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Take on the ‘Shoelaces’ of Montvernier – Ride the Quiet Legend

The ‘Shoelaces’ of Montvernier gets its name from the cols appearance.  It looks as though shoelaces have been dropped on to the side of the mountain from the sky. 



Articles from SportActive

Although the gradients are not overly challenging, the 18 tightly packed hairpin bends will offer you a unique challenge in cycling which is popular on Strava.

The Hairpin Bends of Montvernier

The main reason this ride is popular and unique are the 18 hairpins that are crammed into just 2kms of road.  They are roughly about 120 metres apart, so they come at you quickly.  This requires you to be on your game, as you not only have to contend with the steady 8% gradients, but tight bends that are pretty relentless coming one after the other.  Getting to the top can feel like a different world.

Maurienne Valley

The approach to the shoelaces is also a great ride.  Many climb col de la Madeleine and ride through the Maurienne Valley.  Montvernier is about 10 kilometres in and you get a true sense of scale and place with the big monolithic hills and mountains on either side.

Once the climb begins you’ll be pleasantly surprised that seeing a motorised vehicle is rare.  Most drivers use faster routes than weaving up and down the ‘shoelaces’ and so most of the traffic you see will be bikes, zigzagging their way up and down the mountain trying to get better times on Strava.



The road of Montvernier is a 3.4 kilometre ride with a starting altitude of 505 metres and a finishing altitude of 782 metres.  In between are 8% gradients and 18 hairpin bends.   This amazing road was built in 1934 and took six months to complete.

This may not be a Tour de France mountain with gruelling gradients and microclimates to deal with, but this is still a challenging ride offering amazing vista as well as a unique riding experience.



You can ride the ‘shoelaces’ on our Geneva to Nice tour.  Here you will ride eleven alpine passes that feature the most famous cols in cycling in six days.  Supported like a Tour de France rider, you will ride the French Alps.  Click here to learn about the tour which is a cycling adventure of a lifetime.


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Categories: All topics, Cycling

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