A signature climb.
Vallter 2000 is a 23.2km climb with an average gradient of 5.8%. A signature climb that has been the finish for several editions of ‘La Volta a Catalunya’ and ‘La Vuelta a España’ stages. Similar to Alpe d’huez and Luz Ardiden, and notably a good test for any ‘strava’ segment specialist.
All good rides start with a coffee and a bike shot.
Our ride began in the small town, Camprodon. Located in the heart of the Girona Pyrenees, this charming village has ancient roots to the 12th century. In the year 1118 it began as a small market near the Sant Pere Monastery.
Today the village, with its Romanesque architecture, charming community squares and stone laid roads, play as a setting and backdrop to the essence of rural village life.
After meandering and enjoying getting lost in the medieval town, it's not a surprise that all roads lead to Vallter 2000.
A mere 200m climbed in 12km as we passed through Setcases and rode over the official start of the climb.
From here the gradient averages over 7%.
The Climb. It's on!
Climbing amongst the trees with towering chunks of granite above us. It doesn’t take long for the climb to change personality.
Our heart rates are up, and it's up and over, to ride high above the valley with the ski resort insight. A respite for the legs before the final push.
The final few kilometres take you up through to the concave face of the mountain, the roads bend and eventually hits the first paved and empty car-park, marking the beginning of a concentrated and joyous set of switchbacks.
The light dances through the trees, constantly changing and illuminating different sections of the road.
A climb to ourselves with just the sounds of cow bells ringing and echoing in the valley.
The light – majestic. When it's not dancing through the trees, it’s through the clouds.
Making these switchbacks even more delightful, on every bend, an edition of red painted road markings – paying homage to the world’s greatest climbs and toughest races. True inspiration to keep the pedals turning and the effort level up.
Past the ‘Tour de France’ marking and towards the final turn, rising sharply into the sky.
Expending the last bit of energy to get over the finish line before taking in the spectacular views.
Racing the light and cooler temperatures, it's a sweet descent.
Easy to see why this climb has such riding history. A rewarding climb with stunning views - and not a car in sight. Perhaps the trade-off for the empty roads is there is no coffee and cake at the top, everything closed. Can that be a trade off?! Vallter 2000 is a must-do climb. Definitely one for the books!
Col du Grand Colombier
Col du Grand Colombier dwarfs all of the surrounding landscape. It has serious race history too.
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.
Col de la Loze
‘No road quite like it’ – the Méribel summit finish for stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France.