Col du Tourmalet


General characteristics (click for gradient profile or photos).

Argelès-Gazost [450m] - 18 km first semi-flat, then gradually uphill - Esquièze-Sère / Luz-St Sauveur [670m] - 18 km uphill - Col du Tourmalet [2115m].

Take from Argelès the cycle path (former rail track) to Pierrefitte. Thereafter, take the D921, direction Gavarnie. Follow in Luz-St Sauveur the signs to the Col de Tourmalet.

The Col du Tourmalet is not only the most famous pass in the Pyrenees, but also the highest in altitude (2115 m) among pass roads that are practicable for racing bikes. Both the west and east side ascents are graded as 'Hors Categorie'. In the early days of the Tour de France this category was reserved for climbs that were regarded as not doable for cars. Nowadays even camper vans do not have significant problems with hairpins and gradients of 10% (although some drivers may need a bit more practice).



Left: statue ('Le Géant du Tourmalet') and two down-to-earth cyclists at the Col du Tourmalet;
right: view from the col towards Luz-St Sauveur.