tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

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tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

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The winners of the tour de france alpe d’huez.

Tom Pidcock Alpe d'Huez 2022

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Alpe d'Huez

Cycling alpe d'huez - the most famous bike climb in the world..

Page Contributor(s): Ard Oostra, Montreux, Switzerland; Stacy Topping & Bruce Hamilton, Midway, UT

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez


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tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

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Cycling Alpe d'Huez - hairpin turn and yellow jersey on rock wall with cyclist riding past

Alpe d’Huez

Turn 10 after 2018 TdF Stage 12

photo collage shows signs for La Garde l'Alpe d'Huez, Tour de France Finish/Start sign, French Alps views, aerial drone view showing switchbacks up climb

141,656 Strava members have ridden Alpe d’Huez 279,124 times as of July 8, 2023.

PJAMM Profile Tool shows the climb profile of Alpe d'Huez; road sign warns of 10% grade

Alpe d’Huez Tour Profile.

77.5% of the entire climb is at 5-10% average grade.

Steepest kilometer is 10.7%.

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

photo collage shows signs for Alpe d'Huez, KM marker at climb start, aerial drone view shows finish of climb

Photo clockwise from top left:

Start; Turn 21 (first turn); Turn 1 (last turn); finish; Turn 1 (center).

photo collage shows parking lot and Tour de France kiosk at climb's beginning

There is a parking lot and TdF kiosk just off D1091 at the beginning of D21, 100 meters from the start.

PJAMM Cyclists ride on roadway on Alpe d'Huez climb; KM marker at climb's start

The route up Alpe d’Huez begins in Le Bourg-d’Oisans as the road pitches up towards hairpin 21.

PJAMM cyclist passes across Tour de France Finish line

Finish near the end of the ski resort at the top of the mountain.

While Lance Armstrong originally won Alpe d’Huez stages in 2001 and 2004, his name has been removed.

Of the hundreds of climbs we have documented for this website, Alpe d’Huez needs the least introduction -- everyone has heard of this most famous of all World Climbs!  The finish is inauspicious (other than during the TdF of course), but it is the well known 21 switchbacks and its rich TdF history that makes this “The One”!

aerial drone view shows Tour de France polka dot jersey sign on rock face along switchbacks, multiple Tour de France signs along climb route

TdF history is present nearly the entire climb.

Known as the “Hollywood Climb” when included in the Tour de France (29 times since 1976) it is always the stage finish (except for the first of two in a day - 2013 - see below for more detail).  Alpe d’Huez is to cycling as the Indy 500 is to motor racing, St. Andrews to golf, Fenway to baseball, Wembley Stadium to football, Wimbledon is to tennis, and so on.  This could be the most famous and well known of any sporting venue and certainly the most famous in cycling.  See our “Tour de France History” towards the bottom of this article for more information.

Cycling Alp d'Huez - road sign to Alpe d'Huez and roadway in Le Bourg-d’Oisans

Hairpin #1 during Tour de France

Photo:   capovelo

Geographically and geologically, Alpe d’Huez is located in the Dauphine Alps of southeastern France, a part of Europe’s Alps Mountain Range. The climb begins at the eastern edge of Le Bourg-d’Oisans (population ~2,900). Following the famous 21 hairpins to the top of the climb takes us to the ski resort of L’Alpe d’Huez.  On the way, we pass through the village of Huez (8.5 km - population 1,398 in 2011; elevation 1,400 m).

Before heading to France on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip , and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

photo collage shows blue and white Alpe d'Huez signs marking the 21 hairpins of the climb

It’s the turns, not the finish, that makes this The Most Famous Climb in the World.

Hairpin 21 is the first hairpin on the climb and #1 is the last.  

It’s all about the hairpins/bends/turns/laces/tornates/kehres -- by whatever name you call them, this is the best game of 21 you’ll ever play.

photo collage shows aerial drone views of the hairpin turns on the Alpe d'Huez climb, with each turn numbered

The world’s most famous hairpins.

#21 is at the bottom, #1 near the top of the climb.

photo collage shows kilometer signs, along with other roadsigns, along the Alpe d'Huez climb

As of July 2023, there were kilometer markers from kilometer 13 to 5.

photo collage shows stunning rock formations and mountain views along the Alpe d'Huez climb

In addition to it’s TdF fame, Alpe d’Huez offers stunning views along the climb.


photo collage shows views of the Alpe d'Huez, Col du Tourmalet, Passo dello Stelvio, and Mont Ventoux climbs

The world’s four most famous bike climbs ( in our opinion ) are:

  • #1 Alpe d’Huez  (photo top left and center)
  • The undeniable front runner -- 32 times featured in the TdF from 1952-2022.
  • #2 Col du Tourmalet (bottom right)
  • Featured in the TdF than any other climb (88 times from 1910-2022).
  • #3 Passo dello Stelvio  (top left)
  • Highest finish of any Grand Tour -- Featured in Giro 13 times (1953-2022).
  • #4 Mont Ventoux  (bottom left)
  • Featured 18 times in the TdF between from 1951-2022.


photo collage of Alpe d'Huez's Dutch Corner, sign for turn number 7, aerial drone views of old stone church at intersection

Dutch Corner is where cycling fans from the Netherlands congregate on the day the Tour de France comes to Alpe d’Huez for its inevitable exciting mountaintop finish.  On this day and at this hairpin, the air is filled with loud European music, the smell of barbeque, and sounds of some of the greatest cycling fans in the world.  The tradition originates with Joop Zoetemeik, who in 1976 became the first Dutchman to win the Alpe d’Huez stage.  Thereafter, Dutch riders won the next seven of twelve Alpe d’Huez finishes, but have not done so since Gert-Jan Theunisse in 1989 (Joop Zoetemelk 1976, 1979; Hennie Kuiper 1977, 1978; Peter Winnen 1981, 1983; Steven Rooks 1988 and Gert-Jan Theunisse 1989).

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Joop Zoetemelk wins Alpe d’Huez Stage 18, 1979 (Hinault chases)

Photo - Scanseb / Pinetrest - Raffaele Spiazzi

While the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb is not the hardest to be included in France’s Grand Tour, it is by far the most iconic and popular.  Whose bucket list doesn’t include cycling Alpe d’Huez?  At 14 kilometers and gaining 1,018 m of altitude, this climb is fairly manageable by most cyclists.  While the steepest kilometer averages 10.7% grades, the climb is generally of a moderate 7.7% gradient.


signs for Huez Village

Pass through Huez Village at kilometer 8.8

(population:  1793 368; 2011 1,398)

large statue of a red bike after you pass Dutch Corner on Alpe d'Huez bike climb

Red bike is just as you come out of the turn at Dutch Corner.

large statue of a white bike on the Alpe D'Huez bike climb, between kilometers 5 and 4

The white bike is between turns 5 and 4 at km 10.2.

photo collage shows PJAMM Cyclist riding Alpe d'Huez bike climb, background of stunning rock formations and Alpe setting

So many amazing photo opportunities - you may never make it to top . . . 😉

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

But WHEN you do - many photos ops there, too . . .

Be sure to get your Podium Shot once you begin passing through the ski resort just past Bar L’Indiana on your left (700 meters up from Turn #1).

PJAMM Cyclist stands on Tour de France podium on Alpe d'Huez bike climb

Stacy Topping atop the podium.

This photo opp is in the village just to the right of the left hairpin up the road after passing Hairpin #1.




As of 2022, Alpe d’Huez is #13 on the all-time TdF climb list.

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Bernard Hinault sealed his fifth Tour victory on Alpe d’Huez in 1985.


Alpe d’Huez (Dutch Mountain/The Alpe) was the first mountaintop finish in the history of the Tour de France in 1952, Stage 10.

Alpe d’Huez has become “the summit of the modern era,” and no other stage of the Tour de France has such presence.  With its 21 bends, steep ramps, and massive crowds, it has become the “Hollywood climb,” according to the ride’s official historian, Jacques Augendre.  Each year that this climb is included in the TdF, thousands of spectators flock to the area.  The massive crowds create what some participants in the ride have described as a feeling of both fear and exhilaration, and as French journalist Philippe Brunel described the look of the road during Marco Pantani’s victorious ascent in the 1995 race, “that thin ribbon of burning asphalt, covered in graffiti, between two deafening walls of spectators, which threaded between his wheels.” Alpe d’Huez has been included in the Tour de France 32 times between its first appearance in 1952 (including two appearances in 1979 and 2013) and 2022.  Each of the 21 hairpins of this climb has been named after one or more of the winners of the 29 Tour de France stages to finish here.  Of note, the first stage up this exceptional climb was fittingly won by the incomparable climber Fausto Coppi .  Only three cyclists have won the Alpe d’Huez stage more than once: Marco Pantani  (1995, 1997), Gianni Bugno  ( 1990, 1991), and Hennie Kuiper  (1977, 1978).  

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Fausto Coppi became the first stage winner of Alpe d’Huez - Stage 10 in the 1952 Tour de France.

YouTube video of Coppi win  

Photo:  - 10 most memorable moments on Alpe d’Huez

Likely the most famous and widely remembered and retold stories of Alpe d’Huez is from 1985 when, after two weeks battling each other, it appeared that Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault had reached a truce and that Hinault would achieve the glory of his fifth TdF win without further challenge by Lemond. As the two rode up Alpe d’Huez, the Frenchman led and Lemond followed directly on his wheel.  The two passed through throngs of ecstatic French fans and the path grew more narrow as the two neared the climb finish.  In the end, the two embraced and Hinault moved slightly ahead of Lemond for his 26th Stage win, at the time placing him second all-time behind Eddy Merckx (34).  Hinault went on to win two more stages in his glorious career and is now third with 28 wins, behind Merckx and Mark Cavendish (30).

The exceptional Italian climber, Marco Pantani, holds three of the five fastest times up Alpe d’Huez, the fastest time is 37’35”.  

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Marco Pantani near the finish on Alpe d’Huez

photo:   Hein Ciere

Alpe d’Huez was the stage for one of the most famous (infamous?) cycling moments of all time.  Alpe d’Huez was the final  climb of three on Stage 10 July 17, 2001 (Col dd Madeleine, Col du Glandon, Alpe d’Huez).  Lance Armstrong had dropped from 5:56 back after stage 7 to 35:43 back after a disastrous stage 8 which saw a freak breakaway won by Erik Dekker (s.t. Alto Gonzalez and Servais Knaven). Armstrong was 20:07 back after Stage 9 and his main rival that year, Jan Ullrich, was at 22:41 going into Stage 10.

Armstrong appeared weak on Col de Madeleine which led Uhllrich and his Team Telekom begin an insane sprint up Col du Glandon, leaving Armstrong barely(?) hanging on to the rear of this lead group.  However, just a couple kilometers up Alpe d’Huez and with 11 kilometers remaining, Armstrong surged to the front of the group, passed Uhlrich and then, in a moment of Tour lore, looked back (“ The Look ”) at Uhlrich, fixed his gaze on him momentarily, then put the hammer down and sprinted away (uphill) to victory and his 3rd Tour de France victory of 7. [1]  

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

The Look, Alpe d’Huez stage 10 2001 Tour de France

Photo from J Barber and F Ruggeri as published in Masculine Heart


In 2013, with the help of Col de Sarenne, Tour de France history was made.  It was this tiny col that permitted the mighty Alpe d’Huez to be included for the first time twice in a single tour stage. For many years organizers had fantasized about including the legendary Alpe d’Huez twice in a single stage.  The answer lay right under their noses.  Surprisingly, it took them until 2013 to discover and include tiny Col de Sarrene as the bridge to one of the most exciting stages any Grand Tour could ever imagine - the most epic and famous of climbs included in its event . . .TWICE!

Thus it was that in 2013 the Grand Stage was born - the most famous climb in the world was featured two times on the same day  in the most famous race in the world (it had been included twice in 1979, but on back-to-back days in Stages 17 and 18).  In advance of of Stage 18 July 18, 2013, the Route du Col de Sarenne was repaved for its first Grand Tour appearance (and last as of 2019).  

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

A route profile we have only seen once in history.

Image:  taliancyclingjournal

On this famous day in Tour history, Frenchman Christophe Riblon would achieve his second and final TdF stage win.  But what a win it was!  Riblon actually crashed descending from Col de Sarenne, but recovered and overtook both riders of his three-man breakaway.  He has said this victory -- on the only day the most famous ascent in the world was climbed twice in the greatest of the Grand Tours -- was “life changing.”

Christophe Riblon’s highest finish ever in the Tour de France was 28th in 2010, but he will be forever famous, and deservedly so, for his victory on Alpe d’Huez on an unforgettable day in July 2013.  

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Christophe Riblon crosses the finish line first Stage 18 2013 Tour de France


Bike climb Alpe d'Huez - turn (tornante) 10 aerial drone photo of mountain stage leader poster on wall and hairpin curve.

2018 TdF remnants at Hairpin 10.

Wikipedia - Alpe d’Huez

Wikipedia  provides a nice history of the climb:

“L'Alpe d'Huez is climbed regularly in the Tour de France. It was first included in the race in 1952 and has been a stage finish regularly since 1976. The race was brought to the mountain by Élie Wermelinger, the chief commissaire or referee. He drove his Dyna-Panhard car between snow banks that lined the road in March 1952, invited by a consortium of businesses who had opened hotels at the summit. Their leader was Georges Rajon, who ran the Hotel Christina. The ski station there opened in 1936. Wermelinger reported to the organiser, Jacques Goddet, and the Tour signed a contract with the businessmen to include the Alpe. It cost them the modern equivalent of €3,250. That first Alpe d'Huez stage was won by Fausto Coppi. Coppi attacked 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from the summit to rid himself of the French rider Jean Robic. He turned the Alpe into an instant legend because this was the year that motorcycle television crews first came to the Tour. It was also the Tour's first mountain-top finish. The veteran reporter, Jacques Augendre, said: The Tourmalet, the Galibier and the Izoard were the mythical mountains of the race. These three cols were supplanted by the Alpe d'Huez. Why? Because it's the col of modernity. Coppi's victory in 1952 was the symbol of a golden age of cycling, that of champions [such as] Coppi, Bartali, Kubler, Koblet, Bobet. But only Coppi and Armstrong and Carlos Sastre have been able to take the maillot jaune on the Alpe and to keep it to Paris. That's not by chance. From the first edition, shown on live television, the Alpe d'Huez definitively transformed the way the Grande Boucle ran. No other stage has had such drama. With its 21 bends, its gradient and the number of spectators, it is a climb in the style of Hollywood.

Augendre neglected to mention Fignon, who, along with Coppi and Armstrong, took yellow on the Alpe without winning the stage in 1983, 1984, and 1989. He held it into Paris in 1983 and 1984 but in 1989 he lost it on the final stage to Paris, a time trial, to Greg LeMond to finish second by 8", the closest finish in tour history. After Coppi, however, the Alpe was dropped until 1964, when it was included as a mid-stage climb, and then again until 1976,[13] both times at Rajon's instigation. The hairpin bends are named after the winners of stages. All hairpins had been named by the 22nd climb in 2001 so naming restarted at the bottom with Lance Armstrong's name added to Coppi's. Stage 18 of the 2013 Tour de France included a double ascent of the climb, reaching 1,765 m (5,791 ft) on the first passage, and continuing to the traditional finish on the second. French journalist and L'Equipe sportswriter Jean-Paul Vespini wrote a book about Alpe d'Huez and its role in the Tour de France: The Tour Is Won on the Alpe: Alpe d'Huez and the Classic Battles of the Tour de France.”

A bit of a warning as of June 2017:  The roadway surface was good, but beware on hot days that the tar used to patch cracks is a bit slippery and must be avoided on the descent. The temperatures did not reach 90 °  during the three days we spent on the mountain in August 2018, so the problem has been resolved, or it only occurs on very hot days.

In conclusion, if you only had one option, one choice, one climb left in your life, you’d really have a hard time not picking this one!

Cycling Alpe d'Huez - cyclist riding bike over road with tour de france road paint, mountains in background

[1]  We all know, but it is necessary to mention here, that Lance Armstrong’s seven tour victories were all stripped due to the use of PEDs.

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Alpe d'Huez: A classic climb for Tour de France 2022

The alpine climb of Alpe d'Huez has regularly shaped the outcome of the Tour de France winner

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Alpe d'Huez Tour de France

The iconic Alpe d'Huez returns to the Tour de France for stage 12 in 2022, which is set to be its 31st appearance on the Tour since its first introduction in 1952. 

Instantly recognisable from the air, riders have to navigate 13.8 kilometres and 21 hairpin bends as it slithers from Bourg d’Oisans to the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps. 

First included in the Tour de France in 1952, Alpe d'Huez provided the location of the Tour's first ever summit finish. Now a regular and popular feature of the French Grand Tour, it's hard to believe that in 1952 the climb up the mountain didn't prove a success for race organisers - the sea of spectators spilling onto the road that we are used to seeing now did not exist.

It took 24 years before organisers used Alpe d'Huez again, though, when in 1976 both the sport and the resort had rapidly developed. Since then, the climb has made Tour champions, and broken the hearts and bodies of many others - and not just racers. The climb has become a ‘must do’ ascent for cyclists, and is a mecca for bike-bound pilgrims every year when the snow melts away.

All 21 hairpins are named after the winners of stages, and by 2001 all 21 hairpins had been named. Consequently, naming restarted at the bottom of the mountain, with Lance Armstrong's name replacing the race's first winner in 1952, Fausto Coppi.

The stage last featured on the Grand Tour in 2018, where Geraint Thomas took the stage win.

Alpe d'Huez stats

Location: Alps, France

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Distance: 13.8km

Average gradient: 8.1 per cent, with the steepest part 11.5 per cent

Maximum elevation: 1850 metres

Fastest recorded ascent: 37 minutes and 35 seconds by Marco Pantani during 1997 Tour de France


Tour de France stages on Alpe d'Huez


Spectators line the hairpin bends on stage 19 of the 2011 Tour de France

There are more cameras now, but the scene on Alpe d'Huez remains the same: fans grabbing a glimpse of their favourite riders and a party atmosphere.

It is estimated hundreds of thousands of fans often gather on Alpe d'Huez during the race, offering encouragement and support up the painful climbs and hairpins. However, this sometimes isn't without controversy, with heavy police intervention required on occasions.

Alpe d'Huez 1986 Tour de France

At the 1986 Tour de France, Bernard Hinault said he would help Greg LeMond to win the Tour, however, his actions suggested otherwise throughout the race. In an apparent sign of truce, the pair crossed the finish line arm in arm, making it one of the most iconic photographs in Tour history. 

For pedants sake, Hinault crossed the line fractionally earlier and won the race, though LeMond eventually secured the overall victory. 


Marco Pantani climbing Alpe d'Huez at the 1997 Tour de France

Marco Pantani, Richard Virenque and Jan Ullrich fought it out on stage 13 of the 1997 Tour, but it was Pantani would win the stage. Meanwhile, Ullrich went on to win the GC for the first and only time in his career, with Virenque claiming the King of the Mountains title. 

Pantani won on the Alpe for the second time in his career with this 97 win, attacking three times with only Ullrich able to match him. The German lasted until 10km were left, before the Italian rode alone to win the stage and climb the mountain with a record speed.

Tour de France 1999 Alpe d'Huez

In 1999, Giuseppe Guerini led the Alpe d'Huez stage comfortably and was only a few hundred metres from the finish line when he collided with a spectator who had stepped into his path to take a photograph.

Unperturbed, Guerini managed to get back on his bike and finish 21 seconds ahead of second-placed Pavel Tonkov, in what is perhaps one of the most bizarre Tour de France moments.

Christophe Riblon Alpe d'Huez

Christophe Riblon winning the Alpe d'Huez stage in the 2013 Tour de France

Stage 18 of the 2013 Tour de France, the 100th edition of the race, included a double ascent of the Alpe d'Huez climb for the first time ever. Riders reached 1,765m on the first passage, climbed Col de Sarenne in between, before continuing to the traditional finish on the second climb in what proved an especially gruelling stage. 

Christophe Riblon prevailed in 2013, having chased down Tejay van Garderen over the second ascent before winning the stage by over a minute.

Alpe d'Huez Geraint Thomas 2018 Tour de France

Geraint Thomas became the first, and to date, only rider to win the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Tour de France while in the yellow jersey when he crossed the line first in 2018. 

Steve Kruijswijk had been on a 70km solo attack, but Thomas, along with Tom Dumoulin, Chris Froome, Romain Bardet and Mikel Landa, was able catch him two-thirds into the climb. With around half a kilometre left of the race, Thomas dropped the remaining riders to create history, setting himself up for an extended lead in the GC. 

Tour de France stage winners on Alpe d'Huez

1952, Stage 10, Fausto Coppi 1976, Stage 9, Joop Zoetemelk 1977, Stage 17, Hennie Kuiper 1978, Stage 16, Hennie Kuiper 1979, Stage 17, Joaquim Agostinho 1979, Stage 18, Joop Zoetemelk 1981, Stage 17, Peter Winnen 1982, Stage 16, Beat Breu 1983, Stage 17, Peter Winnen 1984, Stage 17, Luis Herrera 1986, Stage 18, Bernard Hinault 1987, Stage 20, Federico Echave 1988, Stage 12, Steven Rooks 1989, Stage 17, Gert-Jan Theunisse 1990, Stage 11, Gianni Bugno 1991, Stage 17, Gianni Bugno 1992, Stage 14, Andrew Hampsten 1994, Stage 16, Roberto Conti 1995, Stage 10, Marco Pantani 1997, Stage 13, Marco Pantani 1999, Stage 10, Giuseppe Guerini 2001, Stage 10, [Lance Armstrong]* 2003, Stage 8, Iban Mayo 2004, Stage 16, [Lance Armstrong]* 2006, Stage 15, Frank Schleck 2008, Stage 17, Carlos Sastre 2011, Stage 19, Pierre Rolland 2013, Stage 18, Christophe Riblon 2015, Stage 20, Thibaut Pinot 2018, Stage 12, Geraint Thomas

* result annulled due to doping conviction

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tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

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L'Alpe d'Huez

L'Alpe d'Huez: same day double ascent the high point of Tour de France

O n 26 June the annual series of timed climbs of l'Alpe d'Huez began. Until 3 September, every Wednesday, amateur cyclists can pay €5 at the tourist office in Bourg d'Oisans, the village at the foot of the climb, and rent a transponder that will record their time for the 13.8km ascent to the ski resort at the top. An extra euro gets you a certificate stating that you have joined the many who have completed the most infamous and celebrated mountain climb in cycling.

Last October, the mayor of the resort told me that he estimated between 500 and 800 cyclists a day ride up the Alpe through summer. To accommodate them the road that will take the race down off the mountain this year via the Col de Sarenne has been renovated. The plan is to turn the Alpe into a giant one-way cycle circuit on certain days, to avoid the accidents that happen when hundreds are wobbling upwards and whizzing down at the same time.

That's one illustration of the pulling power of the Tour de France and the lure of the Alpe. It also says volumes about the increasingly symbiotic relationship between the sporting event and the people who follow it and are inspired by it. Increasingly in the past 20 years, major cycling events have come to be seen as a way of getting bums on bikes; this is another step, where a facility is put into use for the cyclists inspired by the Tour, and then the Tour can use it as well.

Appropriately enough, the Alpe is the location on Thursday for what should be the high point of this year's 100th edition of the world's greatest bike race, when the Tour climbs up it twice in the same day , thanks to a few newly refurbished kilometres of asphalt down to the Sarenne valley. For the first time, fans will be able to stand on the fabled slopes of the Tour's craziest climb and watch the race go past twice. The Alpe is about to get even more important, even more popular and even more demented.

The double ascent is this year's novelty, and it is apposite that it is happening at the Alpe. The first stage finish there in 1952 marked a turning point: the Tour's first mountain-top finish, the first stage to be filmed for live television from cameras borne on motorcycles. In that sense, it was the first "modern" Tour stage: 61 years on, the small screen is the driving force behind the Tour's finances; after years of being run by print writers its organisation is headed by a television journalist, Christian Prudhomme, who has unashamedly sought to "sex up" the old race, with more drama and more epic scenic backdrops.

Before that 1952 finish at the Alpe, the Tour went over mountains rather than finishing stages at the top of them. This was in keeping with its founder Henri Desgrange's mission of turning men into supermen to create newspaper headlines: it was all a slog but it made great copy for the writers. A stage ending on top of a mountain, on the other hand, was easily filmed and more dramatic than a series of individuals coming over a mountain and whizzing down the other side where they would travel more quickly than the motorbikes. A summit finish was a simple narrative: the winner climbed fastest.

There was another factor that would not have escaped Félix Lévitan, who managed the purse strings from the 1940s to the 80s. Summit finishes were a fresh source of money. The consortium who owned the hotels on the Alpe paid the modern equivalent of €3,250 to host the race. Hosting the Tour would become a common marketing ploy for ski resorts: they could cash in for a couple of days on the Tour, its caravan and fans, and gain name recognition on television that might lead to business in winter.

After Fausto Coppi's victory in 1952, the Tour didn't visit the Alpe again until 1976, but in the late 70s and through the 80s, it became the Tour's most popular summit finish – among the organisers and fans if not the riders. In 1979, it was climbed twice, on consecutive days, which was unique at the time. The fans came in numbers, particularly the Dutch, who holidayed in the area, and were drawn by the success of star riders such as Joop Zoetemelk – it was said he would never get a tan, because he rode forever in Eddy Merckx's shadow – the mild-mannered Hennie Kuiper, and the wild-eyed Peter Winnen. Nowadays, an entire zone of the climb, between corners six and five, is taken over by Dutch fans.

The rest of the 21 hairpins is turned into a cycling version of Glastonbury festival; tents perched precariously on the steep slopes, dubious-looking barbecues and, everywhere, cyclists riding up and down. Estimates for crowd numbers vary, but they are well into six figures, with the biggest attendance, anecdotally at least, for the time trial in 2004, "won" by Lance Armstrong, just in front of a couple of bodyguards appointed after death threats against the future-ex-seven-times Tour winner. As with all the Tour's great climbs, the fans get closer to the athletes they have come to watch than at any sports event – too close in the case of the lad who was photographing the stage winner Giuseppe Guerini close to the summit in 1999, and knocked him off his bike .

It was always going to happen at the Alpe, because it has had more than its share of legendary incidents. In 1977, the climb witnessed what amounted to Eddy Merckx's farewell to the Tour; as the legendary "Cannibal" groveled up the mountain, a sick man and far behind the leaders, it was obvious his career was about to end. The following year, another Belgian, Michel Pollentier, scored a grand slam of stage win, yellow jersey and mountains jersey, only to have it all taken away from him after he was found defrauding the doping control with an elaborate network of rubber tubes to convey someone else's urine to the sample bottle.

In cycling terms, what makes the Alpe especially tough is that it has no run-in. There is no chance for riders to find a rhythm because of the immediate transition from flat valley road in the village of Bourg d'Oisans, to the first "wall", as the road zigzags across the side of the valley. It looks like a cliff face and might as well be. The initial steep section lasts as far as the village of La Garde but, according to Scotland's king of the mountains Robert Millar, it is the first kilometre to the first hairpin that counts the most.

"If you can get to the first corner without blowing your brain then you've got a good chance of making it to the top without getting in a serious state – but don't count on it," was Millar's description. Therein lies the draw of the Alpe – and the Tour's other great climbs – the speed may be very different, but the pain is the same, whether you are a weekend warrior with a €5 transponder looking to compare your time with your best mate, or Chris Froome with your eyes on victory in the 100th Tour. And now it's so good they ride it twice.

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Alpe D´huez - The most popular and iconic cycling climb on earth

1/2/2023 – Lauren Wolff

Alpe D´huez - The most popular and iconic cycling climb on earth

Alpe d'Huez is undeniably the world's most famous climb. With over 30 appearances in the Tour since 1952 and a regular stage mountain top finish since 1976, it is one that you have to do and get a taste of the suffering, pain and glory! While it is not the most challenging climb in the Tour, Alpe d'Huez is usually the grand finale to a long and gruelling Alpine stage, often including Col du Madeleine, La Croix de Fer and Glandon. Also, the experience of the journey of carving one's way up the mountain and not just the final destination to the top makes it unique: The countdown of the 21 hairpins, which, during the Tour, is lined with over a million spectators, makes this event magical, and the atmosphere pulsating.

During the summer months, between 500 and 1000 cyclists make their way up Alpe d'Huez every day, starting from Bourg d'Oisans. Each year, the La Marmotte and Haute Route events draw thousands of avid recreational cyclists on their special pilgrimage to conquer their goals in this iconic location. La Marmotte Granfondo is a one-day cycling event held in the summer after the Tour de France. The organisation limits the number of entrants to 7,500, and most participants come from abroad to fulfil their bucket lists. The Marmotte routes include the Glandon, the Telegraph, the Galibier, the Lautaret, and finally, the final ascent of Alpe d'Huez, with a total of 177 km and 5,000m covered in a day. Participants' goals may be for a specific time or to finish. Meanwhile, the Haute Route is a more extended event over seven days, a distance of 755 km and 20,100m ascent, with the Alpe d'Huez as one of the epic climbs.


In the winter, Alpe d'Huez is a well-known and historic ski resort, attracting downhill or Alpine skiers rather than cyclists. In all types of weather, you can experience this legendary climb on ROUVY. Feel the actual gradients and see the same views virtually on ROUVY without leaving your home, and while doing so will make you realise the unbelievable strength it takes to be a Tour de France legend.

Historical beginnings

Had it not been for a group of business owners looking to market their ski resort hotel, Alpe d'Huez may not be so well known today. They petitioned the Tour race organisers and persuaded them to host the first-ever mountain top stage finish inaugurating the climb's legendary status in the Tour. They were successful, and the climb made its first appearance in 1952, won by Fausto Coppi , who attacked 6km from the top and marked the start of the Golden Age of cycling. Pantani was one of the few riders who could take the 'maillot Jaune' on the Alp and keep it all the way to Paris. 1952 was also the first year TV camera crews on motorbikes came to the Tour.


Significant incidents

Going back in history, in 1999, Giusseppe Guerini won despite being knocked off his bike by a spectator after breaking away on his own, and he managed to get up and win the stage. Then, in the 2004 individual Time Trial, it became dangerous when fans got too close and also pushed riders along.


The first eight out of the 14 first-ever stage winners were Dutch, so the name 'Dutch Mountain' was coined, and so Dutch Corner became a celebration of orange-themed outfits, orange smoke flares and beer and established itself on Hairpin number seven. Here, fans from the Netherlands camp out and position themselves days before the Tour arrives, creating a chaotic and party atmosphere. But no matter where you find yourself on the way up, being a spectator at the side of the road on Alpe d'Huez should be on every cyclist's bucket list. Nowadays, the crowds are more under control with stricter security measures and road barriers to protect the riders.


A weekly timed event for recreational and avid cyclists up the Alpe d'Huez

If you want to test yourself in real life and do a race up Alpe d'Huez, then every Wednesday morning, a mass start timed event begins in the centre of Bourg d'Oisans. The chip starts timing when you pass the sensor at the bottom of the climb at Chrono 0 sign.


How to tackle the Alpe d'Huez

Before approaching the Alpe d’Huez on ROUVY you’ll need to prepare! Eat something with high glycaemic carbohydrates with sugars 1-2 hours before you get on the bike. Begin with a good warmup of at least 15 minutes. The warmup of gentle spinning and a low heart rate will increase the blood flow to your muscles. A warmup raises your body temperature and helps improve the range of motion in your joints. Once warm, your muscles feel less stiff and pedalling becomes more fluid.


Pacing is KEY: Hairpin by hairpin, up the climb we go!

Winding your way up to the summit, you'll ascend 1,860 m and ride 13,8km with an average gradient of 8% and a maximum of 13%. Ride at the highest pace you can sustain for 14km of climbing and keep a relaxed pace. Unlike on the virtual ROUVY climb, there are no distance markers or percentages of what the gradients are on the actual climb, only the metres ascent done. On the actual route, each bend is numbered and named after past legendary stage winners, which can inspire the imagination about the battles, stories and conquests that have taken place on this iconic climb since the Tour began.


Look for the first milestone that says 'Chrono Depart KOM 0' a couple of km before the first ramp. Important tip: Don't start too quickly. Try to be conservative for the first six bends, as they are the hardest, averaging 11%. Try to keep the heart rate as low as possible by maintaining a constant and comfortable cadence to keep breathing stable. So relax, and keep a positive attitude focused on embracing the climb. And don't forget to drink - every 10 minutes will help maintain fluid levels and keep you hydrated.


Landmarks along the way

From the village of La Garde to Huez, where you'll find the middle ten hairpins 15-6, you'll feel and enjoy a 200m respite with a slightly flatter section. Make the most of it and take in some water and, if necessary, a gel and an opportunity to recover your legs. You'll then pass a few landmarks: the monument dedicated to Joaquim Agostinho. On the 14th curve of the Alpe d'Huez, a large bronze bust mounted on a three-foot granite pedestal commemorates his stage victory in 1979. Onwards for a few more corners, you reach the landmark church of Saint-Ferréol.


We ride on through Huez village from bend 5-0, which will hurt somewhat as these are as tough as the first few. Only on the last three turns is where you'll feel the gradients ease to 5-6%. Enjoy the glory at the top, finally! There is a tourist 'top' finish with a banner bridge across the road (this was where I took my first photo after riding down and then up as I started at the top) and the Chrono and Tour finish, which is a kilometre further. Be proud that you virtually finished this legendary and mythical climb of Alpe d’Huez on ROUVY and experienced something similar to the actual version outside.


Tip : On a good direct drive trainer, your experience will be optimal because the gradients will feel real, but remember to make sure that you have climbing gears on the bike to pedal a high cadence of between 80-95 rpm!


Take a look at the official STRAVA KOM and the interesting CRONO course stats

Estimated time to complete on ROUVY:

3,6 W/kg - 1h00

3W/Kg - 1h10

2W/kg - 1h40


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Alpe d’Huez cycling climb, French Alps

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To cycle Alpe d’Huez is to conquer cycling’s most famous mountain: the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb is the most famous climb the sport has.

The 21 bends that wiggle up the Alpe d’Huez climb are instantly recognisable and have been responsible for shaping the outcome of the Tour de France more often than perhaps any other.

For that, if nothing else, cycling Alpe d’Huez is a must-do ride for most serious road cyclists.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Cycling Alpe D’Huez: highlights

Riding Alpe d’Huez and conquering it!

It’s been in over 25 Tour de France stages; climbing it brings you closer to the sport. It also makes you realise the unbelievable strength it takes to be a Tour de France champion.

Alpe d'Huez switchbacks above Bourg d'Oisans

Climbing Alpe d’Huez: what to expect

1. base at bourg d’oisans to la garde: first 6 bends (bends 21-16).

Look out for the “Depart, KM 0” tombstone by the side of the road: it’s a couple of kilometres outside town, just before the turn onto the first ramp up. The first six bends up to La Garde are the toughest of the mountain, averaging around 11%.

Our advice: don’t push it too hard here or you’ll blow up later.

2. La Garde to Huez: middle 10 bends (bends 15-6)

After a brief 200m respite from the harsh gradients as you ride through La Garde, it’s up past the monument dedicated to Joachim Agostino at bend 14 and onto a string of corners before you reach the church of Saint-Ferréol . Gradients in this section are still a hefty old 8-9% but they’ll feel easier than the first bends. Next step is through Huez village.

3. Huez to Tour de France finish: last 5 bends (bends 5-0)

As you head out of Huez village , be prepared for a series of stinging bends which are as difficult as the first on the mountain. It’s only in the last three kilometres that you find some respite with average gradients of 5-6%.

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

4. Descending Alpe d’Huz

There are a few options:

Return the way you came

Via Villard Reculas and down to Allemont: take a look at our Pas de La Confession loop . This route involves a few meters of additional climbing, but the cliff road to Villard Reculas is stunning.

Via La Guard and the balcony road: this would be the first leg of our Balcons d’Auris, Col de Sarenne and Alpe d’Huez ride, but instead of going on to ride Col de Sarenne, you would return home along the main road between Freney d’Oisans and Bourg d’Oisans. This route involves approximately an additional 350m climbing. Like the Pas de La Confession loop, the views from the balcony road are incredible.

Via Col d’Sarenne: this is our Balcons d’Auris, Col de Sarenne and Alpe d’Huez route in reverse .

Alpe d'Huez church

Water is available from a water fountain at bend 16 (La Garde en Oisans). Alpe d’Huez village also has a good choice of cafés.

Where to stay

Find our tips on where to stay and specific accommodation suggestions in our article on where to stay in/around Alpe d’Huez.

Cycling Alpe d’Huez: tips

  • Alpe d’Huez’s 8% average gradient over 13km and should not be underestimated. Don’t start too quickly! The first six bends to La Garde are the most difficult.
  • This guide is based on the Tour de France finish. Confusingly, there are two finishes. The earlier finish (known as the tourist finish) is as you first go into Alpe d’Huez, just before the wooden bridge. The Tour de France finish is another kilometre or so into town on the Avenue du Rif Nel, by a car park next to the ski slopes.
  • Each bend is numbered and named after past stage winners. This article lists the names you can expect to see on each bend. If you want to see the road in its full painted glory, come for (or just after) the Tour – or indeed the Alp d’Huzes sportive.
  • If you want to see the road in its full painted glory, come for (or just after) the Tour – or indeed the  Alp d’Huzes sportive.
  • Marco Pantani holds the record for the fastest ascent – 37 minutes, 35 seconds (based on 14.45km).
  • Take enough water: in summer the climb gets very hot, with the sun reflected off the tarmac and walls.
  • On average, nearly 400 cyclists a day make the legendary climb (we’ve seen estimates of around 1,000/day during the summer). Go early if you want to be amongst the first of the day.
  • Want to know the best time to cycle Alpe d’Huez? Read this section of our guide to the region.
  • There are professional photographers on the way up, in case you want a photo to prove you were there!
  • If you want a race up Alpe d’Huez, then every Wednesday at 10am there is a mass start timed event. It starts under a big inflatable start banner from the centre of Bourg d’Oisans. Registration is from 9am at the Bourg d’Oisans tourist office (though we think you could get your number and chip the day before). The chip starts timing when you pass the sensor at the bottom of the climb. You may also want to consider a sportive incorporating Alpe d’Huez.
  • Ever wonder why people refer to Alpe d’Huez as the Dutch mountain?  8 out of the first 14 winners were Dutch. The Dutch have adopted bend 7 as Dutch corner and during the Tour de France they turn it orange!
  • Still want to try cycling up Alpe d’Huez?! Read our tips for cycling in the Alps before you set out.
  • Alpe d’Huez forms the finish line for the notorious Marmotte Granfondo – here’s our guide to the Marmotte and a reader Q&A too.

Found this guide useful?

  • We’d love to hear from you – comment below or drop us a line .
  • Check out our ultimate guide to cycling around Alpe d’Huez and other articles on the Alps, below.
  • Want to do an Everest cycling challenge on Alpe d’Huez? Read our experience here .
  • Don’t miss our other ride guides on the area: find them all in the Road Rides section of our ultimate guide.

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8 Responses to “Alpe d’Huez cycling climb, French Alps”

Where can we hire bikes to ride the Alp Duez?

Hi Peter, check out the information in the “bike hire” section of this article: Have a great trip! Clare

I’m currently sat at the top of the climb, unfortunately your route is incorrect and does not take you to the iconic finish and Tour de France plinth rather it goes around and up a parallel road.

Pretty gutted to have have missed that. Please compare to Strava etc and update.

Hi Sam, thanks for flagging this. I’m sorry you were disappointed, we’ve now updated the route. Perhaps an excuse to tackle the Alpe again another day?!

Thanks for a great website full of all the info i am looking for. my name is John and i am travelling from New Zealand to experience a week watching the Tour d’France and ride some of the famous rides. im bringing my own bike. i will be riding alone, but after reading your info i will be amongst many other friendly cyclists. Cant wait. i can say now it will be slow going but wonderful! thanks

I hope you are having/had a wonderful time! Thanks for your kind words. Please tell your friends about the website! And if you know anyone that would be interested in sharing their knowledge of cycling in New Zealand, do get in touch ([email protected]). We would love to tell our readers about it!

Dears, I kindly ask you for information Is there during October some days to climb the Alpe d huez only for cyclist? So close for car? Thanks a lot for answer Martin

Not as far as we know, I’m afraid, but you could check with the local tourist office in Bourg d’Oisans – they should be able to tell you definively!

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Published: July 17, 2013

The tour de france: a double ascent of alpe d’huez, stage start: a fast-paced climb.

The start is straight uphill toward the Col de Manse mountain pass, a climb of more than 1,500 feet. But the pace will be fast: many riders want to be part of the breakaway for a chance at a stage victory or to collect points for the sprint and the mountain competitions. The teams at the top of the overall standings will try to control the stage early on. If the breakaway contains riders who are in contention for the yellow jersey, the top teams will join the break and force the contenders back to the pack.

Chasing the Breakaway

If the breakaway group does not include contenders, the peloton will let it go, and a gap of 10 or more minutes can be created. The breakaway is likely to happen at any point before the peloton reaches Valbonnais . Once the breakaway has been established, those remaining in the peloton will work together to close the gap. By the time they reach the descent of the Col d’Ornon , the top contenders are likely to have positioned themselves near the front.

Alpe d’Huez: Climb, Descend, Climb

It is critical to be near the front for the climb up Alpe d’Huez because the many switchbacks can cause gaps in the group. If the riders become separated from the front, it will be difficult to make up that distance. During the descent off the Col de Sarrene , the riders will be going full speed, trying to maintain or gain position for the final climb. These speeds can make this descent a dangerous one: the riders are tired and can make mistakes; the road is narrow and lacks guardrails. On the final climb — a second trip up Alpe d’Huez — the top teams will increase the speed, decimating the peloton until only the strongest climbers remain. Then they will attack one another, racing for the stage win and trying to gain time in the overall race.

Imagery: DigitalGlobe via Google

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The Climb Up Alpe d’Huez

and its mythical 21 bends

  • Introduction
  • Route & profile
  • Bend by bend
  • Tour de France : the winners

l’Alpe d’Huez and its mythical 21 bends

As the Mecca of the  Tour de France ,  Alpe d’Huez and it’s 21 bends  are a crucial stage of this world renowned competition . 21 signs help keep the rhythm as you climb 21 bends covering 1120 metres of height gain over 14 kilometres.

Each day during the summer, an average of 1000 riders climb this mythical ascent. Over 7000 cycle tourists participate in the Marmotte, 2000 of whom receive a diploma making their climb time official.

If there is one cycle race that you have to do in your lifetime – the climb up Alpe d’Huez, in the heart of Oisans, is the one for you !

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Montée de l’Alpe d’Huez à vélo ©Cyrille Quintard

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

La Marmotte ©Laurent Salino

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Le Tour de France à l’Alpe d’Huez ©Laurent Salino

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

Alpe d’Huez climb in figures

  • Departure : 2,351 feet
  • Arrival : 6,100 feet
  • Altitude difference : 3,749 feet
  • Length : 8,89 miles
  • Average gradient : 7,9 %
  • Maximum gradient : 14 %
  • Climb record : 37’35’’, average speed of 14,34 miles/h (Marco Pantani in 1997)

Route and profile

Profil de la montée de l'Alpe d'Huez

The ascent bend by bend

Virages 21 à 17

After a warm-up on the straight roads of the Oisans valley, you will reach the foot of the famous ascent to Alpe d’Huez . 10 minutes after crossing the starting line, you’ll be in the heart of the matter… those flat stretches are far behind you ! Starting at 737m, the first severe slope takes you to bend 21 (at 806 m) and continues with a fearful climb up to bend 17 at 965m.

Virages 16 à 14

Once you’ve passed this bend, you can recover on the 200m gentle slope crossing the village of La Garde at bend 16 . Here the most determined pick up speed, whilst the others puff and blow untill bend 15 (1025m) where the slope gets steeper again for about one kilometre. By bend 14 , where you can see the monument dedicated to Joachim Agostino, you’ll be feeling quite fit.

Virages 13 à 6

A relatively flat stretch will take you to Ribot d’en Bas (down below), out of which you’ll understand why the next hamlet is called Ribot d’en Haut (on top). At 1161m you reach bend 12 , followed by a string of bends 11/10/9 that will put any riders physical fitness to the test. Last moment of lesser difficulty, your arrival at Saint-Ferréol (1390 m – cemetary of Huez) where those in distress can slake their thirst at the fountain. Next, the ascent and crossing of Huez village .

Virages 5 à 2

From bends 5 to 2 , you are once again in the heart of the matter up until the crossing known as the ‘Patte d’oie’ crossing, where the 3 last bends proceed on a slope similar to the first part of the ascent.

Virages 1 à fin

The climb to the resort ends with bend 1 (1713 m) which is very wide, before you come out in Vieil Alpe and pass through the tunnel. Up by chalet Le Camigane you are cheered up by the red flame marking the last kilometer until the summit, which is flatter between the two roundabouts. 300 meters left and you will have finished the 21 most mythical bends in the realm of cycling.

Tour de France : Alpe d’Huez winners

Le Tour de France à l'Alpe d'Huez


tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez


tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez


  • 1952 Fausto Coppi (Italie)
  • 1976 Joop Zoetemelk (Pays-Bas)
  • 1977 Hennie Kuiper (Pays-Bas)
  • 1978 Hennie Kuiper (Pays-Bas)
  • 1979 Joachim Agostinho (Portugal)
  • 1980 Joop Zoetemelk (Pays Bas)
  • 1981 Peter Winnen (Pays-Bas)
  • 1982 Beat Breu (Suisse)
  • 1983 Peter Winnen (Pays-Bas)
  • 1984 Luis Herrera (Colombie)
  • 1986 Bernard Hinault (France)
  • 1987 Federico Echave (Espagne)
  • 1988 Steven Rooks (Pays-Bas)
  • 1989 Gert-Jan Theunisse (Pays-Bas)
  • 1990 Gianni Bugno (Italie)
  • 1991 Gianni Bugno (Italie)
  • 1992 Andrew Hampsten (USA)
  • 1994 Roberto Conti (Italie)
  • 1995 Marco Pantani (Italie)
  • 1997 Marco Pantani (Italie)
  • 1999 Giuseppe Guerini (Italie)
  • 2001 Lance Armstrong (USA)
  • 2003 Iban Mayo (Espagne)
  • 2004 Lance Armstrong (USA)
  • 2006 Frank Schleck (Lux)
  • 2008 Carlos Sastre (Espagne)
  • 2011 Pierre Rolland (France)
  • 2013 Christophe Riblon (France)
  • 2015 Thibaut Pinot (France)
  • 2018 Geraint Thomas (Grande Bretagne)

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Marco Pantani on Alpe d'Huez, Tour de France 1997

Top 200 fastest climbs on the Alpe d’Huez [All-time list] [2022 update]

L’Alpe d’Huez is a ski resort at 1,250 to 3,330 meters (4,100 to 10,930 ft) in the Central French Western Alps, in the commune of Huez. The maximum elevation of the legendary climb is 1,815 meters (5,955 feet). The climb is used regularly in the Tour de France, including twice on the same day in 2013. Despite it is certainly not the toughest climb in the French Alps and in Europe, it is one of the most iconic climbs of the Tour de France. Here are the top 200 fastest climbs on the Alpe d’Huez.

All-time fastest climbs on the Alpe d’Huez

In reversed order (fastest in the end)

# | Cyclist | Time (min:sec) | Year

  • Santiago Botero | 42:11 | 2004
  • Laurent Fignon | 42:10 | 1987
  • Simon Yates | 42:10 | 2015
  • Pedro Delgado | 42:09 | 1987
  • Laurent Fignon | 42:09 | 1989
  • Pedro Delgado | 42:09 | 1989
  • Andy Schleck | 42:09 | 2011
  • Frank Schleck | 42:09 | 2011
  • Damiano Cunego | 42:09 | 2011
  • Thomas De Gendt | 42:09 | 2011
  • Cadel Evans | 42:09 | 2011
  • Peter Velits | 42:09 | 2011
  • Roman Kreuziger | 42:08 | 2013
  • Roberto Laiseka | 42:07 | 2001
  • Igor G. de Galdeano | 42:07 | 2001
  • Francisco Mancebo | 42:05 | 2001
  • Oscar Sevilla | 42:05 | 2004
  • Sylvain Chavanel | 42:04 | 2006
  • Kevin Livingston | 42:03 | 1997
  • Pierre Rolland | 42:03 | 2011
  • Nairo Quintana | 42:03 | 2018
  • Ruben Lobato | 42:00 | 2006
  • Kim Kirchen | 41:59 | 2004
  • Marzio Bruseghin | 41:58 | 2004
  • Ryder Hesjedal | 41:58 | 2015
  • Jakob Fuglsang | 41:58 | 2018
  • Marius Sabaliauskas | 41:57 | 2004
  • Richard Virenque | 41:57 | 2004
  • Michael Boogerd | 41:57 | 2006
  • Yaroslav Popovych | 41:57 | 2006
  • Giuseppe Guerini | 41:56 | 1999
  • Stefano Garzelli | 41:56 | 2006
  • Wout Poels | 41:54 | 2015
  • Tom Pidcock | 41:54 | 2022
  • Yuriy Krivtsov | 41:53 | 2004
  • Alberto Contador | 41:52 | 2013
  • Jakob Fuglsang | 41:52 | 2013
  • Mikel Nieve | 41:52 | 2013
  • Pierrick Fedrigo | 41:49 | 2004
  • Laudelino Cubino | 41:48 | 1995
  • Laurent Dufaux | 41:48 | 1995
  • Anthony Charteau | 41:48 | 2004
  • Bernhard Kohl | 41:47 | 2008
  • Christian Vandevelde | 41:47 | 2008
  • Denis Menchov | 41:47 | 2008
  • Cadel Evans | 41:47 | 2008
  • Vladimir Efimkin | 41:47 | 2008
  • Frank Schleck | 41:45 | 2008
  • Alejandro Valverde | 41:45 | 2008
  • Luis Herrera | 41:44 | 1987
  • Benjamin Noval | 41:44 | 2004
  • Alvaro Mejia | 41:43 | 1991
  • Laurent Fignon | 41:42 | 1991
  • Levi Leipheimer | 41:42 | 2004
  • Santiago Perez | 41:41 | 2004
  • David Etxebarria | 41:39 | 2004
  • Laurent Brochard | 41:38 | 2004
  • Thierry Claveyrolat | 41:37 | 1991
  • Steven Rooks | 41:37 | 1991
  • Ludovic Martin | 41:37 | 2004
  • Andy Schleck | 41:35 | 2008
  • Samuel Sanchez | 41:35 | 2008
  • Alberto Contador | 41:35 | 2011
  • Vincenzo Nibali | 41:29 | 2018
  • Primoz Roglic | 41:29 | 2018
  • Pietro Caucchioli | 41:27 | 2004
  • Samuel Sanchez | 41:26 | 2011
  • Pascal Herve | 41:25 | 1994
  • Javier P. Rodriguez | 41:25 | 1997
  • Oscar Camenzind | 41:25 | 1997
  • Michele Scarponi | 41:23 | 2004
  • Mikel Landa | 41:23 | 2018
  • Thomas Davy | 41:21 | 1994
  • Gerd Audehm | 41:21 | 1994
  • Bjarne Riis | 41:21 | 1994
  • Bobby Julich | 41:21 | 1997
  • Peter Luttenberger | 41:21 | 1997
  • Jose Maria Jimenez | 41:21 | 1997
  • Jean-Cyril Robin | 41:21 | 1997
  • Patrick Jonker | 41:21 | 1997
  • Roberto Laiseka | 41:21 | 2003
  • Ivan Basso | 41:21 | 2003
  • Tyler Hamilton | 41:21 | 2003
  • Joseba Beloki | 41:21 | 2003
  • Haimar Zubeldia | 41:21 | 2003
  • Francisco Mancebo | 41:21 | 2003
  • Lance Armstrong | 41:21 | 2003
  • Chris Froome | 41:20 | 2018
  • Davide Rebellin | 41:19 | 1997
  • Romain Bardet | 41:19 | 2018
  • Tom Dumoulin | 41:18 | 2018
  • Thibaut Pinot | 41:17 | 2015
  • Geraint Thomas | 41:16 | 2018
  • Richie Porte | 41:15 | 2015
  • Pedro Delgado | 41:15 | 1991
  • Tadej Valjavec | 41:14 | 2006
  • Christophe Moreau | 41:14 | 2006
  • Claudio Chiappucci | 41:13 | 1991
  • Sylvain Chavanel | 41:13 | 2004
  • Axel Merckx | 41:13 | 2004
  • Fernando Escartin | 41:08 | 1997
  • Francisco Mancebo | 41:08 | 2004
  • Jean-Francois Bernard | 41:05 | 1991
  • Gilberto Simoni | 41:03 | 2004
  • Christophe Moreau | 41:00 | 2004
  • Alejandro Valverde | 40:59 | 2013
  • Oscar Sevilla | 40:58 | 2001
  • Juan Miguel Mercado | 40:57 | 2004
  • Mikel Astarloza | 40:57 | 2004
  • Damiano Cunego | 40:57 | 2006
  • Floyd Landis | 40:56 | 2004
  • Chris Froome | 40:55 | 2013
  • Richie Porte | 40:55 | 2013
  • Alexandre Vinokourov | 40:54 | 2003
  • Johan Bruyneel | 40:52 | 1995
  • Gilberto Simoni | 40:50 | 2006
  • Sandy Casar | 40:49 | 2004
  • Fränk Schleck | 40:46 | 2006
  • Georg Totschnig | 40:45 | 2004
  • Armand de las Cuevas | 40:43 | 1994
  • Fernando Escartin | 40:43 | 1994
  • Pascal Lino | 40:43 | 1994
  • Oscar Pellicioli | 40:43 | 1994
  • Chris Froome | 40:42 | 2015
  • Alejandro Valverde | 40:42 | 2015
  • Manuel Beltran | 40:40 | 1997
  • Jose Enrique Gutierrez | 40:40 | 2004
  • Ivan Gotti | 40:34 | 1995
  • Richard Virenque | 40:34 | 1995
  • Christophe Moreau | 40:34 | 2001
  • Mikel Astarloza | 40:33 | 2006
  • Luc Leblanc | 40:32 | 1991
  • Oscar Pereiro | 40:32 | 2004
  • Miguel Indurain | 40:31 | 1991
  • Gianni Bugno | 40:30 | 1991
  • Haimar Zubeldia | 40:30 | 2006
  • Cyril Dessel | 40:30 | 2006
  • Marcos Serrano | 40:27 | 2004
  • Orlando Rodrigues | 40:24 | 1997
  • Roberto Conti | 40:20 | 1994
  • Abraham Olano | 40:19 | 1997
  • Marco Fincato | 40:16 | 1997
  • Laurent Jalabert | 40:16 | 1997
  • Ivan Parra | 40:15 | 2006
  • Cadel Evans | 40:15 | 2006
  • Michael Rogers | 40:15 | 2006
  • Oscar Pereiro | 40:15 | 2006
  • Joseba Beloki | 40:13 | 2001
  • Laurent Jalabert | 40:10 | 1995
  • Michael Rogers | 40:07 | 2004
  • Jan Ullrich | 40:03 | 2001
  • Alex Zülle | 40:01 | 1994
  • Piotr Ugrumov | 40:01 | 1994
  • Pavel Tonkov | 40:01 | 1995
  • Tony Rominger | 39:58 | 1995
  • Stephane Goubert | 39:58 | 2004
  • Ivan Basso | 39:58 | 2004
  • Carlos Sastre | 39:57 | 2004
  • David Moncoutie | 39:56 | 2004
  • Laurent Madouas | 39:53 | 1997
  • Roberto Conti | 39:53 | 1997
  • Udo Bölts | 39:53 | 1997
  • Beat Zberg | 39:53 | 1997
  • Paolo Lanfranchi | 39:52 | 1995
  • Claudio Chiappucci | 39:52 | 1995
  • Joaquim Rodriguez | 39:52 | 2013
  • Nairo Quintana | 39:49 | 2013
  • Pietro Caucchioli | 39:47 | 2006
  • Michael Rasmussen | 39:47 | 2006
  • Denis Menchov | 39:47 | 2006
  • Fernando Escartin | 39:45 | 1995
  • Vladimir Karpets | 39:41 | 2004
  • Santos Gonzalez | 39:41 | 2004
  • Giuseppe Guerini | 39:40 | 2004
  • Vladimir Poulnikov | 39:37 | 1994
  • Carlos Sastre | 39:32 | 2008
  • Luc Leblanc | 39:30 | 1994
  • Miguel Indurain | 39:30 | 1994
  • Bjarne Riis | 39:22 | 1997
  • Nairo Quintana | 39:22 | 2015
  • Francesco Casagrande | 39:21 | 1997
  • Levi Leipheimer | 39:15 | 2006
  • Jose Azevedo | 39:14 | 2004
  • Andreas Klöden | 39:12 | 2004
  • Sep Kuss | 39:12 | 2022
  • Enric Mas | 39:12 | 2022
  • Geraint Thomas | 39:12 | 2022
  • Jonas Vingegaard | 39:12 | 2022
  • Tadej Pogačar | 39:12 | 2022
  • Iban Mayo | 39:09 | 2003
  • Carlos Sastre | 39:01 | 2006
  • Richard Virenque | 38:55 | 1994
  • Laurent Madouas | 38:44 | 1995
  • Jan Ullrich | 38:44 | 2004
  • Andreas Klöden | 38:36 | 2006
  • Floyd Landis | 38:36 | 2006
  • Richard Virenque | 38:21 | 1997
  • Bjarne Riis | 38:16 | 1995
  • Alex Zülle | 38:14 | 1995
  • Miguel Indurain | 38:14 | 1995
  • Lance Armstrong | 38:04 | 2001
  • Jan Ullrich | 37:41 | 1997
  • Lance Armstrong | 37:36 | 2004
  • Marco Pantani | 37:15 | 1994
  • Marco Pantani | 36:54 | 1997
  • Marco Pantani | 36:50 | 1995
  • These results are from the Tour de France. For example, Alberto Contador holds one of the fastest times of the climb with 37′ 30″, achieved during the 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné. It was not included in the list above.
  • The 2004 stage was an individual time trial.
  • Winning the stage atop Alpe d’Huez does not mean you are the fastest rider on the climb on that particular stage. For example, Thibaut Pinot won in 2015 but his time was 41:17. Nairo Quintana was the fastest on the climb that day with a climbing time of 39:22.

Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France

Alpe d'Huez, Fausto Coppi

The legendary Alpe d’Huez was first introduced in the Tour de France in 1952. It was also the first mountaintop finish in Tour de France history. Fausto Coppi , “il campionissimo” won that first stage.

Coppi attacked 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the summit to rid himself of the French rider Jean Robic. He turned the Alpe into an instant legend because this was the year that motorcycle television crews first came to the Tour. The veteran reporter, Jacques Augendre, said:

“The Tourmalet, the Galibier, and the Izoard were the mythical mountains of the race. These three cols were supplanted by the Alpe d’Huez. Why? Because it’s the col of modernity. Coppi’s victory in 1952 was the symbol of a golden age of cycling, that of champions [such as] [Fausto] Coppi, [Gino] Bartali, [Ferdinand] Kübler , [Hugo] Koblet , [Louison] Bobet.”

“ But only Coppi and Armstrong and Carlos Sastre have been able to take the maillot jaune on the Alpe and to keep it to Paris. That’s not by chance. From the first edition, shown on live television, the Alpe d’Huez definitively transformed the way the Grande Boucle ran. No other stage has had such drama. With its 21 bends, its gradient and the number of spectators, it is a climb in the style of Hollywood.”

Alpe d’Huez has a total of 21 hairpin bends. All these hairpin bends are named after the winners of stages. In 2001, Lance Armstrong was the 22nd winner, so the naming was restarted at the bottom with Lance Armstrong’s name added to Fausto Coppi’s.

Names on the hairpins are (Alpe d’Huez stage winners):

  • Fausto Coppi (1952), Lance Armstrong (2001)
  • Joop Zoetemelk (1976), Iban Mayo (2003)
  • Hennie Kuiper (1977), Lance Armstrong (2004)
  • Hennie Kuiper (1978), Frank Schleck (2006)
  • Joachim Agostinho (1979), Carlos Sastre (2008)
  • Joop Zoetemelk (1979), Pierre Rolland (2011)
  • Peter Winnen (1981), Christophe Riblon (2013)
  • Beat Breu (1982), Thibaut Pinot (2015)
  • Peter Winnen (1983), Geraint Thomas (2018)
  • Luis Herrera (1984), Tom Pidcock (2022)
  • Bernard Hinault (1986)
  • Federico Echave (1987)
  • Steven Rooks (1988)
  • Gert-Jan Theunisse (1989)
  • Gianni Bugno (1990)
  • Gianni Bugno (1991)
  • Andrew Hampsten (1992)
  • Roberto Conti (1994)
  • Marco Pantani (1995)
  • Marco Pantani (1997)
  • Giuseppe Guerini (1999)

The Dutch Mountain

Alpe d’Huez has been nicknamed the “Dutch Mountain” since Dutchmen won eight of the first 14 finishes atop Alpe d’Huez in the Tour De France.

Alpe d'Huez

  • Alpe d’Huez on Wikipedia
  • Alpe d’Huez climb details on Climb By Bike website
  • Recent Posts

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Le Tour de France Logo


Le Tour de France Logo

Tour de France in Alpe d'Huez

Biggest cycle race in Europe arrives in resort

It’s back! France's favourite sporting event will include Alpe d'Huez's legendary 21 bends once more.

The Battle of the Alps will take place this year on a route tailor-made for the best climbers in the field, before the race moves on to stages more favoured to the sprinters.

There is always a massive turn-out for this famous race and the streets of Alpe d'Huez will be lined with cheering fans. Get there early if you want a good spot as there will be people camping out all along the route well in advance.

Use the website link to access the official Tour de France website.

Alpe d'Huez

What to see

The tour has visited Alpe d'Huez more than 30 times, and many fans feel that a tour that doesn't go through Alpe d'Huez has something missing, certainly from a spectators point of view who flock in their droves to cheer the cyclists up the 21 hairpin bends. If you're planning to go to watch the stage this year, here are some tips on getting the most from your Alpe d'Huez tour:

  • Arrive the day before - if that's not possible you will need to use the lifts/cable cars from Oz en Oisans or Auris en Oisans to access Alpe d'Huez.
  • Road access - you should plan to reach Bourg d'Oisans before 09:30 (at the latest) as the roads will be completely closed. They usually close the night before until mid-morning the day after the race.
  • Parking - parking in advance between Patte d'Oie and Alpe d'Huez is completely forbidden and will be enforced by the police.

The Tour de France has an entourage of professional tour followers from all over the world, who know exactly where the best viewpoints are and position themselves in them well in advance of the stage arriving. If you want to be at the finish line (and you're probably too late already), then you need to stake your claim early on and be prepared for a long wait with sufficient snacks and drinks, plus shade and sunscreen to see you through. However, the time flies, the atmosphere is electric especially as the excitement builds in anticipation of the caravan and then cyclists arrival. Alternatively position yourself on one of the many bends for the uphill where the cyclists can't/won't whizz past.

It is often estimated hundreds of thousands of fans gather here for the race, however, this isn't always without some controversy, with heavy police intervention occasionally required. Wherever you put yourself, always be respectful of the riders at all times.

A regular stage in the Tour de France, it was first included in 1952, and has been a regular stage finish since 1976, racking up over 30 appearances on the Tour.

In 2013, stage 18 included a double ascent of the climb in the same day, with riders descending via Col de Sarenne before heading up again to finish at the top.

Facts & figures

The climb to Alpe d'Huez starts in the town of Bourg d'Oisans and covers 13.8km at an average gradient of 8.11%, with the steepest at 11.5%, before reaching the summit at 1,815m.

Only one rider, Geraint Thomas, has won the stage whilst in the yellow jersey, back in 2018 - when he also also won the overall Tour.

Alpe d'Huez has been nicknamed the Dutch Mountain since so many Dutch riders have won the stage - eight of the first 14 finishes.

The climb has been timed since 1994, with Italian rider Marco Pantani holding the fastest time at 37 minutes and 35 seconds.

Each one of the 21 bends is named after previous winners of the stage, each with a number and plaque.

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Tour 2013: Climbing Alpe d'Huez, twice in a day

Third category Col de Sarenne to allow double up

L'Alpe d'Huez has been climbed twice in the same Tour de France previously but that was on two consecutive days in 1979 with Joaquim Agostinho winning the 17th stage followed the next day by Joop Zoetemelk. In 2010 for the centennial of the Pyrénées's inclusion in the Tour, the Tourmalet was also on the menu two days in a row. But for the first time in the history of the world's biggest race, spectators will be able to enjoy watching the show on a gruelling climb twice on the same day, July 18, next year.

2013 Tour de France route presented in Paris

Tour de France 2013: Back to the 1998 nightmare

Froome ready to lead Team Sky at the Tour de France

Stage 18 will present a 168 kilometre route from Gap to L'Alpe d'Huez, starting from the gun with the Col de Manse (6.6km at 6.2%) where Alberto Contador attacked and dropped Andy Schleck in 2011 (on the opposing side), the Col d'Ornon (5.1km at 6.7%), L'Alpe d'Huez (12.3km at 8.4%), including a very steep section in the village - rather than the usual curve to the left under a bridge to reach the finishing line - to go in direction to the Col de Sarenne (3km at 7.8%) and the final ascent to L'Alpe d'Huez.

"This place is perfect for the Tour de France to make history," director Christian Prudhomme told Cyclingnews during a visit in the ski resort of the Isère province. "It's been the first mountain top finish and the first place where a TV camera was onboard a motorbike to film the race."

All that happened in 1952. Fausto Coppi was the first ever winner at L'Alpe d'Huez when the Tour de France was not yet used to organising stage finishes in a cul-de-sac. It took a long time (24 years) until the race went back up but since 1976, the 21 hairpin bends have marked the history of the race on a regular basis. It'll be the 28th stage finish at L'Alpe d'Huez - only two years after Pierre Rolland came of age. Prudhomme, who was a TV commentator before, described the venue as "the most telegenic climb in France".

"The idea of doing it twice came from the drawing of the 2011 Tour de France," he revealed. "It came from [technical director] Thierry Gouvenou who believed the 109.5km stage from Modane to L'Alpe d'Huez was too short. Now we've fully embraced the concept of having a very short mountain stage in the middle of longer ones."

It became a possibility when a road leading to the Col de Sarenne was asphalted near the archaeological digs. "Here were Europe's highest mines," the mayor of Huez-en-Oisans Jean-Yves Noyrey told Cyclingnews.

"Carbon was extracted until 1950. The new road has been financed by the community of neighbouring municipalities. We're getting closer and closer to our long term project of linking the ski resorts of Les Deux Alpes and L'Alpe d'Huez."

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"Our resort is so famous because of cycling that we have to remind people that we also have great ski slopes at L'Alpe d'Huez," Noyrey continued. "But of course, the reputation of L'Alpe d'Huez comes from the Tour de France. From May to September, 500 to 800 cyclists climb up here every day. The years that we host the Tour de France, it's between 800 to 1,000 cyclists."

tour de france 1999 alpe d'huez

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