Despite the unrelenting heat in the French Alps, their day started on schedule. After riding down to the start line, the Brown brothers climbed 5,400 feet up Sarenne, covering 16.2 miles. That was just a warmup for their second leg – reaching the top of the infamous Alpe d’Huez, and overcoming its 22 hairpin turns.

Following another 8.5 brutally hot miles and an elevation change of another 3,700 feet, they heard something peculiar at the top of the mountain. The brothers turned to see an elderly gentleman playing his violin, adding a melancholic soundscape to their sweltering, but beautiful, ride to the top of Alpe d’Huez.

After a total of 50.6 miles and 11,000 feet of climbing, the brothers described the music as the soundtrack of suffering – but the view was worth it!

Read below to learn more about tomorrow’s stage, as described on

Stage 4: Alpe d’Huez-Col du Galibier: 123 km (4000 m Elevation)

© Haute Route

Today is the Queen stage.

Tough enough on fresh legs, eye-wateringly painful to think about with legs that have banked 13000 m of vertical in the last few days. Either way, you signed up and have got this far. May as well crack on.

Ever heard of the Marmotte Granfondo Alpes? If you haven’t, it’s one of the toughest 1-day races in the Alps; thousands of riders set it in their sights each year. It includes ascents of 4 legendary cols in the Alps.

Well, you’re doing that today, minus “one and a bit” of the cols, which you did yesterday.

You’ll begin the morning with the Col de la Croix de Fer, one of the longest climbs in the French Alps, covering 29.1 km. The average gradient of 5.1% is slightly misleading as the climb includes a few short descents, don’t be fooled.

The gradient is ever-changing; it may help to break it up into three climbs in your head.

After you pass Le Rivier d’Allemond, the scenery becomes increasingly beautiful, and soon you’ll be gifted with views of Lac de Grand’Maison. By this point, you’re almost at the top.

Time to brush yourself off and continue towards the Télégraphe and Galibier; together, they add up to a 34.8 km climb with 2069 m of vertical ascent.

The Télégraphe is winding, well-paved, and steady. Not much in the way of views until you reach the top. A few kilometers of descent into the skiing village of Valloire before you take on the Col du Galibier.

The first 10 km is relatively gentle. You hug the river as you cut through the valley. As you turn right at the Plan Lachat refuge, crossing the Valloirette River, the real climbing begins.

You’ll be lifted out of the valley with the help of a few steep hairpins, finding yourself in a harsh grassy meadow beneath the summit. Head down; the final 2 km has more hairpins in store before you reach the summit.

Read the full article at