As the summer comes around so does the most famous race in cycling, Le Tour de France. Being in the Alps during the summer when the Tour de France is on is truly special. With the roads all being closed off and lined with thousands of people waiting hours to see the peloton zoom past at speeds of around 60 kph, blink and you’ll miss it. A better way to see more of the race is to go and spectate from the side of the road up on the cols themselves. With the riders going a fair bit slower as the gradient increases, their legs tire giving fans the opportunity to run alongside the riders. In this blog I will share with you my top 5 cols in the Alps.
Col de Crans Montana – Crans Montana
First up on my Top 5 Cols is Le Col de Crans Montana. Starting in Sierre at the bottom of the valley at 533m, climbing up 962m and summiting at 1495m in the resort of Crans Montana, the climb is 13.7 km long with an average gradient of 7%. Featuring on the Tour de Suisse in 2011, the col tests riders with sections of it being as high as 8.1%.
With over 200km of road cycling in Crans Montana, cyclists of all abilities can visit the region. The routes have been designed by Steve Morabito one of the top Swiss cyclists, he even has a route named after him where you may see him training. With luxury summer chalets in Crans Montana, we can help you find the perfect place to relax after a hard slog on the bike.
Mittelberg – Gstaad
Another Col that I have included in my Top 5 is the Mittelberg. Starting just outside the resort of Gstaad at 1014m, the climb is 10.6 km with an average gradient of 5.8%, don’t let this fool you as sections of the climb are as steep as 13.6%, giving a total ascent of 619m. Once you have reached the summit at 1663m you can admire the view back along the valley overlooking Gstaad. We offer luxury summer chalets in Gstaad which are perfect to recuperate in after the Col has taken it out on your legs.
Col de Joux Plan – Samoëns
Third on my Top 5 Cols is the Col de Joux Plan. There are two ways to summit the Joux Plan, one starting in Samoëns and the other in Morzine. I am going to focus on the climb from Samoëns, how it was ridden in the 2016 Tour de France. The ascent begins at 702m in Samoëns before winding 11.6km up to the dizzy heights of 1691m, a total ascent of 989m with a maximum gradient of 12%! Along the way there are some stunning views to be had if you can keep your legs pumping while gazing out over the valley below. You might want to stop and relax at the summit for a while as a fast flowing descent into Morzine awaits.
Col de la Croix de Cœur – Verbier
The famous Col de la Croix de Coeur is next on my Top 5 cols in the Alps. Topping out a staggering 2172m! With this being one of the longer climbs at a gruelling 20.7km at an average gradient of 7.0%, riders will need to pace themselves as it only gets steeper as the climb goes on. In total riders will of ascended 1482 meters. Maxing out at 12.7% gradient, this one of the toughest climbs in the Alps. Last featuring in the Tour de France in 2009, won by Alberto Contador.
With cycling in Verbier becoming very popular during the summer months, cyclists have been flocking here to put their bodies to the test. With our extensive portfolio of luxury summer chalets in Verbier, we can find you the perfect accommodation for your summer holiday.
Fluela Pass – Klosters
Rounding out my Top 5 Cols in the Alps in the mighty Fluela pass just outside the Swiss resort of Klosters. This is the highest summit of my Cols in the Alps at 2383m, the Fluela Pass is not one to be messed with. Starting off in Davos at 1554m you climb 13km at an average gradient of 6.4% with the steepest sections of the climb at the 8% mark. By the time riders summit the pass they will have climbed 829m, they then have the choice to continue down to Susch or spin it round and roll down the road back into Davos before heading back to Klosters to put your feet up in one of our many luxury summer chalets.
So there we have it. I hope you have enjoyed my guide to cycling in the Alps. These are by no means all of the amazing cols that the Alps have to offer, they are just a few that can offer the combination of great cycling and luxury summer chalets.
If you would like any more information on luxury summer chalets in any of the resorts featured on this blog, please do get in touch either by phone on +44 1202 203 659 or drop us an email.