This is a spectacular loop on scenic, quiet roads through the Vercors Massif. It crosses at least 11 cols (some you won’t even notice), and comes near several others but the feature climbs are Col de Rousset and Col de la Bataille.
As I’ve mentioned many times, the Vercors massif is one of the most interesting yet overlooked cycling regions in the Alps. I’ve been putting together a cycling guide for the region and realised I’d never cycled one of its most interesting climbs: the south side of Col de Rousset. Until now.
I started in Beaufort-sur-Gervanne climbing to Col de la Croix (745 metres) on a pleasant, deserted gorge road. After a fun descent, I meandered towards Die via Col de Marignac (743 metres). Two relaxing cols already. A perfect warm-up.
Don’t worry, the town of Die is pronounced “Dee.” From here it’s 21 kilometres up to Col de Rousset. This climb is never remotely steep, but is full of truly fabulous hairpins. Probably its only drawback is that motorcyclists flock here in summer.
I’ll let the photos do the talking. Hairpin Nirvana:
The climb is a south entrance into the Vercors and at the summit is an 800 metre long tunnel. I’ve been to the Col from the north side but was scared to go through the tunnel :). But it’s reasonably lit and has a small side walk that I used when the lone car passed me.
I’ve lost 11 kilograms since January and have been feeling fit. At least fit for an old, mediocre cyclist. But I was nervous about the length and hilliness of the route, so I took a lot fewer photos the rest of the way. But the cols kept coming and coming. The cols are labeled on both maps.
From Col de la Portette (1175 metres) until Col de la Bataille (1313 metres) the route gets fun again with brilliant views on the right side.
It was cold, windy, and briefly hailed here. I was nervous I’d under-dressed, but the weather ultimately behaved. Col de la Bataille was actually closed to cars as they’ve yet to clean up the road after a long winter. But it was fine on a bike.
I was glad to descend out of the fog. The hard work was done, and it was just a pleasant, rolling descent to the start via Col de Bacchus (978m).
Wooohooo! Brilliant route.
See here for a more rides in the Vercors.
A 3D video of the ride:
Thank you for this. I have as a travel guide done Col de Rousset from the north on a day from Grenoble through the Vercors to Die: https://www.strava.com/activities/1744851775
We found the drivers quite attentive and polite in the long tunnel. The view to the south from the top is indeed astonishing. I found the descent somewhat boring though. Hairpins, yes but oh those straights are long and as you mention not very steep.
I’m a big fan of your website, I used your article on ‘Beyond Alpe d’Huez: The Best Cycling Climbs from Bourg d’Oisans’ to plan a brilliant 2 week holiday there in 2017. Spookily I’m going to Vercors next month and I’ve planned almost the exact same route, except we’ll be going clockwise and starting from St Jean en Royans. Do you have any recommendations for places to eat on the ride?
Hi Steve, Sorry, I don’t have any food stop recommendations. Enjoy