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Return to La Marmotte - Part 3 Notes & Climb Profiles
By Guest Contributor
Date: 11/12/2006
Return to La Marmotte - Part 3 Notes & Climb Profiles

Return to La Marmotte - Part 3 Notes & Climb Profiles
Dana Alberts Personal notes, profiles and statistics from the 2006 La Marmotte race. 4,000 riders finished of the 7,000 that started with Italians Emanuele Negrini topping the podium, and fellow contryman Stefano Sala second and Dutch rider Bert Dekker third.

By Dana Albert

The winner, Emanuele Negrini, 32, is from Italy and finished in 5:50:30. He won last year as well, in 5:49:40. (Amazing to be within a minute of his previous time; maybe he, too, has found the limit of his capability.)
The second place rider, Stefano Sala, is also Italian, and finished almost 3 minutes behind Negrini. Sala was third place last year. This year, third went to Marmotte veteran Bert Dekker, a Dutchman, who was second last year and has won twice. Dekker was over 19 minutes behind Sala, 22 behind Negrini.

Fourth place, 2 minutes later, was a Frenchman, Michel Roux, who was tenth place last year. Fifth went to another Dutch rider, Oege Hiddema, 1:19 behind Roux and 25½ minutes behind the winner. Hiddema was sixth last year.

The top woman finisher was Christine Müller-Seiller, a 39-year-old from Alsace, who placed a very impressive 92nd with a time of 7:04:04. There were 44 women finishers under age 35; 56 between 35 and 50; and 12 women aged 50 or over.

The top finisher in the men’s 40-49 age group was Michel Roux, the fourth finisher overall. The top men’s 50-59 was Jos Beckers, from Belgium, 15th overall in a great time of 6:27:32. The top men’s 60+ was an Italian, Salvatore Mongardi, in a terrific 6:46:30 (40th overall).

The last finisher (some 3,000 dropped out) finished in 13:55:01, an average speed of 7.9 mph. Of course, an hour and a half of this he spent waiting for the race to be restarted atop the Col du Glandon, so his real average speed was likely closer to 8.9 mph.

Interestingly, La Marmotte seems to attract and/or favor older riders. The men’s 30-39 age category captured the top three spots and accounted for six of the top eight. Among the women, six out of the top seven were in the 35-49 age category.

As of press time, the race organizers have not published a results list that includes age or nationality, except on the results printout I checked right after the race (and checked again the next day, just to be sure, when we returned to Alpe d’Huez to resolve a timing chip problem). Thus, I cannot provide a breakdown of where the finishers hail from. If the organizers update their results list I’ll try to post a summary here.
For more information on La Marmotte, check out and

Climb Profiles
I used a cyclometer with a built-in altimeter for La Marmotte. The instrument stores a data sample every twenty seconds for uploading to the PC. The charts below are from the race itself, and subject to some degree of error (since weather, not just altitude, affects the barometric pressure that the instrument uses as its basis).

La Marmotte Race Profile

Full Marmotte Route
The official Marmotte website shows the profile for the normal route that goes over the Col de la Croix de Fer rather than the Glandon, and claims 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) of cumulative vertical gain. Their website’s "Road Book," though, claims that even with the Glandon, the total vertical gain is 5,000 meters (16,404 feet). A cyclosportif magazine I got in my race packet claimed that that elevation of the Glandon course is 16,076 feet. My altimeter measured 15,810 feet of vertical gain, which I think is a little low because it read a bit low on the summits of the climbs.

Col du Glandon Profile 1ère Catégorie

Col du Glandon
The 1ère Catégorie Col du Glandon, though not as hard as the Hors Catégorie Col de la Croix de Fer that it replaced in 2005 and again this year, is nonetheless a brutal climb - consistently steep, with especially steep sections, and very long. It is roughly divided into three parts. The first section is 3.3 miles long and climbs about 1,500 vertical feet at an average grade of 8.8%. After a descent of about a mile, a second uphill section goes for about 4 miles and climbs about 1,650 feet at an average grade of 8.3%. The road rolls for a bit, then climbs one last time for about 1.5 miles, gaining about 600 feet at 6.9%.

Col du Télégraphe Profile Catégorie 2

Col du Télégraphe
The Col du Télégraphe is the least celebrated of the Marmotte (and Tour de France) climbs, and for good reason: it’s "only" a 2e Catégorie climb, the little brother of the famous Galibier. Still, it’s a serious climb, gaining about 2,600 vertical feet in some seven miles at an average gradient of 7.1%.

Col du Galibier Profile - Hors Catégorie

Col du Galibier
The Col du Galibier is Hors Catégorie, and in the direction La Marmotte traverses it, it comes right after the Télégraphe. It’s more than 11 miles long and climbs almost 4,000 feet to the highest summit of La Marmotte. (At almost 8,500 feet, this is frequently the highest elevation of the Tour de France as well.) The average grade is over 7%.

Alpe d'Huez - Hors Catégorie

Alpe d’Huez
I think what makes Alpe d’Huez so difficult is that it comes at the end. That said, even when this climb is run as a time trial, it gets classified as Hors Catégorie. It’s not as long as the Galibier, and doesn’t reach nearly the altitude. On the other hand, it’s hard to find a good rhythm with all the switchbacks, and both times I rode La Marmotte this was the hottest of the climbs, because I reached it during the heat of the day.

My Stats
Placing: 156th out of 4,134 finishers (64th in my 30-39 age category, out of 1,295)
Diploma: Gold
Real time: 7 hours 18 minutes 0 seconds rolling time
Real average speed: 15.0 mph
Official time: 7 hours 19 minutes 42 seconds (includes stops and time spent getting from my staging area to the official start line)
Official average speed: 14.7 mph (23.74 kph)

Personal climbing stats:
3,565 ft/hr on Col du Glandon (262 watts) at 157 bpm;
3,381 ft/hr on Col du Télégraphe (264 watts) at 158 bpm;
3,002 ft/hr on Col du Galibier (237 watts) at 153 bpm;
2,941 ft/hr on Alpe d’Huez (226 watts) at 147 bpm
Time heart above 160 bpm: 19 min (compared to 1 hr 44 min during Marmotte ’03)
Average heart rate: 152 beats per minute (80% of maximum), not including descents (vs. 153 bpm/81% in ’03)

                                        Berkeley, California
All Photos (c) Dana Albert
2003 - Riding La Marmotte by Dana Albert
Return to La Marmotte - Part 1 Preparation
Return to La Marmotte - Part 2 Race Day
Return to La Marmotte - Part 3 Notes & Climb Profiles

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