Sub hour Alpe D'huez

Hi Guys, was wondering if anyone has any advice on the best plan to use to train for a sub hour Alpe D’huez. It’s endurance I guess but it’s not the long miles in the legs needed for a century. Thanks…


There’s a calculator you can use to estimate your time. Granted it’s for Everesting but it will help you get a sense of what power is needed to get yourself up in less than 1 hour. CALCULATOR - EVERESTING

Edit: not sure what the best plan would be but anything that gets your sustained power up will help. That, and of course getting your weight down too.

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4 ways:

  • lighter bike
  • lighter you
  • more power or
  • start at the top

I’ve never done it. My FulGaz time is about 1.5 hours. Not sure how realistic that is either. Still it’s unrelenting, and at an hour long, you’ll need to target both MAP and FTP. Now, training for it depends on how much room for improvement you have, and how close you are to the W/kg you’ll need.

You’ll likely need more than just training, there’s only a small percentage of improvement to expect in a training block, assuming you are already fit.

Can you safely lose any weight? I ask this because W/kg is the key to reaching your goal. I could stand to lose another 10lbs.

And a lighter bike sounds like a good excuse for N + 1.

If you want to ride a fast then don’t do the Glandon, Telegraphe and Galibier before you do the Alpe.

I did and it took me more then 2 hours to get to the top :wink:


Hi Guys, thanks for the replies. I probably should have given a bit more detail on my original comment. I’ve climbed ADH before (but not since 2013). 8 years on, and several kids and kilos later I needed a challenge to get training again and this seemed like the ideal climb to revisit. Back then I did it in 1hr 4mins, but I was the fittest I’ve ever been and weighed only 68kilos. So the challenge is eh challenging. In my favor I have 7 months to prepare and the time I did was a few days after I had done the Marmotte (I hear you @TLa) so not exactly fresh. @Sir_Brian_M your right it will all come down to w/kg… apparently the magic number is 3.75 w/kg. I’m currently 74kilos so that means a sustained 277 watts for an hour. I currently can muster 210 (I know this doesn’t sound very promising) but I haven’t trained properly for over a year. So I guess I was wondering with the new Systm plans was their anything I could follow that could get me 70 watts in 7 months! (Or anything else I could follow) Thanks for your time.

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I’ve done 57 minutes ish for Alpe d’Huez to the finish line at the entrance to the village and the only thing I would say is that you can knock around 10% off your sea level FTP. My (sea level) FTP was around 270 but I only managed 243 ish for the climb. Also make sure you run low enough gears that your not grinding up the first few Km.

Over than that I would say it is all about raising your FTP as far as possible and reducing the weight. Good luck :+1:


Best advice I’ve seen all week!

Thank you for this, Sir Brian! :rofl:


Ride hills…then ride some more. Then ride them faster. Repeat :muscle:

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I think your power target might be too high. I’ve only climbed it on Zwift, but I believe it’s an accurate simulation in terms of power/weight. Anyway based on my 75 kg weight, I did the Zwift Alpe climb in 58 mins at an average power of 248W. So in other words 3.3 W/kg. But my measured FTP is 3.77 W/kg, so maybe that’s what they meant by the 3.75 W/kg target? Obviously in real life the altitude would make it more difficult as @smuttiesmith mentioned. Actually his 57 min time at 243W is very similar to my Zwift sim time, but I don’t know his weight.

I would also agree with @smuttiesmith about gearing. You want a compact crankset with a 1:1 lowest gear to keep your cadence half sensible on the steepest pitches. I’m doing the L’Etape du Tour next summer, so will get to climb it for real myself. Really looking forward to it!

As for a plan, maybe the TT plan might work as it is effectively an uphill TT. Maybe that plus a few sessions like GOAT and Power Station to build low cadence strength.

Just looked at my stats on TrainingPeaks for Alpe d’Huez

Normalised Power - 250W
Average Power - 247W
Weight - 67Kg
W/Kg - 3.69
Time - 56:59

That was with 36 innerchainring and an 12-28 cassette. Average cadence was 72 but went as low as 59. I have been back since with a 36-32 bottom gear and it was a much more pleasurable experience but I didnt do a flat out time effort up the climb. To be honest it is my least favourite climb in the area (unless you counting the Col du Lauteret).

On Zwift my best time is 46:54 seconds at 272W. Was using a kickr core and kickr climb with the difficulty set to 100%. I’ve gone under the hour on Zwift (59:52) for 215W and 241W was 52:11. Fairly confident that it is easier to set a (much?) faster time on Zwift that it is to do on the real thing.

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Based on your results it does look like Zwift is pretty optimistic. You were 8 kg lighter than me for the same time and average power on the real climb. So it does look like you need close to 3.7 W/kg to climb the real thing comfortably in under an hour.

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Zwift is very optimistic. In Zwift I can do a sub-hour without even going fullgas. On the real Alpe it would not be possible to drag my fat-ass uphill that fast without going all-out (83kg and FTP of 329W)

I’ve ridden that climb about 40 times. One day I’ll get that sub 60 minutes. One piece of advice is don’t slow down when the grade eases off. Keep the watts up. Good luck.

That’s an interesting comment. Most pacing software (like BBS) suggests the opposite, i.e. put out more power on the steeper grades and less on the easier grades, which makes sense mathematically. But I guess what you are advising is not to back off too much on the easier grades, which would be very tempting!

Might be worth looking at this post, which is one of my absolute favourites for pacing races.

From the coaches: Pacing for performance

Good read thanks. It backs up the idea of increasing power on the steeper gradients and backing off slightly on the easier ones. Probably in the range of about +/- 5%-10% from your target average power for the whole climb.

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I do a long climb in TT-mode, equal power through the climb. So faster pedaling in the less steep spots (unless I’m already toast, then I just go slow everywhere :grin: )
But maybe that’s just me with my TT-rider type profile

I did Alp du Zwift this morning. First time I ever climbed it at 100% while Zwift was in control. Previously I once did about 45 minutes of it, or rode it has part of another workout without using the actual gradient (usually dual recording with SUF in control).

I did it in a 39-25 gear with an average cadence of 47. It was like a 79 minute version of G.O.A.T. But at tempo and without all the breaks :grimacing::scream: I never knew if I was going to actually make it until I made it.

I’m pretty sure if I was riding the real thing it would’ve take a lot longer because I likely would’ve been weaving at a few different points. :see_no_evil:


Just so I could do reps of AdZ, Ventoux and others I swapped my front to 50/34 and rear to 11/32. Makes extended indoor climbing sessions a lot more enjoyable.

Your average cadence tho!!! :open_mouth: