Col du Galibier (2,642)


col de la cayolle cycling


Europe’s most popular Deux Mille mountain is the Col du Galibier, which connects the Maurienne Valley with Briancon in the Oisans region. The mountain is known from the Tour de France and from the large public race, La Marmotte, which typically takes place on the first Sunday in July.

From Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne it is a full 36 kilometres to the top, where the first 12 kilometres are up to Col du Telegraphe before the actual climb up Col du Galibier starts in Valloire, 18 kilometres from the top. The first half up to Plan Lachat at 2000 meters altitude is relatively easy. After that, the increase changes markedly with hairpins and sharp ascent percentages right up to the top. Especially the scenery of the first few hairpins just after Plan Lachat, as well as the last few bends before the top, are extraordinarily spectacular.

From the south, Col du Galibier can be climbed from the top of Col du Lautaret, itself a Deux Mille mountain connecting Briancon in the south with Grenoble in the north. The climb is just over eight kilometers with a steady gradient up to the tunnel just before the top. From here, the gradients really takes hold by up to 12 percent.


This giant from Valloire – or even Saint Michel de Maurienne to get the pleasure of Col du Telegraphe too – is probably the most famous climb in Europe. Especially the last eight kilometers from Plan Lachat are remarkable. Four kilometres from the summit, riders will pass a monument to legendary Italian climber Marco Pantani. The Pantani monument marks the spot where Italian rider attacked in the rain to secure victory in the 1998 Tour de France.

The monument comes a few meters after passing Chalet Les Granges du Galibier – a fromagerie. The dynamism of the resort allows the opening of seasonal points of sale on Col du Galibier in order to promote and directly market the Beaufort cheese produced by a cooperative. The rest of the production is sold to several wholesalers and is thus distributed on many stalls of cheese makers and specialized dairies.

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