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If you’re here in Morzine for a cycling holiday then the Col de la Joux Plane is an absolute must.  Right on our doorstep and a true Tour de France classic. The record for this climb is still held by Marco Pantani who completed it in a truly astonishing 33minutes in 1997 it’s also the mountain that almost broke Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France in 2000. You would be hard pushed to find a more beautiful climb anywhere in the Alps.
You’ve got two options for this one, climb it straight out of Morzine or tackle it from the Samoens side for the classic Tour de France version.
From Morzine
Distance – 11km , Altitude – 1673m , Height Gain – 727m , Average Gradient – 6 .9%
This may be the shorter route but don’t expect it to be easy! Starting from the Marie head up towards the top of town (not up the one way street). Take a right turn at the roundabout by the ………….hotel . This is where the real climb begins and be ready for a brutal introduction to the Col de la Joux Plane. The first part of the climb is the toughest kicking up to 11% right from the off. There is a chance to recover a little with a short almost flat section at about 3km, make the most of it because from here on the gradient varies between 6-10% winding up the tree shaded road all the way to the Ranfolly chairlift at 8km. As you crest the ridge line don’t forget to raise your head and take in the view looking out over Les Gets with the Roc d’Enfer and Col de la Ramaz off in the distance. You’re now about 3km short of the finish and at this point the worst of the climbing is behind you.  Follow the road round to the Lac de Joux Plane and as you pop out of the last few bends through the trees be ready for one of the best panoramic views in the Alps.  Dominated by the snow-capped Mont Blanc Massif and the Chamonix Valley expect the view twice over as it is all reflected in the alpine lake.  The restaurant perched between the lake and the steep drop into the valley is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat or sip a coffee whilst taking a moment or two to take in the stunning scenery.
From Samoens
Distance( from Morzine)43km . Altitude 1673m , Height Gain 1248m , Average Gradient 8 .5%
This side of the Col de la Joux Plane has to date been climbed 11 times by the Tour de France, the last time in 2006 when the climb win was claimed by Floyd Landis.
It is an awesome and challenging climb with an unrelenting gradient winding its way up on a relatively small road sometimes well shaded by the forest that flanks the mountainside but with long sections exposed to the full glare of the alpine sun.
To ride it this side from Morzine it is a steady warm up climb to Les Gets rewarded with a long fast flowing descent down to Taninges. It’s a great descent but be aware that this is a well used road and although the French are generally far more respectful and considerate towards cyclists than you may be used to back at home they do sometimes have a tendency to cut corners.
When you reach Taninges take the first left and follow the flat valley road signposted to Samoens.  A beautiful little town it is well worth taking a little time to have a look around maybe stopping for refreshments or food in one of the many good café’s or restaurants. Head left out of the back of Samoens the route to the Joux Plane is well signposted and easy to find.
Like the Morzine side the climb starts aggressively initially beginning around 8.5% but quickly rising up to 12.5% for a short but draining section. Once again you are given a very short respite before the gradient kicks up fairly unrelentingly all the way to the Col. Starting around 8% then briefly hitting 11 between 6-7km into the climb, settling to between 9-10% the rest of the way to the top.
The Joux Plane has a very well earned reputation for being a tough climb but if you’re up for the challenge the rewards are great. Beautiful views of the Samoens valley glimpsed through the trees gradually grow and grow until the Mont Blanc Massif reveals itself in all its glory as you reach the summit
Morzine- Col de la Joux Plane via Samoens http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/155122063
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