Alpe d'Huez is one of the top climbs of the Tour de France. The Alpine village owes its fame to the "Grand boucle". In itself, it is certainly not the toughest climb in the French Alps.
The average percentage is quite high for a climb to a ski area, but with a length of 13 kilometers and less than 1,000 heightmeters, the Alpe d'Huez is not in the top of the toughest climbs.
Alpe d'Huez is also known as the Dutch mountain. This has mainly to do with the many Dutch riders who won a Tour stage on the Alp (8 wins in total so far, by Hennie Kuiper, Joop Zoetemelk, Peter Winnen, Steven Rooks, Gert-Jan Theunisse).
With each passage of the Tour de France, a Dutch legion is waiting for the riders in the famous bend 7, also known as the Dutch (or orange) curve. Also during the annual cycling event Alpe d'HuZes in June, for the benefit of cancer research, many Dutch amateur cyclists find their way to the top.
Each of the 21 hairpin bends of the climb is named after one (sometimes two) of the stage winners, depending on where they placed their ultimate attack. You can see a video of all bends of Alpe d'Huez on the YouTube page climbbybike.
The Alpe d'Huez is situated in Rhone-Alpes.
This climb belongs to the Alps.
The Alpe d'Huez via Bourg d'Oisans is ranked number 307 of the Alps.
This Alpe d'Huez approach starts in Bourg d'Oisans.
The Alpe d'Huez climb is 13.2 km long. You gain 1071 heightmeters, so the average gradient is 8.1 %.
The climb is ranked 846 in the world.
The maximum slope is 13%.
If you want to climb the Alpe d'Huez, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Alpe d'Huez here.
Since 2005, the Alpe d'Huez will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2018 : Bourg-Saint-Maurice - l’Alpe d’Huez on 19/07/2018
Tour de France 2015 : Modane - L'Alpe d'Huez on 25/07/2015
Tour de France 2013 : Gap - l'Alpe d'Huez on 18/07/2013
Tour de France 2011 : Modane > Alpe-d’Huez on 22/07/2011
La Marmotte 2010 : Marmotte 2010 on 03/07/2010
- Restaurant near/on top, Pub near/on top, Shelter near/on top, Shop near/on top, restaurant on road, pub on road, shelter on road, shop on road
- very good, asphalted
- Road number: D211
- bike shop near start climb, race bike rental near start climb
- good during summer season, open during the whole year
- Steepest 100 meter: 12 %
Alpe d'Huez via Bourg d'Oisans popularity rank : 2
The Alpe d'Huez has been climbed by 591 climbbybikers. It is ranked No. 2 as the most climbed climb in the world.
Discover all the most climbed climbs in the world.
Alpe d'Huez via Bourg d'Oisans: 94 reviews
Ridden the Alpe several times. If you think this is something that you'd like to do - if you're inspired, then by all means make sure you do it! Make a plan! It is certainly iconic within the cycling world. There are obviously harder climbs, but the Alpe is.. the Alpe!
If you seek a busy, social experience, go during the high season, but be aware it can get very hot, and the road very busy. If you'd like to experience it more on your own terms, try to do it later, in September or even early October - my first climb was early October, cool and damp, but very little traffic. Take care on the descent, eh? Cheers!
Did this climb for the first time in 2008 and neither myself or my bike was ready for it. I had an old Aluminium Trek, with a triple front sprocket. I made it, but it was slow and hard, with a ten minute break in the middle.
Five years later I returned, much better prepared, with the right kit and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Got up in 58 minutes at the age of 58.
So, be prepared and you''ll love it. Experience the history of a great, iconic climb.
Did this in July 2013 while doing the full route of stage 18 of the 2013 tdf so I had the "pleasure" of doing it twice in a day. It was scorchingly hot the first time up (39C) and this was made worse at the bottom as the heat seems to reflect of the concrete walls at the start of the climb. The bottom is definitely the worst bit with the first 4 bends being steep and tough so don''t go too hard here. Once you get beyond that then the gradient is consistent and you can get into a decent tempo and by the time I reached ''Dutch corner'' I was enjoying it. Second time up was actually easier as it had cooled down and even though we were a week ahead of the tdf proper there were lots of people in camper vans on the side of the road who gave us loads of encouragement. If you are going to do it twice then save some energy for the Sarenne which is a decent climb in itself and the descent demands total concentration as it is highly technical.
Never tried anything like this but at 46 years old I thought it was now or never. I was staying in Alpe D''huez itself so did the descent first - pretty cold in October and at the bottom I made my first schoolboy error - I didn''t really warm up, I just turned around and started climbing. I initially thought things were pretty steep - and the first 3Kms are - but then I got into a rhythm and I actually started to enjoy it. This wasn''t as bad as I thought! But then my lack of stretching and warm up caught up with me - for some reason my glutes began to tighten up. For years I had heard Phil Liggett say that someones legs had gone on a climb but I had never heard this about muscles in your backside! By hairpin 3 (they are in reverse order from the bottom up) I was in a bit of bother but I was determined to make it. One more energy gel and I was in the village, a swoosh around the roundabout and the big wide finishing straight - yippee! Walking was a bit of a problem that night due to my tightened muscles but I had done it. 2 days to recover before I was going to tackle Mt Ventoux!
Climbed Alpe d''Huez in June this year (2013). Am 66 yo and 59 kg and have ridden approx 10,000k per year for the last 10 years. Did a lot of hill training in addition to normal rides, including 7 repeats of a local hill to get 20k of distance at approx 8% gradient. Took my own bike (Look 595)and did the Alpe on a 39x27 in a steady 1hr 20m (no stops). Had another go a few days later and used a 39x30 but still did the same time. Would thoroughly recommend the trip and rides around Bourg d''Oisans. Fantastic cycling country. Also did Galibier and Ventoux later in the week, all in blue skies - fantastic!
Finally Alpe d'Huez! After all these years I finally climbed by bike the famous Alpe d''Huez. And on my birthday too. What better way to celebrate, than to climb by bike, such a famous and prestigious cycling landmark,the twenty one hairpins of the Alpe d''Huez.
Was I disappointed? Certainly not. Did it live up to my expectations? Perhaps not. There are better climbs and harder climbs to be found. But I could certainly appreciate the history and I enjoyed reading the names of the cycling greats on each numbered corner and looking at all the paint on the road as I climbed. I was lucky to do it off season on a relatively quiet day and I only passed a handful of other roadies making the pilgrimage.
The climb starts very steeply, and I was not warmed up so it hurt, but as the gradient eased off I found a good cadence all the way to the top.
I was surprised by a photographer who took my photo and handed me his card. He must do very well in high season when hundreds of cyclists make the climb each day! Approaching the resort it is a little confusing as to which way to go. The thing to do is to follow all the paint on the road. To go to the official tour finish you have to turn left under a tunnel and make two more turns to the top.
Due to the bad wheather day before I took on a climb in Villenueve...that would be a bit costly for Alpe d''Huez today ''cus my legs were ok but not superfine like the day before. There were part in Villenueve up to 26% insane!!! But superfun...
Alpe d''Huez isn''t bad at all inclination wise. I don''t think my computer showed above 12% anywhere. If you just train a bit for continuous resistance for hour and a half you''ll be fine. Just make sure your gearings right.. i went with 53/39 in the front and 29 to 12 on the back and did a time of 1h12m. I would say I''m fairly well fit.
With a really hot day like today 36celsius mid day...I rode five a clock in the evening still hot like hell on some parts and I love the heat, the two regular bottles was just about right if fill up your water levels properly. And whatever you do...do not stop...just slow down and keep on going.
For the descent go with something to cover your breast...if you go around 50-70kph you will need it and not caught up by any car(without being insane). I used rainjacket which I stuffed inside.
I Loved that you could still could read the names of the riders from tour de france on the asfalt...all the way up.
I''ve done what those guys do for a living...I''m proud
I came to ride the famous Alpe d''Huez climb because of its history but on arrival the receptionist in the hotel suggested that I also include the 2013 tour route over the col de Sarenne. Fantastic advice ! The whole circuit, including the 21 hairpins took me, 50 years young, 2 hrs 48 min. It was like being on a high octane thrill ride, one of the best three hours of my life. The col de Sarenne is wild and spectacular. The 21 hairpins were tough but doable. I''ll be back to do more !
Although primarily a mountain biker I took the chance to climb the 21 hairpins the day before this years Tour.. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.. I have given the rating as 5, I am sure there are many more difficult climbs but expect there are very few that can provide the atmosphere of Alpe D''Huez.. They say around 1000 people climb by bike every day over the summer but I think the number will have been well into the 10''s of thousands around the TDF..I was happy with the time of 1.16 to the Tourist Office and after my one day as a Roadie I could well be back one day to try again....
Not much I can say that hasn''t been said a thousand times before. This is an epic climb, definately a tough climb, especially bends 21 to 17. That said, I didn''t find this quite as hard as I was expecting and really enjoyed the whole thing. I am a big heavy rugby player and managed the climb in 1hr 35. Not the fastest but I was really proud. Would I do it again? Hell yeah!
If you are thinking about doing this climb, don''t hesitate, do it! Myself and a friend did it on a 24 hour layover in Milan, from Hong Kong. Jet-lagged, after a 4 hour drive, we headed straight up the hill. Yes the first couple of Ks are a bit steeper than the average, but it is good to get that out of the way. Loved counting down the turns. Take time to look up and around as the views are awesome. After cresting the top we carried on over the Col Du Sarenne and then down to Clavans-En-Haut Oisans. This route was ridden in the Dauphine this and will also be used on stage 18 on the TDF. I would not recommend that unless you are adventurous. There is about 10K of poorly paved, gravel strewn access road which is a challenge on the road bike. AS I said the TDF is doing this stretch this year before going back around to do the Alpe D''Heux climb again. It will be must see TV! All in all a great fun day which every cyclist MUST do if able!
Drove from Grenoble to the bottom the day before the Tour was due in 2011.
Straight on the bike and up. To be honest I didn''t think it was that bad. We did the Col de Le Lautaret the next day which was harder, then the Galibier, which is significantly worse.
Helped my the fans massing for the tour, especilly Dutch Corner.
The weather at the top was terrible. Cold with the rain lashing down. I had to go to a gear shop and invest in a jacket and arm warmers.
Drank hot chocolate as if it was going out of fashion in an attempt to stop shivering.
Going out next week skiing but taking the bike as I expect the roads to be open. Also taking a few more clothes this time.
I had the pleasure of climbing Aple d''Huez on the morning of the 2008 Tour De France ascent. Started our ridae at 10am. The road ws lined with cycling fans that cheered us up the mountain. Toughest ride ive done in my life. Greatest achievement of my life on the bike. Found a great restaurant on the right hand side just past the overpass in the village. wined and dined all day and watched the riders past. Had a pint or two of beer, before decending at the end of a wonderful day. Warning...the police start shutting down the final 1km about 11-12 pm, so if you want to cross the finish leave early as i was cut short of the finish line. Wonder place, people , experiance...must do for all cycling fans!
A group of us were lucky to cycle L''Alpe this September for charity and with a mixture of adrenalin and a good nights sleep we rode this most wonderful of Mecca''s in world sport.
The stretch leading to bend 21 is brutal for a middle aged man with a Michelin around his waist but grit and determination made this a life changing experience.
With a finishing time in just under 1hr 45 and
running a compact campy with a 34/26 made it slightly uncomfortable at times but all the more rewarding when you make it to the top.
The Location, the people and those 21 bends make this a must for keen cyclists.
So...11 months after my the birth of my first child, I decided to climb Alp D''Huez. We probably chose the wrong day in that it was 35 degrees (certainly too late in the day) but I managed it in 77 mins to offical finish line. The first part as you set off from below seems very easy, until you start the first climb to the first bend...I must admit I did have thoughts of turning around and giving in. The first 4 bends are the worse...once you get these out of the way, you begin the mental countdown to the next bend. I Managed it non-stop and I think towards the end you get into a good routine and it does become easier! I will try again next year but with a bit of hill training this time beforehand! Hubbie did it in 54 mins!!!
My first climb of Alpe dHuez, also my first climb in the Alpes in my life, was last August 2011. With a little training (no mountains in NL), I (man 41 yrs in normal / good condition) started at first gear and remained in first 75% of the climb, with a rental bike.
I did not know what to expect, concerning time and exhaustion.
My heart rate remaining around 150 I had some (too much?) energy left over in the last few corners.
The first few corners were heaviest. The last few I managed to pass some people who passed my on first few corners ;-)
At the end, my time was 1 h 18 min to Village and 1h 25m at official Tour de France finish. (No rest in between)
2012 I will beat this time with a few minutes.
Last year it was my first time to conquer Alpe dHuez. Every cyclist from Holland has to do this ones as it is the most famous climb because of the Tour the France.
I couldn't find a good gear with the right rpm so it was so hard to cycle to the top. After more than 5 times resting for a few minutes I arrived at the top in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
This year I will go again and this time I will prepare myself for this climb. Not easy because the longest climb in Holland is around 3 km long with a slope of 5%avg. I bought a Tacx Trainer to practise some climbing and hope to beat my time with a half hour!! Wish me luck!
Finally got to ride up Huez in August whilst on holiday.I decied to go as hard as I could up it,stupidly, after only 3 minutes warm up after not being familiar with the area then on to that first murderous slope that resembles a ramp in a multi storey carpark.I got to the top in 51 minutes on a 39/53,12-25t,my legs were shot,they''d had it and so had I.An iconic climb that won''t fail to hurt you if you want to get hurt, fantastic to go up it after featuring on so many TDF stages,if you''re into cycling you have got to go up Huez,cyclings mecca, a memory that I''ll never forget.
Rode Alpe d''Huez today on an amazing blue sky autumn day. Started from Alpe d''Huez, rode Sarenne, which was gorgeous in it''s Autumn colours, mind you lots of fallen rock hazard and sheep, of all things, it was like riding in Wales. From the bottom, rode Lauteret, and bac down to Oisans to take on this beastie. Not ridden any of the climbs before, and living in Singapore means I don''t do much on hills. I didn''t have much in the tank when I arrived at the foot of the climb, and it showed, with an almost pedestrian plod to the top. The climb itself is fantastic, the paint on the road from many Tours (and other comps) past, the signs on the hairpins, the view of the road climbing away from you as you reach Huez... I ended up racing the shadow up, and just beat it, so at least I didn''t freeze. It was a chilly 7C on the top. There is a real sense of history as you climb and it is a must for this reason alone. Something I''ve wanted to do for a long time. Iwill do it again too.
If you''ve never ridden the Alpe before, make sure to keep plenty in reserve if you plan to take it on after a day''s riding, as some do after riding Telegraphe and Galibier. The other issue later in the day will be the heat; in good weather it can reach 38 degrees plus. Riding it without stopping is manageable with a 25-11 cassette but most people will need a compact chainset, as I did. Many people will tell you that after the first few hairpins it becomes considerably easier; this was not my expericence of the Alpe - it keeps you working right to the top, with some long, steep sections. The heat - beating down from above, bouncing back off the road, coming off the side walls - requires the rider to switch off certain parts of their brain. Alpe D''huez feels like a truly iconic climb - you can feel the mood change in riders (of which there will probably be many) as you approach the climb; the names of Alpe champions on every corner add to this aura. Finishing here at the end of a very demanding day in the saddle left me feeling elated but also a bit like a zombie! I had to sit in the shade for 15 minutes or so drinking water before I felt ready to talk to anyone! Never to be forgotten, for good and not-so-good reasons. Enjoy.