Discover a fascinating Belgium along 10 of its most famous trails
All road cycling enthusiasts have to know and contemplate going along these iconic mountain passes made up of one curve after another and dizzyingly steep inclines.
At 2,215 meters above sea level, the Col du Tourmalet is one of the highest mountain passes in the French Pyrenees. A decisive leg whenever it is part of the Tour of France, its cycling history goes back to 1910 when it was first crossed during the Tour. You can either do the climb from Luz-Saint-Sauveur (19 km) or from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan (17.2 km). If you wish to lengthen the route, you can go from Col d’Aspin and from Hourquette d’Ancizan which is always a good option for the more daring.
At the heart of the French Alps, Alpe d’Huez and the Col de Sarenne are the perfect combination for any ambitious cyclist. From Le Bourg d’Oisans, Alpe d’Huez awaits with its 21 emblematic curves (13.8 km). A place to feel like Fausto Coppi when he won the stage of the Tour the first year that the competition went up this cycling pass (1952). What a better way to finish than the climb at the Sarenne? This ski slope unveils a narrow road in summer made of broken asphalt.
Located in the north of Italy, the Pordoi Pass is one of the country’s mythical mountain passes as the Stelvio Pass, Gavia Pass and Mortirolo Pass. At the 2,239-meter peak, we will be surrounded by the impressive Sella Group and Marmolada peaks. If we go on the Sella Ronda circular route, we can also take in the other iconic mountain passes like the Sella Pass, Gardena Pass and Campolongo Pass. Would you dare to go cycling in this area in winter? An experience difficult to forget.
There are places on this planet where wind and rain often beat down with fury, and the White Mountain National Forest (in the USA) is one of them. Well-known for bad weather in this area, Mt. Washington is a true challenge for those cyclists who, especially on the few good days of the year, dare to climb the 12 km fraught with horseshoe curves and inclines that exceeds 22%.
Can you imagine a road that rises from sea level and climbs up to 3,000 meters high? You can find it in Hawaii. The climb up the “Haleakala” Volcano (House of the Sun), on the island of Maui, is one of the paved roads with more elevation meters in the world. Taking off from Paia, in a little under 60 km, you can reach the top of the volcano after cycling through its over 30 hairpin curves that await the bravest. Volcanic beauty is equalled by difficulty.
When we think of Austria, many of us conjure up the image of vast green meadows, lakes and cows out pasturing. The National Hohe Tauern Park will not let us down: 550 lakes, 266 peaks exceeding 3,000 meters and the third of Austria’s flora and half of its fauna found are in this protected area. In this paradise, we can find an icon in the world of cycling, the Hochtor Pass, a mountain pass that gives way to the Grossglockner, the tallest peak in Austria (3,798 m).
Considered to be the highest paved road in Europe, its pavement goes very nearly all the way to the top of the Veleta Peak (3,396 m), one of the mythical mountains on the Iberian Peninsula. Starting in the city of Granada (Spain) and after carrying out 50 km along this classic road, you finally reach the top. Bear in mind: the asphalt deteriorates a bit the closer you get to the top due to the passing of time.
In the Andes Mountain Range and in the Sierra Nevada National Park in Venezuela, the 4,118-meter Pico El Águila is set (also known as the Collado del Cóndor). If we take off from Estanques, at just 400 meters above sea level, we will have a 125-km climb ahead of us. We can shorten the route if we take off from Mérida, which leaves us with 70 km of grabbing onto the handlebar and giving our best. At the top, there is a majestic statue of an Andean condor.
In the Arizona desert (in the USA) adjoining the city of Tucson, arises the impressive Mt. Lemmon (2,791 m). The known as “Mt Lemmon Highway”, it is one of the great paradises for road cycling enthusiasts in North America. Surrounded by cacti and at 915 meters, we will start the journey where that after 50 km we will reach the top of the Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley ski station (2,750 meters). A fascinating adventure on two wheels.
Thought to be one of the new classics in the Vuelta a España, the Alto Angliru (1.570 m), it was first climbed in the Vuelta in 1999. From La Vega, a small village in the Principality of Asturias, the ascent to this stellar pass kicks off with a little over 12 km and 23% inclines. Still want more? You can add the Alto Cordal mountain pass to your route to complete a special day to remember the north of Spain by.