The majestic or monstrous Madeleine (1 993 m)
Majestic or monstrous. Stunning, beautiful and lush landscapes; or a very long and sustained climb from bottom to top. It is the views, the sweeping corners and the switchbacks that are going to help you get up this climb. This climb has everything for climbers and non-climbers, the corners and switchbacks are a welcome break in the constant gradient. It will test your body and your brain to sustain the effort. This ride takes you on a journey, riding through forests, passing cascading waterfalls, crossing stone bridges, you arrive in the high Alpes with 360 degrees views.
The almost inevitable ascent of the Tour de France, the Col de la Madeleine presents a sustained climb over almost 20 km. It is advisable to leave early in the morning, as the climb is long; opened and exposed to the sun with little shade. After a sustained 4kms on switchbacks at an average of almost 9%, you can find the shade to climb up to Saint-François-Longchamp 1450. Once past Saint François-Longchamp, you have to climb the last 3 kilometers in the middle of lush green mountain pastures with cows, snow-capped mountain peaks and marmots.
From the top of the pass, you will see the Mont-Blanc massif, and on the Maurienne side, all the peaks of Arvan-Villard (Pic du Frêne, Aiguilles d’Argentière, Pic de l’Etendard, and Aiguilles d ‘Arves).
Considered strategic by the departmental authorities, the opening of this pass was decided in October 1949 in order to link the valleys of the Maurienne and the Tarentaise. Constructed over several stages the pass was inaugurated in July 1969 in the presence of the Savoyard Minister Fontanet.
The Col de la Madeleine has been crossed a total of 25 times by the Tour de France. It has been classified “out of category” during its last 12 passages. It is a climb for pure climbers and for those that like to ride and enjoy the surroundings and the journey.