#5: Signal de Bisanne (Savoie)
The taller brother of Saisies
The Col des Saisies is a rather known pass in the Tour de France. Climbed 11 times since 1979, and being a 1st category difficulty, it also offers a beautiful scenery and a large road, quickly making it a classic for the "Grande Boucle". But if this road is taken quite often, there's something in the west that should definitely being worth a detour. And what's even more strange is no professional cycling race even tried to pass through it at least once, not even the smaller but famous Critérium du Dauphiné. And to add even more to the mystery, this thing goes higher and harder than the Saisies.
So why no race dared to adventure themselves into this climb? The road is in good condition, and its difficulty, while being far superior to the Saisies, doesn't put it in the impossible climb category. But it's definitely, by today's standards, an HC ascent. The Signal de Bisanne, topping at 1934 meters high, offers a great challenge, while being just a few clicks away from the Saisies. But it's kinda hard to write down an history of this climb, because the legend has never been established here. It doesn't even have a Wikipedia page! But what's sure is it could really be another classic in the Tour de France, and is the perfect alternative to the col des Saisies, like the Hourquette d'Ancizan is to the col d'Aspin.
Climbbybike Difficulty score:
This is the hardest side of the Signal, and also the most praticable. There's other roads coming to the top that are a little bit more irregular, but they are easier. So let's just focus on the Villard-sur-Doron side, which offers a quite long climb with a strong steepness, and with ramps coming up to 13 %. However, it's useful to know that the last two kilometers lead to the summit of the climb, which is a dead end and wouldn't probably take all the vehicles required for the logistics of a cycling race like the Tour de France or even the Dauphiné. They're the hardest two, but still, even without them the climb offers a great challenge to anyone who tries to climb it.
The Signal, after a few kilometers, nearly never comes back under 9 % average, but there's a good amount of hairpin turns (13) that can give a bit of fresh air. The road is also most of the times inside a forest, but after the station of Bisanne 1500, there's no more trees to protect ourselves against the sun and the wind. There's no place to take shelter, all the way up to the intersection at 1700 meters high. To the left, the final two kilometers, averaging 10.5 %, still without any protection against the elements. To the right, a small descent towards the Saisies.
Maybe the Tour is afraid that the Signal de Bisanne completely replaces the Saisies, because of its harder nature. But that's just a supposition. Right now, the dark grey road of the Signal still hasn't seen a yellow jersey, if we except the amateurs who wear a yellow-colored outfit. But here's again another challenge the peloton could face in the next years, if ASO notices it for their next races.