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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've booked to go on a nine day mountain biking holiday in France this summer, and have managed to time it so that I will be in Morzine when the Tour goes through. There is a stage start and finish in town.

As I will have a bike, I won't be limited by car parking etc, so where can I find some info about where to go to see the best action, and which climbs will have the least people so I can get a really good close look?

Thanks,

-Chris
 

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This is the stage profile for the stage finishing in Morzine.

The Joux-Plane or Colombiere are the two climbs where it will be best to watch.

The earlier climbs in a mountain stage will be more together, so you'll see fewer riders. Plus if you're on the later climbs, you'll get the full effect of Le Tour. The crowds are part of it, just get there early to stake your pitch.

Just make sure you have plenty of water, food and shade.

Good luck.
 

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StillKeen said:
I've booked to go on a nine day mountain biking holiday in France this summer, and have managed to time it so that I will be in Morzine when the Tour goes through. There is a stage start and finish in town.

As I will have a bike, I won't be limited by car parking etc, so where can I find some info about where to go to see the best action, and which climbs will have the least people so I can get a really good close look?

Thanks,

-Chris
Will you have a car at all? If not than just aim for watching from Joux-Plane. The Columbiere, Aravis and Saises are all nice climbs but if you are heading towards them on race day you'd need a car. The second problem is that even IF you have a car and want to see Columbiere, Aravis and Saises you'll need to find roads the race route isn't using.

All in all I say your best plan would be Joux-Plane because the race will be most split there and logistically it will be the simplest plan. When traveling around the TdF I typically recommend simpler plans for first timers so you can dodge the inevitable pitfalls.
 

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I agree with everything that Ultimobici and Teo have said. If you ride your bike from Morzine, make sure that you leave early enough so that you can climb to the top of the Joux-Plane before the road closes to bikes. The road closing time for cars should be posted on the roads and be in the local papers. Although bikes are allowed on the course long after the auto closure time, the police will close the road to all traffic, including bikes, sometime before the publicity caravan is scheduled to pass. Last year I was sidelined by the Police on Stage 15 about 90 minutes before the race came through and was forced to watch the race on the flats rather than on a climb.

Be sure to take all of the drinks and food that you will need for the day with you -- although there probably is some type of bar at the top of the Joux-Plane (I know that there is one at the top of the Colombiere), you really have to depend upon your own resources for drinks and food on the day of the race.

I also recommend Teo's excellent Self-Guided Tour de France http://www.velotainment.com/
 

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MarkS said:
I agree with everything that Ultimobici and Teo have said. If you ride your bike from Morzine, make sure that you leave early enough so that you can climb to the top of the Joux-Plane before the road closes to bikes. The road closing time for cars should be posted on the roads and be in the local papers. Although bikes are allowed on the course long after the auto closure time, the police will close the road to all traffic, including bikes, sometime before the publicity caravan is scheduled to pass. Last year I was sidelined by the Police on Stage 15 about 90 minutes before the race came through and was forced to watch the race on the flats rather than on a climb.

Be sure to take all of the drinks and food that you will need for the day with you -- although there probably is some type of bar at the top of the Joux-Plane (I know that there is one at the top of the Colombiere), you really have to depend upon your own resources for drinks and food on the day of the race.

I also recommend Teo's excellent Self-Guided Tour de France http://www.velotainment.com/

Thanks for the plug Mark. I just was thinking about you today as a new local Italian market opened near my house and they have Sheeps Milk Cheese from the Pays-Basque.

My general observation has been that the is closed to cyclists around 1-2 hours before the published time for Publicity Caravan arrival.

StillKeen the links below may help. The first is Via Michelin map of Morzine /Joux Plan. I believe the riders will climb the route this year from the opposite side of Joux-Plan from Morzine. They will then descend into Morzine. Your most direct route will be climbing the way the racers will descend but looking at the map it looks possible to follow the D902 to the D907. This would put you on the same route up the mountain that the racers will take.

As for the food I can attest that the 3 climbs before Joux-Plane all have food options as I have visted them all on multiple occaisions. Unfortunately I haven't been up Joux-Plane but know there is a nice lake up top and a great view of Mont Blanc. The second and third links are sites with info on not only Joux-Plane but the Alps too. I hope this all helps.


http://tinyurl.com/omv4b

http://www.climbbybike.com/

http://www.aukadia.net/alps/index.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, thats exactly what I'm looking for. I will be there on the mountain bike, which could aid getting to a good place.

So the best place to watch a climb is towards the top? Maybe 4/5s of the way up?

Thanks,
 

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You'll know it when you see it.

StillKeen said:
Thanks, thats exactly what I'm looking for. I will be there on the mountain bike, which could aid getting to a good place.

So the best place to watch a climb is towards the top? Maybe 4/5s of the way up?

Thanks,
A good place to watch the race is like former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." You want to be close to the top. But, usually the crowds are so think at the very top that your 4/5s of the way up probably is a good place to be. The important things to keep in mind as you are scouting out a spot hours in advance of the race are: (1) where is the sun going to be at the time the riders are coming by -- if it is a hot day, you want to be in the shade; (2) how far down the road can I see -- you want to see as much as the riders' approach as you can; and (3) does anyone in the vicinity have a television that you can watch after the riders go by -- a lot of people have campers and cars on the hillsides with televisions tuned to the race. So long as you don't crowd out the hosts or their guests, people usually don't mind if you look at their TV. When the publicity caravan comes by, if you get some good stuff and your neighbors don't, share some of your wealth -- you may not be too welcome if you snatch a key chain or sausage or cheese or PMU hand from the neighbor whose television you want to watch.
 

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MarkS said:
A good place to watch the race is like former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." You want to be close to the top. But, usually the crowds are so think at the very top that your 4/5s of the way up probably is a good place to be. The important things to keep in mind as you are scouting out a spot hours in advance of the race are: (1) where is the sun going to be at the time the riders are coming by -- if it is a hot day, you want to be in the shade; (2) how far down the road can I see -- you want to see as much as the riders' approach as you can; and (3) does anyone in the vicinity have a television that you can watch after the riders go by -- a lot of people have campers and cars on the hillsides with televisions tuned to the race. So long as you don't crowd out the hosts or their guests, people usually don't mind if you look at their TV. When the publicity caravan comes by, if you get some good stuff and your neighbors don't, share some of your wealth -- you may not be too welcome if you snatch a key chain or sausage or cheese or PMU hand from the neighbor whose television you want to watch.
You hit the nail on the head Mark--Porn reference and all! In general the closer to the finish the climb falls, the more "festive" the atmosphere. It's a mix of crowd size and amount of available real estate that make the biggest diffrence on how nuts a climb will be. I will say most of the climbs in this area have some good open meadows which make things much easier. The locals will be outnumbered by their cows so be ready to share space with them too.

I usually try to ride to the top all while looking for potential viewing spots. Just like Mark said you'll know it when you see it. I typically end up somewhere between 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way up. A fourth thing to note on Marks info is proximity to a tough gradient. If two spots are equal in your mind but one is just after a killer 12% pitch then you'll see more suffering and slower speeds.

Are you only going to be in Morzine? Maybe throw out the names of other place you'll be staying as I maybe I can share some names of shops to visit and places to eat.
 

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Joux Plane

There is a place at the top of Joux Plane where food can be found - a little cafe. The Dauphine followed this route last year and I managed to feed myself and get drinks.
 
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