11 February 2011

Climb of the month: The Lacets de Montverniera

The Lacets de Montverniera
The Lancets, Rhone-Alpes, French Alps

I saw a picture of this climb online in 2006 and had to go climb it (in 2007). This climb is giggly fun. The banked corners make it feel as if you are propelled up the climb.  The climb is located on the opposite side of the valley from Col du Télégraphe and Col du Glandon, above the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, it is a climb to nowhere really, but the road is cool if you have the time and you are in this area of the French Alps. The Col du Chaussy is nearby and can be completed in a loop route to the Col de la Madeleine. 

This hillside climb is located in the Rhone-Alpes area of the French Alps, near Col du Telegraphe, Col du Glandon, Col du Croix de Fer (Alpe'd Huez, and Col du Galibier on the other side of the mountains to the west). It is above a valley that has a major freeway and manufacturing industry. The town and city locations are not that spectacular, and in fact accommodation is a bit hard to find in this valley (although I had one of my best meals ever in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne) but the huge mountains surrounding this valley are incredible. 

Here is a generalized map of the area where the Col de la Columbiere, Col de l'Aravis, Col de la Madelaine, Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, Col du Lautaret, Col d'Izoard, Le Duex Alpes, and L'Alpe d'Huez are located. There are lots of other lesser-known, but great climbs, in this area as well. 
click to enlarge

If you are passing through en route from Lake Annecy or the Savoy area of France to the Col du Telegraphe/Col du Galibier, it might be worth hopping out of the car for this one. The town of Valloire at the top of the Col du Telegraphe, does have good accommodations (although very quiet in the off-season), and the Col du Galibier is just up the road! 

And I mean UP the road. Grenoble is the largest city in the area (trains from Paris and Lyon) but a large highway away from all the action of the true climbing in the Rhone-Alpes. The town of Bourg d'Oisans, at the base of Alpe d'Huez, is a good place for accommodation, cafes, atmosphere, and bike shops! 

The Map you will need: Michelin Local Maps of France 333: Isere / Savoie

This is me having fun on the playful climb of the Lancets in 2007: 

Route Col du Chaussy & Col de la Madeleine 

I recently saw photos of these two climbs online. I am trying to identify where these climbs are, so I can dream of climbing them as well ...
as seen on the Big Ring Cycles Website
as seen on the Leopard Trek team website

Comments follow-up (see comment on this blog): Here is the picture of the Col de Tende (Italian: Colle di Tenda) that Leeno, a visitor to this blog, was kind enough to send: