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Sometimes there are also professionals, such as Laurent Brochard and Laurens ten Dam, who won the Marmotte in 1992 and 2003. The fastest in the last years after about 5.5 hours. The last finishers usually take an hour or nine longer.
The first race that the riders encounter after leaving Le Bourg-d'Oisans, at the foot of the Alpe d'Huez, is the Col du Glandon, in the heart of the Grandes Rousses massif. The mountain is named after the fruits of the beech trees that grow on the flanks. These are classified in French among the glands (acorns).
Hence Glandon. The mountain pass was already opened in 1898 and is only open from May to October, because the remaining months are impassable due to snowfall.
The next col owes its name to the signaling installation that was laid out for military purposes next to the fortress from Napoleon's time: the Col du Télégraphe. It is also called the Satellite of the Galibier, because both cols actually form one long climb. Le Télégraphe is certainly not the hardest mountain of the Marmotte, but according to Joop Zoetemelk 'the Télégraphe does not run, you switch an accident' and Hennie Kuiper remarked that 'the road only runs a little bit flat when you reach the deciduous trees.' Yet many riders also call it a beautiful, even climb, wooded and, as usual in the Alps, with many hairpin bends. De Télégraphe is deceitful at the end, because if riders suspect that they are almost upstairs, the mountain wall turns out to continue.
In the descent (5 km) to Valloire the legs get a bit of rest, and also the straight piece of flat flat (6 km) to Plan Lachat is pleasant because of the view over the basin of the rivers that flow into the Valloirette. When the road turns to the right, the serious climb starts, which Gert-Jan Theunisse loved so much. 'Mountains in the Alps like the Galibier were just good for me. I thought it was great if you came above 2000 meters, then there were few other riders. In the Alps, the Galibier is the most beautiful mountain, the real climbing. ' Theunisse came first in 1989 (just like Joop Zoetemelk in 1972). De Brabander was furious with his PDM teammates who did not want to ride for him. His anger resulted in a solo of 130 kilometers, the victory at Alpe d'Huez and the final conquest of the polka dot jersey.
Theunisse did well against the thin air and on the Galibier that is a big advantage, because soon after Plan Lachat the riders reach above 2000 meters. After 27 kilometers of climbing (from the foot of the Télégraphe), the heaviest moments come with a series of debilitating hairpin bends. Yet there is already a view of the summit, at the end of a rugged and desolate rocky landscape where even in July there is still a lot of snow. The climb is leveling off and remains stable, about 9 percent, but many riders here ride with trembling legs and gasp through the oxygen debt as a sheepdog in a closed car in the blazing sun. A consolation for the riders: Tour winner also called it 'a sloshing that I have never overcame.'
In the long descent of the Galibier and the Col du Lautaret (2058 meters) there is a chance to recover somewhat before the last race of the day, Alpe d'Huez. Normally, the Dutch mountain is already a pothole, but after 160 kilometers about 3 cols completely. But those who have already come this far can also take the last 21 turns, right?
Where can you eat well during the Marmotte?