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1 - Alpe d'Huez

Fausto Coppi won the first Alpe d’Huez Tour de France stage in 1952. His name appears on the first bend of the climb.

Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond’s rivalry shaped the 1986 edition of the Tour and cemented Alpe d’Huez’s reputation for both out and out racing and decisive moments.
Marco Pantini became the first modern day legend of Alpe d’Huez after his audacious attack at the bottom of the climb and subsequent stage win during the 1997 Tour de France. The record still stands today at 36.50

Alpe d'Huez - Pictures and Prints

2 - Col du Galibier

Modern life is busy, there could be a million things on your mind as you start climbing the Col du Galibier. 

You’re upcoming marriage, you’re recent or imminent divorce, the birth of your first child. The boss you hate or the job you love. These hugely essential considerations will eventually be reduced to just one concern. Getting to the top of this climb. If you can still remember your own name by the time you crest the summit, consider going pro.

Col du Galibier - Pictures and Prints

3 - Col de la Croix de Fer

Far from the madding crowd. The Col de la Croix de Fer doesn't have much in the way of sexy hairpins, crumbling rockfaces or jaw-dropping canyons.

What it does have is sun on your back and wind in your hair.
A sense of liberation that comes with being out in an environment so immense you pale into total insignificance. Where your wants and dislikes are just not considered, where you are just a dot.

Such places can set you free.

Col de la Croix de Fer - Pictures and Prints

4 - Col du Glandon

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do this, not to go. But don’t think this is something easy. You will need to be on top of your game. The final couple of kilometres are as tough as anywhere in the Alps and they can break you if you don’t know how to bend.

Some days the mountains like to be left alone. Some days you will find here nothing but rain, snow and cold, lightning storms, zero visibiliy, moody, heavy clouds, and that's a good day

Col du Glandon - Pictures and Prints

5 - Col de I’Iseran

Slowly emerging from the ravine, the road crosses a small bridge before opening out into a valley just below the summit.

Intrepid cyclists are just dots on the road below, and the summit refuge can be seen against the sky on the top ridge in the centre of the picture.This could easily be the most brutal couple of kilometres you ever do on a bike, depending on how your body reacts to the lack of oxygen.

Time is elastic. Time may have just stopped. It may take the rest of your life to reach the top of this mountain.

But reach it, you will.

Col de I’Iseran - Pictures and Prints

6 - Col d’Izoard

The Casse Déserte, one of the most iconic roads in the world of cycling and home to the modern day sporting hero. It can be found on the south acsent towards the top of the Col d’Izoard. Following a series of steep uphill sections, interspersed with tight hairpins, you enter a prehistoric landscape of crumbling rock, unstable life-threatening terrain, and severe heat. 

The mountain looks like it has been split down the middle with a great axe. Its innards spilling out like an open wound for all to see. 

Col d’Izoard - Pictures and Prints

7 - Col de la Bonette

On the previous afternoon the thunderstorm rumbling around broke across the summit of the Col de la Bonette. Throwing ice-cube-size hailstones down and washing tons of debris, people, and cars off the mountain top, blocking the road, making the pass impassable.

By dawn, the road crews had partially cleared the road and reopened the pass. The storm had vanquished the oppressive heat and washed the sky clean. Out of chaos, beauty is born.

Perfect time for a ride.

Col de la Bonette - Pictures and Prints

8 - Col de la Madeleine

Old school mountain climb deep in the heart of the French Alps

Col de la Madeleine - Pictures - Prints

9 - Mont Ventoux

Unlike other cycling climbs, the roads up the Ventoux don’t go anywhere other than down the other side. With no through traffic making it a haven for cyclists. 

The upper slopes are devoid of trees or vegetation, leaving a moonscape that is simultaneously desolate and breathtakingly beautiful.

Less than a kilometre from the top on the south side, the Tom Simpson memorial removes any remaining doubt that this mountain belongs to us.

Mont Ventoux - Pictures and Prints