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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering what the prevailing opinions are on which mountains are the hardest, even for the top pros.

I got to thinking about it today when I was checking out my video tape of the 2000 TdF. Lance was interviewed after some of the mountain stages, and he said how apprehensive he was about facing Mont Ventoux and d'Izoard that year.

So whaddaya think? Which is the baddest of 'em all - Alpe D'Huez, Mont du Chat, Ventoux, Galibier, Tourmalet, d'Izoard, La Madeleine, Hautacam, Granon, etc?
 

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Weather

I think among the top three or four just about any one of them could be the worst on any given day... given wind, rain, sleet, etc.

But my overall vote would have to go to Ventoux. Seems like it would be the toughest.

AJS said:
Wondering what the prevailing opinions are on which mountains are the hardest, even for the top pros.

I got to thinking about it today when I was checking out my video tape of the 2000 TdF. Lance was interviewed after some of the mountain stages, and he said how apprehensive he was about facing Mont Ventoux and d'Izoard that year.

So whaddaya think? Which is the baddest of 'em all - Alpe D'Huez, Mont du Chat, Ventoux, Galibier, Tourmalet, d'Izoard, La Madeleine, Hautacam, Granon, etc?
 

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There are too many variables to pick a 'hardest'. It depends on what was ridden prior to the climb, what the pace is, what the weather is, whether or not it is early or late in the tour, etc. None of them are easy.
 

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So many factors

Obviously a climb like Ventoux, where the weather can be beastly, can be made more difficult by factors other than just length and elevation gain. Beyond that, where the climb occurs in the stage is significant - it is said that the Alpe is not really that tough except that it is always placed after several big leadup climbs. Road conditions, who is the competition, weather, location in the stage, etc. can all drastically affect the perception of dificulty. Let's face it, there's several really tough climbs, and trying to pick the toughest is a bit like the Ferrari/Lamborghini debate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well, I figured it goes without saying that there are many variables, especially when one is in the middle of a race like TdF. And yes, they're obviously ALL difficult, or they wouldn't be ranked as HC or Cat. 1 climbs.

I guess what I was asking was: let's assume conditions on any of them were the same, (weather, etc,) - has anyone heard a general consensus among those that have actually ridden those climbs as to which ones are the most dreaded?

I suppose at that level of difficulty, they'd probably all be about the same. But knowing what I know about many of the major climbs and the type of rider I am, I'd say the Galibier and Madeleine would be toughest for me. Not so much the steepness of grade but overall height (lack of O2!) and length (it would hurt for too long!) would conspire to do me in more than anything.
 

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Having climbed last July, in alphabetical order, Alpe d'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Lauteret, Ramaz and Ventoux, I rate them thusly:
1) Ventoux: 95 degrees and a frying pan at the start, 45 degrees and raining at the top. Windy. Brutal. A lifetime climb.
2) Galibier: The last km, at over 8,000 feet, is 12 degrees as posted, probably steeper.
3) Alpe d'Huez: Epic, but more easily climbable, IMHO. You can go wide on the hairpins ... although I wouldn't know, because there were half a million people on the mountain and half of them were stopped on each hairpin!!!
4) Ramaz. Snow sheds! Even though it's a Cat 1, I thought it harder than...
5) Izoard: Wide turns on the way to the top make it a bit easier.
6) Lauteret: The Cat 1 that drilled poor Simoni. And he still had Izoard to go! The best thing about this climb is the wonderful baguette shop across the summit from the hotel.

Mike
 

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Hey Mike,
It's Dave Shylko here from the Custom Getaways trip. Any plans to visit France again this year? That isn't me peeing in that picture, is it?


Just Mike said:
Having climbed last July, in alphabetical order, Alpe d'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Lauteret, Ramaz and Ventoux, I rate them thusly:
1) Ventoux: 95 degrees and a frying pan at the start, 45 degrees and raining at the top. Windy. Brutal. A lifetime climb.
2) Galibier: The last km, at over 8,000 feet, is 12 degrees as posted, probably steeper.
3) Alpe d'Huez: Epic, but more easily climbable, IMHO. You can go wide on the hairpins ... although I wouldn't know, because there were half a million people on the mountain and half of them were stopped on each hairpin!!!
4) Ramaz. Snow sheds! Even though it's a Cat 1, I thought it harder than...
5) Izoard: Wide turns on the way to the top make it a bit easier.
6) Lauteret: The Cat 1 that drilled poor Simoni. And he still had Izoard to go! The best thing about this climb is the wonderful baguette shop across the summit from the hotel.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The best thing about this climb is the wonderful baguette shop across the summit from the hotel.
LOL! Congrats on completing all of those monsters, Mike! Have you considered doing more in the Pyrenees?
 

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David!
How goes it? No, that's Gary, Wayne and me shakin' it.
Gearing up for another season of crits? I have a buddy from Jacksonville who's going to France with Custom this year. He's doing the Alps to Paris part, the full-on, good-hotels tour. Chris promises that I'll get a custom kit (jersey, shorts) for referring him. Me? I'll get to actually watch it on TV this year.
I've had two more minor back surgeries, but no big deal. Planning on a century tomorrow morning!
Keep in touch!
Mike
 
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