l’Alpe d’Huez and its mythical 21 bends

As the Mecca of the Tour de FranceAlpe d’Huez and it’s 21 bends are a crucial stage of this world renowned competition . 21 signs help keep the rhythm as you climb 21 bends covering 1120 metres of height gain over 14 kilometres.

Each day during the summer, an average of 1000 riders climb this mythical ascent. Over 7000 cycle tourists participate in the Marmotte, 2000 of whom receive a diploma making their climb time official.

If there is one cycle race that you have to do in your lifetime – the climb up Alpe d’Huez, in the heart of Oisans, is the one for you !

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Alpe d’Huez climb in figures

  • Bends : 21
  • Departure : 2,351 feet
  • Arrival : 6,100 feet
  • Altitude difference : 3,749 feet
  • Length : 8,89 miles
  • Average gradient : 7,9 %
  • Maximum gradient : 14 %
  • Climb record : 37’35’’,
    average speed of 14,34 miles/h (Marco Pantani in 1997)

Route and profile

Profil de la montée de l'Alpe d'Huez

The ascent bend by bend

Virages 21 à 17 2 Km Level very difficult

After a warm-up on the straight roads of the Oisans valley, you will reach the foot of the famous ascent to Alpe d’Huez. 10 minutes after crossing the starting line, you’ll be in the heart of the matter… those flat stretches are far behind you ! Starting at 737m, the first severe slope takes you to bend 21 (at 806 m) and continues with a fearful climb up to bend 17 at 965m.


Virages 16 à 14 4 Km Level difficult

Once you’ve passed this bend, you can recover on the 200m gentle slope crossing the village of La Garde at bend 16. Here the most determined pick up speed, whilst the others puff and blow untill bend 15 (1025m) where the slope gets steeper again for about one kilometre. By bend 14, where you can see the monument dedicated to Joachim Agostino, you’ll be feeling quite fit.


Virages 13 à 6 9 Km Level difficult

A relatively flat stretch will take you to Ribot d’en Bas (down below), out of which you’ll understand why the next hamlet is called Ribot d’en Haut (on top). At 1161m you reach bend 12, followed by a string of bends 11/10/9 that will put any riders physical fitness to the test. Last moment of lesser difficulty, your arrival at Saint-Ferréol (1390 m – cemetary of Huez) where those in distress can slake their thirst at the fountain. Next, the ascent and crossing of Huez village.


Virages 5 à 2 9 Km Level very difficult

From bends 5 to 2, you are once again in the heart of the matter up until the crossing known as the ‘Patte d’oie’ crossing, where the 3 last bends proceed on a slope similar to the first part of the ascent.


Virages 1 à fin 9 Km Level very easy

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 summit, which is flatter between the two roundabouts. 300 meters left and you will have finished the 21 most mythical bends in the realm of cycling.


Tour de France : 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)
  • 2018 Geraint Thomas (Grande Bretagne)