Col de la Forclaz – and Cycling Graffiti

La Forclaz    Forclaz    Col de la Forclaz     Lake Annecy     Col de la Forclaz

I talked about this great loop around Lake Annecy on my recent Top 5 Lake Annecy Rides post. The road was a bit slick today and there was the occasional ice patch in the shade, but generally it was fine for a road bike.

This is a fantastic climb – short but VERY steep – leading to great views of Lake Annecy.

It’s the first climb I ever watched the Tour de France on (stage 17 in 2004 – won by Armstrong). It was also the last climb in last year’s Dauphiné Liberé – won by Christophe Moreau.

One of the fun parts of riding in the Alps is reading the cycling graffiti on the roads. Sometimes it’s real art. Before big races fans are often all over the route with huge paint rollers creating messages to their favorite rider. The Dutch and Germans seem particularly addicted to painting the roads.

Today’s route still has remnants of the 2004 Tour de France Graffiti – including several artistic polka dot tributes to French hero Richard Virenque. The beginning of the route used to have a big “Launch Lance” in yellow – but its finally worn away.

I saw this new creation today. It says “UCI – Dealer – Moreau Vache – Velo = Dopé.” (Vache means cow. UCI is the International Cycling federation. Velo means bike)
It’s probably left over from the 2007 Dauphiné.

Col de la Forclaz

Here’s a couple of old photos of me and Tour de France grafitti and a photo I took of Moreau, Virenque and Simoni climbing today’s climb (Forclaz) back in the 2004 Tour de France.

Cormet du Roseland Galibier Lake Annecy

Bike route 821111 – powered by Bikemap 

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Nice one! Are the photos in the top row from today? Hearing about your big ride today, I feel v. glad that I went for a run this afternoon. Did you feel strong? Jelly

  2. Well done running today.

    yes the photos up top (3 through 6) are all from today.

    I felt “fairly good” – tried to remind myself to enjoy the views during the steep parts …. 🙂

  3. Hi Will

    Just stumbled on your site. Good luck with your challenge. Given me food for thought. I’ll be 50 in April and am setting own goals though don’t have time or energy to keep to your schedule. I’ll definitely include the col de la Forclaz though! Enjoy those views!


  4. G’day Will,

    Thanks for your post regarding Col de Forlaz; I spent a week in the Summer at Montin and climbed this Col a number of times I agree short but steep and a great climb. I too loved reading the road graffti the one that I use on my computer’s desk top is GRAVITY S*CKS which is found just as you leave Montmin on the short down hill and then acend the last climb to Forclaz. Great site and we must met one day would love to tackle some of the classic climbs with you.

    All the best


  5. Hi there.

    I love Annecy, I’ve been there a few times and the cycling around there is wonderful. The Col De le Forclaz is a beast of a climb and I rate it harder than the Alpe D’Huez. I think the Col de Leschaux, I think that’s it’s name (it climbs out of Annecy past the hospital) is pretty hard too, not steep but it sure drags on. I once got the hunger knock near the top and had a terrible time reaching the summit and an even worse time coming down and trying to find the strength from somewhere to keep applying the brakes. Happy days 🙂 I can’t wait to go back there, maybe this summer. (2008) Thanks for the nostalgia rush I got from reading your posts.

  6. Hi Will,

    I was looking for ideas about rides around Annecy’s lake and i found this track on I have never done it yet but i will later next week i guess.
    What is funny is that i have noticed that you live in the same town as me : Neydens. My house is near Pernin, do you see where it is ?

    Thanks for your blog and all those photos !

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  8. its amazing to see your sight – i cycled in lake annecy on holiday with my parents aged 18 back in 94 – i had road raced a s a teen but was more interested in beer and clubbing by then, however packed my bike and gave it my best after two training rides back home……the other climb out of annecy – the semnoz was an incredible experience, massive long thing – i’d never cycled uphill so long in my life but the views at the sumit were awesome – the forclaz however was a different ball game, had trouble with my gears and was stunned by the gradient – ive heard alp dhuez and the ventoux are tough but this climb was absloute hell until you get out of the quarried area, thought i was going to hyper venitlate – it gives absolutley no chance for recouperation, i figured it would have been seen as a smaller climb in le tour – maybe a second catogory but i would consider it the hardest thing i ever rode up. annecy is surely the most beautiful place on earth and it seems odd the tour so often ignores it for more established and commercial areas like alpdhuez – but thats their perrogative – annecy is simply perfect for someone who wants to climb quietly up beautiful mountains yet still feel they are being seriously tested as an athlete. i found god there – its so beautifl, all doubts fell away…

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