Unknown MTFs

This one is risky. I'm not sure if it's good enough to be a separate thread if it doesn't belong to Great "unknown" climbs thread. Propably this thread will land in a trash bin soon. I've decided to do it separately so this post won't be lost in Race Design Thread (where imo it belongs). While the layout of this post might be similar to 21 HC climbs the Tour should (re)visit thread it definitely doesn't belong there.

Playing in France (and partly in Bolzano province in Tyrol) resulted in a lot of places that propably are good enough to host a WT stage while being neglected by WT and Race Design Thread. Some of them could even try for a GT appearance. For now i've chosen 9 french mtf's and one italian which i didn't saw used or mentioned either in real life or in this forum. Because i'm tackling their usability i will be more concerned about location, road access and amount of available space rather than history, graphics or other more or less related to cycling topics.

The point of this thread is to give designers some tools to work in a particular area so they won't lose time for research and just go to the stage.

1. La Clusaz-Crêt du Merle 1497m.
This ski lift up to Aiguille de Borderan (2492m) belongs to wide La Clusaz ski area which is located between La Grande Balmaz (2616m) – a mountain in Aravis massif, Col de la Colombière (Le Grand-Bornard) and Col de la Croix Fry (Manigod). Sometimes Dauphine or Tour de France finish in the area, mostly in Le Grand-Bornard. Last time it happened in Tour de France 2013 stage 19.

Normally such ski lifts (basically 2 or 3 buildings) don't have any chances to host any stage in real life but this one is a part of La Clusaz. It has a rather sizeable parking space (one of the biggest in La Clusaz) and i guess La Clusaz would be more interested to have a finish in the town rather than Le Grand-Bornard. I doubt Tour de France will manage to have a finish there but Dauphine may try it someday.

The parking space isn't wide (5 to 6m) but is roughly 200m long. Road up there is 1,2 to 1,5-lane wide on a mediocre surface (asphalt seems to have small cracks) and goes through 9 serpentines. Those are not Tour de France standards but Dauphine may be fine enough. If not then definitely Tour l'Avenir will manage a finish there.


Road up to Crêt du Merle.

As a climb Crêt du Merle is 3,5km at 10,5% which makes a borderline 2/1 cat. It's short, very steep (10% avg is very high) and is rather regular. Location of this climb is very good with Col de la Colombière, Col de la Croix Fry and Col des Aravis nearby. It can be used as a nice change to Toue de France 2013 stage 19, after Aravis and Saisies/Bisanne or Romme/Colombière. It can be used as an opening MTT too.


Climb to Crêt du Merle.

When i was making this description i found that it was at least once used in Velowire forum. It was in a Tour de France by user bapt77, it was stage 19 from Chambery to La Clusaz (Crêt du Merle) and it went through Tamié, Epine and Croix Fry before Crêt du Merle.

2. Chinaillon-Le Grand-Bornand 1250m.
I will stay in La Clusaz for a while. This time it is much more known Le Grand-Bornand, but with a different finish. The village of Chinaillon is half-way through Col de la Colombière. The road i'm interested in is Route de l'Envers. It's on the other side of Le Chinaillon river. This road is 2km long and there are parking lots almost everywhere. The biggest one is half-way down the road nearby Le Grand Bornand ski school (ESF Grand Bornand) when you can learn skiing and snowboarding. I'm not sure if this or any adjacent facilities in Chinaillon would be interested in having a cycling race finish (a ski school is rather unorthodox place to have a finish) but there is plenty of space for such.

Parking lot near ESF Grand Bornand is quite sizeable. It's 150m long and max 20m wide
(close to 3km^2 which is good enough for Tour de France). There are two slightly smaller ones before and a couple after ESF Grand Bornand which end when Route de l'Envers joins D4 Col de la Colombière road. The road up is around 1,5-lane wide but in a rather poor condition. The amount of available space is good enough to maybe even host Tour de France, maybe after a potential road modernization.


Parking lot near ESF Grand Bornand, Chinaillon.

From Le Grand-Bornand to ESF Grand Bornand it's 6,7km at 4,9% which makes a borderline 3/2 cat.


Profile of Col de la Colombière from Le Grand-Bornand. The climb to Chinaillon is from km 12 to km 5.

It can be used as a mtf from Le Grand-Bornand or a descent from Col de la Colombière. If i remember finishes in 2009 and 2013 were in the town on Route de la Patinoire so this would make an unused version of Le Grand-Bornand finish. Like it was with Crêt du Merle it can be linked with Aravis – Saisies/Bisanne, Tamié – Epine – Croix Fry or as a descent finish from Col de la Colombière.


Possible finish in Chinaillon.

I doubt this place is a propable candidate for future Dauphine or Tour de France finish as there's one established finish place in Le Grand-Bornand. Thankfully the area is interested in cycling so maybe one day some race will decide to change a lil bit and use this place.

3. Manigod l'Etale 1575m & Col de Merdassier 1500m.

Last place from La Clusaz ski area. This one looks like a rather fancy small ski station with plenty of space available but not the best of road conditions. It's connected with Col de la Croix Fry west, l'Etale (2483m) and Pointe de Merdassier (2313m) summits east. It looks like Manigod would handle the finances itself but if not then there's allways La Clusaz.


Manigod l'Etale ski station.

On top of Col de la Croix Fry is a wide, 2-lane D160 road which goes right from the main road down to La Clusaz. This road is 2,5km long and is on a plateau. After reaching Col de Merdassier it narrows a bit to roughly 1,5-lane and the surface worsens up a bit. From there up to the ski station is 1,4km. Last 1,2km goes uphill at 8%.


Climb to Manigod l'Etale.

There's plenty of space to have a finish either in the station itself or on Col de Merdassier. On Col de Merdassier it's 60m x 50m parking lot which should be enough for Dauphine or even Tour de France. If it comes to the ski station it has a couple of those. Two of them, the bigger ones are at the entrance as they could be used to carry buses and other bigger vehicles while in the station itself would be only most imporant cars and finish installations. Sadly there's no streetview so i will go with a satelite image which is in a quite good quality.


Satelite image of Manigod l'Etale.

This ascent is an extention of Col de la Croix Fry. It's 3,9km long and most of it is on a false-flat. Only last 1,2km are at 8% which makes a borderline 3/4 cat. I'm not sure if this ascent should be counted with Col de la Croix Fry or not.

I'm not sure if this fancy little ski station is interested in having a cycling race. La Clusaz ski area has an established finish place in Le Grand-Bornand so it can be a bit problematic. Still i think a Dauphine and even a Tour de France wouldn't have any logistical problems with an eventual finish here. I think it's the second propable finish place in La Clusaz ski area outside Le Grand-Bornand which might be seen someday in real life. First one is Crêt du Merle which has Dauphine written all over the place while the last one is Chinaillon because Le Grand-Bornand has it's established finish place.

4. Station La Sambuy 1145m.
First mtf outside La Clusaz ski area but still close to it. It's located on the eastern edge of Bauges massif just a couple of kms north of Col de Tamié, on the slopes of La Sambuy summit (2198m). It's hardly a ski station as there isn't even a hotel, but there are at least 10 ski slopes and some sledge tracks. It belongs to the small town of Seythenex close to Faverges. I doubt both of those towns are capable of holding a WT race finish. Maybe Albertville could decide to help as it's quite close to it but i think Albertville would be more interested in a finish in the city rather than on an obscure ski station.


Climb to Station La Sambuy.

There's a lot of space available on the station – roughly 4km^2 which is enough for even a Tour de France but the problem is that for some reason only half of this space is asphalted, other half is gravel. It could be resurfaced if an eventual finish would be held there. I couldn't find in what condition the road up to the station is.


Parking on Station La Sambuy.

Now to the climb itself. It depends from where you want to start as the climb theoretically begins in Faverges. Counting from there it's 10,4km at 6%. Most of the part from Faverges is false flat so counting from Seythenex, where the actual climb starts is 5,4km at 7,6% (max 11%) which makes it a strong 2 cat.


Profile of Station La Sambuy.

Probability of hosting a WT race? Rather slim. There is no logistic problem whatsoever but the station is small and the proximity with Albertville doesn't help either. I doubt there will be enough money rised to host a finish there ever.

5. Arêches-Beaufort 1020m/1032m & Le Planey-Beaufort 1200m.
This one is hardly a mtf but straight from Beufort it is an uphill finish nonetheless. Arêches is a village south of Beufort. It should be known in the race design community as it's the entrance to Col du Pré and Cormet d'Arêches. Arêches is a part of Beufort and is the main facility of Beaufortain ski area so there shouldn't be any big money problems. If i remember correctly Beaufort itself sometimes hosted Dauphine stages not long time ago while having only small amount of available space. Sadly nowadays WT races doesn't seem to be interested in finishes in Beufortain massif.


Arêches at night.

In Arêches there's a parking lot (bus station?) southwest of the village on D218A. It's split by two thanks to Ruisseau de l'Argentine creek. Overally it's around 5km^2 of available space so it's perfectly enough for even a Tour de France. Problem lies in the unfortunate location on the southwest tip of the village, basically in the middle of nowhere. It can be used to carry buses and other cars while the finish line could be in the village like on Place Capitaine Bulle.


Possible finish location in Arêches.

As a climb it works only straight from Beaufort. From there to Place Capitaine Bulle is 5km at 5,7% which makes a strong 3 cat.


Profile of Col du Pré from Beaufort. First 5km is the climb to Arêches.

Road up to the village is mostly two-lane on a good surface. Only last roughly 500m are slightly narrower. There are however two other sides that could be used, but aren't very realistic. One side is from Col du Pré but the descent would be highly dangerous while the road is very narrow and unsecured. Other side is from Plan du Chuet which i once used in an unreleased Tour l'Avenir but sadly the road up and down is of similar quality as the Col du Pré one. Thankfully it can be perfectly linked with Roselend, Saisies or Bisanne.


Climb to Arêches.

Actually there is no need to end in the village as there is some space available in a nearby village of Le Planey outside of Chalet La Roche Novie. Then the climb would be 8,3km at 5,5% which makes it a cat. 2. Le Planey is a small village/ski resort which propably will never see any major cycling action because of it's size.

Probability of hosting a WT race? Doubtful. Dauphine and Tour de France doesn't seem to be interested in Beaufortain. They use it mostly as a transit to other regions in Alpes. But thanks to the discovery of Bisanne they might look at better possibilities than Bettex, but riders needs to help in making the decisions. Like the atomic 2011 stage to l'Alpe caused a storm of copycat stages in next couple of years a good ride on Bisanne might cause it to be the next big thing. Hoping for a stage like Giro's Paganella one. Sadly or not there is a bigger station in Beaufortain that is much more capable of hosting a WT stage.

6. Col des Saisies 1650m.
I really don't think this pass needs any further introduction but it's often forgotten that it's a quite big ski station too. I'm not sure, propably Libertine will know that much better, but wasn't the station on top of Saisies a biathlon centre in Albertville olimpics? There's more than enough space to host a Tour de France finish either on the northern tip of the station on top of Col des Saisies or on the southern tip en route to Bisanne. I don't think i need to expand further on this as you can just check out satelites and streetview.

This one is the most propable to host a stage in either Dauphine or Tour de France. The propability lies in how this year's Bisanne stage will be ridden. If Bisanne will be the next fashion, next big thing then ASO will definitely want to have it as a mtf because ASO. While i propably would prefer an Aprica type of finish in Arêches, mtf on top of Col des Saisies is the most propable option.

In Beaufortain there are at least one or two possibilities, but they're rather unrealistic for a WT race. One of them is straight from PCM – Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe. It's on the ascent to Saisies via Flumet. In the village there is some small amount of available space but it's a very small one. Maybe l'Avenir or a smaller alpine race could have a finish there.


Possible finish place in Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe.

Similar or maybe a bit bigger available space is in the adjacent village of Crest-Voland. Sadly it's mostly neglected by real life and not often seen in Race Design Thread. It's the Crest-Voland side of Saisies that is the hardest one outside Bisanne. For a long time i had it in my Tour de France before i changed the route completly (for the n-th time).

7. Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800 1780m.
Heading down south i found a rather obscure ski station in Val Durance, couple of kms south of Briançon. Or i thought it was obscure as it even landed an article in The Guardian. It did a fine job in describing the station so i will limit myself to the logistics.


Puy-Saint-Vincent.

This station is a carbon copy of a typical alpine station. It has three elevations: 1400, 1600 and 1800m. Each one of them has it's own available space to work with. Interestingly because the road through the station is a serpentine one there is no space to have finish installations because of elevation changes on the sideroad. Actually it might force to have a finish in one of the parking lots. The highest one is on the 1800 elevation and i will place the finish line there. As you can see below these parking lots aren't biggest one in the world but their amount should compansate enough for a Dauphine type of race.


Climb to Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800.


Possible finish in Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800.

As a climb Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800 is medium-sized, regular, rather typical 1/2 cat. There are two sides possible. First one – the main one is from Vallouise and it's 8km at 7,3% (max 9%) which makes it an easy 1 cat. This side is on a quite wide road – 1,5 to 2-lane on an acceptable surface.


Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800 from Vallouise.

Second side – from Les Vigneaux is longer, more complicated and irregular. It's 11km at 6,4% which makes it a 1 cat. This ascent is of similar difficulty as the first one but this one is more irregular. First 3kms are quite tough maxing at over 9% before next 2km of false-flat. Then, in Puy-Saint-Vincent 1400, the road joins the regular one from the first ascent. The road up to Puy-Saint-Vincent 1400 is slightly narrower than on the first variant. It's roughly 1,2-lane wide on an acceptable surface.


Puy-Saint-Vincent 1800 from Les Vigneaux.

The biggest problem this mtf has is it's rather poor placement. Being located in the middle of Val Durance ensure that there are no nearby climb available. The closest one is propably Col d'Izoard. There is however a col just southeast of Puy-Saint-Vincent – Col de la Pousterle but it's a sterrato road. Looks like it's in a fine condition but it's not Finestre and ASO will never decide to use it. Interestingly i once seen a stage going like that in Velowire forum i think.

Probability of hosting a WT race? I think nonexistent. It's a worser l'Alpe d'Huez and Risoul is allready and established mtf in ASO eyes. Besides Risoul is much better placed, it's closer to either Agnel, Izoard or Vars than Puy-Saint-Vincent. Basically Puy-Saint-Vincent is a ___/ type of mtf. But if someone wants to shake a bit it's Tour or Dauphine he might use this mtf rather than Risoul.

8. Enchastrayes-Le Super-Sauze 1705m.
The hidden brother of Pra-Loup. It's a rather unknown ski station just south of Barcelonnette. It belongs to the village of Enchastrayes. In architecture it looks like a smaller version of Pra-Loup.


Super Sauze.

Road up to the station is around 1,5-lane wide on mediocre surface. It's very twisty with close to 20 turns and serpentines in the last 7km. Like Pra-Loup it has a lot of bigger and smaller roadside parking space so a Dauphine or even Tour de France shouldn't be a big problem there. The biggest problem is with it's location. It's not only close to Pra-Loup which is a much bigger and prestigious station but it lies in the middle of Val d'Ubaye so linking with Cayolle and Allos is worser but it's a bit better with Bonette, Vars and Maddalena.


Climb to Super Sauze.

Super Sauze is a bit easier than it's bigger brother. It's 9km at 6,2% which makes a borderline 1/2 cat. But cutting first and last km of flase flat this ascent is 7km at regular 7,3% (max 10%). It's not the hardest of climbs and it's brother Pra-Loup is slightly harder but very twisty road can spike up the difficulty a bit making it like an irregular ascent.


Profile of Super Sauze.

Probability of hosting a WT race? Is this climb better than Pra-Loup? I dont think there's any need to change an established mtf. But in design community this climb can be a fine refreshment of an often used formula. Bonette, Cayolle and Allos will never be overused but once in a while Super Sauze might be a nice change between Pra-Loup, Jausiers or Auron.

9. Peyragudes-Les Agudes 1570m.
Yet another forgotten brother of a more popular station. When in 2012 Tour de France was going to finish on Peyragudes i was thinking of Les Agudes rather than Les Balestas. For a long time i thought this was the next example of a collapsing Pyreneean ski station like those in Atlantiques but it looks like it's still operating. It belongs to the Peyragudes ski area so it should be not only operative but interested in cycling. While Les Balestas is ideal if a stage goes from east Les Agudes is a much more interesting choice if a stage goes from west.


Les Agudes ski station.

The road up to Les Agudes is roughly 5km off the top of Col de Peyresourde. From Bagnères-de-Luchon it's 15,3km at 6,2%, cat. 1. It's slightly longer but easier than Peyresourde. Most of the climb however is shared with the Peyresourde ascent so the distinct bit is only 6km at 6,4% which is a 2 cat.


Profile of Les Agudes.

The road up to the station (D76B) is a quite typicall for a french road. It switches between 2-lane and roughly 1,5-lane without any sense. Most of the road is in a fine surface but the last 3 to 4km are quite rough. In the station itself there's quite a lot of available space (around 2km^2) so a Route du Sud can use it as a mtf. If it's big enough for a Tour de France? Propably yes, as there are some other smaller parking lots down the climb.


Climb of Les Agudes.

Probability of hosting a WT race? I hope high. The dream scenario would be to use Balestas from east and Les Agudes from west. I actually plan to use this climb in my Tour de France. Stage would go from either Pau or Tarbes via Tourmalet, Aspin or Ancizan, Azet and Peyresourde. I remember i've seen it at least once mentioned in Velowire forum around 2014.


Old version of my planned stage to Les Agudes. Back then didn't considered descent from Ancizan to be safe enough for rather conservative ASO.

10. San Martino/Reinswald 1570m.
The only one for now that is in Italy. It's a quite sizeable village and ski station located at the end of Val Sarentino north of Bolzano, on the western slope of Cima San Cassiano (2581m). Sometimes an European Cup pays a visit to have a downhill competition – a very obscure information which i cannot validate. The only winter sport i have some slightly deeper knowledge is Ski Jumping. It will be mentioned in my upcoming Giro del Trentino.


San Martino.

Logistically there's quite a lot of space in San Martino (parking in the ski station) and the road up to the ski station is in good condition, around 1,5-lane width. A very narrow asphalted road goes much higher. Judging from the satelites maybe even as high as 2110m a.s.l. The parking lot is located at the end of the village and it's rather sizeable – close to 4km^2. Maybe Giro used it 20 or 30 years ago but nowadays it fell into obscurity.


Parking in San Martino.

Technically this climb begins in Campolasta just north of Sarentino when there's a right turn from the Passo Pennes road. This road goes up to Valdurna. Close to 5,5km after Campolasta, in Boscoriva there's another right turn which indicates the main ascent to San Martino. While overall from Campolasta is roughly 8,5km at 6,5% the main ascent from Boscoriva is 3km at 9% and without a 500m long false flat it's steeper – 10-11% avg.


Ascent up to San Martino/Reinswald.

Even if this climb on it's own is not to underestimate it's its location that's worth mentioning. Maybe it is located good 35km from the top of Passo di Pennes (Auron or Isola 2000 from Bonette) but considering that Pennes north is 13km at roughly 9,3% (!) and is perfectly linked with allways massive Passo di Monte Giovo such stage could be a good contender for a queen stage in Giro d'Italia.


Profile of an eventual stage from Bolzano including Pennes and Monte Giovo.

Probability of hosting a WT race? Hope May in Dolomites will be warmer than usual nowadays.

I hope this post (or thread) will be helpful from the race designing perspective and might ease up the amount of work to put in a particular stage/race. If somebody have a MTF he doesn't know what to do with, which wasn't used or went forgotten in either real life or Race Design Thread and belongs to a major cycling area/country then he can post it here if he wish. BTW sorry for my quite poor english and thread name. I couldn't come up with anything better.
 
Mourtis!

In the Valais, Torgon-Portes du Soleil was one I always wondered about as an alternative to Pas de Morgins.



Another favourite undiscovered one is Brusson-Estoul in the Valle d'Aosta, which could either share part of the climb with Tze Core, or its final few kilometres could be a steep cat.2 finish after the western (harder) side of the Col de Joux and a descent into Brusson. Tze Core-Joux-Estoul would be an almost perfect stage finish.



Mayens-de-Riddes/La Tzoumaz is another thought for Romandie/Suisse/Tour - it's basically the opposite side of Verbier so if they're not happy to go all the way over the Croix de Cœur they could always incorporate this after some Valais climbs - it's got similar stats to Alpe d'Huez and has a perfectly acceptable skiing village at the summit (it may or may not feature in a Romandie I have been preparing as I've never done that race before).





In Pyrénées-Orientales, we may all be aware (and disappointed) at Err-Puigmal being out of business, but Font-Romeu is still around, you could have a nice medium-mountain type finish there after the Col de Jau and Col de la Llose, either for a rolling uphill transitional stage, or to loop around and climb from the west via the Col d'Égat - doing this could entail a cat.2 climb, then a short flat downhill and then a puncheur's cat.3 finish in the village (à la the Pescocostanzo 2008 stage I venerate), or alternatively continue climbing to Les Airelles which is about 13km at a fairly consistent 5,5% and wouldn't really create too many gaps but could serve as a first introduction to the mountains as a sort of Montevergine di Mercogliano type stage (or alternatively of course as a legit mountain stage in the Volta a Catalunya).
 
Re:

Ferminal said:
Thanks for posting. I wouldn't necessarily say Les Agudes is better than a descent into Luchon from Peyresourde West, but something different nonetheless.
The problem with a descent finish into Luchon from Peyresourde is that the descent easily allows for regrouping, though I'm unsure how much Les Agudes fixes that. If it weren't for the day next, this year's stage should reveal if it needs fixing or not.


PS: wasn't Saisies used as a MTF in Avenir recently?
 
Re:

Ferminal said:
Thanks for posting. I wouldn't necessarily say Les Agudes is better than a descent into Luchon from Peyresourde West, but something different nonetheless.
I don't know which one would be better. I guess such scenario should be checked in a smaller pyreneean race like Route du Sud if it's a needed or possible change to formula. We cannot forget that there's still Superbagneres which for some reason is absent from Tour.

Libertine Seguros said:
Mourtis!

In the Valais, Torgon-Portes du Soleil was one I always wondered about as an alternative to Pas de Morgins.
I think Mourtis is a very known one, too known to be featured in this thread. Mourtis is actually one of my favourites. It's a proper HC MTF from west and a strong cat. 1 from east but it's location is a bit unlucky as there's no good climbs to link with nearby. Still the difficulty of this MTF should negate any previous climbs, so i should work rather fine with a flat run-in.

Torgon-Portes du Soleil looks fine to me. A strong cat. 1 MTF, bit stronger than Morgins with some space available at the top. Maybe it will feature in some future Romandie.

Libertine Seguros said:
Another favourite undiscovered one is Brusson-Estoul in the Valle d'Aosta, which could either share part of the climb with Tze Core, or its final few kilometres could be a steep cat.2 finish after the western (harder) side of the Col de Joux and a descent into Brusson. Tze Core-Joux-Estoul would be an almost perfect stage finish.

Aosta is your sacred land so i'm leaving it Terra Incognita for myself as a sort of tribute to you ;)

Libertine Seguros said:
Mayens-de-Riddes/La Tzoumaz is another thought for Romandie/Suisse/Tour - it's basically the opposite side of Verbier so if they're not happy to go all the way over the Croix de Cœur they could always incorporate this after some Valais climbs - it's got similar stats to Alpe d'Huez and has a perfectly acceptable skiing village at the summit (it may or may not feature in a Romandie I have been preparing as I've never done that race before).



I'm not sure if there is enough available space. From satelites it looks rather poor but it seems to be a bit better version of Verbier and is nicely linked with Ovronnaz. Actually Ovronnaz might be a better bet for a MTF as it is a ski station nonetheless and i see some facilities on the northwestern tip of the village (Chemin de la Coppe). Actually this could be a Suisse answer to Rettenbachferner which i fear will be soon overused (if this climb could be ever overused - Madeleine, Stelvio case).

Libertine Seguros said:
In Pyrénées-Orientales, we may all be aware (and disappointed) at Err-Puigmal being out of business, but Font-Romeu is still around, you could have a nice medium-mountain type finish there after the Col de Jau and Col de la Llose, either for a rolling uphill transitional stage, or to loop around and climb from the west via the Col d'Égat - doing this could entail a cat.2 climb, then a short flat downhill and then a puncheur's cat.3 finish in the village (à la the Pescocostanzo 2008 stage I venerate), or alternatively continue climbing to Les Airelles which is about 13km at a fairly consistent 5,5% and wouldn't really create too many gaps but could serve as a first introduction to the mountains as a sort of Montevergine di Mercogliano type stage (or alternatively of course as a legit mountain stage in the Volta a Catalunya).
Font-Romeu is hardly unknown. Actually it looks like the most known MTF in Pyrénées-Orientales and the only one to handle a WT race nowadays. There could be a possibility to go even further than Les Airelles to a place which seems to be called Mollera dels Clots (2040m) where the asphalt ends. Thanks to streetview i've seen a lot or cars and a bus connection with it so it doesn't look like a deserted ski facility.

Ferminal said:
Not that recently!

Just park in Saisies and go to the top of Bisanne please... (maybe acceptable for Dauphine).

On a not so related not whatever happened to Allevard/Super Collet? No cash?
Actually finish in Saisies should be perfectly fine even for Tour de France and because Tour will use Bisanne this year so a MTF via Bisanne is perfectly real. I think it will depend on this year's stage to Bettex. If Bisanne will be ridden properly - GC play a.la. Paganella stage in this year's Giro then ASO might be more interested in Bisanne and because ASO is ASO they will be interested to have Bisanne as a MTF.

To Allevard question i would attach what happened to Sept Laux stations (Prapoutel, Pipay and Pleynet). While Prapoutel seems to be a bit lacking in space Pipay and Pleynet looks like perfectly available for a WT race. Maybe Belledonne is struggling with money.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Auron would probably be another good candidate (ok, I don't know if it's really unknown), a ski station with a big parking lot and the climb starts right after the Bonette descent, you could have the northern side of the Col de la Bonette right before it.
Coming from North the climb would start in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée:

 
Sure, Font-Romeu is well known as a ski station but it's hardly well known to cycling :p

I do think there's enough room in Mayens-de-Riddes, it's a large enough village with enough side roads to be able to use even if there's no majorly wide passing place. Maybe not for Le Tour, but Romandie or Suisse could certainly put an MTF there without too much difficulty. With regards to the Sept-Laux stations, I think Pleynet is not that interesting a climb, but Pipay could be really good. Prapoutel has enough space for a smaller race but probably not the Tour (I think the same may be true of Pipay actually).

How about Campo Catino in Italy? It's not far from Rome and could work as an early Giro MTF à la Montevergine, it's long but not over-complex; alternatively it could be a last roll of the dice if an edition finished in Rome like 2009. There's a reasonably sized ski station there with plenty of parking.



What about a cat.2 finish at Chabanon-Sélonnet, south of Gap and Embrun? This would serve as a pretty useful "first stage into the Alps" or "final stage out of it" - or a finish for a Dauphiné or Tour de l'Avenir (even a Paris-Nice, though ski stations, early March, you know...).



It's around 7,5km @ 7% so enough to create gaps on its own but not too sizable, but could back into other climbs, with the Col des Fillys and Col de Garcinets the best options as both back directly into it; from the opposite direction there's the Col du Fanget but that's probably too narrow for the Tour.

Another Alpine ski station with plenty of options is Les Karellis, which would flow directly from a descent of the Galibier after climbing the south side of it. You can see where the Parking is located on the profile, to that it would be a cat.1 climb.



Look at all the parking spaces through it: easy, so easy to have a finish here, and anything you can do with Valmeinier or Télégraphe you can do here. The only problem is the richer ski areas of Valfréjus and La Toussuire near by (and Serre Chevalier on the other side of the Galibier).

 
Not to be tooting my own horn, but in my two TdF designs, I came up with some of these:

Mont Colombis as a MTT. Great for a Dauphine, maybe a bit narrow for the Tour.

Lac de Cap de Long: superb climb, great infrastructure. TdF definitely.

Montee de Lachat: climb la Madeleine via La Chambre (toughest side), then halfway down the descent, left, one of the toughest climbs in France, parking lot at the summit but no utilities. Still, a huge one-two punch, nothing else in France compares IMO, unless you go to the Pays Basque and get back-to-back shorter but steeper climbs.

Beillurti anyone ;) ?
 
I think i made a mistake with the "unknown" part as "unknowingness" is relative. For one person one MTF is featured in almost every single Tour de France design while for other it's an amazing new world. Maybe better would be something like "Your Favourite MTF" thread but there are "Great Climbs" threads allready so there's no point to have yet another thread. I decided to add the WT race element to differentiate this thread from the "Great Unknown Climbs" thread.

Tonton said:
Not to be tooting my own horn, but in my two TdF designs, I came up with some of these:

Mont Colombis as a MTT. Great for a Dauphine, maybe a bit narrow for the Tour.

Lac de Cap de Long: superb climb, great infrastructure. TdF definitely.

Montee de Lachat: climb la Madeleine via La Chambre (toughest side), then halfway down the descent, left, one of the toughest climbs in France, parking lot at the summit but no utilities. Still, a huge one-two punch, nothing else in France compares IMO, unless you go to the Pays Basque and get back-to-back shorter but steeper climbs.

Beillurti anyone ;) ?
Anything can handle a MTT and i actually never seen Mont Colombis. It looks quite similar to Puy-de-Dome but maybe more accesible. I'm not sure if Dauphine will be ever interested in a longer MTT. Lac de Cap de Long is in almost every Tour de France design. If i remember it's in a highly protected area so i doubt any WT race will ever visit it.

Libertine Seguros said:
Sure, Font-Romeu is well known as a ski station but it's hardly well known to cycling :p
And the interesting fact is that i know Font-Romeu only from cycling. Didn't Tour de Frace finish in Romeu in 70s or 80s? I have next to none knowledge on winter sports maybe outside ski jumping.

I'm not sure if anybody ever seen this one but there is a quite small ski station in the heart of Vercors massif called Font d'Urle, but I doubt this one is capable of hosting any WT race. It can be reached via Col de Rousset, Col de la Machine or Col de la Portette. Otherwise Col de Rousset has a lot of space at the top but considering that from south a run-in would be in a quite lengthy tunnel the only possibility would be from north. Both these finishes should be fine for a medium-mountain stage in Vercors. I hope Col de la Machine is not in a protected zone as it's a beautiful col carved in a mountain slope:

 
I think i finally have enough material to post another entry to this topic.

Lans-en-Vercors. Station la Sierre
The smaller neighbor of Villard-de-Lans' Côte 2000 (used in Dauphine 2015). It's not as big and there's not as much free space, but it should be enough for a smaller WT race like Dauphine or something like l'Avenir. The road up to the station is wide, but not in the best of conditions. Here's a potential place for a finish line:


Finish in la Sierre.

There's nothing particulary interesting about the station itself, but its placement is quite good. I think tackling it from north is a better option if you want a more selective stage, while from south if you want a breakaway fest. Here are potential stages that could interest you:

La Sierre from north with Coq and Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte.


La Sierre from south with Machine.

Bellano. Alpe Giumello
An interesting climb located on the eastern bank of Lago di Como, north of a bit easier Piani dei Resinelli (used in Giro 2012). The main difficulty of this climb are the last 6km at constant 9,3% (max 12%). From west (Bellano) it's 19,6km at 6,8% (a quite strong HC), while from east (Taceno) it's simillary difficult with 14km at 8%. Both sides work nicely with nearby Passo di Agueglio. This climb is 14,5km at 6,6% (a strong cat. 1 in TdF measure) from the west (Varenna) and 11km at 6,4% (an okay-ish cat. 1) from the east (Bindo). There's not much open space at the top, but it should be just enough for the basic finish installations in Giro. problem could be with the busses as there's plenty of them and no good nearby space to host them. Bellano is a bit too small and dense for it.

Road up to Alpe Giumello.

Here's a potential stage finishing in Alpe Giumello.

Bergamo - Alpe Giumello.



Finish in Alpe Giumello.

Monesi di Triora
i mentioned it once. Now i guess it's time for it to feature in this thread. It's one of the more interesting MTFs of Alpi Liguri (basically any other ones besides Pratonevoso and Panice Soprana). Technically it's just a punchy finish with 1km at roughly 7%, but it's very close to Colla San Bernardo. While from east the ascent is afaik very irregular with multiple tunnels and flats/descents, from south it's much more stable with 13km at 6,7% (a good cat. 1 in TdF standards). Here's a potential stage utilising Colla San Bernardo preceeded by Colle Caprauna (one of the hardest climbs in Ligurian Alps) with 20km at 5,6% (a borderline 1/HC, similar to Glandon south).

Mondovi - Monesi di Triora.

Monesi di Triora is a relatively small ski station. It's not as big as Pratonevoso or Limone Piemonte. There's some free space for a finish, but not much besides the finish installations and maybe a couple of small cars. I guess it would be a bit too small for a Giro but if you want to use Alpi Liguri and are sick of Tende and Pratonevoso, then i guess it could be a fine MTF to look at. There's also a different option as a downhill finish, because this station is at the end of a very remote and narrow road known as Briga Alta. It's a pretty high road, but not that difficult.


Finish in Monesi di Triora.

Pratonevoso from Fontane
Does anybody know anything about this road? Is it entirely asphalted? From what i've seen from the satelites it seems so. That could open up not only an alternative side to Pratonevoso, but also it as a pass, which could work pretty well with a punchy finish in Mondovi or Vicoforte. This side is something like 7km at 9% or similar, it's hard to tell. I thought it was harder than that.
 
Just a small report from Italy.

Doganaccia 2000
This village is part of the Abetone Ski area. It's close to the top of (unriddable) Passo di Croce Arcana. It's not a hard climb, but i should be a breath of fresh air from now smelly Pradaccio-Abetone combo. n the village you can also find a relatively sizeable car park on Viale dei Cacciatori, which should be big enough for the most necessary finish instalations and cars, while the busses could stay in Abetone. The are a couple of bottom choices for this climb, but the main road goes from Cutigliano. This side is roughly 15m at irregular 6% (max 12%).


Schia Monte Caio feat. Pian della Giara
A ski station on the western edge of Appennino Tosco-Emiliano (Garfagnana). Like with Doganaccia, there are a couple of variants available. The main one is the Lagrimone side via Groppizioso, which is 10km at 6,3%. 2nd one is from Tizzano Val Parma, which also splits into a couple of different sides. If starting as far back, as Capoponte, the climb is 16,4km at 5,4%. Using a small road from Pratopiano (east side) and starting from Selvanizza it's 13,3km at 5,8% (including an over 10% murito section to Pratopiano). The hardest possibility is the west side from Tizzano Val Parma combining the Pian della Giara road and small murito options to Tizzano from either Carpaneto or Groppo. Last roughly 3km in Schia would include a 5% uphill finish and a short, but steep and technical descent. There is some space available in the village - Piazza Neobocchi, which should be big enough for the Giro finish instalations. The problem might be with busses and accomodation, as it's a bit in the middle of nowhere.


Schia from Capoponte.


Schia from Lagrimone.


Schia from Selvanizza.


Pian della Giara from Groppo.

The last entry is from Switzerland.

Mont Chasseral/Montée du Chasseral
One of my favourite Jura climbs (especially the south side). It's the Jura's Bald Mountain and one of the main Jura ski resorts - Les Bugnenets-Savagnières. The highest possible finish is at a car park near Hôtel Chasseral. There are tow main sides, which then separates into plenty of other ones. The main north side is from Saint-Imier through Les Bugnenets-Savagnières. This side is 12,7km at irregular 6% (max 12%). The main south side is from Le Landeron and it's roughly 18,7km at 6%, which is separated into two ascents - 4km at 8,5% to Lignières and 8,2km at 7,5% to Col du Chasseral, where both north and south side joins.


Chasseral from Saint-Imier.


Chasseral from Le Landeron.
 
Station Ski du Chazelet
Galibier+Télégraphe north is a good combo, probably one of the better climbs in France. I guess not far into the future it will be reused as a MTF, but this time from the northern side, like Giro wanted back in 2013. However, i was always more interested using it in a descent finish. Sadly, both south sides are lacklustre and there's no obvious finish place nearby. The closest one is probably Monêtier-les-Bains (part of Serre Chevalier) but it's still over 20km from the top, which include the last 14km of Lautaret false-flat straights (4-5%).

It is theoretically possible to have a finish on top of Lautaret. There is a good amount of available space at the top. Sadly, Lautaret is an importand transit route, and having a finish on it could potentialy be problematic. I don't know, if a Vuelta-esque finish at the Lautaret alpine garden is possible.

I found an interesting option for a smaller race, like Dauphine or l'Avenir, which is the ski station of Chazelet (Station Ski du Chazelet). It's located above Val de Romanche in a small Val du Gâ (name taken from a small creek Torrent du Gâ, which is a tributary of Romanche) on the lower slopes of Aiguilles d'Arves (3514m) mountain. The road splits from the main Lautaret one at the entrance to Tunnel du Serre du Coin, which separates Villar-d'Arêne from La Grave. The station is in the departament of Hautes-Alpes, very close to the Isère departament.


Aiguilles d'Arves.

This climb is quite interestning, as it's for most part on a balcony road providing some very good views of Romanche. Sadly, i couldn't find any good pics of the backdrop. There's however a video of a descent from the village of Chazelet to the Lautaret road, which does show some glimpses of the backdrop. The village is roughly 700m from the station's parking lot, where the finish line could be drawn. The parking is roughly 3,8km^2 big. It should be enough for the finish instalations and maybe some of the cars. There's also some space available in nearby villages of Le Chazelet, Ventelon, Les Hières, Villar-d'Arêne and La Grave, but i think it could be a lil' bit too cramped for Tour de France.

From the bottom, at the entance to the Serre du Coin tunnel, the climb is 5,7km at 5,3%. However, the last roughly 3km are flat, so it can be shortened just to Ventelon, which is 2,5km at roughly 10%. I'm not sure about the details of this section, but apparently it can reach 16% at one point, but i guess it's lower than that. The climb can be tackled from Lautaret/Galibier or Le Bourg-d'Oisans. From Oisans it includes the lower slopes of Lautaret east. It's roughly 17,5km at 4,3%, which is a borderline cat. 1/2.

I decided to combine this small climb with Galibier. It's roughly 18,5km from the top of Galibier, so it's still quite a distance away, but the descent is a lil' bit more challenging than the Briançon side with at least a couple of serpentines and more than just 4-5% slopes. Because i didn't wanted to once again use Madeleine with Croix de Fer, this time i decided for Iseran.

Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Station Ski du Chazelet, 176km, Mountain, HTF
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/maps/viewtrack/179738



Climbs:
Col de l'Iseran - 38km, 4,9%, HC cat. 2764m
Col du Télégraphe - 12km, 7%, 1 cat. 1566m
Col du Galibier - 17,6km, 7%, HC cat. 2642m
Montée du Chazelet - 5,7km, 5,3% (max 14-16%?), 3 cat. 1806m


Col de l'Iseran.


Col du Galibier with Col du Télégraphe.


Descent from Col du Galibier (down to the 2nd tunnel).


Profile of Chazelet with a weird spike/glitch at the top.

I guess if Lautaret isn't available, this small station could be an interesting variant of a Galibier descent finish. It's slightly closer to Galibier than Monêtier-les-Bains and the descent is slighly more than a 5% grind. It also has the 2,5km at 10% murito with max 14-16%. It's also in the same departament as Galibier, so there shouldn't be any logistic shenanigans. It sadly doesn't have that much space available, so i guess it's more suited for a Dauphine, but lately Tour does open a bit for smaller places, so who knows. I guess money is the biggest issue, as the area is not as popular as Oisans or Serre Chevalier.

Alto de Erlaitz
Libertine did this 5 years ago and that stage was based on a 2007 País Vasco one. I however argue that it's a perfect Vuelta-esque (or at least País Vasco) murito and i think there is enough space for a Vuelta finish. The finish line can be either placed at the top or 700m from the top. At the top there are ruins of a XIXc. fort Fuerte de Erlaitz. The climb should work well with nearby Jaizkibel.


Profile of Alto de Erlaitz, without the last 3,2km.

Przehyba
This one is from a Tour de Pologne project, which i don't think i'll be publishing. This stage is tied to this climb. Przehyba is 10km at 7,5% (max 16%), which is a proper Tour cat. 1 and maybe even lower Giro cat. 1. Below is an excerpt from the stage description i did a while ago.

Przehyba is just a random mountain in a small Pasmo Radziejowej range, part of Beskid Sądecki. It's one of the highest summits in the region standing at 1175m. The neighboring Radziejowa is the highest at 1266m. Przehyba is home to a mountain shelter, radio station and various hiking trails. The road to the top is one of the hardest ascents in Poland and one of the most popular in amateur cycling circles. The road is surfaced up to roughly 300m from the top. These 3 videos show the climb:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHN3GCHR6IM – Przehyba 2017.05.13 part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXvDugoGT44 – Przehyba 2017.05.13 part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wc0MxYgv5g – Przehyba 2017.05.13 part 3

For the finish line i (for now) decided to go as far as possible (at 1128m), but there are also some open places roughly 1km or 900m (Przełęcz Minkowska) from the finish line. I guess the podium and buses could be hosted in nearby town of Stary Sącz (15km from Przehyba).

Przehyba is a very tough climb – a strong TdF cat. 1 and maybe a low Giro cat. 1. For the ascent i'm counting only last 10km at 7,5%, omitting the first couple of false-flat kms. It's a rather regular climb with only tiny bits of false-flat and small amount of sudden percentage spikes. The hardest part of the climb is in the middle with 3,5km at 10% (max 16%). The first possible finish place is at just over 1000m at the end of this 3,5km wall. The 2nd possible finish is on Przełęcz Minkowska at 1038m with easier 600m after the middle wall. The finish i went with is at 1128m, which includes a 800m section at 11,3%.
 
Barèges-Tournaboup 1450
The ski area of Grand Tourmalet-Pic du Midi consists of Col du Tourmalet, La Mongie on the eastern slopes of Tourmalet and forgotten Tournaboup on the western slopes. This station is just above the village of Barèges (Barèges-les-Bains) roughly halfway up the Tourmalet. On the site there's a sizeable car park (15000-20000m^2), which should be enough for not only Route du Sud, but also Vuelta and Tour de France.


Barèges-Tournaboup.

From Luz-Saint-Sauveur it's 10,7km at 6,9% - a fair cat. 1. It can be combaned with the Gaborisse climb on the slopes of Luz-Ardinen (another cat .1). On the profile below it's roughly around the Télésiège de Caoubère sign. It can be also used as a downhill finish after the east side of Tourmalet.


Tourmalet west.


Tourmalet east.

Col de Pause
This one is for a far future. It's a similar story to Col de Portet - partly asphalt, partly gravel. Col de Pause is an absolutely stunning road. It's on the lower slopes of Port d'Aula, which is most probably way out of reach (unless you have an MTB). The dirt quality seems to be in better shape than Tende/Tenda, but that's maybe just me. Sadly, there's a middle section which is a mix between gravel and broken asphalt which needs to be resurfaced. it lasts for only 1km. There's also an obnoxious amount of water halfpipes, which i guess would need to be covered with something.





Road to Col de Pause.

As for the climb itself - it's 9,5km at 8,9% (max 12%), which is a borderline 1/HC (similar to Menté). It seems to be quite regular with the last 5km being the hardest at constant 10%. Sadly, there's not much at the top. Maybe it's possible to have only the most basic of finish installations. The road does continue for a while before being closed off and continuing as a mountain track to Port d'Aula on the French-Spanish border.


Profile of Col de Pause.

This climb is very picturesque and features a lot of open backdrops. Because it's on a lower altitude, the area is very green.


Views near the top of Col de Pause.

The climb is located in the middle of Pyrénées Ariégeoises in the Mont Valier massif. It can be linked with either Latrape/Agnès/Lers from east or Core from west including a 5km flat in the Salat valley (Couflens).
 
Rifugio Altissmio

It's a continuation of Prato di Nago



From Prato di Nago onwards the road is barely doable by MTB, so it would need resurfacing



There's some space at the top, and you could combine it with.

It's like 20km at 9.5%, so you don't need much in front of it, but you can put Passo Santa Barbara before it, have 3km of flat and start the climb of Rifugio Altissimo in Nago rather than Torbole
 

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