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Posted on: 20th July 2014

Alpes

The iconic Alpe d’Huez is a familiar foe of mine, with eleven of my thirteen Tours including a battle to its 1,860 m summit. After yesterday’s impressive effort and with the temperature climbing into the 30s we made sure every rider could conquer the beast. The first group set off with plenty of time to reach the top at a relaxed pace, followed by the “young guns” who accepted the extra challenge of descending and returning to the top by le Col de Sarenne to burn off some of their surplus enthusiasm (an additional 1800 vertical metres). 

The non-riders were dropped at the top to ride the chairlift and enjoy the wildflowers while the pack smashed out the climb. Lunch and souvenir shopping allowed a few hours of recovery before we began the descent. The town was absolutely teaming with cyclists, tomorrow’s stage finish in nearby Chamrousse surely swelling their number.

We descended via Villard-Reculas with its vertiginous views across the valley, Rob capturing the scene on his GoPro by dangling his bike over the edge. An exhilarating ride downward took in some beautiful vistas through the trees and after a week of practice the group snaked down as one. 

Waiting at the base was a rather pleased Rudy who had succeeded in utterly exhausting the boys, who had relished the extra kilometres. 

The day was topped with a little shopping in Grenoble and a cold drink at the bar.

Tomorrow we are joining the TdF course for the final time as the Pros ride through Grenoble to Chamrousse. This will be the first really major Mountaintop Finish and is also a pretty short stage. We should see some fireworks!

Written by Phil Anderson


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