Soaring high above the west bank of Lake Annecy, the Semnoz was a tough start to Le Cure 2018. One turn out of town and it’s a 17.4km climb to the summit over an average gradient of 7% with a steep slog to the top. The road eventually snakes its way up above the woods and Curistas were rewarded with spectacular views of the lake.
Semnoz hosted a summit finish in the 2013 Tour. Nairo Quintana won, putting 29 seconds into third placed Chris Froome. However Froome was a comfortable 5 minutes ahead in the overall classification and went on to claim his first yellow jersey. Semnoz has only featured in the Tour on two other occasions – when the peloton went on strike in 1998 in the wake of the Festina affair and for a short mountain time trial won by Alberto Contador in 2009.
Fun fact: Semnoz got its name from the Romans – who thought the mountain looked like a salmon.