Huez, a little village in the French Alps, is best associated with the ski resort of L'Alpe d'Huez and is host to one of the legendary mountain climbs of the 'Tour de France' cycle classic. The L'Alpe d'Huez stage is frequently one of the most dramatic days in 'The Tour' and the ascent is on any serious cyclist' 'bucket list' of climbs.
The climb is 13.8km long with 21 hairpin bends, has an average gradient of 8.1% and a maximum gradient of 13%. The bends are named after previous winners of the stage, the first being the famous Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi in 1952.
Huge crowds lined the ascent in 1997 as the Italian Marco Pantani 'The Pirate' finished the climb in 37m 35s at an average speed of 23.08km/h, the fastest ever recorded.
He was affectionately known as 'Il Pirata' due to his shaved head and wearing of a bandana and earrings.
The village of 'Huez' and this iconic climb have become part of the folklore of the Tour de France and resonates with cyclists all over the world.