Col du Glandon- West Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Col du Glandon- West

France

Beautiful climb passing Lac de Grand Maison.

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Climb Summary


Cycling Col de la Croix de Fer, North - Lac de Grand Maison and quarry

Lac de Grand Maison

Cycling Col du Glandon (Le Verney) - 22.5 kilometers gaining 1365 meters at 5% average grade.

Col du Glandon from the east and west completely overlap Col de la Croix de Fer.  A map of the Glandon and Croix de Fer ascents is located here.  Here are the basic statistics for the three Croix de Fer climbs, together with the overlap information for Col du Glandon:

  • Col de la Croix de Fer West (Le Verney): 24.2 kilometers gaining 1489 meters at 5.2%.
  • Col du Glandon West (Le Verney): 22.5 kilometers gaining 1365 meters at 5% (all overlapping Croix de Fer West).
  • Col de la Croix de Fer North (Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines): 23.2 kilometers gaining 1609 meters at 6.9%.
  • Col du Glandon East (Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines): 19.6 kilometers  gaining 1530 meters at 7.4% (all overlapping Croix de fer North).

The Glandon climbs are in the bike climbing mecca of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne which, in addition to Glandon, includes Telegraphe, Galibier, Chaussy, Madeleine, Croix de Fer and the Granddaddy of them all, Alpe d’Huez!,

Le Rivier D’Allemont, kilometer 4.

The approach to Col du Glandon from the west begins at the northern end of Lac du Verney by riding north on D526.  The jewel of this climb is the earthen dam, coupled with the beautiful blue waters of Lac de Grand Maison, the glacially formed lake we ride by from kilometers 16 to 19.5.

Lac de Grand Maison.

We strongly recommend that you continue the 2.7 km to from Col du Glandon to Col de la Croix de Fer if you choose to undertake either ot the Glandon climbs -- you will not regret it!

   

 TOUR DE FRANCE

Col du Glandon has been included in the Tour de France 13 times since it was first introduced in 1947.  After its inaugural year, Glandon was not included again until 1977, and has been included sparingly thereafter (averaging about once every four years, 11 times in the 43 years between 1977 and 2020).  As of 2020, the last time Glandon had been included in the Tour was 2013.

Cycling Col du Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer sign, PJAMM cycling, bicycle

Merckx realized his mortality on Glandon, Stage 18 1977 TdF.

The king of Col du Glandon is unquestionably Lucien Van Impe (winner 1976 Tour de France).  Van Impe participated in each TdF from 1969 to 1981 and Glandon was featured in three of those tours (1977, 1981, and 1983).  Van Impe was first across the col on each of those stages, on his way to winning the mountain classification each time.

Cycling Col du Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer sign, PJAMM cycling, bicycle

Lucien Van Impe, the King of the Mountains, and Col du Glandon

Photo:  Philippe B.


Col du Glandon was the prologue to one of the most famous (or rather, infamous?) cycling moments of all time.  Col du Glandon was the middle climb of three on Stage 10 July 17, 2001 (Col dd Madeleine, Col du Glandon, Alpe d’Huez).  Lance Armstrong had dropped from 5:56 back after Stage 7 to 35:43 back after a disastrous Stage 8 which saw a freak breakaway won by Erik Dekker, Alto Gonzalez and Servais Knaven. Armstrong was 20:07 back after Stage 9 and his main rival that year, Jan Ullrich, was at 22:41 going into Stage 10.

Armstrong appeared weak on Col de Madeleine which led Ullrich and his Team Telekom to begin an insane sprint up Col du Glandon, leaving Armstrong barely(?) hanging on to the rear of this lead group.  However, just a couple kilometers up Alpe d’Huez and with 11 kilometers remaining, Armstrong surged to the front of the group past Ullrich and then, in a moment of Tour lore, looked back (“The Look”) at Ullrich, fixed his gaze on him momentarily, then put the hammer down and accelerated away from a broken Jan Ullrich to victory and his third Tour de France victory of 7.[1] 

The Look: Alpe d’Huez Stage 10 2001 Tour de France.

Photo from J Barber and F Ruggeri as published in Masculine Heart.


[1] We all know, but it is necessary to mention here, that Lance Armstrong’s seven tour victories were all stripped due to the use of PEDs.