January 2013
     
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed
Historian

 

 

Also See:

20th Century Timeline

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Top 20 Classics

 

Cycling’s “Field of Dreams”

“Is this heaven?  No... it’s Alpe d’Huez!”

The following description is adapted from American Movie “Field of Dreams”.  The speech was given by Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) in support of the allure of American Baseball.  The adapted statement offered here may be poignant to the state of cycling now.

People will come… They’ll come to Alpe d’Huez for reasons they can’t fathom.  They’ll come to Bourg d’Oisans and turn up the climb with numbered switchback turns longing for the past.  They will put aside past indiscretions to enjoy the spectacle of cycling and enthusiastically support the stars.  They will walk up the 21 turns looking for the perfect spot to cheer their heroes and will watch the race as though they had been dipped in magic waters.  The childhood memories will be so thick they will have to be brushed away from their faces.”

People will come… The one constant throughout all the years has been the consistency of outstanding efforts.  The World has rolled by like an army of steamrollers erasing the past, but cycling has steadfastly marked time.  Cycling is part of our past and reminds us about what once was good.”

Oh, People will come… They definitely will come!!!”

Alpe d’Huez is not the steepest (8.5%), it is not the longest (13.8 km), it is not the most difficult, but it is solidly immersed cycling’s history.  The prestige of winning on Alpe d’Huez can make a rider’s entire career.  Superstar Fausto Coppi was the first to win a stage on the Alpe  d’Huez.  Hennie Kuiper and Joop Zoetemelk (both won twice) led the rush of Dutchmen to win atop the Alpe.  The great Bernard Hinault battled for the win more than once and finally gained a victory in 1986. 


View from Alpe d'Huez [photos from Graham Jones]
The finish of Stage 18 [profil from TdFrance]
Alpe d'Huez climb [photos from Graham Jones]

Alpe d'Huez

Height: 1,860 meters 

Range/Area: Alps

Route: from Bourg d'Oisans 13.8 km - 8.5%, through 21 switchback turns

Category: HC

History:

1952

L'Alpe d'Huez (1-1860) - Fausto Coppi (Ita)

Stage 10 Lausanne (Sui)-Alpe d'Huez, 266 km

1976

L'Alpe d'Huez (1-1860) - Joop Zoetemelk (Hol)

Stage 9 Divonne les Bains-L'Alpe d'Huez, 258 km

1977

L'Alpe d'Huez (1-1860) - Hennie Kuiper (Hol)

Stage 17 Chamonix-L'Alpe d'Huez, 184 km

1978

L'Alpe d'Huez (1-1860) - Hennie Kuiper (Hol) *

Stage 16 St Etienne-L'Alpe d'Huez, 241 km

* Kuiper was awarded the stage after Pollentier was DQ'd.

1979-1

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Joaquim Agostinho (Por)

Stage 17 Les Menuires-L'Alpe d'Huez, 167 km

1979-2

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Joop Zoetemelk (Hol)

Stage 18 L'Alpe d'Huez-L'Alpe d'Huez, 119 km

1981

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Peter Winnen (Hol)

Stage 17 Morzine-L'Alpe d'Huez, 230 km

1982

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Beat Breu (Sui)

Stage 16 Orcieres Merlette-L'Alpe d'Huez, 123 km

1983

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Peter Winnen (Hol)

Stage 17 La Tour du Pin-L'Alpe d'Huez, 223 km

1984

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Luis Herrera (Col)

Stage 17 Grenoble-L'Alpe d'Huez, 151 km

1986

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Bernard Hinault (Fra)

Stage 18 Briançon-L'Alpe d'Huez, 163 km

1987

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Federico Echave (Spa)

Stage 20 Villard de Lans-L'Alpe d'Huez, 201 km

1988

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Steven Rooks (Hol)

Stage 12 Morzine-L'Alpe d'Huez, 227 km

1989

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Geert-Jan Theunisse (Hol)

Stage 17 Briancon-L'Alpe d'Huez, 165 km

1990

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Gianni Bugno (Ita)

Stage 11 St Gervais-L'Alpe d'Huez, 183 km

1991

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Gianni Bugno (Ita)

Stage 17 Gap-L'Alpe d'Huez, 125 km

1992

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Andy Hampsten (USA)

Stage 14 Sestriere-L'Alpe d'Huez, 187 km

1994

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Roberto Conti (Ita)

Stage 16 Valreas-L'Alpe d'Huez, 225 km

1995

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Marco Pantani (Ita)

Stage 10 Aime La Plagne-L'Alpe d'Huez, 166 km

1997

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Marco Pantani (Ita)

Stage 13 St Etienne-L'Alpe d'Huez, 203 km

1999

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)

Stage 10 Sestrieres (Ita)-L'Alpe d'Huez, 218 km

2001

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Lance Armstrong (USA) DQ'd

Stage 10 Aix les Bains-L'Alpe d'Huez, 209 km

2003

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Iban Mayo (Spa)

Stage 8 Sallanches- L'Alpe d'Huez, 219 km

2004

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Lance Armstrong (USA) DQ'd

Stage 16 Aple d'Huez ITT, 15.5 km

2006

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Frank Schleck (Lux)

Stage 15 Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 187 km

2008

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Carlos Sastre (Spa)

Stage 17 Embrun - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 210.5 km

2011

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - Pierre Rolland (Fra)

Stage 19 Modane - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 109.5 km

2013-1

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - ?

Stage 18 Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 168 km

2013-2

L'Alpe d'Huez (HC-1860) - ?

Stage 18 Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 168 km

To celebrate the 100th Tour de France the fabled Alpe d’Huez will be climbed twice in one stage.  In a CyclingNews.com interview Tour director Christian Prudhomme said “This place is perfect for the Tour de France to make history, it was the first mountain top stage finish and the first place where a TV camera was onboard a motorbike to film the race."

Alpe d’Huez is the iconic symbol that cycling so desperately needs.  2013 will be a huge year for the teetering sport of cycling and the more outstanding efforts and iconic symbol to return cycling to the top of the World’s respect.  Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France will be one huge step in that direction.



Oh, People will come… They definitely will come!!!”


"They will walk up the 21 turns looking for the perfect spot to cheer their heroes and will watch the race as though they had been dipped in magic waters"
[photos from CR's Graham Jones]

 

 

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