La Marmotte cyclosportive – a challenging day of riding in the French Alps

La Marmotte is a famous cyclosportive race that takes place annually in the French Alps. A true test for your climbing legs with over 5000m/19000ft of climbing – have you got what it takes to try this ride out. Rider numbers for the La Marmotte Cyclosportive are capped at 7000 participants and each year the event is a sell-out with many people keen to sign up to this challenge.

Cycling in the French Alps. A women cycling to the summit of Col du Galibier

The Marmotte cyclosportive first began in 1982 and tackles no less than 4 Hors Categorie climbs all up. Starting off with the climb of the Glandon before taking on the Telegraph, Galibier, and then finishing at the summit of Alpe d’Huez. Hence, this route will make for a very long day in the saddle and is for the more experienced rider. For more information about the Marmotte cyclosportive itself check out the official website here.

If these kind of events are of interest to you, have a look at our Cycling Events page which detail some other famous events you may be keen to try.

Cycling route

Distance: 177km / 110.4mi

Start elevation: 720m / 2,364ft

Max elevation: 2,642m / 8,668ft

Metres climbed: 5,887m / 19,314ft

Metres descended: 5,887m / 19,314ft

Categorised climbs: 4

Views of the French Alps from the famous cycling climb of the Col du Galibier.

The summit of the Galibier serves as the high point of the Mamotte cyclosportive course.

Food and water

When taking on a challenge of this size nutrition and water are extremely important. During the Marmotte event, there are set feed stations where you can refuel. If you choose to tackle this ride outside of the event you will be able to refuel for food and water at the following places:

  • Bourg-D’Oisans
  • Le Rivier d’Allemont
  • Col du Lauteret (at the base of the Galibier)


  • A day spent climbing and testing yourself against the very best amateurs in the world.
  • Taking on no less than 4 big alpine climbs in a single ride.
Cycle friendly village of Bourg d'Oisans in the French Alps

Bourg-d’Oisans is the starting point of the Marmotte.

Col de la Croix de Fer

Length: 29km / 18mi

Average gradient: 4.6%

Start point: Allemond

Elevation at top: 2,067m / 6,781ft

Col du Telegraph

Length: 11.3km / 7mi

Average gradient: 7.5%

Start point: Saint Michelle de Maurienne

Elevation at top: 1,566m / 5,138ft

Col du Galibier

Length: 18km / 11.2mi

Average gradient: 6.87%

Start point: Valloire

Elevation at top: 2,642m / 8,668

Alp d’Huez

Length: 13.2km /

Average gradient: 8.1%

Start point: Borg d’Oisains

Elevation at top: 1,815m / 5,955ft