Le Dauphiné Stage Five and Col de Joux PlaneBy Will • Jun 13th, 2008 • Category: Climbs, Cycling, Favorites
How’s that for a trip profile?
The plan was to climb the Hors Categorie Col de Joux Plane and watch the Dauphiné Libéré at the top.
Eric and Katy (on a tandem), Barry, and Brian decided to ride the 50 kilometres to the base of the climb from Geneva. Yikes!
Me? I drove to the base of the climb! But feeling guilty, as a warm-up I climbed the far lessor know, but even steeper road to Plateau des Saix (also called Samoens 1600 ski station). A crazy climb with one kilometre averaging 12.7%! It’s beautiful but for a road bike, the road was just a little too gravel covered to recommend – the descent was scary.
I placed my bike over a little string fence to get a sign photo and touched my chest to an electric fence. AAAAAHHHHHHH! I actually screamed in shock.
After a slow descent due to the gravel, I met the Geneva Peleton in Samoens and we attacked (?!) Col de Joux Plane.
This epic Hors Categorie climb has appeared 11 times in the Tour de France since its debut in 1978. Armstrong struggled here in 2000 dropped by French hero Richard Virenque. It was also the last climb in Landis’ miracle comeback day in 2006.
It’s steep, and irregular, and beautiful, and hard!
The dark clouds rolled in and up top it was freezing! We hid in a restaurant at the top for a while – crepes and beer!
The race itself was very exciting. We knew from French race radio that the big guns were hot in the trail of the break away riders. And that Evans and Valverde had dropped Levi.
We watched about half a kilometre from the top. It gets a touch less steep here – and the lead riders – with dreams of a stage victory were truly flying.
First to the top:
Closely followed by the stage winner:
Cadel Evans leading the big names:
Levi dropped by the big guns:
First big group, well behind leaders:
A LONG pause and second big group:
King of the Mountains leader in second last?