Montée des 21 viragesDes cyclistes roulent sur la montée de l'Alpe d'Huez. Paysage de montagne en fond, soleil et verdure.
©Montée des 21 virages de l'Alpe d'Huez|Cyrille Quintard
A mustThe 21 bends

The 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez

Les 21 virages de l’Alpe d’Huez… Well known to cyclists, this demanding climb is a must for all cycling enthusiasts. From Oz 3300s, join this mythical Tour de France route!

The must-do stage of the Tour de France

Grand classic of the Tour de France, this is THE climb to do at least once in your life! It was in 1952 that the Tour de France first stopped off at Alpe d’Huez. The legendary road, painted with numerous messages of encouragement, has welcomed this great race more than thirty times… and it’s not over yet! The route includes 21 bends that punctuate the effort all the way to the summit. Signs numbered in descending order indicate the altitude at each hairpin; in the past, these markers counted down the bends to serve as landmarks for the snowploughs as they climbed to the resort. Today, each stage winner has his or her name associated with one of the 21 hairpins.

In a few figures…
  • 21 bends
  • 1120 m ascent from Bourg d’Oisans
  • 1860 m altitude at the finish at Alpe d’Huez
  • 14 km to cover
  • 8% average gradient
  • 14% maximum incline
  • 37’35”, the record time for the climb (achieved by Marco Pantani in 1997 with an average speed of 23.08km/h!)

The ascent of the mythical 21 bends

This winding road offers exceptional views of the Grandes Rousses massif, villages clinging to the mountains such as Villard-Reculas and Auris-en-Oisans, and of course a breathtaking panorama of the Romanche valley. But to access this spectacular landscape, you’ll need to hold on tight to your handlebars: between the hairpins, the gradients oscillate between 8 and 9%! With the exception of one bend that requires a restart, the others are followed by a flat, and what a reward it is to reach the last hairpin… Whether you’re a racing cyclist, a touring cyclist or a mountain bike enthusiast: the fortress of the Oisans is just waiting for you and your two wheels! The bet’s on when you cross the finish line!

Tips from the pro:

> Prefer early morning, traffic and heat are less, which will only make your ascent more enjoyable.
> Beware, the first two kilometers are the steepest (>10%)!
> A water point is available at turn n°7, at the Saint-Ferréol church in Huez
> Go past côte 2000! If you still have some energy left, continue to the Col de Poutran and then on to Lac Besson at 2074 m.
> Don’t forget your windbreaker for the descent.
> Use the Poutran gondola to link Oz<>Alpe d’Huez