PEZ Rides The Galibier: Video & Photo Report
Travel: Stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France will climb the mighty Col du Galibier at 2645 meters altitude. I “rode” it back in 2017 – maybe better to say I hauled my carcass up it. Here’s a glimpse of the climb as I get inside 3km to the summit. It really is epic and awe inspiring – a must do.
Here’s my video – and photo diary of the day.
On this day in early June we tackled the Col du Telegraph first – it’s a natural lead in to the base of the Galibier from the east side – ie: you have to climb it. The town of Valloire is the official start to the Galibier, and boasts some beautiful and classic French alpine architecture.
The actual Galibier climbs 17km from Valloire to the summit, but you’ve already got 12km of climbing the Telegraph in the legs – so you’re either warm, or halfway to being done. Either way, it’s a grinder from here. Luckily the scenery is top notch, and very distracting.
The road climbs a long valley, and the surface was loose gravel at times – something to watch out for on the way down.
Once at the end of the valley, the road switches back and you ramp up the lower face of the Galibier. By now the wind was blowing, the temperature had cooled, and it was clear I was in for some serious climbing. Painted names of riders from Tours gone by mark the way.
A few switchbacks up and you’re rewarded with a long view back towards Valloire.
Yes – that’s Lien Crapoen driving our van – you might recognize her from the Tour of Flanders podium.
Up into the high alpine, it’s barren and desolate – and the rain threatened us as we neared the summit. The temps dropped to just above freezing – but the climbing kept me warm enough. It’s a must to pack a windproof shell for the descent. I pulled on dry gloves and warmers too – it’s a long way back to the bottom.
This day, there was still snow at the top – we had to hike it over about 50 meters to regain the pavement.
Still further up were signs of a recent rockslide – but the summit is just up to the right…
It’s time to enjoy the big view from whence you came…
And then grab the obligatory shot with your buddy and tour guide, Peter Easton, at the top.
Tour de France 2019 stage 18 profile: