Col de Joux Plane
We start our tour with the famous Col de Joux Plane. The classic ascent is from the south, starting in Samoens. The 1997 Tour winner, Marco Pantani, managed the climb in 33 mins. Three years later Lance Armstrong got in to serious difficulties on the mountain. He later went on to describe the Joux Plane as his "bête noir".
Steep and unrelenting, the climb is considered one of the hardest in the Alps. Although the first couple of kilometres are ferocious, it soon backs off to more manageable levels. The views of Mont Blanc from the summit are stunning and make the climb worthwhile.