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Alpe d’Huez Goes California . . .

Posted by bikezilla on September 24, 2010


. . . ish.

The guys running the Tour of California are doing a brilliant job of transitioning the race from February to May, designing and marketing the course as the premier setting for riders who want to get ready for July’s Tour de France.

They’re trying to mimic, as closely as an 8 day race in North America may mimic a three week race in France, stages and settings of the Tour in hopes that racers will be all the more keen to skip the more prestigious, but also longer and far more brutal Giro d’Italia, which also runs in May

One of the ways they want to do that is to introduce the famed climb of Alpe d’Huez to California. Speculation has it that they’ll drop that task on the slopes of Mount Baldy.

Why it may not be Baldy:

— Andrew Messick said it would be, ” . . . the hardest final 10 miles that we’ve ever done.” and the climb up Baldy is 12.63 miles.

Why it probably is Baldy:

— Like Alpe d’Heuz, Baldy is famed in part for its switchbacks.

The problem is that if you watch the video above, Baldy’s “switchbacks” are long and sweeping. They don’t tightly and rhythmically hairpin back and forth like we’re used to seeing on the real Alpe d’Huez.

In other words, the comparison is something of a stretch, an exaggeration, a marketing ploy.

It’s not completely inaccurate, but not quite what it seems they’re selling us, either.

— But calling Baldy an American Alpe d’Huez is not a new comparison, which reeeeeally seems to be the strongest reason to believe that Baldy is THE location on Messick’s mind.

Podium Cafe has a similar article, plus a discussion going on about this.

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One Response to “Alpe d’Huez Goes California . . .”

  1. Mike said

    I dont think there is anywhere in the UK we could call the British Alpe d’Huez

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