Climbing Alpe d'Huez by bike

The climb to Alpe d'Huez is also called the Dutch mountain because of the number of Dutch stage victors in the Tour de France. This climb is famous and infamous. The Alp has been the scene of different tour stage finals. The climb is heavy, ascending ten kilometers with an average of 8,4%. But as it is often with infamous climbs, it's not as bad as many cyclists will make you believe. While ascending to alpe d'Huez it's possible to find a nice rhythm.

The campsite of la Cascade in the valley is seen by many as the start of the climb. Five hundred meters (0,3mi) after this popular campsite, the fireworks begins. The first three kilometers (2mi) are the heaviest of the whole climb. With percentages well over 10 percent you have to make sure you don't burn yourself completely. After this popping start it gets better, or let's say a little less steep.

Alpe d'Huez
Climbing Alpe d'Huez

In total you have 21 hairpin turns to take. You start at number 21 and start a countdown to the top. Turn number seven is known as the Dutch bend, here you will see lots of Dutch people in tour stages along the side of the road. The bends were numbered for snow clearing purposes but nowadays the marks are used by tens of thousands of cyclists who try to tame this mountain on a bicycle. Most of the hairpin bends are almost flat so that coaches can easily turn in winter, making these a sort of resting point. In every flat turn you can breathe a bit, or even slow down the pace.

Alpe d'Huez
Hairpin turns of Alpe d'Huez

One thing is for sure, the Alpe d'Huez is probably the most famous climb for cyclists and non-cyclists. On birthdays hero stories of this climb will do well. But this means it's also a very popular mountain. In august and july tens of thousands of cyclists want to go up, so try to go in june or september if possible.There is no particular great scenery and the top is an ugly ski resort. But in the end, it's still Alpe d'Huez, a climb that every cyclist has to do once

Alpe d'Huez height profile
Alpe d'Huez height profile