The stage cities and their gran fondo's: La Tour-du-Pin

Tuesday 15 September 2020 by Frank Jansen

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 16, which starts from La Tour-du-Pin.

The beautiful mountain peaks of the Vercors (picture: Adobe Stock)

Cycling around La Tour-du-Pin

La Tour-du-Pin is a small town of 8000 inhabitants, located exactly between Lyon and Chambéry. There's really nothing interesting to tell about it, so we move on to the grounds around the city. It's slightly sloping. You won't find decent hills of any size here, nor high mountains. Still, with the Vercors and the Chartreuse there are two interesting cycling areas nearby which is probably the reason why the Tour chose this as its starting point. The riders will visit both areas today. First of all, the Chartreuse Massif, which lies 25 km to the southeast. Here you'll find the Col de Porte, a tough cookie which riders will also climb today. This ascent was extensively in the news this year due to the bad weather with hailstones as big as ping-pong balls during a stage of the Dauphiné.

This is where the peloton heads south, towards the Vercors. Just like the Chartreuse, this is a promontory of the 'real' Alps. But also here you can seriously climb, as we wrote earlier in our article about starting point Le Teil.

Gran fondo's

The closest gran fondo requires a 45 min drive to the east, to Chambéry. From there the Chambérienne Cycletyres is held. A beautiful GF, of which the longest distance is 135 km with over 3100 m. A small-scale event as well, because less than 100 people participate per route. The routes make a loop towards the northeast of the city, into the Massif des Bauges. Just like the Vercors and the Chartreuse, this is a promontory. There are five serious climbs of which the Col des Prés (1135m) is the highest. As you can see from the profile below, there is really no meter flat. Really something for the mountain goats. Do not underestimate this ride. This is definitely not a piece of cake, at least for ordinary mortals. The winner finished the 135 km in 2018 in just 4h18... 


This gran fondo normally ridden at the end of July and can therefore be easily combined with a family vacation. Tomorrow we will be back with the first (but not the last) Olympic city in this series: Grenoble.

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