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In a valley full of athletes, it is somewhat inevitable that some "benchmark" routes are established, and this is one of them.
It's a pretty short ride by alpine standards, but if you treat it like a mini time trial and put the hammer down, it provides a good evening workout. Start at the small roundabout next to the famous M.B.C.
brewery/pub at the north-east end of Chamonix town centre and blast up the almost-flat road which leads to Les Praz village.
From here there is a long, straight and flat section of road which goes up to the small settlement of Les Tignes. From Les Tignes onwards the route is more or less constantly uphill, so now is the time to switch from hunching over the bars in time trial mode to stomping the pedals in climbing mode! Follow the road as it zig zags up to Les Grassonnets and then Argentière village. Pass straight through the village centre and then begin the final climb to the Col.
This final ascent is up steep hairpins followed by a long, curving grind through Tré-le-Champ and up to the Col itself.
Once there, stop your stopwatch and try to breathe! Any time under 35 minutes from brewery to pub is considered good going, below 30 is very fast, and below 25 is the domain of the truly elite. As soon your heart rate has returned to something like normal, roll down the hill back to Les Tignes and then on to Chamonix, soaking in the amazing views on the way.