Top 10 hardest passes in France

You there, the cycling enthusiast who every summer sits in front of his TV with a cold beer in one hand and the remote control in another loves bike rides. Why not imitate the champions and go to meet the most violent coasts of France? A great opportunity to discover our magnificent country sweating like a calf, without doping of any kind, with above the head the constant threat of severe sunstroke and the promise of paying for nasty aches the next day…

1. Mont Ventoux (Vaucluse)

A drop of 1,611 meters, a 21.8 km course that puts the toughest calves and the toughest thrillers to the test, a beautiful panorama and often a nasty Mistral that slows down the ardor of cyclists. No doubt, the man nicknamed the Giant of Provence has not usurped his reputation. Englishman Tom Simpson died there during the 1967 Tour de France.

2. The Col du Tourmalet (Hautes-Pyrénées)

This is the pass most often climbed by Tour de France riders. You can approach it from its western flank or its eastern flank, and in both cases, you sweat a lot. Culminating at 2115 meters, it is the highest road pass in the Pyrenees. In some places, the slope exceeds 10% to maintain an approximate average of 7.5%. Say it like that, it sounds simple, but in fact it isn’t.

3. Portet d’Aspin (Hautes-Pyrenees)

With a length of 12 km for a gradient of around 6.7%, the Portet d’Aspin is another essential part of the Grande Boucle. The road that winds between the meadows is once again not very scary on paper, revealing itself when you try to tame it with your bike.

4. The Grand Colombier pass (Ain)

A formidable course and a real challenge for the cyclist who wants to know where he is with his calves. Confirmed athletes will take about 2 hours to cover the 15 km for an average gradient of 7%. There are even portions that reach 20%, that is to say!

5. The Peyresourde pass (Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées)

This pass, which connects the Louron and Larboust valleys, has a maximum gradient of 11.3%, which is rather tough. The most inexperienced can choose the course which is only 8.3 terminals while the others will opt for the longest, which totals 15.2 km.

6. The Alps of Huez (Isère)

The star of French collar stars. A must for the Tour de France and for all those who want to test their limits, the great winners of the Tour know it well! 13.8 km at 7.9% average and 21 bends. It is also one of the most popular meeting points for spectators during the competition every summer.

7. The Croix de Fer pass (Savoie)

A good fondue and let’s go! You straddle your metal mount and set off to attack the thirty terminals that make up this pass, where the gradient exceeds 10% in some places. All while being rewarded with one of the most spectacular landscapes in France.

8. The Col du Galibier (Savoie and Hautes-Alpes)

We stay in the region for a pass which is undertaken in two different ways. Either in long version or in short version. 8.5km or 18.1km. In any case, the average gradient of 7%, with peaks at 12%, is no surprise.

9. The Iseran pass (Savoie)

Always the beautiful Savoie and its legendary climbs! Here, we are still talking about a 47 km course (13.4 in the beginner version) which culminates at 2764 meters above sea level. It is also the first road pass in the Alps. What makes it special, in addition to its ability to oppose cyclists on hills that can go up to more than 11%.

10. The Izoard pass (Hautes-Alpes)

Specialists believe that if the Embrunman triathlon is reputed to be one of the most difficult in the world, it is precisely because it passes through the Col d’Izoard. A place, which in addition to offering landscapes often described as “lunar”, offers beautiful coasts alternating between 6 and more than 11%. All for almost 20 terminals for the bravest.

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