Cyclocalendar heroes the Tour de France. In a series of articles we focus on the stage cities and the gran fondo's and sportives of thee region. Today: stage 17, which starts from Grenoble.
We start with a quiz question: in which year did the Grenoble Olympics take place? You can find the answer at the bottom of this article. We can already tell you that it was a long time ago. When you walk around in this city (just under 160.000 inhabitants) you will find very few memories of the winter games.
Because Grenoble is bigger than Bozen and Innsbruck, the city is sometimes called the capital of the Alps. Even though it is not even in the 'real' Alps. Grenoble is surrounded by mountains: in the north the Chartreuse, in the west the plateau of the Vercors and in the east the massif of Belledonne.
On a rainy day in Bourg d'Oisans, Grenoble is a nice city for a nice getaway. It's only an hour by car. You will find everything you would expect from a big city. The Bastille, a historic series of fortifications, is the most famous attraction. With a gondola you can go up cliff to visit the site.
For cycling Grenoble is not a bad base at all, at least if you don't care about big names. There are climbs in all directions, as you can see on the map on Cyclingcols. The climbs directly around the city are up to 1600 meters high, but those who accept a slightly larger range can also go well above 2000m. If you want big names, you'd better go to Bourg d'Oisans.
It's actually quite strange that Grenoble doesn't have its own gran fondo, because as said, there are plenty of climbs nearby. Almost all cycling events in this region take place around Bourg d'Oisans. Everybody knows the Marmotte of course. Also the new event GFNY Alpes Vaujany we have often put in the spotlight on Cyclokalender. For that reason we choose 'that other GF' from Vaujany: La Vaujany. This cyclo would have a new route this year, if it weren't for corona. But next year another chance. The new route is a huge improvement as far as we are concerned. Vaujany - Glandon - Lacets de Montvernier - Col du Mollard - Croix de Fer - Vaujany is finger licking good. It's also a tough course: 143 kilometers and 4253 meters of elevation. If that's too much for you, there's also a medio fondo. This gran fondo traditionally takes place on the Sunday before La Marmotte, at the end of June. Many cyclists combine the two events.
Tomorrow we'll stay in wintery atmospheres, because then we'll go to Méribel. And those winter games? 1968 it was. Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy won all three ski events.Related stories