La Marmotte Granfondo cycling tour

La Marmotte is seen internationally by many cyclists as the tour of tours. With about 5000 altimeters (16500 ft), this event is a big challenge and the sprawling climbs give the Marmotte a hero status. The route sequentially climbs the Glandon, Télégraphe, Galibier and ends at the summit of the infamous Alpe d'Huez. Due to its enormous popularity, enrolling on time is really a must as it is fully booked every year.

Marmotte height profile
La Marmotte height profile

In the week before the Marmotte, cyclists flood the Oisans region to test their legs in the vicinity. Many cyclists choose an arrangement at a specialized bicycle tour organization that also manages the registration for the Marmotte. The best places to stay are Bourg d'Oisans, Alpe d'Huez and Oisans. All villages are full of cyclists with the same goal: conquering the mountains.

Marmotte
La Marmotte

On the day of the Marmotte, early morning starts are given from the center of Bourg d'Oisans. Under the guidance of crappy music from the local fanfare, the various starting waves leave in intervals. On the flat direction towards the Glandon, cyclists traditionally drive very hard, so try to stay in group out of the wind. On the Col du Glandon, efficiency is the key. Anyone who wants to goo too fast on the first ascent will get the bill at the last climb. The descent of the Glandon is particularly dangerous. A number of unexpected bends and n00b steering skills of some participants can create a battlefield in this descent. For a number of years, the organization has therefore neutralized the descent, which means that it does not participate in time registration.

Glandon
Col du Glandon hairpin turns

In the Maurienne valley, it's is a long flat stretch in the wind, so try to stay in group. Whoever comes here to fight the wind precious energy. It is often a cat and mouse game, because everyone is looking for the wheel of that one crazy dude who sacrifices himself to drive in front.

Marmotte
La Marmotte

At the start of the Col du Télégraphe it takes more than 31 kilometers (19 miles) before you reach the top of the giant Col du Galibier. With only a small intermediate descent to Valloire, this is where the suffering begins. In addition, the Galibier peak is at high altitude, causing some participants to suffer from not only cold air, but also less oxygen. Fortunately, after this col awaits the very long descent of the Lautaret. This descent is easy and has little surprises, except for one or two very dark tunnels. The often hot wind can be very powerful in the part of the stage.

The last ascent of the Marmotte is often a climb too much for a large number of participants. The road sides of Alpe d'Huez are full of exhausted cyclists near the end of the afternoon. It seems like a battlefield, the maontains have no mercy. Every hairpin turn hurts in every part of tour body, and there are 21 of them.

Marmotte route
La Marmotte cycling tour