Col du Granon Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

12.1
FIETS
7.1 mi
DISTANCE
3,610 ft
GAINED
9.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Ard Oostra, Montreux, Switzerland.

INTRO

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. As we know, LeMond never gave the jersey up after that and became the first American to win the Tour de France in 1986.

This year the Granon comes in Stage 11 of the 2022 Tour de France

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
Good surface and usually light traffic. Roadway is narrow so be careful while passing cars on the descent. 
There's a parking lot right at the start of the climb
There is a well-known restaurant at the top of the climb, definitely worth the stop after conquering this beast!
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Briançon is easily the best place to stay in this region. It's a world class cycling hub that will put you right at the start of some of the best and most famous climbs in the Alps, like the Col d'IzoardCol du GalibierCol du Lautaret, and the Col de Montgenéve.

Briancon is also the start town of Stage 12 of the 2022 Tour de France.

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CLIMB SUMMARY

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%.

Cycling Col du Granon - photo collage shows street signs along the Col du Granon route

This is starting to look like Alpe d’Huez after TdF second feature of Granon in 2022

Cycling Col du Granon - photo collage; PJAMM Cyclist rides along single lane country road surrounded by lush green grass

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.

Cycling Col du Granon - views of the slopes in summertime at the Ski Resort Serre Chevalier

Ski Resort Serre Chevalier.

Views along the middle section of the climb.

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%.  

Cycling Col du Granon - panoramic view of switchback early in the climb; sharp mountain range in distance

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%.  

Cycling Col du Granon  - lush green mountain views

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.

Cycling Col du Granon - view looking over lush green mountains, bright blue sky, large stone with red moss growing on it

View northwest.

Cycling Col du Granon - photo collage shows KM markers along climb route

KM markers along the route the the very beginning to the very top.

Cycling Col du Granon - photo collage shows KM markers along climb route

   

Cycling Col du Granon - switchback in foreground, ski runs in summertime in background

Ski runs fill the mountainsides in this area.

Cycling Col du Granon  - beautiful old stone buildings along switchback in roadside shortly before climb finish

Buildings just below the finish.

Finish

sign for Col du Granon summit   

Although this is technically a “col” the road past the top is gravel - it is not paved.

  food at the cafe Buvette du Granon at the climb's summit; breakfast table overlooking ski slopes beyond

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

Elevation (meters)

Times highest point of TdF (as of 2022)

Mountain Range

Times Featured in Tour de France

Most recent

First included

Cima de la Bonette

2,802m

4

Alps

4

2008

1962

Col de l'Iseran

2,770m

8

Alps

8

2019

1938

Col Agnel

2,744m

1

Alps

2

2011

2008

Col du Galibier

2,642m

50

Alps

63

2022

1911

Col du Granon

2,413m

0

Alps

2

2022

1986

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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