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Cycling Col du Granon
Ride 11.4 kilometers gaining 1,100 meters at 9.7% average grade.
Col du Granon is the sixth most difficult bike climb in France (behind Col de la Loze, Col de Portet, Mont Ventoux, Col de la Madeleine, and Col de Croix de Fer). It is consistently steep, rarely dipping under 7%. The steepest 500 meter stretch is 13.9% and steepest kilometer 12.9%.
We begin this climb on the opposite side of the Valley of the Guisane from several ski resorts around Le Villard Laté. We see the steep slopes of Serre Chevalier to our southwest and behind us as we climb up this mildly traveled road.
Ski Resort Serre Chevalier.
Early into the climb (mile 1/km 1.6), we encounter five big switchbacks over 2.4 miles (3.9km) with an average grade of 9%.
Views southeast towards Saint-Chaffrey.
Saint-Chaffrey is a commune in Hautes-Alpes Department of France just five kilometers northwest of the cycling mecca of Briancon. You can read more about this area on the PJAMM Briancon Climb Area Page. The Tour de France finished in Saint-Chaffrey in 1974, 1975, 1986, and 1993, and started there in 1980 and 1993.
KM markers along the route the the very beginning to the very top.
Ski runs fill the mountainsides in this area.
Buildings just below the finish.
Although this is technically a “col” the road past the top is gravel - it is not paved.
Cafe at the top -- Buvette du Granon.
TOUR DE FRANCE - COL DU GRANON
This was the fourth highest the TdF had ever been when it finished on Col du Granon in 1986.
© Climb name
Times highest point of TdF (as of 2022)
Times Featured in Tour de France
Col du Granon
Top 5 high points of the Tour de France
Also see Top 10 Highest Points of the TdF
Col du Granon has been featured in the Tour de France only once, but wow, did it make a splash in 1986. It was on the Col du Granon that Greg Lemond worked with Swiss rider Urs Zimmermann to open a gap on his teammate, Bernard Hinault, and wrest the yellow jersey from him by finishing 3:21 ahead of Hinault. LeMond never gave the jersey up after that and that year became the first American to win the Tour de France.
Urs Zimmerman and Greg Lemond on Col du Granon Stage 17, July 20, 1986.
Perhaps it is that the road is very narrow and that there is no through traffic over the “col,” but the tour has ignored Col du Granon for 36 years . . . until Stage 11 of the 2022 TdF that is!!
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