Cycling Alpe d'Huez Bourg d'Oisans

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Alpe d'Huez - Bourg d'Oisans

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Basic data & ranking

Average grade: 8.1 %

Length: 13.2 km

Altitude start: 744 m

Altitude top: 1815 m

Ascent: 1071 m

Maximum: 13 %

Alpe d'Huez rankings

Difficulty ranking world: 803 (all)
Ranking France: 152 (all)
Ranking Alps: 288(all)
Difficulty score: 124.44 what?

Alpe d'Huez ratings

(4.5)  Overall

(4.7)  Road

(3)  Traffic

(4.7)  Amenities

(4)  Surroundings

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Alpe d'Huez is one of the top climbs of the Tour de France. The Alpine village owes its fame to the "Grand boucle". In itself, it is certainly not the toughest climb in the French Alps.

The average percentage is quite high for a climb to a ski area, but with a length of 13 kilometers and less than 1,000 heightmeters, the Alpe d'Huez is not in the top of the toughest climbs.

Alpe d'Huez is also known as the Dutch mountain. This has mainly to do with the many Dutch riders who won a Tour stage on the Alp (8 wins in total so far, by Hennie Kuiper, Joop Zoetemelk, Peter Winnen, Steven Rooks, Gert-Jan Theunisse).

With each passage of the Tour de France, a Dutch legion is waiting for the riders in the famous bend 7, also known as the Dutch (or orange) curve. Also during the annual cycling event Alpe d'HuZes in June, for the benefit of cancer research, many Dutch amateur cyclists find their way to the top.

Each of the 21 hairpin bends of the climb is named after one (sometimes two) of the stage winners, depending on where they placed their ultimate attack. You can see a video of all bends of Alpe d'Huez on the YouTube page climbbybike.

The Alpe d'Huez is situated in Rhone-Alpes. This climb belongs to the Alps. Starting from Bourg d'Oisans, the Alpe d'Huez ascent is 13.2 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1071 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 8.1 %. The maximum slope is 13 %.

Look for other sides to climb the Alpe d'Huez.

Since 2005, the Alpe d'Huez will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2015 :  Modane - L'Alpe d'Huez on 25/07/2015
Tour de France 2013 :  Gap - l'Alpe d'Huez on 18/07/2013
Tour de France 2011 :  Modane > Alpe-d’Huez on 22/07/2011
La Marmotte 2010 :  Marmotte 2010 on 03/07/2010
La Marmotte 2009 :  Marmotte 2009 on 04/07/2009

Profile & route

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Location info

Find climbs close to the Alpe dHuez: within 10 km - within 20 km - within 50 km

Find all climbs and cols in Rhone-Alpes on a map.

Find all climbs in the Alps in France on a map.

Stories, information and comments from Alpe d'Huez climbers
Story by Norman Saunders from Liberec, Czech Republic, submitted on 05/09/2014
Did this climb for the first time in 2008 and neither myself or my bike was ready for it. I had an old Aluminium Trek, with a triple front sprocket. I made it, but it was slow and hard, with a ten minute break in the middle.

Five years later I returned, much better prepared, with the right kit and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Got up in 58 minutes at the age of 58.

So, be prepared and you''ll love it. Experience the history of a great, iconic climb.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Jake Bridges from , United Kingdom, submitted on 30/05/2014
Did this in July 2013 while doing the full route of stage 18 of the 2013 tdf so I had the "pleasure" of doing it twice in a day. It was scorchingly hot the first time up (39C) and this was made worse at the bottom as the heat seems to reflect of the concrete walls at the start of the climb. The bottom is definitely the worst bit with the first 4 bends being steep and tough so don''t go too hard here. Once you get beyond that then the gradient is consistent and you can get into a decent tempo and by the time I reached ''Dutch corner'' I was enjoying it. Second time up was actually easier as it had cooled down and even though we were a week ahead of the tdf proper there were lots of people in camper vans on the side of the road who gave us loads of encouragement. If you are going to do it twice then save some energy for the Sarenne which is a decent climb in itself and the descent demands total concentration as it is highly technical.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Simon Philp from Redshard Lane, Langford, United Kingdom, submitted on 18/10/2013
Never tried anything like this but at 46 years old I thought it was now or never. I was staying in Alpe D''huez itself so did the descent first - pretty cold in October and at the bottom I made my first schoolboy error - I didn''t really warm up, I just turned around and started climbing. I initially thought things were pretty steep - and the first 3Kms are - but then I got into a rhythm and I actually started to enjoy it. This wasn''t as bad as I thought! But then my lack of stretching and warm up caught up with me - for some reason my glutes began to tighten up. For years I had heard Phil Liggett say that someones legs had gone on a climb but I had never heard this about muscles in your backside! By hairpin 3 (they are in reverse order from the bottom up) I was in a bit of bother but I was determined to make it. One more energy gel and I was in the village, a swoosh around the roundabout and the big wide finishing straight - yippee! Walking was a bit of a problem that night due to my tightened muscles but I had done it. 2 days to recover before I was going to tackle Mt Ventoux!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Nick from , Australia, submitted on 11/10/2013
Climbed Alpe d''Huez in June this year (2013). Am 66 yo and 59 kg and have ridden approx 10,000k per year for the last 10 years. Did a lot of hill training in addition to normal rides, including 7 repeats of a local hill to get 20k of distance at approx 8% gradient. Took my own bike (Look 595)and did the Alpe on a 39x27 in a steady 1hr 20m (no stops). Had another go a few days later and used a 39x30 but still did the same time. Would thoroughly recommend the trip and rides around Bourg d''Oisans. Fantastic cycling country. Also did Galibier and Ventoux later in the week, all in blue skies - fantastic!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Chris Patient from Zermatt, Switzerland, submitted on 09/10/2013
Finally Alpe d'Huez! After all these years I finally climbed by bike the famous Alpe d''Huez. And on my birthday too. What better way to celebrate, than to climb by bike, such a famous and prestigious cycling landmark,the twenty one hairpins of the Alpe d''Huez.

Was I disappointed? Certainly not. Did it live up to my expectations? Perhaps not. There are better climbs and harder climbs to be found. But I could certainly appreciate the history and I enjoyed reading the names of the cycling greats on each numbered corner and looking at all the paint on the road as I climbed. I was lucky to do it off season on a relatively quiet day and I only passed a handful of other roadies making the pilgrimage.

The climb starts very steeply, and I was not warmed up so it hurt, but as the gradient eased off I found a good cadence all the way to the top.

I was surprised by a photographer who took my photo and handed me his card. He must do very well in high season when hundreds of cyclists make the climb each day! Approaching the resort it is a little confusing as to which way to go. The thing to do is to follow all the paint on the road. To go to the official tour finish you have to turn left under a tunnel and make two more turns to the top.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Robert alias "PinkSanta" from Helsinborg, Sweden, submitted on 06/08/2013
Due to the bad wheather day before I took on a climb in Villenueve...that would be a bit costly for Alpe d''Huez today ''cus my legs were ok but not superfine like the day before. There were part in Villenueve up to 26% insane!!! But superfun...

Alpe d''Huez isn''t bad at all inclination wise. I don''t think my computer showed above 12% anywhere. If you just train a bit for continuous resistance for hour and a half you''ll be fine. Just make sure your gearings right.. i went with 53/39 in the front and 29 to 12 on the back and did a time of 1h12m. I would say I''m fairly well fit.

With a really hot day like today 36celsius mid day...I rode five a clock in the evening still hot like hell on some parts and I love the heat, the two regular bottles was just about right if fill up your water levels properly. And whatever you not stop...just slow down and keep on going.

For the descent go with something to cover your breast...if you go around 50-70kph you will need it and not caught up by any car(without being insane). I used rainjacket which I stuffed inside.

I Loved that you could still could read the names of the riders from tour de france on the asfalt...all the way up.

I''ve done what those guys do for a living...I''m proud
My personal climb rating:
Story by Andy willson from Bruxelles, Belgium, submitted on 02/08/2013
I came to ride the famous Alpe d''Huez climb because of its history but on arrival the receptionist in the hotel suggested that I also include the 2013 tour route over the col de Sarenne. Fantastic advice ! The whole circuit, including the 21 hairpins took me, 50 years young, 2 hrs 48 min. It was like being on a high octane thrill ride, one of the best three hours of my life. The col de Sarenne is wild and spectacular. The 21 hairpins were tough but doable. I''ll be back to do more !

My personal climb rating:
Story by John Frazer from Edinburgh, United Kingdom, submitted on 22/07/2013
Although primarily a mountain biker I took the chance to climb the 21 hairpins the day before this years Tour.. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.. I have given the rating as 5, I am sure there are many more difficult climbs but expect there are very few that can provide the atmosphere of Alpe D''Huez.. They say around 1000 people climb by bike every day over the summer but I think the number will have been well into the 10''s of thousands around the TDF..I was happy with the time of 1.16 to the Tourist Office and after my one day as a Roadie I could well be back one day to try again....
My personal climb rating:
Story by Matt Dixon from Reading, United Kingdom, submitted on 07/01/2013
Not much I can say that hasn''t been said a thousand times before. This is an epic climb, definately a tough climb, especially bends 21 to 17. That said, I didn''t find this quite as hard as I was expecting and really enjoyed the whole thing. I am a big heavy rugby player and managed the climb in 1hr 35. Not the fastest but I was really proud. Would I do it again? Hell yeah!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Rick from Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, submitted on 29/06/2013
If you are thinking about doing this climb, don''t hesitate, do it! Myself and a friend did it on a 24 hour layover in Milan, from Hong Kong. Jet-lagged, after a 4 hour drive, we headed straight up the hill. Yes the first couple of Ks are a bit steeper than the average, but it is good to get that out of the way. Loved counting down the turns. Take time to look up and around as the views are awesome. After cresting the top we carried on over the Col Du Sarenne and then down to Clavans-En-Haut Oisans. This route was ridden in the Dauphine this and will also be used on stage 18 on the TDF. I would not recommend that unless you are adventurous. There is about 10K of poorly paved, gravel strewn access road which is a challenge on the road bike. AS I said the TDF is doing this stretch this year before going back around to do the Alpe D''Heux climb again. It will be must see TV! All in all a great fun day which every cyclist MUST do if able!
My personal climb rating:

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