This is a challenge like no other. The distance, the landscape and the route itself, situated in the heart of the Alps and the Oisans valley, never fail to stun the participants who come every year to brave the most iconic race in the European triathlon calendar. As well as the mythic climb of Alpe d’Huez’s 21 bends, the spectacular scenery and the difficulty of the race have forged the reputation of the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon L as an essential experience for every triathlete looking to prove themselves.
One 2.2km lap in the crystal clear waters of Lac du Verney is the first epic stage of an unforgettable day. Nestled in a majestic natural amphitheatre of mountains, the mass launch at the starting line (at 9 30am for the women, and 9 45am for the men) offers a stunning spectacle in itself, respecting the original spirit of triathlons. The lake is home to an EDF hydroelectric power station, which stops running during the race (swimming is forbidden here the rest of the year). The average water temperature for the last five years is around 17 degrees.
The Alpe d’Huez Triathlon L is the crowning glory of the week for one simple reason : its extraordinary cycling route. The 118km boasts 3200m of positive ascent, and starts by a fast pedal down the Oisans valley to join the foot of Alpe du Grand Serre, which is also the first col of the day (15km at 6.5%). This is followed by a long segment in the rolling hills of the Valbonnais valley and an ascension of the Col du Malissol (2.4km at 8.5%), where the scenery is sublime. During this section there is a possibility of picking up a personal food supply at the 60km point. The Col d’Ornon, which steepens as it goes, is the third big undertaking of the bike circuit, before riders dive into the dizzyingly fast descent to Bourg d’Oisans. Here the legend begins, with the conquest of famous 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez (13.9km at 8%). For most athletes, the main issue of the ride is being able to reach the foot of the Alpe d’Huez climb with enough strength to climb properly, and to be able to transition smoothly to the running race. Patience is needed here, especially during the first 3 bends which are by far the most arduous.
As well as its tough cycling circuit, the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon L is known for is difficulty overall, from start to finish. Once the triathletes enter the second transition zone (T2) the race has still a way to go : the three laps of a 6.7km loop are far from just a formality. On mixed terrain (both road and trail), the route heads towards the Col de Sarenne; a balcony over a breath-taking panorama. As well as the 300m of ascent to climb (100m per lap), the altitude is an extra difficulty to take into consideration. Sitting at an altitude of 1800m, the running route is as gorgeous as it is demanding. How else would you top off a race as such as this?!
At Alpe d’Huez’s Palais des Sports (Please check the Official Programme for timings and location)
We advise athletes to park in Alpe d’Huez and ride to the start by bike, following the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon official signs along the route which goes via Villard Reculas. Allow at least 30-40 minutes and remember that 95% of the route there is downhill.
Kit drop off.
Two bike parks are installed for the race:
T1 Swim/Bike park (Lac du Verney)
T2 Bike/Run park (Alpe d’Huez outdoor football pitch)
Bikes are to be put at T1 on the day of the race.
There are three options for dropping off the running gear to ensure it is ready in position for the athletes during the race.
They can be dropped off (using the numbered bag provided in your bib pack) either:
- directly at the T2 park on the morning of the race between 7 and 8am.
- at the entrance of the T1 park on the morning of the race from 7am onwards. Our team will then bring the labelled kit up to the T2 park in Alpe d’Huez once the race begins.
- at the bib pick-up area on the day before the race.
The swimming kit must be placed in the ‘Zone 3’ branded bag (provided in your bib pack) during the first transition (T1). This bag must be correctly labelled (with the number stuck to the strap, number provided), and well closed by the triathlete. This should be left at the triathletes numbered place in the T1 park after the swim so that our team can bring it up to Alpe d’Huez during the race. The athlete can collect this bag after the race.
Your bag of personal items can be given to our team at the entrance of the T1 park in correctly labelled bag (with the number stuck to the strap, number provided). Our team will then bring it up to Alpe d’Huez during the race so the athlete can collect it after the race. Please be aware that plastic bags are not allowed.
Sports massage and physio.
The Alpe d’Huez PhysiOstéo team offers a free service to race participants during the opening hours of the bib pick-up area (please consult the Official Programme for timings), and also at the finishing line of the race. This exceptional service is carried out by around 20 professional physiotherapists and osteopaths, who are all triathlon enthusiasts. They are there to help the athletes recover well from the race, but equally to welcome them beforehand to get them in race-ready condition.
- Swimming cut off at T1 park at Lac du Verney : 11h00 (both men and women)
- Cycling cut-off 1 at the summit of Alpe du Grand Serre (at 40km) : 13h20
- Cycling cut-off 2 at Valbonnais (at 73km) : 14h50
- Cycling cut-off 3 at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez climb (at 105km) : 16h40
- Running cut-off 1 at T2 park in Alpe d’Huez (at 118km) : 18h30
- Running cut-off 2 : 21h30
Application criteria for ELITE triathletes for the Triathlon L.
The Alpe d’Huez Triathlon L is a prestigious race popular among professional triathletes. See below the athletes (apart from certain exceptions) who qualify for the benefits of our privileged welcome package for the 2021 edition, following the results of the 2020 edition.
- 1st-5th place: Free sign-up for the 2021 race, plus 4 nights of accommodation and 250 euros for travel expenses.
- 6th -10th place: Free sign up for the 2021 race, plus 4 nights of accommodation.
(for triathletes in the PRO category only)
|Scratch rankings (Men and Women)||Gross||Net -15%||Retention|
|1er||4200 €.||3570 €.||630 €.|
|2éme||2000 €.||1700 €.||300 €.|
|3éme||1500 €.||1275 €.||225 €.|
|4éme||1000 €.||850 €.||150 €.|
|5éme||900 €.||765 €.||135 €.|
|6éme||600 €.||510 €.||90 €.|
|7éme||500 €.||425 €.||75 €.|
|8éme||400 €.||340 €.||60 €.|
|9éme||300 €.||255 €.||45 €.|
|10éme||200 €.||170 €.||30 €.|