Riding the ‘Shoelaces’ of Montvernier – The Quiet Legend
When we cyclists talk about exciting climbs we tend to talk about challenging cols with steep gradients. Les Lacets de Montvernier which translates to ‘the shoelaces of Montvernier’ is no Ventoux or Glandon, but the unique hairpin bends of Montvernier puts it on your must ride list.
If you are planning to ride our Geneva to Nice tour, you are in for a treat as you will be ascending the 'shoelaces' of Montvernier. This ride is popular on Strava.
Montvernier appears that shoelaces have been dropped from the sky on to the mountain side, hence the name. In fact, the road was built in 1934 and took six months to complete. It was a feat of engineering to build it.
The road features a steady gradient of around 8%. The ascent begins from the Maurienne valley floor, and your starting altitude is 505 metres. When you reach the top your altitude will be 782 metres. The 3.4 kms of road not only offers challenge and uniqueness, but as you would expect amazing vistas. The road was used for the first time in the Tour de France in 2015, and it was used again in the 2016 tour.
The Hairpins of Montvernier
Montvernier offers you 18 hairpin bends, and nearly all of them are packed into 2 kms of road. Roughly they are a 120 metres apart. As such, taking on Montvernier is an intense climb as you are confronted with switchback after switchback. This is both a demand on your stamina and mindset, but this is more than compensated by the sense of achievement when you reach the top. It is not uncommon to see cyclists zigzagging their way up and down Montvernier. No doubt you want to do the same.
On our Geneva to Nice tour, Montvernier comes on the third day. After riding the north side of col de la Madeleine at the start of the day, we cycle on through the Maurienne valley for around 10 kms, before we begin our assent of Montvernier.
If Montvernier is on your must ride list, then join us by riding Geneva to Nice. It is a breathtaking cycling adventure that will take you through the French Alps. You will test your limits riding the cols of Tour de France legend. Along the way you will experience the spectacular beauty of the French Alps.
To learn more about Geneva to Nice, click here. Test your limits in the French Alps.
Image source: Wikimapia.org