Alpine Descents

1 Sep

Descending in the Alps strikes fear into some. However, few things come close to really cutting loose on a descent. Despite the obvious dangers, descending is not as dangerous as it may seem. In general the roads are wide, well-surfaced and allow one to view a long way ahead of oneself (pretty much the exact opposite of English descents!) Providing you are attentive, you shouldn’t encounter any problems of your own making. Here I list my top ten favourite descents in the Alps;

1. Chamrousse 1650 – almost no need to brake for 21km. Fast, sweeping corners followed by long straights (top surface has been removed from the road for resurfacing – hints to next years Tour de France maybe?)

2. Chamrousse 1750 – partly resurfaced last year. Pretty much identical to Chamrousse 1650.

3. Col d’Izoard towards Briancon – perfectly surfaced road with plenty of switchbacks.

4. Col Agnel towards Queyras – similar to the Izoard but fewer switchbacks. Stunning road in the Hautes-Alpes.

5.Lans en Vercors – quiet main road into the Vercors from Grenoble. Fast descent with amazing views of Grenoble. Watch out for the hidden traffic furniture through the villages though.

6. Col de la Croix de Fer – Would be challenging for the first place if it wasn’t for the very steep climb halfway down. Amazing descent and very fast. Descent from Glandon to Grand Maison is my favourite section in the region.

7. Villard Reymond – quiet road off the Col d’Ornon- Fun, technical descent with almost no traffic (don’t take this for granted though as the corners are very sharp!)

8. Sestriere towards Pinerolo – 50km of downhill. ‘Pedaly’ towards the bottom, but will be the quickest 50km of your life!

9. Col d’Ornon towards Bourg d’Oisans- easyish climb rewards you with a great descent. Very fast if you want it to be.

10. Villard Reculas – the best way down from Alpe d’Huez. Turn right at bend 5.5 to descend towards Allemont.

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