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28 October 2010

The best climbs in Europe in the Grand Tours

The top 30 cycling climbs in France, Spain, and Italy
 
This is a fantastic list of best bike climbs in Europe compiled by Thomson Bike Tours. Definitely one worth keeping. A dream list for those of us who love to experience climbs on a bike, and then sit back and watch the Pros tackle them on TV. Reminiscing and recognizing landmarks at every turn of the climb while saying out loud, "this is where it gets really steep". This is my kind of fun.
 
ThomsonBikeTours.com has now expanded their list to 50. If you would like to request a copy from them, send them your email at this link: Yes I want to tick off the best cycling climbs in Europe
 
click images to enlarge
I have completed 14 of the 30. I have a long way to go. This year a number of these climbs will be featured in the Grand Tours. So if you are not able to get over to France, Italy, or Spain to ride these climbs yourself, at least mark your calendars and tune in to listen to the cycling commentators (Phil & Paul of course) describe a few of the most wondrous places to be on a bike, on this planet.
 
Below are the climbs on this list above that are featured in either the 2011 Giro d'Italia and the 2011Tour de France: 

Related posts by Pedal Dancer: An Interview with Thomson Bike Tours
 
Best Climbs in Europe featured in the 2011 Giro d'Italia include:

Stage 14 Giro 

#1 on the list - Monte Zoncolan -
Saturday, 21 May 2011, Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia
Location: Dolomites, north of Venice, Italy
Description: Very steep climb. #1 on the list. The last and final climb of stage 14!
Profile of Stage 14, 2011 Giro d'Italia
location of Monte Zocolan
for more pictures and maps see Pez Cycling's review of Giro d'Italia Stages 10-15
Stage 15 Giro
 
#25 on the list - Passo di Giau -
Sunday, 22 May 2011, Stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia
Location: north of Venice, Italy
Description: the forth of six passes in stage 15
Profile of Stage 15, 2011 Giro d'Italia
location of Passo di Giau
for more pictures and maps see Pez Cycling's review of Giro d'Italia Stages 10-15 
click images to enlarge 

Best Climbs in Europe featured in the 2011 Tour de France include:

Stage 12 TDF
 
#12 on the list - Col du Tourmalet -
Thursday, 14 July 2011, Stage 12 of the Tour de France
Location: Hautes-Pyrenees, France
Description: the second of three mountain passes over 209km ending on Luz Ardiden
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Magnificent Day in the Hautes-Pyrenees (Horquettes d'Ancizan) Today I saw the Tourmalet bring a man to tears or More Pictures from the Tourmalet
AND
#24 on the list - Luz Ardiden -
Thursday, 14 July 2011, Stage 12 of the Tour de France
Location: Hautes-Pyrenees, France
Description: the final climb of stage 12, after climbing the east side of the Col du Tourmalet!
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: I was there that day on Luz Ardiden

Profile of Stage 12, 2011 Tour de France
location of Horquettes d'Ancizan to Col du Tourmalet to Luz Ardiden
PedalDancer.com on Col du Tourmalet 2003 TDF
Luz Ardiden 2003 
 click images to enlarge
Stage 13 TDF
 
#22 on the list - Col d'Aubisque -
Thursday, 15 July 2011, Stage 13 of the Tour de France
Location: Midi-Pyrenees, France
Description: a favorite of the Tour de France and often included
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Dancing on the Pedals on 8% (Col d'Aubisque) or Lac d'Estaing, Col de Borderes, Col du Soulor (Col du Soulor)
Profile of Stage 13, 2011 Tour de France
location of Col d'Aubisque
Col d'Aubisque 2005
Summit of Col d'Aubisque 2010
Stage 18 TDF

#21 on the list - Col d Izoard -
Thursday, 21 July 2011, Stage 18 of the Tour de France
Location: from Italy through Briancon, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: a distant wind swept climb with lots of flies!
PLUS
#4 on the list - Col du Galibier (south/west side) -
Thursday, 21 July 2011, Stage 18 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: a grand climb in a spectacular setting, and mountain top finish 
Read PedalDancer.com previous post:  France Cycling - my ride up the Col du Galibier
Profile of Stage 18, 2011 Tour de France
location of Col Agnel to Col d"Izoard to Col du Galibier

PedalDancer.com on the Col d'Izoard 2007
My brother and I on the Col du Galibier in 2007
click images to enlarge 
Stage 19 TDF
 
#4 on the list - Col du Galibier (north/east side) -
Friday, 22 July 2011, Stage 19 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: following the Col du Telegraphe, a warm-up to the stage finish on Alpe d'Huez
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Watching the Tour de France, Stage 18 and  Watching the Tour de France - Stage 19
PLUS
#19 on the list - Alpe d'Huez -
Friday, 22 July 2011, Stage 19 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Hautes-Alpes, France
Description: all the mystique of the Tour de France in 21 glorious bends
Read PedalDancer.com previous posts:  "21 levels of hell", or 21 steps to heaven or France Cycling - My Ride up the Alpe d' Huez, and also Climbing Alpe d'Huez (2013), plus Climbs of 2012 Tour de France - Alps (2012)

The summit!
Profile climb of the Col du Telegraphe and then Col du Galibier
Riding from the Col du Telegraphe to Col du Galibier to L'Alpe d'Huez
At the summit (pass) Col du Telegraphe
Profile climb of L'Alpe d'Huez
On Alpe d'Huez looking down at the town of Bourg d'Oisans.  
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®
21 switchback corners on Alpe d'Huez - they just keep coming!
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®