On the 12 July the mighty Col dâ€™Iserane was closed to motor vehicles from Val dâ€™Isere up to the Col itself at 2770. For a glorious few hours the road cyclists of the higher Tarentaise Valley were able to dance, spin, grind or toil their way to the summit of the highest road pass in western Europe.
Hundreds of people made the special effort to ride to the top and the conditions were generally favourable with a tailwind on long sections of the ascent. Amateur cyclists should be happy with any time under the hour, recorded form the tourist office round about to the summit (G. Lewis mildly happy with 58.15 mins). Like a lot of the famous cols in the Savoie region, the Iseran has a timing set up on it so that tourists can measure themselves against the clock.
Conditions at the top were sunny and not only could the cyclists see down in to the remote Haute Maurienne, but could also check out the summer skiing on the Pissaillas glacier, running again through the val dâ€™isere lift company.
The closing of the D902 was all part of Val dâ€™isereâ€™s effort to entice tourists to the resort in the summer. As well as this they stage fetes de musique, expositions, and the complete range of sports for the whole family. I was lucky to play for the Rugby team in the val dâ€™isere annual football tournament. The rugby boys came dead last. Hey ho.