Alpe d'Huez

This one starts off a round-a-bout just outside Bourg d'Osains. The immediate 9% gradient is a surprise and doesn't let up for several km.

Traffic was very busy on a Sunday morning. Unfortunately not just droves of cyclists. Motobikes in the hundreds and easily 1000 cars passed me during the ascent.

I have heard stories of d'Huez being hard at the start, then easier. Yes, it is hard to begin with. But its also hard in the middle bits, and I was seeing 13% near the top.

Though when I say top I really mean "large ski resort". After all the numbered hairpins of the climb the ending is an absolute anti-climax. No sign, no final point - lots of cyclists tooling around the resort looking for a finish, other cyclists gathering by any roadside sign they can find for a group photo.

My advice - don't do it on a Sunday.