Once upon a time there was a guy who thought it would be fun to ride 677km non-stop from Évian-les-Bains to Nice across the heart of the Alps. 11 hours from the start and with 250km in the legs all seemed to be going ok, until he hit the latter slopes of the Glandon and suddenly beauty turned into the beast within. The wind funnels downs from the top of the mountain as the gradient kicks up and hangs above double figures for what seems like forever. However, don’t be put off by my lunacy the Glandon may have made me hurt so very much in the past but it’s also one of the most enchanting mountains I’ve ever experienced and for that reason I find myself continually coming back for more. There are moments when you’re barely moving and then suddenly, as you approach the summit, you can feel pure life being inhaled back into your lungs. It’s as if the mountain gods have taken a ribbon of tarmac and thrown it out of the sky from 2,000m to form a 20km playground of pure escapism. Now that’s the sign of a truly special climb. Anyone that’s doing L’Etape du Tour in 2015 is in for an absolute treat.
Start: Saint-Étienne-de-CuinesLength: 19.7kmSummit: 1,924mElevation gain: 1,441mAverage gradient: 7.3%Max gradient: 11%
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