Up to the Col
16th July 2009 | Giles Lewis, Val d'Isere
Each year the road is closed and cyclists can tackle the might Col d’Iserane. With the Tour de France in the Alps this weekend cyclng is in the news.
Planet Ski reader and local ski instructor, Giles Lewis, tells us what it was like.
“The mighty Col d’Iserane was closed to vehicles from Val d’Isere up to the Col itself at 2,770m.
For a glorious few hours the road cyclists of the higher Tarentaise Valley were able to dance, spin, grind or toil their way from the centre of town to the summit of the highest road pass in Western Europe wihtout fear of a car or lorry hurtling round the corner.
Hundreds of people made the special effort to ride to the top and the conditions were generally favourable with a tailwind on long sections of the ascent.
Amateur cyclists should be happy with any time under the hour. Like many of the famous cols in the Savoie region, the Iseran has a timing set up on it so that tourists can measure themselves against the clock.
Conditions at the top were sunny and not only could we see down in to the remote Haute Maurienne, but could also check out the summer skiing on the Pissaillas glacier, running again through the Val d’Isere lift company.
The closing of the D902 was all part of Val d’isere’s effort to entice tourists to the resort in the summer. As well as this they stage fetes de musique, expositions, and the complete range of sports for the whole family.”
Giles Lewis is a ski instructor with The Development Centre that operates in the Espace Killy. Seems he likes a spot of cycling too.