When winter's approaching, it's important to keep setting goals. Is there a better way to kill time than to ride beautiful climbs? CycloWorld introduces you to the 20 highest climbs in Europe. Two times a week a new climb, what more could you wish for? Keep smiling and never forget dreaming.
How did we compile this list? It's a compilation of the highest climbs of Europe, sorted from low to high. We've only included paved roads, so you won't find typical MTB climbs like the Col de Parpaillon en de Colle di Sommeiller on the list. Some choices might be questionable, but we'll always elaborate. The heights of certain climbs are not always unambiguous. In order to avoid discussion, we always use the height that's on the official summit sign although we know this is sometimes debatable. In the end, a stunning list has been created. Be inspired and dream about time to come.
Riding from Briancon towards the Col du Lautaret, you'll have to take a right from Saint-Chaffrey to the Col du Granon. The totale distance is 13 kilometers. The first part is not really hard, but the last 10,5k will kill your legs, averaging at a brutal 9,3%.The Granon is not for the faint-hearted. Cycling however, a true feast since this small country road is not suitable for dense traffic. You won't run into much traffic. What else could you wish for? The landscape is untamed and arid, and if you look over your shoulder you'll get a marvellous view on the snow-packed summits of the Massif des Écrins, after the Mont Blanc Massif this is the highest mountain range of France. This climb is something for connaisseurs. Every kilometer there's a sign on the side of the road showing the expected gradient - exactly how it should be. The name of the climb is somewhat deceptive, because of other side is only a small gravel road which may or may no be doable with an MTB. Besides, there's a military base there so it's forbidden for regular traffic.
When it comes to the Tour presence the story used to be short: it was included in 1986 when Eduardo Chozas was the first rider who reached the summit. However, in 2022 La Grand Boucle included the climb again. It turned out to be a belter: Jonas Vinegaard succesfully attacked Pogacar, which turned out to be the foundation for this first Tour victory.
Right at the top you'll run into the military structures. The col itself is nothing more than a parking lot where you might run into a couple of cars and hikers. The view in the descent is breathtaking and lets you fully enjoy the high mountain peaks. But be aware: the narrow road is not really suitable for fast descending. Are there climbs with a better view? For sure. Are there cols with a better surrounding? For sure. But the Granon offers a unique experience because of its peacefulness and tough gradients. No one would regret this one.
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