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Video: Mike Cotty takes on Alpe d'Huez for The Col Collective

Alpine climb's 21 hairpins feature in latest offering from climbing website...

The Col Collective has released its latest video, and it features perhaps the most famous Alpine climb in cycling, with Mike Cotty tackling the 21 hairpins of the Alpe d’Huez.

First featured in the Tour de France in 1952 when Fausto Coppi won there, it was back 12 years later as a climb in the middle of a stage, and again in 1976, when it once again hosted a stage finish.

Since then it has welcomed the race on 25 occasions, included in the race roughly every other year.

The last two times it figured saw the home nation’s blushes spared. Pierre Rolland won in 2011 and Christophe Riblon did so in 2013, when the climb was tackled twice, marking the sole French stage wins on those editions.

Cotty says: “If the truth be known I owe a lot to the rockstar ascent that is Alpe d’Huez, along with its equally impressive neighbours the Glandon and Galibier.

“Back in 2003 it was the lure of these legendary peaks that gave me my first real taste of the mountains as I nervously lined up for La Marmotte not really knowing what I was getting myself into.

“I remember rolling into Bourg d’Oisans and feeling my stomach summersaulting with fearful excitement at the gargantuan size of the mountains surrounding me.

“You could feel the energy they possessed, like the walls of a Roman amphitheatre staring down at a gladiator about to go into combat.

“I’ll never forget that moment, eventually carving my way up the 21 bends to the summit of Alpe d’Huez.

“We’ve come a long way since then but this is, and always will be, where the dream began. Peace.”

Alpe d’Huez vital statistics

Start: Bourg d'Oisans
Length: 13.2km
Summit: 1,850m
Elevation gain: 1,108m
Average gradient: 8.1%
Max gradient: 13%

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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