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A Closer Look At Our 10 Icons

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Day One

Col de Joux Plane

The classic ascent is from the south, starting in Samoens. In 1997, Le Tour winner, Marco Pantani managed the climb in 33 mins. Armstrong called it his 'bête noire'!  Steep and unrelenting, the climb is considered one of the hardest in the Alps. Although the first couple of kilometres are tough, it soon backs off to more manageable levels.  The views of Mont Blanc from the summit are stunning and make the climb so worthwhile.

Col de la Colombière

The pass was first included in Le Tour in 1960 and has since featured 23 times, most recently in 2021. It starts relatively  gently but once past Le Reposoir, things get a little more serious. The summit is visible from around 3km but seems never ending to actually reach.

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Day Two

Col de la Madeleine

Another Tour de France favourite, it has featured 25 times since 1969. The climb from the north is on a quiet, narrow road initially passing through wooded terrain before rising above the tree line into open country. It's a long climb at 25km but a steady one. The gradient varies with two plateaus at broadly a third and two thirds distance. Stunning views from the summit where we take a brief lunch before a 20km descent to La Chambre.

Col du Glandon

Similar in character to the Madeleine, the Glandon is a long steady climb but with a sting in the tail so try to keep something in reserve. The last 3km feature multiple steep hairpins as the road winds up to the summit. This will be a long day with the most climbing of the Tour. We finish by descending from whence we came then along the valley floor to our overnight stop. A long day but one of our favourites.

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Day Three

Col du Télégraphe

Riding from the hotel, we warm up for 14km along the valley floor to the start of the
Col du Télégraphe in St Michel de Maurienne. It’s a steady climb with an average of 7.3% rising 850m over 11.8km. As ever there are great views from the top back down into the Maurienne valley. We then drop down into the ski resort of Valloire for a mid-morning coffee stop.

Col du Galibier

Probably the most iconic of all Tour De France climbs, the Col du Galibier has seen countless battles over it’s 18km. The founder of Le Tour, Henri Desgrange, was branded a bandit when he introduced the Galibier to the race in 1911 and it was seen as an act of pure sadism. In 2022, the riders of Le Tour climbed it twice on consecutive days! The terrain is sometimes bleak, sometimes ethereal but always challenging. No matter what's been said about these two climbs in the past, this is the day you will feel like a true Tour rider.

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Day Four

Alpe d'Huez

It doesn’t get more mythical than Alpe d’Huez. Probably the most famous climb in racing history and one that is on every cyclist's bucket list. The scene of countless battles, each of its 21 hairpins has it's own story.   13.9 km's with an average gradient of 8.2% and a maximum of 12%, this climb will certainly test you.  But reaching the summit of this iconic climb is a memory you will have forever.

Col d'Izoard

Featured in Le tour 36 times, this mountain will make you feel like you are cycling on another planet. The landscape is barren with protruding pinnacles of  weathered rock. Several of the Tour de France's more memorable moments have occurred on the Col d'Izoard, particularly the exploits of Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and Bernard Thévenet. A small cycling museum is at the summit, along with a memorial to Coppi and Bobet. It's a must for any cycling fan. 

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Day Five

Col de la Bonette

Day 5 of our Icons Tour may require oxygen masks!! It's the day we take on the Col de la Bonette. The road to the summit of the Bonette climbs to almost 3,000m! The road around the Cime de la Bonette reaches an altitude of 2,802 m (9,193 ft), but this is not a "pass", but merely a scenic loop. It is, however, the highest asphalted road in France and is the highest through road in Europe. The climb starts relatively modestly through lush meadows and then becomes progressively more desolate as the altitude rises. As we near the top, the terrain is more like a lunar landscape. After some refreshments on the summit we descend into Jausiers  and take a scenic trip though Provence to our hotel. 

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Day Six

Mont Ventoux

Day 6 of our 10 Icons Tour belongs to The Giant of Provence. An icon amongst icons. The Ventoux. It stands alone, dominating everything for miles around. From afar it looks snow capped but that's just an illusion created by the bare limestone which covers the surface above the tree line. From Bedoin, the climb measures 21.3km with 1603m of ascent to give an average of 7.5%. The first 6km however are only  3.9% which  means the remaining 16km average out at 8.9% with no let up at all. The Ventoux is one of the most gruelling climbs in Le Tours history and just to climb it once, is a justifiable achievement and a fitting end to our tour.

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