The most stringent (road bike) col on the French mainland – Col du Galibier is iconic. It is deemed to be a 'top 5' of world climbs, and is favoured by teams for pre Tour training.
The route to Col du Telegraphe is encapsulated by trees.
Col du Telegraph: once at the top, there is a restaurant for coffee and to fill your bottles. It is then a 4km descent to the beginning of the main event; therefore, losing 165m vertical before climbing it all again. It is hard to really enjoy it, knowing you’ll have to earn those metres back.
From the ski resort of Valloire, the next 10km are with wide bends and long views between 2% - 9% gradients. Not much to write home about here. However, once out of the treeline and nearing the 8km to go marker, the road conspicuously turns up the side of the mountain and the notorious Galibier battleground starts to unfold.
The landscape is weathered.
And there is a fast section.
Persistently steep – with views of where this climb is going.
At 1km to go, there is an option to take the tunnel straight-on to the other side of the mountain. Perhaps that might be tempting since it is 2556m altitude with over 100m yet to climb. But is that really an option?!
In 1911 only three riders made it to the top (without walking their bikes) – perhaps, a vital reckoning when 'cycling became struggling', and vice versa.
It is the white sea at 1,909m. Mont Ventoux is epic. A giant that stands alone in the Provence region of Southern France, Mont Ventoux has made for some of the most dramatic backdrops for the Tour de France. With gradients between 7-10%, the 22km climb from Bédoin is one of cycling’s most talked about climbs. Its stark summit with oceanic limestone, heat haze and strong winds has taken the legs and last breaths of pro riders.
A cycling journey like no other. This doesn't technically fit with the definition of "col" (mountain pass) but it does with the word "EPIC".