Published by Lyn on 15 January 2018
It's where French rivals Poulidor and Anquetil went head-to-head and where Merckx was famously attacked by a spectator. Puy de Dôme is usually off-limits to cyclists, but here's your chance to make your own memories atop Auvergne's most famous volcano.
2018 date: Sunday, June 24.
Climbing the mythical Puy de Dôme in the Auvergne is no longer possible thanks to the development of the Panoramique des Dômes tourist train. (The route is now officially closed to individual cyclists).
However, special events for cyclists are being organised by local cyclists to ensure routes in the area can still be enjoyed – and introduced – to new riders.
And that means that climbing the Puy de Dôme will be possible on Sunday, June 24, 2018 for La Montée de Puy de Dôme. However, a MAXIMUM of 300 riders can take part, so make sure you get in early to register via this form on the local Fédération française de cyclotourisme (FFCT) website (it's the 2017 one - we're checking to see when it'll be updated but people are already using the 2017 one to get on the list for 2018).
Puy de Dôme is a volcanic lava dome around 10km from Clermont-Ferrand in the Massif Central. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Puy-de-Dôme department of the Auvergne, with some 500,000 tourists visiting each year, hence the desire for a tourist train.
The train is right next to the service road used to get to the top and it's been deemed to tight in places to allow safe cycling and the train's passage (though if you check the Strava segment for the Puy de Dôme you'll still see local cyclists sneaking up very early in the morning).
The volcano has featured on the Tour de France route several times, including in 1964 when Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil rode side-by-side for most of the climb. It was here also that Eddy Merckx was attacked by a spectator in 1975, receiving a punch to the kidneys. The Tour may never return to the volcanic peak, thanks in part to the construction of the railway line. It last featured in 1998.
Cycling in the Auvernge
Zoom into our Auvergne accommodation section below to find some great bike-friendly accommodation in the area.
Thanks to Margriet – local font of cycling knowledge at Les Camélias cycling accommodation – for keeping me posted about this annual event.