Col de la Loze is a climb located in the French Alps, at an elevation of 2,304 metres. The climb has featured in both the 2020 and 2023 Tour de France and is unique in having only recently been paved for the 2020 edition.
When to ride Col de la Loze
The climb is closed in the winter months due to wintry conditions, meaning the best time to ride this climb is in the summer months, between May and September. Due to the recent paving of the road, conditions are generally excellent for cycling, as well as being quiet and safe as motor vehicles are not permitted on the road. The most traditional route is via Meribel and is generally considered one of, if not the, toughest climb in France.
Riding Col de la Loze
The most popular climb up Col de la Loze is the most popular, mainly for its notoriety. This climb is widely regarded as one of the hardest in France, with an average gradient of 7.5%, over a distance of 22.6 kilometres, scaling 1,700 metres.
To access the new cycle-only path, you must first travel via the old route. Once you are in Meribel village, follow directions for Rond-point des Pistes and the Altiport. Do not be fooled by the normal look of this road, this is a cycle path completely closed to road traffic.
The difficulty of Col de la Loze is the inconsistency of the climb. The very beginning of the climb is a difficult 8% gradient, and though the climb has kilometre marks along the route, it is difficult to notice them amidst the hairpins and differing climb.
As you pass through alpine woodland, hairpins and gradients become more and more intense with some sections at as steep as 22%. Because of the difficulty of the climb, effective use of your gears are recommended.
With two kilometres to go, the rest of the climb lays out in front of you, even including a slight descent before you reach the top. Once at the top, you’ll notice the town of Meribel where you started far below. Well done, you’ve just completed one of the hardest climbs in France and a key feature of the Tour De France 2020 and 2023.