Standing at a massive 2,469m, the Col du Grand St Bernard is one of the most ancient passes through the western Alps, and the home of the eponymous dog. It is also the 4th highest col in Le Cure history, and a 30km marathon at an average of around 6%. It has featured in the Tour de France on 5 occasions, the first time being in 1949, when the Italian legend Gino Bartali was first over the summit. He would go onto repeat his exploits the following day over the (marginally) smaller Col du Petit St Bernard.
Curistas took it on on day 2 of the 2020 edition. After a morning decent from Verbier the first stretch of the climb was a fairly nondescript dual carriageway interspersed with long tunnels. However, with 7.5km to go, which is the point where the vast majority of the motor traffic peels off into the tunnel, this is a truly majestic and spectacular climb. From there the gradient ramps up to a steady 8%, and the views both back down the valley and towards Mont Velan are spectacular. We were welcomed at the summit by a crystal blue glacial lake before, we enjoyed one of the most glorious descents in world cycling into the Aosta valley.