2010 Tour de France Stage 8 Preview with Video – Ramaz and Avoriaz


Note: For a preview of Stage 9 – see here.

Stage 8 will be the first Alpine stage in the 2010 Tour de France. With two big climbs at the end, including a mountain top finish at Avoriaz, this is one of the must-see stages of the Tour.

Me and my Belgian domestique decided to recon the route and prepared this video:

Map by @ednl thanks

The early part of the route weaves through the Jura mountains, avoiding any of the numerous steep climbs there.

The long downhill section (see map profile above) near the beginning goes through the beautiful Vallée de la Valserine. Not too steep but very straight. This will be a fast start to the race.

Jura Cloud Wall

The route will then exit the Juras and skirt the Swiss (Geneva) border as they race towards the Alps. This is my backyard, the route will pass just a couple of kms from home.

The fun begins at the village of Mieussy as the route climbs Col de la Ramaz. 14 kilometres averaging almost 7%, with some steeper stretches nearing the top. The road has been closed for the past two years due to problems with the cliff road near the top. A brand new tunnel now bypasses this dangerous – but fun stretch.

And yes, the steepest part of the climb is the last stretch in the tunnel.

Col de la Ramaz

The top is the ski station of Praz-de-Lys – and probably where I’ll be watching the stage with friends. The descent from Praz-de-Lys is extreme. 8 steep kilometres, often much more than 10%, with sharp 180 degree hairpins. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

Col de la Ramaz has only appeared once before in the Tour. In 2003, Richard Virenque crossed Ramaz first winning the stage in Morzine and temporarily taking the yellow Jersey.

Nice hairpin

The 3rd category climb to Col des Gets is 4 kms at less than 5% through a scenic gorge – this won’t cause anyone any problems. From Col des Gets it’s a fast descent to Morzine and the beginning of the climb to Avoriaz.

Avoriaz Col de la Joux Verte Avoriaz and the Tour Col de la Ramaz Les Gets

Avoriaz (along with Morzine) is part of the Portes du Soleil ski domain – one of the largest connected domains in the world – with 13 stations including some in Switzerland.

The climb to Avoriaz is 14 kilometres averaging just a little more than 6%. It’s not the hardest climb in the world – and definitely easier than Ramaz – but this open, south-west facing route can often be very hot in July.

This will be the 7th time that Avoriaz appears in the Tour de France since its first appearance in 1975. It last appeared in 1994 when Piotr Ugrumov won a time trial there. Other former winners include The Badger himself, Bernard Hinault and Lucien Van Impe.

There is lots of route maintenance going on on Ramaz and up Avoriaz. And I can personally attest that the last kilometre of the route is brand new and may be the smoothest stretch of road in France at the moment.


PS – Thanks again to Eric for helping prepare the video.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Will,
    You had this great idea and it was an absolute pleasure for me to be able to help you work it out. Your final note on the video “MUCH stronger” rider needs a side note though.

    I will remember this ride as the first time that I followed you (or tried to) on a climb. Credit to my lazy ass, absolute lack of training kilometers so far. If any of the pros sees this, just know that we’ll recognize you if you have been lazy at training, if you have lacked discipline, if you hope you can get away with it. Yes, we’ll be able to pick you out because you will be AT THE END of the pack, just like I was. Nevertheless, do know that you have at least my respect, because I, me, myself was hurting badly when I got home from this ride. So I know what you will be going through.
    Just make sure you all stay safe…no “doodsmak”. I guess that is a Dutch term rather than a Flemish one, well, whatever, I like my Rabobank shirts 😉

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  3. True entertainment Will! You and Eric were fantastic. Just played the video in the newsroom and co-workers were very curious with what in the world I was watching. I love the Flemish descent advice… “GOODSMAK?” Is that what it was? This stage looks like a great spot to watch the Tour… especially if someone runs up to you with a beer! Let me know and I’ll look for you on TV.

  4. What a shame they didn’t throw in a quick ascent of La Saleve via Croisette en route. It would have sorted the men from the boys straight away.

  5. Bonjour Will.

    Merci beaucoup pour cette belle vidéo, très marrant ton “belgian domestic” :-))
    La musique mécanique inclut les orgues de barbarie (autre nom des limonaires), les boîtes à musique, les automates musicaux, etc.
    Voir ici : http://www.editions-astronome.com/f/index.php?sp=liv&livre_id=67 où j’ai découvert que les colporteurs de musique étaient appelés “savoyards”.

    Mille merci pour ton fantastique site qui m’a permis de découvrir de magnifiques ascensions dans les Alpes (col du Mollard enchaîné avec la Croix de Fer , col de Sarenne et lac de Prapoutran après l’Alpe d’Huez, etc) et m’a donné encore plus envie (si c’est possible 😉 de “courir” les cols.

    Bonne route Will !

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