On the Shoulders of the Giants
3 cols, 150 Km, +2,900m height gain: that’s the challenge!
Sector: The Pyrenees
You’ve ridden hundreds of miles during your training sessions and you’re fit and ready to pit your strength against the mountains.
4 days | 3 cols | 150km | + 2,900m
You’ve ridden hundreds of miles during your training sessions and you’re fit and ready to pit your strength against the mountains. You have a powerful feeling that it’s time to see how you measure up to the great Pyrenean passes that you have been wanting to ride for ages. We offer you a long weekend to give you a chance to finally come and ride these legendary roads where the Tour de France writes a new page in the history of cycling every year. Since 1910, the date of the first cycling tour over the Tourmalet and the Aubisque, more than a century of exploits and sometimes dramatic epics have shaped the myths you will discover!
Col Cycling Addiction offers you a four day tour to climb the two greatest icons of Pyrenean cycling and much more besides. Our logistics and advice will be your assets to make your climbing dreams come true!
Day 1 – Arrival at Pau (transfer included from airports and train stations of Pau or Tarbes/Lourdes). - +
For transfers from Biarritz and Toulouse airports, please contact us (for these airports, transfers take place between 11:00 and 15:00). Installation at the gite for the stay.
Get your bike ready and go for a training ride in the Ossau valley to stretch your legs.
Day 2: Louvie Juzon, Laruns, Col d' Aubisque, Col du Soulor, Arthez d' Asson 70 kms | + 1,200 m - +
The Aubisque is a true legend! It is the second most often climbed col in the history of the Tour de France with 73 climbs since the first race in 1910 when the road over the col was still only a rough dirt road that competitors ran over carrying their bikes. Frenchman François Lafourcade was the first rider in the history of the Tour to cross the Aubisque in the lead, on the incredible 326 kilometre stage with 6,000 metres of height gain between Luchon and Bayonne. The first high mountain stage devised by the Tour organisers required the riders to cross the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque cols. Unbelievable! In Bayonne, the winner, Octave Lapize, shouted at the organizers "murderers, you are murderers! "The Legend of the Tour was born!
The Aubisque pass is a "must" to climb for anyone who claims to be a cyclist. It is the gateway to the world of high mountain cols, an initiatory ascent into the exceptional playground of the Pyrenees. From Laruns at 520m, the ascent begins gently up to the spa resort of Eaux Bonnes, 4 km at 5% on a perfect surface. When the road leaves Eaux Bonnes, the slope suddenly increases with a short maximum of 13% where the road crosses to the other side of the river. The rest is a long ride up slopes ranging between 8 and 9%, a challenging section that needs to be carefully managed because after Gourette, there are still 4.5 km to climb. Up to the Hotel des Crêtes Blanches the gradient often runs into 2 figures. Apotheosis or torment, the zig-zags of the last mile offer a perfect route to the summit in a beautiful setting.
Depending on what you want to do, and what your legs want to do, you can continue along the spectacular road that sweeps over the Cirque du Litor towards the Col du Soulor and finally descends through the remote and wild valley of Ferrières. An exceptional day in the mountains! And the first iconic pass climbed!
Day 3: Lourdes, Argelès, Luz St Sauveur, Col du Tourmalet, Campan, Bagnères de Bigorre 80 kms | + 1,700 m - +
credit Photo: www.cyclingcols.com
Tourmalet! Is there a bigger icon in the eyes of cyclists around the world? Undoubtedly ranked at the top of the list of "Giants", the Tourmalet is a real myth in the history of cycling, much more than just its hors-catégorie ranking! After its first appearance in 1910, it is by far the most frequently climbed col on the Tour de France, with no less than 87 climbs to date. In 2019 the Tourmalet will be a stage finish after a ride from from Tarbes to the summit at 2115 m, via the Soulor. It’s the highest road col in the French Pyrenees, and climbing it is nothing less than a high-level pilgrimage, full of legends and so symbolic!
Climbing the Tourmalet from its western side is a personal choice. The two sides of its ascent are just as difficult but the ascent from Luz Saint Sauveur is, in our view, more spectacular. The warm-up from Lourdes goes up the river valley to the entrance of the Luz gorge. Between Soulom and Luz, the road runs through a narrow and austere ravine, opening out on to the Pays Toy, the territory of the "little people", a nickname given by the people of the plains to the inhabitants of Luz, Barèges and Gavarnie for their small size...It is in Luz, at 711m, that the climb really begins. 19 kilometres to reach the summit at 2115 m, 1400 m height gain with an average gradient of 7.4% and double-digit sections, up to 13%, thats the challenge! But beyond the difficulty of its length, its gradient and the high altitude of the col itself, climbing the Tourmalet has a very special flavour for cyclists all over the world. Cycling up this special“Monster” is also a point of entry into the history of cycling and an opportunity to become part of the myths and legends from the first conquering heroes up to todays champions.
Very quickly after leaving Luz, the gradient increases to reach an average of 8%. It takes some getting used to, and there are very few moments of respite. At the end of the steep ride up through the village of Barèges, 1250 m, there’s the first key passage: a long ramp with a two-digits gradient before the road flattens out a little up to Tournaboup. Here you can choose to follow the old Tourmalet road, a variant of the "Laurent Fignon" ascent that is now reserved for cyclists and offers spectacular views of the valley. At the junction of the two roads, there are 4 kilometres left. In an extraordinary finale the road rises up towards the sky, with a spectacular view of the observatory of the Pic du Midi at an altitude of 2877 m. The last kilometre, still a 13% gradient at this altitude, will take its toll, but at the top, the giant statue of Octavian Lapize, 1st conqueror of the Giant in 1910, will reward your efforts. Congratulations!
Day 4: End - +
After a hearty breakfast, the time has come, with regret, to prepare for the return trip. Depending on what shape your legs are in and the schedule for your return trip, we may still have time for another climb from the Ossau Valley. Col de Marie Blanque or Port de Castet, these magnificent "bonuses" will make sure you’ll want to come back as soon as possible to discover the lesser known treasures of the Pyrenees. Our playground is endless!
Transfer to Pau - Lourdes/Tarbes - Biarritz or Toulouse airports for a departure in the late afternoon.
The Next Dates
Select your tour
From Thu. 13/05 to Sun. 16/05
From Mon. 20/09 to Thu. 23/09
From Thu. 21/10 to Sun. 24/10
From Fri. 29/10 to Mon. 01/11
REQUIRED LEVEL OF PRACTICE:
- Level 1
- You ride your road bike on average once a week during part of the year. From 40 to 70 km per ride with maximum height gains of 800 m.
- From 40 to 70 km per ride with maximum height gains of 800 m.
- Level 2
- You are in a good shape and ride your road bike regularly. From 60 to 100 km with maximum height gains of 1500 m.
- From 60 to 100 km with maximum height gains of 1500 m.
- Level 3
- You are passionate about riding your road bike! You are very fit and do a long-distance ride at least once a week. More than 100 km per ride, and you’re not afraid of climbing! More than 1500 m total height gain for each ride.
- More than 100 km per ride, and you’re not afraid of climbing! More than 1500 m total height gain for each ride.
What’s included - +
- Accommodation (based on a shared room) in a high quality holiday house (gîte d’étape) or in a three-star (or more) hotel (with a secure place to leave your bike, bike washing and repair facilities). You may be asked to share a room with someone of the opposite sex.
- Three evening meals, some of them home-cooked by Sara using local and bio products whenever possible and some in typical restaurants of the region (with appropriate menus for cyclists);
- Breakfast, day-time snacks, afternoon snack when you get back from your daily ride (home-made, energy food and sports drinks for the day-time snacks);
- Transfers between Pau, Tarbes and Lourdes airports and train stations and the destination of your stay;
- Transfer to the start points for your daily rides;
- Support vehicle throughout the day’s ride (technical support and food and drinks);
- Maps and GPS tracks for each day’s ride;
- Technical assistance by a cycling coach in case of need;
- Provision of a computer with internet access;
- 1 complementary Col Cycling Addiction jersey and publicity material from the Agency;
- Tourist tax;
- Photos of your stay.
The price does not include - +
- Drinks with meals;
- Personal expenses;
- Air travel.
Possible extra options - +
- Transfers from Toulouse, Biarritz or Bordeaux airports —ask us for details;
- Rental of top-range bikes — ask us for further information about the bikes and prices;
- Cancellation insurance;
- Comprehensive insurance (repatriation, hospitalization, rescue costs, …) ;
- Single room — ask us for details;
- Extra night — ask us for details;
- Accompaniment by a cycling coach.
Reductions for groups - +
- 5% reduction for group bookings for five or more participants.
- Possible organization of a private tour for groups of six or more.
- 5% reduction for a non-cycling partner or friend accompanying a cyclist.