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"One of the most enchanting mountains I’ve ever experienced"...

Beautiful but beastly. That's the Col Collective's Mike Cotty's description of the Col du Glandon, the subject of his latest video.

It's 19.7km long and tops out at 1,924m above sea level, with an average gradient of 7.3%. A 1 in 12 climb may hold no fears at sea level, but on Glandon other terrors lurk beside its slope and altitude. 

Cotty says that Glandon was where he knew that his 677km Alpine epic was not going to be a walk in the park. He hit the latter slopes of the mountain, "and suddenly beauty turned into the beast within.

"The wind funnels downs from the top of the mountain as the gradient kicks up and hangs above double figures for what seems like forever."

The Tour de France has included the Col du Glandon as a categorised climb 13 times. It was first crossed by the race in 1947, when Edward Klabiński, the first Pole ever to ride the Tour was first over the summit.

It will figure in stage 19 of the 2015 Tour which will climb Glandon on its way from St Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire on July 24; riders will continue to the Col du Croix de Fer, just to add to the pain. Five days before, the Etape du Tour sportive will see thousands of riders suffering on the same route.

But despite the torture, Cotty loves this climb.

"The Glandon may have made me hurt so very much in the past but it’s also one of the most enchanting mountains I’ve ever experienced and for that reason I find myself continually coming back for more.

"There are moments when you’re barely moving and then suddenly, as you approach the summit, you can feel pure life being breathed back into your lungs.

"It’s as if the mountain gods have taken a ribbon of tarmac and thrown it out of the sky from 2,000m to form a 20km playground of pure escapism.

"Now that’s the sign of a truly special climb. Anyone that’s doing L’Etape du Tour in 2015 is in for an absolute treat."

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.