Cycling the Alps – Day 6

Cycling the Alps – Day 6

 

Cycling the Alps – Day 6

 

 

Cycling the Alps Day 6 riding on Les Routes Des Grandes Alpes from Geneva to Nice

 

Day 6 took us from Briancon to Barcelonnette with the climbs of La Col de L’Izoard (1160m) and La Col De Vars (1110m).

 

The rain had stopped by the time we set off, but a low cloud hung in the valley and everything looked grey and slightly gloomy. Its interesting how different the Alps look when the sun or snow are gone.

 

The 20km climb up to the Col De L’Izoard starts immediately out of Briancon, first through the green tree lined base of the valley up to the windswept, rocky and barren moonscape at the top.

 

Geneva to Nice D6
I just was not feeling it that morning

 

Reaching the top I was very cold and tired. Put simply, I might have been approaching my first sense of humour failure of the trip. The scenery is incredible, but also quite harsh and inhospitable and not the sort of place that you would hang around.

 

Descending over the back you get a better idea of the immense scale of the landscape, and you see just why this particular climb has featured in so many iconic moments and photos of the Tour since it was first climbed in 1922.

 

Geneva to Nice D6
Cold and jaded at the top of L’Izoard

 

The monument to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet on the descent heading South is strangely poignant, though by this point the cold was biting and our only thoughts were getting down the to Guillestre and the warmth of the valley.

 

Geneva to Nice D6
Monument to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet

 

The Col De Vars is a 19.5km climb out from Guillestre, and again the wind picked up and temperatures started to drop. By the top we barely exchanged a word, just took a quick picture and put our heads down for the descent. Hardly ideal but, when the conditions are like that, it does take some of the joy out of the descent, as you are largely inert in the saddle and core temperature drops quickly.

 

Geneva to Nice D6
The Col De Vars is a 19.5km climb out from Guillestre

 

Thankfully I did manage to find a couple of serious riders to cling to on the long slog into the lovely Spanish themed town of Barcalonnette, where hot drinks and a dry hotel restored the spirits.

 

Check back tomorrow for Day 7 as we get nearer to Nice…

 

Gallery

 

 

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Andrew

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