Tour de France – Galibier

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Top of Galibier The Groupetto Vikings On Galibier Col du Galibier Tour de France

Col du Galibier via Col du Telegraphe is the biggest climb in France in terms of altitude gain. I can get to the base of Telegraphe from home in an hour forty-five – as it starts right next to an autoroute – sweet.

Galibier is epic, but before starting, its necessary to climb first category Col du Telegraphe – a really nice climb.

I had a fairly early start to ensure I could get up top before the road was shut to cyclists – and I knew I’d need close to 3 hours. From the very first turn, people were already all over the hill – everyone in good spirits as usual. It really is a great experience to cycle a big climb on Tour de France day.

Scott, my kiwi friend, had his camper near the top of Telegraphe – he was taking a rest day to watch a stage with his wife and son Will (they claim not named after me). But I stopped in for a coffee and chat. (Hours later – on the way down Scott cooked me a great curry dinner – nice one mate!).

Two rest days left my legs feeling stronger than in ages and I climbed Telegraphe at a nice pace, reminding myself that the hard stuff was still to come. A descent into Valloire and then up. The last 8 kilometers of Galibier are just amazing – at Plan Lachat the road just turns up and quite literally goes over the mountains. Awesome.

The very top was a zoo, and there is not much space up there so the gendarmes wouldn’t let us do the last 100 metres – so I demanded a photo (see below). I descended about a kilometre to watch the riders pass.

Like Saturday, the riders were spread out, although the groupetto (slow group of riders that help each other stay ahead of the cut-off time) was HUGE.

The Grupetto
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Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.

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