Careful What You Wish For: Haute Route Alps 2013 Course Announcement

Like cycling’s Grand Tours, Haute Route seems to be trying to mix it up where they can each year, varying the route as much as is practicable. Considering that they need to start and finish in the same towns (Geneva – Nice), plus find accommodation each night for 600 riders, it’s an admirable fact that this year’s route is, according to them, 85% new. Here is the full route map.

general10-01

The week-long race will have:

  • 7 timed stages
  • 866 km of riding
  • 21,000 meters of climbing over 19 ‘legendary’ cols
  • An Individual Time Trial up the highest paved through-road in Europe
  • 3 countries (Switzerland, Italy and France)
  • 2 flat bits – Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean!

GeneralProfilev7-01The 7 Haute Route 2013 stages are:

Stage 1. Sunday 18th August: Geneva to Megeve (149km, 3300m+)
Stage 2. Monday 19th August: Megeve to Val d’Isere (108km, 3400m+)
Stage 3. Tuesday 20th August: Val d’Isere to Serre Chevalier (164km, 3400m+)
Stage 4. Wednesday 21st August: Serre Chevalier to Pra Loup (118km, 3000m+)
Stage 5. Thursday 22nd August: Time trial – Cime de La Bonette (23km, 1560m+)
Stage 6. Friday 23rd August: Pra Loup to Auron (142km, 3800m+)
Stage 7. Saturday 24th August: Auron to Nice (162km, 2900m+)

The organizers have tried (or maybe it just ended up this way) to make each stage more or less really, really, hard, as opposed to this year where some were just really hard, while a few were stupid hard. The result is, as you can see for yourself, 5 stages with over 3000 meters of climbing and one more that might as well be. The only stage with less than 2900 meters of ascent is the time trial up Cime de la Bonette (1560m), which is, in my mind, every bit as hard as Mont Ventoux.

And speaking of famous cols. Here’s the full list:

Col de Joux Plane
• Distance : 13 km
• Elevation : 691 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1691 m
• Average gradient : 6,5 %
• Maximum gradient : 11,1 %

Col du Cormet de Roselend
• Distance : 20 km
• Elevation : 1167 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1967 m
• Average gradient : 6 %
• Maximum gradient : 10 %

Col de l’Iseran
• Distance : 16 km
• Elevation : 930 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2770 m
• Average gradient : 6 %
• Maximum gradient : 8,3 %

Col d’Izoard
• Distance : 19 km
• Elevation : 1156 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2361 m
• Average gradient : 5,7 %
• Maximum gradient : 9,4 %

Col de Vars
• Distance : 20,5 km
• Elevation : 1109 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2109 m
• Average gradient : 5,7 %
• Maximum gradient : 8,7 %

Cime de la Bonette
• Distance : 23,5 km
• Elevation : 1560 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2802 m
• Average gradient : 6,6 %
• Maximum gradient : 9 %

Col de la Cayolle
• Distance : 25,5 km
• Elevation : 1143 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2326 m
• Average gradient : 4,5 %
• Maximum gradient : 8,2 %

Col de St Martin
• Distance : 16,5 km
• Elevation : 1100 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1500 m
• Average gradient : 6,6 %
• Maximum gradient : 7,7 %

Col de l’Encrenaz
• Distance : 15,5 km
• Elevation : 790 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1433 m
• Average gradient :  5 %
• Maximum gradient : 9,8 %

Ascent to Megève
• Distance : 13,5 km
• Elevation : 553 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1104 m
• Average gradient : 4 %
• Maximum gradient : 7,5 %

Col des Saisies
• Distance : 13,5 km
• Elevation : 650 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1650 m
• Average gradient : 4,9 %
• Maximum gradient : 11,1 %

Ascent to Val d’Isère
• Distance : 19 km
• Elevation : 969 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1840 m
• Average gradient : 5,1 %
• Maximum gradient : 8,9 %

Col du Mont Cenis
• Distance : 10,5 km
• Elevation : 663 m
• Altitude at the summit : 2083 m
• Average gradient : 6,5 %
• Maximum gradient : 10,6 %

Col de L’Echelle
• Distance : 13 km
• Elevation : 566 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1762 m
• Average gradient : 4,3 %
• Maximum gradient : 7,9 %

Ascent to Pra Loup
• Distance : 7,5 km
• Elevation : 378 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1598 m
• Average gradient : 5 %
• Maximum gradient : 9,6 %

Col de Valberg
• Distance : 12,5 km
• Elevation : 874 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1672 m
• Average gradient : 6,9 %
• Maximum gradient : 10,2 %

Ascent to Auron
• Distance : 31,5 km
• Elevation : 1103 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1598 m
• Average gradient : 3,5 %
• Maximum gradient : 9,4 %

Col de la Couillole
• Distance : 7,5 km
• Elevation : 239 m
• Altitude at the summit : 1678 m
• Average gradient : 3,2 %
• Maximum gradient : 11,2 %

Col de Vence
• Distance : 16 km
• Elevation : 462 m
• Altitude at the summit : 962 m
• Average gradient : 2,8 %
• Maximum gradient : 6,7 %

I’d be curious to know how others are feeling about this early Christmas present. This route has me shaking a little, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with the route itself – more like the reality of it being finalized. Then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We all signed up for ‘The Highest and Toughest Cyclosportive in the World’ (and will pay a relatively small fortune for it to boot), so here’s one masochist who’s happy they’re still delivering.

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39 thoughts on “Careful What You Wish For: Haute Route Alps 2013 Course Announcement

        • Yes, right from the intersection in Jausiers, I’m sure. I’m not sure if I’m glad or not that I’ve done this climb. Don’t have any blissful ignorance. When my buddy and I did it this September we thought we were done at the “Nice” sign at the top of the pass. That last hump up and around the Cime is no fun at all.

    • Now that all the stages are more or less equal in terms of ascent, it really is going to be like 7 Etapes du Tour (this year’s has around 3600 meters) in a row (well, 6.5, with the TT. OUCH.

    • Descending skills – this is a big one, you’re right. It seems that some people are naturally better than others (or just more stupid!). I’m not too bad and I credit some of it to the fact that I’ve been riding motorcycles, off and on, for over 25 years. So, there you go Carsten, get yourself a nice BMW and you’re all set!

  1. Scanning through the list of all the climbs as I sit here with a coffee and my toast, I find the adrenalin picking up just thinking about how brilliant this is going to be…and I am not even riding it this year! How absolutely fantastic – what a motivator this is.

    • Are you volunteering…? Massages are included in the price somehow, but I’m not sure how it works. They have doctors, too, but hopefully we won’t need them.

      • Did you see the massages in the video? Looked like they are all in one room with a few riders. I remember reading on a blog somewhere that there were often long lines. More incentive to finish fast, eh?

        • I remember that comment, too. I’m not concerned about massages, to be honest…at least not right now. I might be singing a different tune after a couple days, though!

      • Hi guys, the massages are available near the finish line of each stage – they have a very organized crew who spend 3 to 4 hours after each stage helping everyone recover. There can be long lines for those in the middle of the pack, but they have a ticket number system with an estimated time, so you can grab a ticket, then go shower and eat before returning for the massage. I highly recommend using this service, I really think this type of recovery is key in a 7 day race.

        • Rich, that is priceless intel, thanks! I wasn’t even going to consider it if it entailed long waits, but with the estimated times I might change my mind. I’ll be diving into your blog articles on the HR, too, after I get back from my last ride of 2012!

    • Oh, so that’s why you were coming down…The sun looks like it’s about to rise here, and I’m on my way to Barcelona. If the shit hits the fan Bugarach isn’t too far of a detour.

  2. by chance do you have the highway route # of the tour from the start…. google earth lists highways as “D ” and I wanted to travel the route using GE

    • I haven’t seen it yet, Gary. It would be pretty cool to see, though. I’ll take a look around and see if anyone has made it yet. I think I could do it myself, but it would take a bit of time…

  3. They normally post gpx files as the route gets fully defined – last year it wasn’t until spring. In France there are three main types of roads which connect the villages/towns – Autoroutes (i.e A8 in Nice), Route National (i.e. RN7 in Nice), and Departmental roads (i.e. D564 in Nice). You will be primarily on departmental roads for Haute Route, but occasionally there will be some RN roads as well.

    • Good to know about the gpx files, thanks. Are you in Nice, by the way? I see ‘south of France’ on you blog, but haven’t dug deep enough to see where. Anyway, nice to see a ‘neighbor’ commenting on the blog.

      Will you be doing HR again next year?

  4. Hi Gerry,
    I was just looking through the HR handbook and was looking at the col de Joux Plane. The HR journalist has it rated at 7%. Then on the guide for the cols it has it rated at 8.6%. Then I googled to find the actual grade and came across your blog which has it rated at 6.5%. Needless to say I like yours best. I contacted HR and they told me 8.6%. They still have to be climbed but I think I prefer the smaller number. As a matter of fact, looking at your percentages on this Dec blog, I think I like those numbers better then the more recent published numbers (haven’t checked them all yet).

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