The Col du Galibier



B

Bob Schwartz

Guest
"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over
forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of
your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are
getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"

- Henri Desgranges

Henri Desgranges was a nasty *******. He strived to create
a Tour where only a single rider, a survivor, could complete
the event. To that end he included the first big Pyreneean
cols in 1910. In 1911 he added the Alps, including a monster
366km stage from Chamonix to Grenoble featuring the first
passage of the Col du Galibier. Emile Georget took the col
and the stage, scaling the Galibier with only a single gear
on each side of his hub, and allowing only 4 riders to finish
within an hour of his time.

The Col du Galibier became a regular feature of the Tour,
passing over in every edition until well after his death in
1940.

Now what you need to remember is that the route of the road
over the col has changed over the years. As you traverse the
southern route from the Col du Lautaret try to find the trace
of the old road to the east. Imagine yourself climbing in a
fixed gear over a dirt road. Now imagine giving yourself a lot
less distance to gain that elevation and you have a picture
of what life was like with the old road, which was abandoned
in 1938.

This is what the Michelin map looked like in 1947:
http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/images/divers/galibier_carte_michelin.jpg

From 'Les Mystères des routes du Galibier':
http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/dossiers/dos_galibier.php

1933 saw Vincente Trueba scale the Galibier on his way to
becoming the first King of the Mountains in an unofficial
competition that Degrange would add for real the next year.

In 1935 the old road saw the stage of the Tour where Francisco
Cepeda fell and broke his skull, suffering a fatal injury.

In 1976 the tunnel was closed for safety reasons. This allowed
riders in the Tour to savor the steepest sections of the route
at the very end as the road took the stiff jog from the tunnel
entrance up to the Col. Lucien Van Impe was the first to score
KOM points at the top.

In 1996 everyone was expecting Miguel Indurain to rule again in
July as he had the five prior years. But he failed badly in the
Alps at Les Arcs where Berzin became the first Russian to wear
the yellow jersey. Indurain failed again the following day in
his specialty, the time trial. This was an uphill race, and
Berzin won it to extend his lead.

That set up one of the most epic stages to never actually happen.
Already facing a severe test over the Galibier and the Col de
l'Iseran and finishing at Sestrieres, the organizers regarded
the gale force winds and snowstorm at the higher altitudes as
a bit much, and detoured to a mere 46 km from Sestrieres.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/1996/snow.jpg
http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/1996/devil.jpg

There Bjarne Riis survived the adverse conditions to destroy
Berzin, Indurain, and the rest to take a yellow jersey he would
keep to the end. Today this is a race known mostly for dope, as
if there is a shot you could take to allow you to ride
comfortably on a day where any sane person would never venture
out.

Two years later Jan Ullrich would arrive in Grenoble with a 3
minute advantage over fourth placed Marco Pantani. All that
would unravel as they rode over the Col du Galibier. In an icy
rain he would still have 30 seconds to give to Pantani at the
top of the Col. But the effort took to much out of him and he
would reach a state of collapse at the stage finish at Les Deux
Alpes. Finishing almost nine minutes in arrears it was more time
than he could make up in the remaining time trial. This race
also is remembered for dope, as if the courage it takes to
continue riding as hypothermia sets in can come from a syringe.

Bob Schwartz
 
E

Ewoud Dronkert

Guest
Bob Schwartz wrote:
> Now what you need to remember is that the route of the road
> over the col has changed over the years. As you traverse the
> southern route from the Col du Lautaret try to find the trace
> of the old road to the east. [...]
> This is what the Michelin map looked like in 1947:
> http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/images/divers/galibier_carte_michelin.jpg


http://www.xs4all.nl/~ewoud/earth/galibier_sud.jpg
(886x911 172KB)

Col de Lautaret bottom centre crossing, Col de Galibier top-most blue
"i". Current road in orange, old road clearly visible to the right.
They join just below the hairpins.


--
E. Dronkert
 
B

Bob Schwartz

Guest
Ewoud Dronkert wrote:
> Bob Schwartz wrote:
>> Now what you need to remember is that the route of the road
>> over the col has changed over the years. As you traverse the
>> southern route from the Col du Lautaret try to find the trace
>> of the old road to the east. [...]
>> This is what the Michelin map looked like in 1947:
>> http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/images/divers/galibier_carte_michelin.jpg

>
> http://www.xs4all.nl/~ewoud/earth/galibier_sud.jpg
> (886x911 172KB)
>
> Col de Lautaret bottom centre crossing, Col de Galibier top-most blue
> "i". Current road in orange, old road clearly visible to the right.
> They join just below the hairpins.


Very cool.

The Memoire du Cyclisme article calculates that takes the gradient
from 7.11% to 9.76%, a pretty significant difference. Lots of stages
the included the Galibier began in Grenoble or Briancon which likely
would have taken then over from the south.

http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/eta_tdf_1903_1913/tdf1911_5.php

Bob Schwartz
 
D

Dan Connelly

Guest
Bob Schwartz wrote:
> "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over
> forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of
> your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are
> getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"
>
> - Henri Desgranges



http://www.midcalracing.com/kaiser2004.htm
 
D

Dan Connelly

Guest
Bob Schwartz wrote:

> http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/1996/snow.jpg
> http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/1996/devil.jpg
>



> There Bjarne Riis survived the adverse conditions to destroy
> Berzin, Indurain, and the rest to take a yellow jersey he would
> keep to the end. Today this is a race known mostly for dope, as
> if there is a shot you could take to allow you to ride
> comfortably on a day where any sane person would never venture
> out.



Pre-EPO:

http://www.mortirolo.de/gavia.jpg
http://pelotonjim.files.wordpress.com/2006/08/gavia-andy.jpg

(Shameless plug: http://www.cinghiale.com/ ; sold out: http://www.cinghiale.com/tours/2007/dolomiti.htm )

Dan
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
Ewoud Dronkert <[email protected]>
wrote:

> Bob Schwartz wrote:
> > Now what you need to remember is that the route of the road
> > over the col has changed over the years. As you traverse the
> > southern route from the Col du Lautaret try to find the trace
> > of the old road to the east. [...]
> > This is what the Michelin map looked like in 1947:
> > http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/images/divers/galibier_carte_michelin.jpg

>
> http://www.xs4all.nl/~ewoud/earth/galibier_sud.jpg
> (886x911 172KB)
>
> Col de Lautaret bottom centre crossing, Col de Galibier top-most blue
> "i". Current road in orange, old road clearly visible to the right.
> They join just below the hairpins.


Thanks. Where is the old tunnel? At the upper junction?

--
Michael Press
 
H

Howard Kveck

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
Ewoud Dronkert <[email protected]> wrote:

> Bob Schwartz wrote:
> > Now what you need to remember is that the route of the road
> > over the col has changed over the years. As you traverse the
> > southern route from the Col du Lautaret try to find the trace
> > of the old road to the east. [...]
> > This is what the Michelin map looked like in 1947:
> > http://www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net/images/divers/galibier_carte_michelin.jpg

>
> http://www.xs4all.nl/~ewoud/earth/galibier_sud.jpg
> (886x911 172KB)
>
> Col de Lautaret bottom centre crossing, Col de Galibier top-most blue
> "i". Current road in orange, old road clearly visible to the right.
> They join just below the hairpins.


The old road looks pretty damn tough. Not that the new one looks particularly
easy, of course.

--
tanx,
Howard

Never take a tenant with a monkey.

remove YOUR SHOES to reply, ok?
 
E

Ewoud Dronkert

Guest
Michael Press wrote:
> Thanks. Where is the old tunnel? At the upper junction?


I don't know exactly. I only know the entrance on the other side, next
to the 'refuge' near the top. The resolution of the maps is quite low
but you can see it here: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/329316
That little stretch of road straight towars us leads to the tunnel.

Ah wait (just browsing the panoramio pics in google earth), this must
be the south entrance: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/331890 (And
another from the north: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/332112)

So this should the tunnel:
http://www.xs4all.nl/~ewoud/earth/galibier_tunnel.jpg


--
E. Dronkert
 

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