Tour de France 2021 – Stage 3

L’Orgère and Valfréjus

When we woke up, it looked surprisingly sunny and the weather websites I checked, confirmed it would stay that way.

As I have a score of possibilities – I dedicated 5 posts to them – I spent some time on making up my mind for today’s ride.

In the end, I decided to go for the two climbs near Modane: L’Orgère and Valfréjus.

I didn’t feel like riding the ~23 kms to Saint-André, so I got on my bike past Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, about 5 kms before the start of the climb up Porte de l’Orgère

While it probably won’t ring a bell for most cyclists having visited the area – I never heard of it – it’s not to be mistaken for just another dead end.

Besides, while you need a proper mountain bike and no cars are allowed past the last parking, you can also hike a lot further (and higher), which is what most people do.

I did pass a couple of other cyclists, though…

Orgère is actually rated more difficult than the nearby Col du Télégraphe, which makes sense, as it has most figures in common, but it’s longer and reaches a respectable 1,945 m.

After a coffee break, I went down, taking a left at Saint-André towards Freney and Modane for the climb up Valfrèjus.

I was a little confused when I saw the km marker at the start of the climb, as it read 8 kms, while the profile card on CyclingCols reads 15 kms.

But, as I could have understood from that profile card, you need to (or rather: you can) continue cycling past the ski resort.

As a nice touch, there are numbered hairpins, “lacets”, starting at 14, counting down towards Valfrèjus.

Outside of the resort, the road gets a little bumpy in some parts, some of it little more than a gravel path, but further up, past another parking, it gets surprisingly better.

The final 4+ kms are very quiet too and offer some nice views and a few hairpins.

Once you reach the “Puits d’aération du tunnel de Fréjus”, an immense chimney-like construction, the cycling path ends.

This is at the indicated 1,960 m and you can go on and take a hike from there (too)…

We descended back to Valfréjus, had another coffee break and after a long search, I did find a souvenir shop to get me the “borne” for my collection, but the shop didn’t open again before 4 pm, so we left.

Back down in Modane, I took the D1006 to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, where I put the bike back in the car at the parking located just after the start of the Télégraphe.

Note to self: this part back was slightly downhill but the headwind was fierce. The sign “Col de l’Iseran” I saw near Modane read 59 kms – if the wind (generally) comes from the same direction, it will at least be a tailwind through the valley. If not…

Total for today: 80.2 km and 2,011 m of elevation gain.

Link to Garmin.


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