Côte de Greetland

Distance: 2629 metres, Ascent: 147 metres, route map

Navigation on this one might seem a little convoluted to begin with and the finishing line leaves a lot to be desired – it’s a motorway roundabout. But this climb is included for the very good reason that it was one of three in the borough that featured on the route for the 2014 Tour de France.

The start is in Greetland at the junction of the B6112 (Stainland Road) with the little side street of Queen Street. To find this, head south-west along the B6112 from two sets of traffic lights at the junctions with the B6113 (Rochdale Road) and the B6114 (Saddleworth Road). Queen Street is the third on your left and is the last one before you go under a high and now disused railway arch. The landmark of The Queen pub on the corner should also be a clue.

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Start your clock as you swing into Queen Street which is immediately steep. It’s also short. At the top you turn right into Green Lane which is flat for all of 50 metres before you take the first proper turning to the left into Hullenedge Lane.

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If you find yourself going up a nameless tarmac track behind a terrace of houses then you’ve turned too soon – Hullenedge Lane is a proper road with road markings, a street sign and everything. It’s a proper hill as well although nothing too taxing. It wiggles its way upwards to a T-junction where you have the choice of straight on or turn right.

Straight on always feels the correct choice in these circumstances but in this instance you want the right turn onto Hammerstones Road. This takes you flatly to the junction with the more senior Victoria Road and you may have to stop at the junction to get across.

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Blackley Road is straight ahead and this takes you out of suburbia. The views around and behind you and quite impressive but things are somewhat spoilt the further you climb as the top of this ridge is dominated by the ceaseless roar of the M62. Still, if it’s good enough for the Tour de France it’s good enough for the rest of us. Continue all the way to the roundabout and then stop having reached the top of the climb. There are routes to be found straight ahead but it’s all a multi-lane madness of vehicles accelerating towards the motorway or breathlessly decelerating from it. It’s no place for bicycles so scuttle back the way you came and hunt down something more civilised.

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