The Grand Colombier, a formidable mountain in the Jura range, has become an iconic symbol of the grueling challenge that is the Tour de France. As we stand on the precipice of the 13th stage of the 2023 Tour, we take a detailed look back at the monumental stages of the past that concluded on this mighty peak.
Introduction to the Majestic Grand Colombier
Located in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, the Grand Colombier is known for its punishing gradients and tough terrain. A part of the Tour’s classic Alpine stages, it offers four daunting ascents: via Culoz, Anglefort, Artemare, and Artemare (via Lochieu). Since its first inclusion in the 2012 Tour, it has challenged the world’s best cyclists, creating compelling drama and unforgettable moments.
A Chronicle of Past Climbs
Tour de France 2012: The inaugural Grand Colombier stage started in Mâcon and ended in Bellegarde sur Valserine. It was a tough introduction with the mountain situated two-thirds into the stage, taxing the riders significantly. Thomas Voeckler triumphed that day, his breakaway managing to survive the grueling climb and fast descent that followed.
Tour de France 2016: The Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz stage saw the riders face the Grand Colombier twice – a first in Tour history. The second climb, followed by a rapid descent, resulted in a thrilling contest. It was Jarlinson Pantano who emerged victorious, capitalizing on the final downhill stretch after a tense battle on the slopes.
Tour de France 2020: The 2020 stage from Lyon to Grand Colombier was among the most dramatic. The riders had to conquer the mountain from its toughest side, Culoz, with gradients reaching up to 22%. It was here that Tadej Pogačar showcased his climbing prowess, winning the stage and laying the foundation for his overall victory in Paris.
The Grand Colombier Stage of Tour de France 2023
The 13th stage of the 2023 Tour de France, from Chatillon sur Chalaronne to the Grand Colombier, promises another thrilling chapter in the history of this mountain. Taking place on France’s National Day, the 137.8 km mountain stage will push the riders to their limits.
As we anticipate the cyclists’ struggle up the steep inclines, we reflect on the history of this mountain stage. It has consistently served as a turning point, separating the champions from the rest. As the peloton faces this daunting climb once again, who will write their name in the annals of the Tour de France’s history at the Grand Colombier? We watch and wait, as the drama of the Tour de France unfolds.