Cycling over the Joux Plane pass
In cycling circles, the Joux-Plane pass is reputed as being one of the six most challenging passes in the French mountains, along with the Galibier, Izoard, Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux and Tourmalet ascents.
The pass has often constituted a decisive stage for competitors in the Tour de France© and Dauphiné Libéré© cycle races. Cycling from Samoëns to the summit, quite apart from being a physical challenge that requires a good level of fitness, provides an opportunity for some wonderful views of the valley, followed by the Mont-Blanc range from its most majestic angle... The road is closed to heavy goods vehicles and is not a major route for traffic, much to the delight of cyclists.
A few key facts:
The route described here starts from Samoëns and follows the D354 road.
Start altitude: 721 m
Altitude at the top of the pass: 1,691 m
Height climbed: 970 m over a distance of 13.1 km, i.e. an average gradient of 7.4%, but with stretches at more than 10%.
Difficulty: very difficult.
For beginners, there is a road halfway up that takes you back to Samoëns along another route (via Les Turches and Les Combes).