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The Marmotte Route

The Marmotte is probably the best known & hardest cyclo-sportive in Europe with its 5000m climbing over 174km. The route starts in Bourg d’Oisans goes over the Col du Glandon, along the Maurienne valley to St Michel de Maurienne, over the Col de la Telegraph, Col du Galibier, down the Col de Lautaret to Bourg d’Oisans and finally climbs up to Alpe d’Huez to finish.

The Marmotte Route Altitudes
The sportive is held on the first Saturday of July and has between 7000 & 8000 riders starting from 7am. The winner finishes in about 6 hours! with the last riders taking over 11 hours. It is an excellent event, very well organised with plenty of food and water stations.

The Marmotte route is not only to be ridden as a sportive, thousands of leisure cyclists ride it each year for the challenge, sense of achievement and stunning scenery.

The Marmotte Route – A Short Guide

Most of our guests who do the Marmotte do it without Alpe d’Huez completing it on another day, the lure of our front door is too much as you pass it at the base of the Col de Lautaret! Without Alpe d’Huez the route takes most guests about 10hrs this accounts for photo’s, food and water stops.

The Route

The route is easy to navigate and is marked on the road by painted Yellow arrows and an M, these are more prevalent after the sportive as they get renewed each year for the sportive but can be seen all year round.

Marmotte route map

The Key Turns

  • Approx 7km from Bourg d’Oisans turn right to Allemont.
  • Approx 3km from the summit of the Croix de Fer which is the same road as the Glandon turn left to go over the Col d’Glandon, it is signposted and at a junction with a cafe.
  • At the base of the Glandon you come to some speed bumps (be careful) this is St Etiemnne de Cuines, turn right at the cross roads.
  • St Jean de Maurienne through town turn right at traffic lights and go over bridge to Col du Telegraph.
  • Over the Galibier, base of descent turn right to Bourg d’Oisans.
  • Bourg d’Oisans turn right at the round about to go up Alpe d’Huez.

Water, Toilets and Food

The water from the water fountains is drinkable unless there is a sign saying it isn’t – ‘non portable’.

  • Bourg d’Oisans: water, toilets and cafes.
  • Le Rivier d’Allemont: water, toilets and cafes. This is the last water before the top of the Glandon so we would recommend you fill up here.
  • Col d’Glandon: cafe, if you ask they will fill your water bottles.
  • Saint Colomban des Villards: water and toilets on the right hand side in the centre of the village and cafes.
  • Saint Etienne de Cuines: toilets on right hand side just round the cross roads, cafes.
  • Saint Jean de Maurienne: cafes – good lunch stopping point, water (green hydrant – turn top) and toilets on left hand side at the end of the bridge at the start of the Col du Telegraph.
  • Col du Telegraphe: water at tap on left, toilets on right, cafe.
  • Valloire: water centre of town, this is the last water fountain until the Col du Lautaret so recommend filling up if haven’t at the Telegraph, cafes, toilets on left hand side as ascending out of town.
  • Col du Galibier: 2 cafes prior to the summit, last one at the turning to go over the top.
  • Col du Lautaret: water & cafes.
  • La Grave: water and toilets in car park on left hand side at the centre of town, final opportunity to fill up before starting Alpe d’Huez, cafes.
  • Le Velo Jaune b&b: accommodation, dinner and water with Solfege bar next door!
  • Alpe d’Huez: water: bend 16 & 7, toilets: bend 7, cafe, water & toilets at the summit.

Things We Have Found Useful To Know

  • You don’t need to be scared of the route, respect it, it is a challenge and one that has to be trained for. The fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy it!
  • Start slower than you think you should, there is a lot of climbing and if you’re feeling fresh on the Galibier or Alpe you can always race up those!
  • Check the weather, you don’t want to be caught in freezing rain climbing the Galibier.
  • We always take arm warmers, a windproof, some food and money as a minimum and more often than not long fingered gloves.
  • Keep your water bottles topped up and eat before you feel hungry.
  • Enjoy the scenery, take photos, stop etc but just keep an eye on time, it’s amazing where it goes.
  • Most people go to hell and back at least once during the day – so if you go there you’re probably not on your own!

I am sure our guests will testify, we certainly do, La Marmotte is one of the great routes and is really worth the effort.

Marmotte Granfondo