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Alpe D’Huez cycling climb

8th April, 2022

Alpe D’Huez Cycling Climb

In the heart of the Savoie sits the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb, one of Europe’s most iconic rides. Cycle Alpe d’Huez, and you will have conquered one of the most famous European climbs that cycling has to offer. With its famous 21 bends to the top, and the famous Dutch corner, it has featured numerous times on the Tour de France. The ride starts from Bourg d’Oissans and snakes upwards for 13.8km with an average gradient of 8.1%. Each hairpin has been named by previous Tour stage winners and is numbered from top to bottom.

Famous Alpe d'Huez Cycling Climb

The Route up Alpe d’Huez

Bends 21 – 15

The difficulty of the climb starts from from the 1st km and the slopes don’t ease off until the final 3km. The first few bends, particularly the first 5 are the toughest part of the climb averaging over 10.5%. You will get the toughest part of the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb out the way first, but don’t go too hard or you won’t complete the ride.

Bends 15 – 6 (To Huez)

The ride becomes more consistent as you ride higher towards Huez and the gradients are slightly more forgiving than the initial section of the ride. Keep pushing and ticking off each switchback as you go.

Bends 5 – 1 (To The Summit)

Keep pushing out of Huez and as you reach the top, the final few kilometres offer some respite as the road begins to flatten out and you reach the ski station.

Cyclist riding up Alpe d'Huez

Where to stay

We highly recommend that you stay in Bourg d’Oissans, and our Alpe D’Huez cycling holiday starts from Bourg. We don’t recommend staying on the Alpe as if you’re there to experience multiple climbs in the area, including the Col du Glandon, the Col du Telegrpahe or the Galibier, you will have to ascend Alpe d’Huez each day.

Our Top Tips

  1. Stay in Bourg, and ride the best climbs in the Alps.
  2. Take enough water on the road with you. It’s a hot climb and other than Huez, there’s nowhere to fill your bottle, unless you’re happy with filling from the stream.
  3. The ride is not hugely long but at an average of 8% it’s a tough hour to an hour and a half in the saddle.
  4. The toughest section of the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb is at the bottom so don’t go hell for leather to start with. Pace yourself.
  5. Count off the numbered bends, each of which is named after a former stage winner. Check out this article to see which riders have a coveted bend names after them.
  6. Marco Pantani holds the record for the fastest ascent – 37 minutes, 35 seconds (based on 14.45km). He may have been powered by external factors too though!
  7. If you head east on your descent, you will ride through Allemond and some of the most stunning balcony rides in Europe.
  8. Every Wednesday at 10am you can ride Alpe d’Huez against the clock. the ride starts under a big inflatable start banner from the centre of Bourg