Alpe d’Huez is a popular ski resort in the French Alps. It’s located in the Isère department of southeastern France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Nearby towns include Bourg-d’Oisans, La Garde, and Huez.
Situated at 1,860m, it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The area is popular with cyclists, home to the famous Alpe d’Huez climb with its 21 switchbacks, numbered from 1 to 21.
Starting point : Le Bourg d’Oisans
Le Bourg-d’Oisans is a town in the French Alps that is world-renowned for its cycling.
It is at the base of some of the most iconic mountains in cycling, including Alpe d’Huez and the Col du Galibier. Because of its location and reputation, Le Bourg-d’Oisans attracts cyclists from all over the world who come to ride these legendary climbs.
This 13.6km climb from Le Bourg-d’Oisans has an average gradient of 7.9% and a maximum gradient of 11.7%.
- The first five bends (21 to 16) are steep, with an average gradient of 11%.
- Bends 15 to 6 averages between 8 to 9%.
- Bends 5 to 0 can be deceiving. Some sections of the bends can reach 11%.
- The final 3km averages 5 to 6%.
Aside from being a Mecca for cyclists, Le Bourg-d’Oisans is also a beautiful mountain town with plenty of other activities and attractions to enjoy. The area has numerous hiking and mountain biking trails and lakes perfect for swimming or paddling during summer.
|Alpe d’Huez from Le Bourg d’Oisans|
|Strava segment||Alpe d’Huez|
Fun facts about Alpe d’Huez
- Alpe d’Huez is also called the Dutch Mountain. Among the first 14 Tour de France stage winners here, eight were Dutch.
- The 21 bends are named after past Tour de France stage winners. Look out for the signboards on every bend.
- Almost 400 cyclists ride up this climb on a good summer day. Sometimes it can go as high as 1,000 in July.
- There is a race up Alpe d’Huez on every Wednesday at 10am. It’s a mass start timed event, starting under a big inflatable start banner from the center of Bourg d’Oisans. Register at 9am at the Bourg d’Oisans tourist office to get your timing chip.
Best time to ride Alpe d’Huez
The best time to cycle up Alpe d’Huez is in the summertime.
The weather is warm and the days are long, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the views. Plus, the roads are typically in good condition during the summer.
Tips for climbing the Alpe d’Huez
- Start easy. The first six bends average 11%. You don’t want to blow yourself up in the first 2.5km.
- There are two finish points. The first is the tourist finish as you ride into Alpe d’Huez, just before the wooden bridge. The second finish is the Tour de France finish, another 1km down the road into town on the Avenue du Rif Nel.
- Stay hydrated. It can get very hot in the summer. Bring two water bottles with you.
- Start earlier. Hundreds of cyclists ride here in the summer. Start early to avoid the crowd.
- Come just before/after the Tour de France stage to see the roads painted in their full glory.
Alpe d’Huez in Tour de France
The Alpe d’Huez has featured as the stage finish in the Tour de France 31 times. 26 riders have won atop the Alpe d’Huez, the latest being Tim Pidcock in 2022.
Hennie Kuiper (1977, 1978), Joop Zoetemelk (1976, 1979), Peter Winnen (1981, 1983), Marco Pantani (1995, 1997) and Lance Armstong (2001, 2004) have won on the Alpe d’Huez on more than one occasion.