Day 1: A beast; a total beast
The official route summary says it all...
The 2019 Haute Route Alpe d'Huez begins with a 123-kilometer
stage with 3700 meters of climbing, featuring ascents of the Col de
la Croix de Fer in two directions before climbing to the finish in
Alpe d'Huez via Villard-Reculas.
Starting from the town of Alpe d'Huez, riders will be escorted
in a secured convoy downhill via Villard Reculas. The timed stage
will start on the Verney Dam, as the road quickly turns uphill
towards the Col de la Croix de Fer.
The climb to the Col de la Croix de Fer is over 20km long and
can be managed in three parts with two small descents during the
climb that will allow for some recovery. Reaching 2,067m at the
summit, this is the highest col riders will summit during the
event, and one of the most famous Tour de France climbs in the
The 15-kilometer descent will be a welcome opportunity to
recover, refuel, and enjoy the tremendous views. The ascent back up
the Col de la Croix de Fer starts with a small loop before
rejoining the road riders came down.
Once you reach the summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer for a
second time, riders get to enjoy the amazing descent. Remember,
however, that those two short descents you enjoyed on the way up
will now be short climbs on your way down.
With just one climb left, riders will recognize the road back to
Alpe d'Huez from descending it earlier in the day. Climbing back to
the resort via Villard-Reculas, this is a longer but shallower
ascent than the climb compared to either the Sarenne riders climb
on Stage 2 or the famous 21-switchbacks of the Alpe d'Huez
With a slight descent two-thirds of the way up the climb and
beautiful panoramic views from the Route de la Confession, riders
should take this as an opportunity to recover and refuel one final
time before the last push to the summit and finish line in Alpe
This was a monster of a day, a real challenge, and we were just
grtting started. Energy needed to be conserved, and I was glad of
the ease of descending on the super nimble and aero S5D (and
grateful for the disc brakes on those hairpin bends).