Tour de France 2021 – Stage 8

Valmeinier (Télégraphe)

The weather forecast for this afternoon looked grim, but the various sources couldn’t quite agree on when the misery would begin.

I decided not to take any chances and 1) ride a shortish stage and 2) get in the car as soon as it would.

Provided that would not be in the final kms of a(ny) climb, of course 😎

In the end, I made it back home to the supermarket near our apartment, but it had started raining by the time we got out.

On the bight side: this was supposedly the last “bad” day for now and hot, sunny days are coming.

Not sure that’s going to be any better for me…

I got on my bike at our doorstep, as I wanted the extra kms to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne as a warming up.

We took the D80, a more quiet road than the D1006 and with some additional climbing.

Nothing spectacular, but every meter counts, right?

The last 5 kms or so, you will have to take the D1006, as there is no alternatives, only dead ends to specks, okay: villages, on the map.

In Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, I started the ascend of the Télégraphe, which has the left turn entrance to Valmeinier only 3 kms before its summit.

above-valmeinier-1800From that split, to the Valmeinier 1800 station, it’s some 7 kms, the official 6.2% average being a little deceptive, as there’s an almost 1 km stretch that goes downhill.

At any rate, there’s also nothing breathtakingly steep – the climb is rather constant at grades between 7% and 8%.

If you look at the profile starting in Saint-Michel, the distance is 16.1 kms at an average of 6.7%, which actually is just over 7%.

I tried to get past the 1800 station, as I was sure I’d seen a Valmeinier 2000 sign, but I quickly found out that I would either have to go on foot, or get a proper mountain bike for that trail.

Besides, Paula wasn’t allowed to get up there in the car, so I went back down for a coffee and waffle break.

I then descended back to the Télégraphe’s main road and finished the last bit of that.

We went down to Valloire immediately after having taken the pictures and I scored another jersey plus some souvenirs there.

I then went back up the Télégraphe, 5 kms that are not really a challenge, except when you’re tired.

We did have a coffee at the summit and I then flew down the descend, only to be held up by cars reluctant to let a faster cyclist pass them.

I took the same route (D1006/D80) back to Saint-Jean and that was it.

Total for today: still almost 84 kms and just under 2,000 m of elevation (RwGPS is more generous with 2,001 😂).

Link to Garmin.


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