August 31, 2016

Reaching for the Sun- The Col du Galibier

On the outskirts of the small French village of St. Jean-de-Maurienne is the Rio Tinto Alcon aluminum smelting plant; its blue clad siding a stark contrast to the grey pipes that strangle the buildings façade buzzes with the machinery sounds of manufacturing.Its massive string of power lines confuse the sight lines in a tangled mess as they drape across the A43 motorway. Inhabitants of the Maurienne valley- one of the great transverse valleys of the Alps- have made their living off the Arc River and raping the land for its rich iron ore, a result that is visually obtrusive and ugly in both its methods and appearance.Traveling through the deep canyon carved by the Arc, the constant shadows from the massive mountain peaks of the Dauphine, Cottian and Graian Alps do little to liven the dreary valley. With mining pits and hydroelectric stations hugging the riverbed, the foul odor of the processing plants filling the air, the deafening noise from the trucks lurching their way south to the Frejus tunnel and into western Italy. Passing the villages of St. Etienne de Cuines, La Chambre, St. Jean, and a bit further south, St. Michel-de- Maurienne, there is no indication of the glorious and majestic mountain peaks that sit thousands of meters above, a sky so open and vibrant in blue and snow capped white its blinding causes a squint and a smile. From these villages the narrow roads of the Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon, Col de la Madeleine slowly and deliberately climb from the hellish valley floor, the offensive sounds and sights gladly exchanged for solitude, open fields and the rhythmic chimes of cowbells. At 2,645 meters, the world invites you to take a unique look into its majestic beauty, a view of the untouched and unobstructed, a personal look at the soul of the landscape that has remained seemingly unchanged since the first cyclists began scaling its heights 100 years ago. Read More 



This message is only visible to admins

Please connect a business account on the Instagram Feed settings page in order to display hashtag feeds
Please see this post for more information.





Join the Velo Classic peloton for the latest news, custom trips, VIP Hospitality offers, special events and freebies