Col du Granon is a climb located in France, emanating from the town of Briancon. The climb covers a distance of 11.4 kilometres with a challenging average gradient of 9.3%, scaling a total height of 1,059 metres. The climb has featured on the Tour De France twice, in 1986 most recently and famously in 2022.
When to ride Col du Granon
As with many climbs situated within the French Alps, they are impassable during winter months, but make for perfect climbing in the warmer months between May and early October. Because Col du Granon is essentially a cul-de-sac, traffic is very light and most of what you will encounter will be fellow cyclists.
Riding Col du Granon
Col du Granon begins in the French commune of Saint-Chaffrey, in the French Alps – an incredibly short distance from Briancon. The route is clearly labelled as the Granon (D234T) and is well signposted throughout the route. The route is one of the highest-paved roads in France, and is a real test for cyclists – starting with an 8% gradient within the first kilometre, rising to 10% in the second.
Sadly, it doesn’t get any easier thereafter. Though the ride is relatively short in comparison to other climbs that we’ve profiled, Col du Granon will feel tougher than most as the climb rarely lets up, with long intense average gradients all the way up. Kilometre markers, as is traditional in many French climbs, provide blessed or cursed relief as you push on.
After a gruelling 6km and with 5km still to push, the gradient reaches its peak at an average of 11%. Although this is statistically-speaking, the “peak”, it’s difficult to feel relieved after such an intense climb. With 1km to go, you will notice a sign informing you that there is 1km to go, but with a 9.6% gradient to get you there…
At the top, there is at least some relief – a cafe called the Buvette du Granon, which allows you to take on board refreshments, rest, appreciate the views and climb and prepare for the descent back down the way you came. Beyond the summit, there is no different way back down due to there being a military road that is off limits to cars or road bikes.