This mountain pass in the Alps in the Haute-Savoie department links two ski towns, Morzine and Samoëns. Samoëns carries the designation of “ville fleurie,” (literally, “flowery city”) distinguishing it as an attractive tourist destination. Morzine is a ski resort town of approximately 2,900 occupants that has hosted Tour de France stage finishes.
The climb begins in Samoëns
Samoëns has the “ville fleurie” designation with 3 out of 4 flowers which distinguishes the town’s gardens and public greenery as particularly good.
TOUR DE FRANCE HISTORY
Joux Plane is the last climb of 2023 TdF Stage 14
Col de Joux Plane has been featured in the Tour de France 13 times since 1978 (twice in 1981 - Stages 17 and 18), but only twice between 2006 and 2023. Since it came to the tour late, none of the older legends and grainy black and white photographs of earlier days of the Tour (iconic photos like those of of Coppi/Bartali on Galibier, Octave Lapize “assassins” on Tourmalet, Anquetil-Poulidor shoulder to shoulder on Puy Dome, etc.) exist. There is only modern Tour “history” for this wonderful col. 1978 was also the first year Col de Marie-Blanque was featured in the Tour.
The first man over Col de Joux Plane in a Tour de France race was Christian Seznec (“The Jailer”) on July 18, 1978, Stage 17 in 7:13:34, an amazing 09:26 ahead of #2 Paul Wellens and 09:29 ahead of the incomparable Bernard Hinault who went on to win his first of five TdF championships in 108:18:02, 3 minutes 56 seconds in front of the Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk.
Christian Seznec, France -- winner Stage 17 1978 TdF.
First man over Joux Plane in a TdF stage
Jacques Michaud, France, wins TdF Stage 18 - Bourg d’Oisons (Alpe d’Huez) to Morzine, 247 km
Time 7:45:25; 2nd 1:11 back - Angel Arroyo; Stage Leader (ultimate winner) - Laurent Fignon
Photo: Graham Watson - Cycling Weekly
Legend has it that Sean Kelly reached 77 mph on the descent of Joux Plane, Stage 19 1984 TdF
YouTube descent (not a professional cyclist, but, you get the gist of it.)
Photo - Anto Moran
Stage 16, 2000 TdF
Armstrong leads but missed his feed bag earlier in the race
Richard Virenque (just behind Armstrong) wins stage in Morzine :02:01 in front of the yellow jersey.
Lance Armstrong bonks on Col de Joux Plane . . .
. . . but goes on to win his second of seven Tours de France . . .
. . . but those victories were stricken in 2012 and a lifetime ban imposed on the disgraced former champion.
Photo: Graham Watson - as published in Cyclingweekly.com