In 2013, Col de Sarenne contributed to Tour de France history. It was this tiny col that permitted the mighty Alpe d’Huez to be included for the first time twice in a single tour stage. For many years organizers had fantasized about including the legendary Alpe d’Huez twice in a single stage. The answer lay right under their noses. Surprisingly, it took them until 2013 to discover and include tiny Col de Sarrene as the bridge to one of the most exciting stages any Grand Tour could ever imagine - the most epic and famous of climbs included in its event . . .TWICE!
Thus it was that in 2013 the Grand Stage was born - the most famous climb in the world was featured two times on the same day in the most famous race in the world (it had been included twice in 1979, but on back to back days in stages 17 and 18). In advance of of stage 18 July 18, 2013, the Route du Col de Sarenne was repaved and prettied up for its first Grand Tour appearance (and last as of 2019).
A route profile we have only seen once in history.
On this famous day in Tour history, Frenchman Christophe Riblon would achieve his second and final TdF stage win. But what a win it was! Riblon actually crashed descending from Col de Sarenne, but recovered and overtook both riders of his 3 man breakaway. He has said the victory on the only day the most famous ascent in the world was climbed twice in the greatest of the Grand Tours was “life changing.”
Christophe Riblon’s highest finish ever in the Tour de France was 28th in 2010, but he will be forever famous, and deservedly so, for his victory on Alpe d’Huez on an unforgettable day in July, 2013.
Christophe Riblon crosses the finish line first stage 18 2013 Tour de France