
Alpe d’Huez has 21 hairpin bends / 21 switchbacks
Is Alpe d’Huez difficult
With an average gradient of 8% this climb is not easy. However with the correct gearing and perseverance most should be able to successfully climb it.
What Gearing do you need
For most cyclists, we would recommend a compact front chainring 50-34 and a rear 11-34 cassette. If you are a beginner you may want a triple chainring setup.
What is the average gradient of Alpe d’Huez
The average gradient on Alpe d’Huez is 8%. The maximum gradient on Alpe d’Huez is 13%
What is harder Mont Ventoux or Alpe d’Huez
Mont Ventoux is much tougher than Alpe d’Huez
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