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Col de Sarenne

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Rider Review

Col de Sarenne is a climb located in the French Alps, connected to the legendary Alpe d’Huez. The climb is a distance of 12.6km, climbing a total of 924 metres with an average gradient of 7.1%.

When to ride Col de Sarenne

The area is home to ski resorts which are open in the summer. From June to late August/early September most of the hotels, restaurants and cafes are open, however the town is busy and vibrant all year round. The best weather for riding tends to be early June to early July, and then again from mid-August to mid-September. Although Alpe d’Huez has a far bigger reputation in the cycling world, it can be incredibly busy in peak months and Col de Sarenne offers a nice alternative in the same region for those looking for a quieter ride.

Riding Col de Sarenne

The route is popular with cyclists for its challenging nature, quiet traffic levels as well as allowing you to climb both sides of the famous Alpe d’Huez.

If you are leaving the town of Bourg d’Oisans, you will cycle across the large dam at Lad du Chambon, where you will take a left and begin the climb to Col de Sarenne.

The gradient immediately intensifies as you scale Alpe d’Huez’s much less famous hairpins. Here, gradients average between 9 and 10% then eases as you pass through the village of Mizoen. After a flatter section you are heading further into the Ferrand valley. After a short descent, it’s steep climbing for the next 9km. This includes another 15 hairpins before you reach the summit. Unfortunately they are not a regular as the usual route to Alpe d’Huez with sometimes several kilometres before the next series of hairpins. With 4 hairpins remaining the road straightens for a kilometre but doesn’t ease. Finally you’ll reach final hairpins which will provide a tough test before you reach the summit of Col de Sarenne!

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