[ blog » 2020 » 08_Tour-Alps ]d02: Le Grand Colombier (by Philipp Gesang, location: Culoz campsite)

Being spectator at a bike race, how hard can it be? At the final stage of this year’s Tour de l’Ain it certainly wasn’t easy considering I got up to around 1200 m of altitude until I decided I had found my spectating spot. On one of the steeper parts of the climb from Culoz it had a dense tree cover that provided protection from the grueling fourty degrees heat that prevailed for most of the climb.

Going through this ordeal myself instilled me with the proper respect for the work the riders were performing, all of them including those in the grupetto and those who got swept up by the broom wagon. When the lead group arrived the field was already fragmented. Which was not too bad as it allowed me to cheer up many riders individually. Some conversation I overheard – the pace was rather reduced – was an AG2R rider comforting one from the CCC that they had almost completed the steepest part.

On the summit which I visited after the race was over the view was as spectacular as I remembered. When I stopped in Culoz in 2017 I climbed the Colombier from Virieu-le-Petit in the west so I had no idea just how beautiful the route from Culoz was. Due to the cliffs it lacks the tree cover though which makes the lower part of that climb really tough in hot weather. Did I mention I brought an almost full water bladder with me? For the stated reasons I wouldn’t recommend the climb without.


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