Just days before Tour de France pros head up the famous l’Alpe d’Huez climb, over 5000 amateur cyclists attempted to do the same at the 41st Marmotte Granfondo Alpes race on Sunday 3 July in brutally hot conditions over 35C (95F).
With three classic Tour de France climbs on the 177 kilometer route, Col du Glandon, Col de Telegraphe and Col du Galibier, before the final ascent of l’Alpe d’Huez, the route is not for the faint of heart and having a good coach to help you win – or just finish – is paramount.
Just ask Stefan Kirchmair.
On the Col du Glandon an elite group of riders, including well known cycling coach Stefan Kirchmair and 2022 Mallorca 312 champion Oliver Godfroid, pulled away from the peloton.
By the summit of Col du Galibier the group had dwindled to nine riders. Now with only one climb left, l’Alpe d’Huez, the race would be won or lost on the 21 hairpin turns of the world famous climb.
It was the Austrian cycling coach and Zwift racer Stefan Kirchmair (5:20:33 record breaking time) who brought his climbing legs and easily dropped breakaway companions Loïc Ruffaut (5:23:34) and Oliver Godfroid (5:26:36) to win the 2022 Marmotte Granfondo Alpes atop the 13.2 kilometers long climb with an average gradient of 8 percent.
In the women’s race, Fie Osterby from The Netherlands crossed the finish line first with a time of 6:34:25. Sophie Herzog was second with Lisanne Naumann third.
Complete Marmotte Granfondo Alpes results HERE.
Photos: S. Kirchmair, Marmotte Granfondo Series