Etape 2009 route musings....

IanTrcp Posts: 761
Last year ahead of the Etape there were some great posts on "use this section to eat, eat, eat", "take it easy on the first part of this supposedly minor climb as some will get caught out" etc. I thought it would be great to get the ball rolling on our collective thoughts, experiences and insight regarding the 2009 edition....

To kick things off, I've been examining the "other" climbs we'll be enjoying prior to Ventoux. There are four listed:

Côte de Citelle 5,2 km at 3,9 %
Col d'Ey 6,3 km at 5 %
Col de Fontaube 4,7 km at 4,3 %
Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles 7,8 km at 4 %

I wanted to put these into context, so looked for the stats on a climb that I suspect many of the southern contingent will know well - Box Hill. I stumbled across this useful little site set up by Jim Ley (thanks Jim, whoever you are!) which says that Box Hill is 2.5km at 5%. So the four climbs then should be like extended versions of Box Hill, I think a comforting thought for those of us who climbed the Tourmalet trying to keep something in reserve for Hautacam last year!

Is there someone on the site who's ridden any of these and can confirm????


  • Captain Fagor
    Captain Fagor Posts: 739
    I have ridden the Col d'Ey ('07 & '08 ) and the Col de Fontaube ('08 ).

    Looking at the etape website, I'm assuming the Col d'Ey is tackled from the north (via St Jalle), with the Col de Fontaube ascended from the north via Cost (just south west of Buis les Baronnies).

    In the stats you quote, I'm not sure where the ascents are classified as starting, but you'll have a longish grind to get to the top of the Col d'Ey. When I rode this last year, I descended the north side, and then followed the D94 to la Bonte, where I turned left off the main road on to the D185 toward Mirabel. This descent took me from 715m to 300m. Nyons is probably a bit lower at about 200m. Keep your eyes peeled for the fenced off nudist colony on the south side of the hill. I've not spotted anything, despite my best efforts!

    Similarly, I also descended the north side of the Col de Fontaube toward Cost. The top is at 635m and Cost is about 350m. Don't remember much about that though, as it was the end of a long, hot solo day and I was cooked.

    Also, when you descend the Fontaube toward Savoillan, you'll be down at about 500m and have to climb the steady drag toward Sault. There's about 250m of climbing in there, mostly to get to Aurel.

    Most of this is pretty academic though, with Mont Ventoux ahead!! Enjoy the ride. :D
  • hewg
    hewg Posts: 17
    I've ridden the Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles. I don't know Box Hill so can't tell you how it compares to that but it's a wide, windy main road that ordinarily I don't think you would choose to ride when there's a great alternative - the road that climbs to the head of and then descends the Gorges de la Nesque (on a map it' s the squiggly D942 to the south of the Col deNDdA)before rejoining the main road at Villes sur Auzon. It's a real shame the stage isn't following the Nesque road as it's so picturesque but it's much more gentle than the Col deNDdA which I guess is why it's not included. Anyway, back to the main road. The steepest rise is right at the start (c.10%) where the road leaves the valley floor and it then climbs steadily until you reach a couple of points where you think you're at the top but find the road then swoops down for a short distance before climbing quite steeply again. However once you do get to the top you've then got more than 10km of fast descending to Villes sur Auzon with loads of room for manouevre and a good surface. There are a couple of points where there could be strong crosswinds though. From Villes the route descends gradually until the turn off the main road for Mormoiron before heading to Bedoin. I think we know what happens after that!
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    So do people think the cutoff times will be less of a worry this year, what with the preceding climbs being relatively gentle? I assume that once you're on Ventoux, there'll be no cutoff, bit like Hautacam last year?
  • TheStone
    TheStone Posts: 2,291
    I'm guessing the route is something like this (not mine):

    A couple of the earlier climb details are available:

    Col d'Ey 6,3 km at 5 % ... ainID=5851

    Col de Notre-Dame des Abeilles 7,8 km at 4 % ... ainID=6300

    And of course Ventoux: ... untainID=4

    The earlier climbs look fine, but they'll each take a bit out of the legs. Ventoux is a beast. Climbed it once on a perfect day from fresh and it still hurt.

    They gave plenty of time to climb Hautacam last year, but they were still pulling people out on the climb. Elimination car came past me, but they were ahead of schedule, so stopped for a bit. Not many finished after me!

    Distance and total climb (167km & 3500-3800m?) are similar to last year (168km & 3720m), so I'd expect a similar elimination time 10h20? I haven't decided if the course is easier or harder. I like that it's not steep till final climb, but there's not much flat sections to relax. (Last year the first half took me 3h08, second half 6h42!!)