A brutally steep classic climb to Planche des Belles Filles

Planche des Belles Filles is a ski resort at an elevation of 1.148m (3,766ft) above the sea level, located in the Haute-Saône department of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, in France.

Planche des Belles Filles

Located within the Vosges Mountains range, the road to the summit is paved. It’s called D16-D16E. It was first climbed in the 2012 Tour de France with Chris Froome powering to his first stage win in La Grande Boucle. It’s one of the most well-known and feared climbs of the Vosges complete with its infamous ski slope ending. The climb shows no mercy from bottom to top, yet the steepest sector is in the finale when the riders face a grueling 28%.

The road is wide, two cars can pass with ease. This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies. Most French roads are carefully engineered with regular slopes but this is the exception, a constantly changing in gradient yet invariably steep. Starting from Plancher-les-Mines, the ascent is 5.9 km (3.7 mi) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 503 m (1,650 ft) and the average gradient is 8.5% with a maximum of 14%, but with a short stretch from 22% to 28% near the finish. The name Belles Filles literally means "Beautiful Girls", but is actually derived from the local plant life.