Sometimes pros ride along, such as Laurent Brochard and Laurens ten Dam, who won the Marmotte in 1992 and 2003. The fastest arrives in recent years after about 5.5 hours. The last finishers usually take nine hours longer.
The first turtleneck to come across the riders after the departure from 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 beeches that grow on the flanks. They are in French under thegland(acorns).
Hence Glandon. The mountain pass was already opened in 1898 and is only open from May to October, because it is impassable for snowfall for the other months.
The next col owes its name to the signal installation that was constructed for military purposes next to the fort from the time of Napoleon: 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 most difficult mountain of the Marmotte, but according to Joop Zoetemelk 'the Télégraphe is not running, you shift an accident' and Hennie Kuiper noticed that 'the road is slightly flatter when you get above the deciduous trees. " Many riders also call it a nice, even climb, wooded and, as usual in the Alps, with many hairpin bends. The Télégraphe is deceptive, because if riders suspect that they are almost upstairs, the mountain wall turns out to be a lot.
In the descent (5 km) to Valloire, the legs get a moment of rest, and the straight piece of false flat (6 km) to plan Lachat is pleasant because of the view over the river basinFrom the rivers that come out in the Valloirette. When the road turns to the right, the serious climbing that Gert-Jan Theunisse loved so much. "Mountains in the Alps such as the Galibier were just good. I thought it was wonderful if you exceeded 2000 meters, then few other riders could come with it. In the Alps, the Galibier is the most beautiful mountain, the real climbing. "Theunisse was the first to emerged in 1989 (just like Joop Zoetemelk in 1972). De Brabander was furious on his PDM teammates who did not want to ride for him. His anger resulted in a solo of 130 kilometers, the victory over Alpe d’Huez and the definitive conquest of the ball sweater.
Theunisse was able to handle the thin air and on the Galibier that is a big advantage, because soon after plan Lachat the riders reach the age of 2000 meters. After 27 kilometers of climbing (from the foot of the Télégraphe) the toughest moments come with a series of debilitating hairpin bends. Yet there is already a view of the top, at the end of a rough and desolate rock landscape where even in July sometimes there is still a lot of snow. The climb flattened a bit and keeps on stable, about 9 percent, but many riders ride here with vibrating legs and panting through the oxygen debt like a shepherd dog in a closed car in the burning sun. A consolation for the riders: Tour winner also called it "a trap that I never got over."
In the long descent of the Galibier and the Col du Lautaret (2058 meters) there is a chance to recover somewhat for the last col of the day, Alpe d’Huez. Normally the Dutch Berg is already a leg breaker, but after 160 kilometers over 3 cols all the way. But whoever has come that far can also handle the last 21 turns, right?
Where can you eat well during the Marmotte?
- After the barrage du verney - flat after you have risen the jump -off
- Le River d'Altemont - Dorp where the road runs slightly flatter
- After the first descent and steep climb - you can quickly use a gel/bar before you start climbing again
- After the Barrage du Lac de Grand Maison - Another fairly flat piece where you can gain energy for the climb to the Glandon
- A few kilometers for the top - there is another flat descent there
- On the Glandon - Eat a bar here so that it can be digested during the descent
- After the descent of the glandon towards the Telegraph
In this part of the Marmotte it becomes extra important to keep eating and drinking well because you are already slowly starting to get tired. The moments where you can eat are scarce due to the steepness of the road, villages, tunnels and wind ....
- During the climb of the Telegraph and on top of the col
- The Galibier remains a difficult mountain. Grab every chance you have to eat ....
Download the route of La Marmotte here: