Col de la Loze


So much of  the history and lore of the Grand Tours is sunk into the fabled climbs that today’s riders compete over, battling against not just their present rivals, but the legends of the past too.

However, in Stage 17 of this year’s Tour de France there is a new, upstart col to climb - one that may well decide who wears the maillot jaune into Paris – Col de la Loze.

Though the new road surface connecting the Trois Vallées resorts of Courchevel and Meribel was only completed last summer, this challenging climb is a cyclist’s paradise. The last 6km not only kick up in gradient, the road is reserved for cyclists only – traffic free dreams!

We were invited by the Brides-les-Bains Tourist Board in the summer of 2019, to experience the new climb before the pros arrive this year. It didn’t disappoint.

Topping out at 2,304m, Col de la Loze is outside the highest peaks in the French Alpine hierarchy, but the car-free badge catapults it to the top of the must-do list.

We recommend basing yourself in Brides-les-Bains to tackle the climb, which gives you easy access to other bucket list climbs like Col de la Madeleine. From here you ride through the main valley for a few kilometers before swinging right onto a quieter road that signals the start of the climb to Courchevel, and ultimately the Col de la Loze. Read an example itinerary here.

The Climb in Detail



Only a great champion will be able to win at the Col de la Loze!"

The Ascent

Previously, the road (with gradients between 5% and 7% for 17km) ended in the ski resort of Courchevel 1850.  This new col connects to Meribel, adding an additional 6km with 377m of extra climbing.  You really have to hold something back for the final 6km, where the steepest gradients lie waiting for tired legs.  Riding through the Courchevel resorts of 1650 and 1850 lends a hint  of glamour to the majestic views, as you pedal past traditional chalets and high-end hotels. 

 

The new section of road begins calmly enough. However, with 4km to go, the gradient hits double figures, and hovers around there all the way to the summit. The alpine scenery is a poor distraction from the pain. The final 100m to the summit are the steepest. 

This vicious final section of Col de la Loze will be silent witness to a brutal battle for the stage at this year’s Tour (and, presumably, future Tours). Decisive blows for the General Classification will be traded.

From the valley floor, the entire climb is 23km with an elevation gain of 1,458m to the summit at 2,304m, which stacks up well next to climbs like Mont Ventoux with 1,640m of elevation over 21.4km.  We think it’s only a matter of time before the Col de la Loze as equal to the likes of Ventoux, so get booking and training for next year!

 

 

 

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