Le Dauphiné Stage Five and Col de Joux Plane


How’s that for a trip profile?

My Boob profile:  Today's ride

The plan was to climb the Hors Categorie Col de Joux Plane and watch the Dauphiné Libéré at the top.

Hincapie - Col de Joux Plane - Dauphiné

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.

Plateau des Saix Plateau des Saix Plateau des Saix

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!

Dauphinée Libéré Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

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:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

Closely followed by the stage winner:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

Cadel Evans leading the big names:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

Levi dropped by the big guns:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

First big group, well behind leaders:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

A LONG pause and second big group:

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée

King of the Mountains leader in second last?

Col de Joux Plane - Dauphinée


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Will,
    This is a very lively blog post. I hope your boobs don’t hurt anymore after touching the fence. 😉
    The profile is truly impressive. You must have climbed more today than the pros did. You basically did 2x Joux Plane which is 2xHC! And we are supposed to believe this is because you felt guilty? Come on. Just admit you love put yourself through agony and pain and that you can’t get enough of it. I wonder what Doreen has to say…

  2. OK, this MUST be said. It is nice to see you ride away from us on a climb as tough as Joux Plane. Certainly when considering that you already had done another “Joux Plane” by swinging to the top of Plateau des Saix. You are ready for a Tour d’Enfer.

  3. Looks like a great ride…..although anything over about 9% is never fun.
    I think I would prefer the last 3kms on the Joux Plane.

    I also think the electric shock was worth it. Great photo!

  4. Green with envy. Been watching the race on the TV and seems like a great race. Tough day yesterday and really whet the appetite for the Tour. Pity we won’t be seeing the Astana boys. Levi and Contador look like they’re in some serious form

  5. Slower Than Most on

    One small point. Those flags you are wearing in the photos are not the official Flemish ones. The official flags have a red tongue and claws and a less modern-looking lion. The flags you are wearing are those adopted by the various extreme-right (if not downright fascist) groups in Belgium such as now banned Vlaams Blok and Vlaamse Volksbeweging or VVB. You might not be bothered by people assuming you support the extreme right, you may even be supporters, but then again you might not appreciate the true significance of those flags!

  6. Thx for comment

    No offense intended.

    I will say that the big flag on the guy’s camper (the guy handing out the flags) had the red bits. Not sure there is a massive conspiracy here.


    Wow. It has come to my attention that the Flemish flag that I have paraded around in during the last two stages of the Dauphiné is certainly affiliated with a couple of extreme right political parties in Belgium.

    Apparently the flag is a bit more modern and lacks some red additions versus a more acceptable and traditional flag.

    The flag was given to me by a Flemish friend – and my understanding was the flag was seen as supporting Flemish cyclists. I thought it was pretty fun to wear. I was mistaken.

    My good Flemish friend assures me that he was unaware of the issue – and I have no doubt that he is sincere.

    I apologize to anyone that might have been offended by my “display.”

    —- Busy deleting offending photos

  7. Will,
    I’m sorry that my lack of knowledge about what is going on in my home country put you in this uncomfortable situation. Cycling is a great sport which I love to share with you and the others. And this is best done without the pollution that politics can be. I hope that this can be “cleaned up” over 1 of the good things Belgium produces … some beer 🙂
    Best regards,

  8. The downhills looks brilliant
    It looks like a wonderful ride…..although climbs over 10% are always a bit of a slog when they go on that long.

    Great photo!I Even with he electric shock!!

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