Here is a preview of stage four of the upcoming July 2008 Lost Boys Tour d’Enfer.
A trip organized by my friend Leslie that will include people from the USA, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, and Switzerland.
All 2008 Tour d’Enfer Previews can be found here.
Day 4: Free Day – Tour de France Watching
Day Four of the Tour d’Enfer will see the Tour de France go by. This preview suggests a few ways to watch.
Note: We are staying in Briancon the night before AND tonight
Today will be stage 17 of the Tour de France. The last massive mountain day, and perhaps the day that determines the winner. The stage goes right through Briancon.
See this link for an overview and map of the Tour de France Stage 17 route.
Suggested Routes to Watch the Tour
The Map below offers three ideas for watching the tour – each explained below. As the Stage preview explains, the climbing starts in Briancon and ends in Alpe d’Huez.
View Map In Google Earth (requires Google Earth)
Option #1 – Watch up Alpe d’Huez
The Stage: Approximately 82.4 kilometres (51.2 miles); Ascent: 2,340 metres (7,680 feet)
This is the Blue route on the map. Watching the Tour up Alpe d’Huez would be an amazing experience. It will be packed and the riders exhausted after a huge day.
PLEASE NOTE: The distance shown is ONE WAY. This is a big ride and will require climbing back up to the Col du Lautaret on the way home.
If Alpe d’Huez gets too crowded they may close it to cyclists. To be sure of being able to cycle up you may need to arrive at the bottom at least 4 hours before the race arrives – probably sooner
Option #2 – Climb Alpe d’Huez the back way via Col de la Sarenne
The Stage: Approximately 74 kilometres (46 miles); Ascent: 2,970 metres (9,750 feet)
If you are dying to see the stage atop Alpe d’Huez but are worried about accessibility. Take the Purple route for a superb climb up the remote Col de la Sarenne into Alpe d’Huez from the back. Again, the distance quoted is one way.
Again, the distances are ONE WAY. This is a huge Ride. To find this road, just take the main road from Briancon to Bourg d’Oisans. Just before the dam and lake turn right at Mizoen.
Option #3 – Climb Col du Galibier
The Stage: Approximately 35.9 kilometres (22.3 miles); Ascent: 1,500 metres (4,920 feet)
This is probably what I will do. Col du Galibier is the first of the three big climbs. At Col du Lautaret, turn right (red route on map) for the last 5 superb miles.
We’ll be climbing the more interesting North side of Galibier on Day 5 – but this side is still formidable and beautiful. Note the % grade chart above shows the climb to Col du Lautaret which is common and the first climb on all three suggested routes above.
Just below the top of this side of Galibier is a giant monument to Tour founder Henri Desgranges – see photo.
This route has the advantage of being entirely on the Tour route and completely downhill for the return. So if you are feeling tired you can stop any time, enjoy the Tour festivities and cruise home.
Option #4 – Sleep – Hang out in Briancon
The Tour will be passing right through town and there will certainly be festivities going on. This may be a fun way to recharge the legs – as the Tour d’Enfer doesn’t get any easier after today.