The Legend That is Alpe d'Huez
Alpe d’Huez is a climb that every cycling fan around the world knows. It’s a true icon and an absolute must bucket list climb for all enthusiasts. The climb is home to the French Alps and is frequently ridden up by cyclists from near and far through the warmer months, transforming into a popularly visited ski resort through the winter.
So how did it become such an icon? Alpe d’Huez has the Tour de France to thank for its quick climb up the prestige ranks due to its regular appearance throughout the race since its first inclusion in 1952 where Fausto Coppi took honours and went on to win the General Classification by over 28 minutes. Although the performance was something special, the climb was surprisingly not featured again until 1976. By that point, cycling as a sport had rapidly grown in popularity and the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez was also a much greater attraction, leading to a sea of spectators present on the climb to watch the stage and leaving Alpe d’Huez with a revamped reputation within the cycling world. From there, the climb has been frequently featured in the race with its last inclusion in 2018 marking the climb’s 30th appearance in the Tour de France.
That same year, Geraint Thomas claimed an emphatic victory at the summit, marking history as the very first Yellow Jersey wearer to win on Alpe d’Huez. He went on to win the overall tour, adding to the list of former Alpe d’Huez champions of which the majority have gone on to take the Maillot Jaune.
Although not the most challenging climb in professional cycling by any means, Alpe d’Huez is far from a trot in the park with a demanding average gradient of 8.1% over 13.8km, travelling up to 1850m from the base at Bourg d’Oissans to the summit at the ski resort. It’s most famous however, for the 21 hairpin bends that sweep the climb from bottom to top, leaving cycling fans completely mesmerised as the peloton snake their way around each mythical switchback on Tour de France race day. Each bend has been famously named by former Stage winners of Alpe d’Huez.
To add to its unique terrain, Alpe d’Huez has the fans to thanks for the incredible party-like atmosphere present on race day, now attracting hundreds of thousands of supporters who line the entire climb creating an atmosphere like no other. Over the years, specific corners up the climb been famously marked - like the raging orange wave that has taken over corner seven, named Dutch corner.
This July, the legendary climb returns to the Tour de France following a three year absence and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of its comeback to the race on Stage 12. Our Alps trips have been our most popularly sold experiences since we launched our tour line-up last October, with our signature ‘Alps Pro’ trip now a sell-out and only one spot remaining on our ‘Best of the Alps’ 'trip. Due to ongoing requests and popular demand, the obvious decision was made to launch an additional Alps trip that we have just released – ‘Alps Adventure’. DISCOVER THE TRIP NOW and If you’re interested, we strongly recommend getting in quick…Alpe d’Huez calls!