Our last advices for Alpe d'Huez 21 bends... from a top climber.

Eric boyer advices alpe d'huez triathlon TIME sport

Here we are. The 12th edition of the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon is about to begin. It’s the right moment to escape for a moment with an exceptional climber, winner of three Giro stages, with 8 participations in the Tour de France. But Eric Boyer is much more: he’s a Alpe d'Huez climb passionate cyclist. Today working for our partner TIME as Director of competitions and sports marketing, he returns for us to his relationship with the 21 mythical bends, and offers a few anecdotes with 3 extra good tips!

The advice of Eric Boyer for the Alpe d'Huez climb:

1) Do not go too fast in the first bends. The slope must let everyone to find his own path. Too much effort in the first part can spoil the rest of the ascent. On the other hand, from Huez, you can start accelerating. Moreover, 1,500 meters before the transition, do not hesitate to give everything, because the arrival in Alpe d'Huez is relatively easy.

2) Enjoy the flat in the corners and these few meters of respite. Do not accelerate, keep the same gear and blow deeply before pushing again in the next ascent.

3) On the L triathlon especially, you must arrived reach the bottom of Alpe d'Huez climb already fed and hydrated. Of course, you will also be able to refuel during the ascent but the "big" work of feeding must imperatively be done before.

Find our partner TIME on the village Expo 2017. With a bit of luck, you'll meet Eric Boyer. Do not hesitate to mention the race and ask for advice ... and above all: enjoy the free ride of the TIME Scylon on the TIME Experience loop.

Eric Boyer and the Alpe d'Huez

"My first memories of the Alpe d'Huez take us back to the late 1970s when I was a teenager. I had discovered the Tour in 75 and I liked to camp on the stages, the day before the passage of the race. I remember being surprised by the faces of the cyclists, on which you could read the fatigue and the intensity of the moment. There was a lot of emotion. At the time, the ascent was already very clean, with a wide road. It was great. Everyone was happy with it and there was a great harmony between the peloton and the public. The Dutch crowd had already conquered Huez in the middle of the ascent. It’s logical to chose this precise moment of the climb, as the best riders are already ahead because the selection is already done after the hardest ramps in the first kilometers. It is also an important place, because we start to guess the summit and to have visual references. We should remembered that before, the teams did not have the today’s ressources to organize training camps and to recognize the stages. Many riders of the Tour de France climbed the Alpe d'Huez for the first time. Numbering the turns also helped to convert this ascent into a cycling temple.

I remember beautiful moments as a spectator. For example, when Belgian champion Paul Wellens completely cracked in the climb, so exhausted that he stopped, leaning on a wall with his hand. He remained there, in the saddle and motionless, unable to free himself from the straps of his pedals until the arrival of the ambulance. I also witnessed the incredible duel between Peter Winnen and Jean-René Bernaudeau in 1983. The french was theoretically faster but after a wild sprint it was finally the Dutchman who won the stage for a few millimeters. Well, there is always something happening at the Alpe d'Huez, probably because it is always the arrival of a long stage.

In 84, I also attended the first victory of Laurent Fignon, from his first Tour de France. At the Alpe d'Huez, he was dressed with the white jersey of best young, and took the yellow to Vincent Barteau. Two months later, I signed in their team. But I only started on the Tour in 86, climbing the Alpe d'Huez for the first time. I went from fan to actor in two years. During this baptism, I climbed into the grupetto and as I climbed up I remembered all the places where I had come to see the Tour, not so long ago. In 88, as a symbol, I made 8th in the Alpe d'Huez alongside a certain ... Peter Winnen! I beat him in the sprint but I believe that for him the stake was not the same! In 90, it was another great memory, when we did a great teamwork in the Alpe d'Huez, in favour of our leader Greg Lemond, in order to take the yellow to Claudio Chiappucci. And then, in '92, I attacked in the Croix de Fer, we were only 6 riders for the victory but I finished third. I do not regret, although of course winning at the Alpe d'Huez was a dream.

There have always been legendary passes on the Tour de France, but no mythical arrivals in altitude, before the Alpe d'Huez. Even Pra-Loup, after the battle between Merckx and Thévenet, did not take such a dimension. I think the people of Alpe d'Huez quickly realized that there was a marketing move to try for the promotion of the resort, and they took advantage of it. Later, after spending years every summer at the Alpe d'Huez, we really felt there was something missing when the Tour did not stop there. I believe that from a certain moment, history is written and talks about itself. For us, in the peloton, the Alpe d'Huez was like the Mecca. "