Cycling the Alps – Day 5

Cycling the Alps – Day 5

 

Cycling the Alps – Day 5

 

Alastair McNeill

 

Cycling the Alps Day 5 along Les Routes Des Grandes Alpes, from Geneva to Nice

 

Day 5 was a ride from Bourg D’Oisans to Briancon on Les Routes Des Grandes Alpes, and saw us tackle the climbs of La Col Du Lautaret (1312m) and La Col du Galibier (600m on top of Lautaret)…

 
From Bourg D’Oisans the N91 heads east on the long drag that leads to the Col Du Lautaret. Another Tour favourite, it has featured over 40 times since it was first climbed in 1911.
 
Geneva to Nice D5
 
At 34km long and with a height gain of 1312m it takes you from the valley floor, up past looming black rock faces and into the high mountain. The top is grey and rocky, and strewn with tired cyclists shivering as they pile into the cafe for some warmth and a rest.
 
Geneva to Nice D5
 
The Lautaret marks the point at which the Alps cross from the Rhone Alps of the North into the Southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur région.
 

Geneva to Nice D5
View on Lautaret climb

 

Looming higher still is the Col Du Galibier, partly visible in the clouds above. I have climbed it twice before from the Northern side and had sworn never to put myself through that again.

Geneva to Nice D5

Geneva to Nice D5

 

Whilst Ross sat forlornly eating pancakes and wondering at just how sweaty he was inside his boil in the bag rain jacket, I rode up to the Galibier just to savour the view before heading down into Briancon.

 

Geneva to Nice D5
View descending Galibier

 

This as it turned out was a mistake, as by now the rain and wind had set in and we found ourselves getting shot blasted on the exposed descent. Visibility was poor and the temperature dropped. How quickly you can go from taking in the views and enjoying the mountain, to just enduring it and pushing to get off it into the warm and dry is always surprising.
 

Geneva to Nice D5
 

Arriving in the largely unlovely, industrial town of Briancon, we were wet and tired; enjoying breakfast in the sun that morning in Bourg seemed like a different day altogether…

 

We continue our journey to Nice tomorrow.

 

Gallery

 

 

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Andrew

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