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Comparing Le Tour de France's mountain summits with US mountains

29 Jun 2012

Like most anything else outside the United States, the Le Tour de France is on the metric system. So, when an announcer or website mentions that a summit such as the Col du Grand Colombier is 1501 meters, that translates to 4,921 ft. Even though this is not the highest mountain in Europe, it's 12% grade makes it one of the toughest to climb; Grand Colombier is set for stage 10, Wed. 11 July. In the U. S., this altitude is similar of summits found at the Tennessee—North Carolina border—Mount Cammerer (4,928 feet) and Gregory Bald (4,949 feet).

Members of the Brotherhood of the Grand Colombier on the Col du Grand Colombier

Mountains get higher along the Tour's routes. The Col de la Madeleine near Albertville tops out at 2000 meters; that's 6,561 feet, similar to the summit of Mount Le Conte, another mountain in Tennessee.

Other mountains along the route are Port de Lers, 1517 meters (4,977 feet), Col d'Aubisque, 1,709 meters (5,606 feet), and Col de Menté, 1 349 meters (4,425 feet). Again, these are similar to peaks found in Tennessee.

The mountains in the western United States, mostly found in the Rocky Mountains range, tower on upward more so than the mountains found in France. All of the stages of USA Pro Challenge are over a mile high. First stage begins at Durango, elevation 6,512 feet (1,984 meters); this is similar in height as the Col de la Madeleine. Stage 3 at Gunnison, however, is 7,703 feet (2,347 meters). The real topper is Breckenridge, kissing the sky at 9,603 feet (2,926 meters) where oxygen becomes a factor. USA Pro Challenge is deemed as the toughest race in the US.

A map comparison of Grand Colombier and Mount Cammerer

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