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)
The ascent bend by bend
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.