Tourist attractions

Briançon / Izoard

Izoard

Izoard

Interestingly, while he didn't make it first to the summit, leaving that privilege to Kazakhstan's Maxim Iglinskiy, Andy Schleck showed what an outstanding rider he was on that queen stage of the 2011 Tour. It was indeed on the climb up the Col d'Izoard that he built his future success at the top of the Galibier. That however wasn't enough to give him the Yellow Jersey only just saved by Thomas Voeckler – he finished second behind Cadel Evans in Paris – but on that day, he entered the club of his glorious predecessors. One will have a thought for Coppi and Bobet going past the stele that reminds their exploits, but also Bernard Thévenet who talks about his Izoard.

La Casse Déserte, col d’Izoard © Thinkstock

Stage finish for the first time
Pass (2,360m) in Hautes-Alpes (05) within the commune of Arvieux en Queyras
390 inhabitants (Arvidants), 8,300 inhabitants within the 16 communes comprising the municipality of Guillestrois and Queyras, 139,900 inhabitants in the Hautes-Alpes

Economy: Winter tourism with eight authentic ski resorts offering 90km of alpine ski slopes and 120km of Nordic trails, and summer tourism with outdoor activities (600km of marked trails, 160km of mountain bike trails, Tour of Mont Viso). Wood industry

Culture: Fort Queyras (12th century), Mont-Dauphin (17th century, stronghold that is part of the National Network of Vauban's Major Sites that are classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites), Maison du Soleil in Saint-Véran (scientific centre dedicated to observation of the sun). Events: Jazz and Cheese in Montbardon, Potes de MarmoT's in Guillestre (festival for young audiences)

Sport: Events: The Haute Route (cyclosportive), Grand Béal (ski mountaineering), the department's mythical passes including the Izoard are occasionally reserved for cyclists during the summer
Specialities: Cheese including Queyras blue (six cheese dairies), larch flower syrup and liqueur, wood carving, Queyras wooden toys

Sustainable development: The Queyras Regional Natural Park is committed to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, low-impact transport (inter-village shuttles)

Distinctions: Queyras Regional Natural Park, the highest in Europe, Mont Viso Biosphere Reserve, alpine area recognized by UNESCO

Web sites

Izoard and cycling

While he did not make it tot the top in the lead, leaving the privilege to Kazakh Maxim Iglinskiy, Andy Schleck left his mark on the queen stage of the 2011 Tour de France. It was indeed in the ascent of the Izoard pass that he forged his future victory at the top of the Galibier. It was not enough to seize the yellow jersey saved that day by Thomas Voeckler – Schleck finished second in Paris behind Cadel Evans – but it was a perfect opportunity to join a list of legendary of Izoard conquerors. Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet are the first who come top mind and a stele recalls their exploits at the top of the pass.
"It is the privilege of the Izoard to distinguish the champion," wrote Jacques Gooddet. For many years, the Izoard was indeed the pass in which the victory in the Tour de France was decided. Henri Pélissier, in 1923, was the first to dare challenge the climbt when he attacked on it, leaving his rival Ottavio Bottechia trailing by fourty minutes at the top. Gino Bartali was the second to use the Izoard as a launching ramp to Paris both in 1938 and 1948, when he defeated Bretons Louison Bobet and Jean Robic. In 1949, Gino the Pious was supplanted by his great rival Fausto Coppi, who outclassed him on the slopes of the pass in the Giro before condeding defeat in Briançon on the Tour. Two years later, Coppi outclassed a sensational Hugo Koblet for a day. Izoard then became Louison Bobet's property as the Frenchman built his Tour victories there in 1953 and 1954. In 1972, Eddy Merckx made it a point of honor to crush the opposition in the mythical ascent before bowing to Bernard Thevenet in 1975. The pass then lost its aura in favour of l'Alpe d'Huez.
In 2014, Joaquim Rodriguez was the first at the top during the 14th stage to Risoul won by Rafal Majka.

Presse Sports / Mons © Tour de France 2011, Nicolas Roche, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andy Schleck (de gauche à droite)Presse Sports © Tout de France 1975 : Lucien Van Impe, Eddy Merckx et Bernard Thévenet

Stage finish for the first time
Pass (2,360m) in Hautes-Alpes (05) within the commune of Arvieux en Queyras
390 inhabitants (Arvidants), 8,300 inhabitants within the 16 communes comprising the municipality of Guillestrois and Queyras, 139,900 inhabitants in the Hautes-Alpes

Economy: Winter tourism with eight authentic ski resorts offering 90km of alpine ski slopes and 120km of Nordic trails, and summer tourism with outdoor activities (600km of marked trails, 160km of mountain bike trails, Tour of Mont Viso). Wood industry

Culture: Fort Queyras (12th century), Mont-Dauphin (17th century, stronghold that is part of the National Network of Vauban's Major Sites that are classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites), Maison du Soleil in Saint-Véran (scientific centre dedicated to observation of the sun). Events: Jazz and Cheese in Montbardon, Potes de MarmoT's in Guillestre (festival for young audiences)

Sport: Events: The Haute Route (cyclosportive), Grand Béal (ski mountaineering), the department's mythical passes including the Izoard are occasionally reserved for cyclists during the summer
Specialities: Cheese including Queyras blue (six cheese dairies), larch flower syrup and liqueur, wood carving, Queyras wooden toys

Sustainable development: The Queyras Regional Natural Park is committed to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, low-impact transport (inter-village shuttles)

Distinctions: Queyras Regional Natural Park, the highest in Europe, Mont Viso Biosphere Reserve, alpine area recognized by UNESCO

Web sites

Sights

Izoard Pass Memorial
General and Baron Henri Berge, commander of the Army of the Alps, was assigned the mission of strengthening the military system at the Italian border. The old roads of the Galibier, the Vars Pass and the Izoard were turned into proper roads by his troops. The road was opened in 1893 by the Alpine hunters based at Chateau-Queyras. To commemorate their endeavour, a memorial was dedicated to Baron Berge in 1934.

Coppi-Bobet stele
La Casse Déserte, with its stony chimneys at 2,220 m and its arid aspect, is a key sector of ​​the Izoard, often exposed to the wind. On leaving it, after a short descent, appears the stele dedicated to Louison Bobet and Fausto Coppi, whose plaques are affixed to a monolithic rock. From there about two kilometres remain with a slope close to 9% up to the top.

Napoleon refuge
The Napoleon refuges, numbering six, are mountain shelters located on or near passes in the department of Hautes-Alpes. Their construction was ordered by Emperor Napoleon I to thank the population of Gap and Hautes-Alpes for welcoming him on his return from exile on the island of Elba. They were built under Napoleon III in the middle of the 19th century. Only those of the Col de Manse, Vars, and Izoard survived.

François Trazzi © Le Mémorial du Col de l’IzoardCC0 © Col de la Bonette via la Route de la BonetteAnthospace © Stèle en l'honneur de Fausto Coppi et Louison Bobet juste après la Casse Déserte sur le versant sud du col d'IzoardDsalomons © Le refuge du col Lacroix

Stage finish for the first time
Pass (2,360m) in Hautes-Alpes (05) within the commune of Arvieux en Queyras
390 inhabitants (Arvidants), 8,300 inhabitants within the 16 communes comprising the municipality of Guillestrois and Queyras, 139,900 inhabitants in the Hautes-Alpes

Economy: Winter tourism with eight authentic ski resorts offering 90km of alpine ski slopes and 120km of Nordic trails, and summer tourism with outdoor activities (600km of marked trails, 160km of mountain bike trails, Tour of Mont Viso). Wood industry

Culture: Fort Queyras (12th century), Mont-Dauphin (17th century, stronghold that is part of the National Network of Vauban's Major Sites that are classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites), Maison du Soleil in Saint-Véran (scientific centre dedicated to observation of the sun). Events: Jazz and Cheese in Montbardon, Potes de MarmoT's in Guillestre (festival for young audiences)

Sport: Events: The Haute Route (cyclosportive), Grand Béal (ski mountaineering), the department's mythical passes including the Izoard are occasionally reserved for cyclists during the summer
Specialities: Cheese including Queyras blue (six cheese dairies), larch flower syrup and liqueur, wood carving, Queyras wooden toys

Sustainable development: The Queyras Regional Natural Park is committed to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, low-impact transport (inter-village shuttles)

Distinctions: Queyras Regional Natural Park, the highest in Europe, Mont Viso Biosphere Reserve, alpine area recognized by UNESCO

Web sites

Parc naturel régional du Queyras

© Parc naturel régional du QueyrasArtisanat du bois en Queyras © Parc naturel régional du QueyrasTête des Toilies © Christophe Gerrer - Parc naturel régional du QueyrasEboulis et rochers de la Casse Déserte - Massif de l'Izoard © A.S.O

This mountain stage crosses or runs along two Natura 2000 sites that are important for their natural resources and landscapes: Durancien and Queyrassien Steppe, and Rochebrune - Izoard - Valley of the Cerveyrette. Located partly in the Queyras Regional Natural Park, these two sites have a wide diversity of natural environments and are home to remarkable and rare animal and plant species.

Read more: www.afbiodiversite.fr/fr/stage-18-briancon-col-dizoard

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