Tag Archives: Casse deserte

Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 4 -Col d’Izoard

1 Sep

Following the descent of the Col Agnel, you are immediately faced with the Col d’Izoard. From the south, the climb is a misleading 16km at an average of 7%. It is not until you leave the village of Chateau Queyras do you realise how hard the Izoard is. Like so many other climbs, a hairpin signals the start of the real challenge; 9km at 8-9%.

The gentle lower slopes

The gentle lower slopes

The climb is intimidating like no-other. Nearing the summit you enter the barren, lunar landscape of the Casse Déserte. You are surrounded by the iconic sandy eroded rock formation that have played host to numerous iconic Tour de France episodes. From Andy Schleck’s audacious solo-attack to Bernard Thévenet cracking Eddy Merckx, the Izoard has influenced the outcomes of the Tour de France like few others. 2km from the summit, a brief descent leads you to the Coppi & Bobbet memorial – a tribute to the two greats who both crossed the pass alone in the yellow jersey.

The Casse Desserte

The Izoard is the best climb I have ever done. The moment you enter the Casse Déserte, you realise how special this road is. The ascent is hard but the views are stunning – like nothing else in the Alps.

Almost there...

Almost there…