July 21st-22nd 2017 ~ Aiguilles to Serre Chevalier ~ Its so hard, the Izoard, when you have a heavy trailer strapped to your bike on such a steep climb

Today’s photo shows Travoy at the Casse Deserte, about 2.5 km from the summit of the Col d’Izoard. The Casse Deserte is an incredible sight and the short downhill section is a welcome relief on the climb up to the Col d’Izoard. The road through the Casse Deserte is incredibly narrow and it was very dangerous when I passed through here after the Tour de France stage 2 days earlier, due to the sheer numbers of cyclists. But today the road through the Casse Deserte was much quieter and it was sheer bliss to freewheel through it knowing that the summit was not too far away.

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Total distance cycled Saturday July 22nd from Aiguilles to Serre Chevalier – 65 km (includes 1,650m of climbing). Total distance cycled so far on the 2017 Tour de Travoy – 4,415 km. Having been up he Col d’Izoard 2 days earlier for the Tour de France, I knew what to expect but it was still incredibly tough with all the weight in Travoy. However, the steeper the climb the more photos I take so as to catch my breath and on the Izoard , I ended up taking hundreds of photos.

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Chateau Queyras.

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Sign saying the Col d’Izoard was open.

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Sign saying that the Col d’Izoard would be closed to traffic and only accessible by cyclists for 2 hours between 9 and 11 on Friday morning.

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Graffiti saying “Get well soon, Marcel” for Marcel Kitel who won 5 stages in this year’s Tour before crashing out the day before the stage to the Izoard.

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Les Jouets des Queyras toyshop in Arvieux.

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Graffiti saying “Bidon, s’il vous plait” or “Bidon (drinking bottle), please”. This graffiti was painted on the road near where the poster of Froome was, which had the phrase “The Lion of the Savannah” wrote in both Swahili and English. Swahili is the native language of Kenya, where Froome grew up.

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Huge bike in a field so as to be picked up by th helicopter cameras.

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This is where the group dressed up as Beefeaters were located.

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Not just cyclists on the Col d’Izoard but a few horse riders as well.

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WaWa is Warren Barguill’s nickname. No doubt his fans on the Izoard were elated on Thursday as he went on to win the stage.

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Sign saying 7 km to the summit and the gradient for the next km is 8.9%.

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Graffiti for Michele Scarponi who was killed in a traffic accident near his home in Italy at the start of May.

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View looking down on the Alpine villages of Brunssard and La Chalp.

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Lots of support for both Romain Bardet and Warren Barguil.

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Lots of love for Romain Bardet on the Col d’Izoard.

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Sign saying 4 km to the summit and the gradient for the next km is 8.8%.

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Graffiti in support of Dan Martin. I never spotted any Irish flags on my way up the Izoard on Thursday but there may have been some Irish fans here going by this graffiti.

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3 km to go sign and the gradient is only 1.4% for the next km due to the downhill section through the Casse Deserte. I was stood at the 3 km to go banner but the banner was located about 200-300 m from this sign. Perhaps it was deemed too dangerous to put the 3 km banner up here, so instead it was put up slightly further down the hill.

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Downhill section through the Casse Deserte.

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Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet memorial at the Casse Deserte. Both Coppi and Bobet won stages that featured the Col d’Izoard and they had many a battle on this famous climb.

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Graffiti for Richie Porte who crashed out of this year’s race during Stage 9 in the Jura mountains.

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Tour de France finish-line at the summit of the Col d’Izoard. I remember climbing Alpe d’Huez in 2015 and there was no trace of the finish-line at the summit. But here on the Col d’Izoard , the finishline was clearly marked with paint.

Time for a photo at the stone memorial on the Col d’Izoard. A bystander kindly agreed to take a photo of me and Travoy beside the Izoard memorial. The date on the memorial is 12th August 1934, which is the date the road was completed by the French military. A lot of Alpine roads were built by the French military in the 30’s to guard against an invasion by either Italian or German forces.

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Souvenir shop at the summit of the Col d’Izoard.

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The descent down the Izoard was a lot of fun. However, I took one corner too fast and Travoy tipped over on a steep hairpin. Travoy has a twist mechanism so it can fall over without also knocking over the bike. I managed to stay upright but it was about 10 yards before I managed to stop as the hill was that steep. That meant Travoy was dragged along the ground for 10 yards and got very scuffed. Luckily, the damage was only cosmetic and the zip on my Burley duffel bag was not damaged. I was also lucky there was no traffic at the time or they might have crashed into me.

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Napoleon refuge about 1 km from the summit.

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Stage 18 of this year’s Tour de France started in Briancon.

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Chateau fort in Briancon.

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Ski lift from Briancon up to the ski resort of Serre Chevalier.

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Re-development of Briancon town centre. Briancon is currently undergoing one of the largest urban re-generation schemes in france. It may be another 5 years before the re-development is completly finished.

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Road into and out of Briancon was jammed with traffic.

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Small arch and an old ski cabin on a roundabout near Serre Chevalier. I had hoped to climb the Lautaret and spend the night in Camping La Gravelotte in La Grave. But by the time, I got to Serre Chevalier, it was getting late so I stopped here instead. My plan was to go to La Grave on Sunday morning before climbing Alpe d’Huez Sunday evening and the Galibier on Monday with Travoy. But heavy rain was forecast for the Galibier on Monday, so I decided to skip Alpe d’Huez and climb the Galibier on Sunday instead. I wasn’t too bothered if I climbed the Alpe or not as I had climbed it in 2015 and I had plenty of other climbs still to tackle on this year’s Tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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