Discover the best cycling climbs of the Pyrenees, from our Raid Pyrenean cycling holiday, a unique and challenging guided ride that takes you from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast with full vehicle support. A real cyclist’s paradise, the Pyrenees stretch over 430km along the border between France and Spain. The many beautiful Pyrenean cycling climbs take the rider up and down twisting roads with fabulous views of 2000m+ peaks all around, on roads that are smaller, quieter – and steeper! – than the Alps. Less open to mass tourism, in the Pyrenees you can follow in the footsteps of the greats on the mythic cycling climbs of the Tour de France. The Pyrenees have a long history in cycling, being first visited by the Tour in 1910, and to date the Col du Tourmalet has featured almost 90 times! Traditionally, the mountain stages alternate between the Pyrenees and the Alps each year. Here are three of our favourite climbs whose names are instantly recognisable
Cycling climbs of the Pyrenees: The Col d’Aubisque
|Start point :||Laruns|
|Length :||16.60 km|
|Elevation :||1190 m|
|% Average :||7.17%|
|% Max :||13.0%|
Starting from the beautiful village of Laruns in the Ossau valley, the 1709 metre Col d’Aubisque is one of the epic climbs if the Tour de France and the gateway to the high Pyrenees. The Aubisque is instantly recognisible by its sculptures of giant bikes on its summit, decked out in the livery of the tour de France. It was first climbed in 1910 – on unpaved roads at the time! It has features 9 times already in the Tour since the year 2000.
A challenging climb, the Aubisque starts gradually with around 5% in the first kilometres, but it soon gets msteeper to finish at 8.5% in the last 4-5km.
Cycling climbs of the Pyrenees: The Col du Tourmalet
|Start point :||Luz Saint Sauveur|
|Length :||19 km|
|Elevation :||1404 m|
|% Average :||7.37%|
|% Max :||10.0%|
A Hors Catégorie Col with 1404m of climbing in 19km, the 2115m Col du Tourmalet is climbed on the western side from Luz Saint Sauveur and is the second highest cycling climbs of the Pyrenees. It is often climbed after the Col d’Aspin for an additional challenge. With the Mont Ventoux and the Col du Galibier it is one of the icons of the Tour de France, and like the Aubisque was first climbed in 1910. Starting in the pretty mountain village of Luz Saint Sauveur, the 19km climb is a challenge has spectacular views that will almost take your mind from the effort! See the Col du Toumalet profile on CyclingCols
Cycling climbs of the Pyrenees: The Col d’Aspin
|Start point :||Sainte Marie de Campan|
|Length :||12.9 km|
|Elevation :||649 m|
|% Average :||5%|
|% Max :||10.0%|
Impossible to speak of the Col du Tourmalet without including the Col d’Aspin. At “only” 5% slope over 12.9km, this Catégorie 1 Col may seem less of a challenge – until it’s done after the Tourmalet. From the west, after a descent from the Tourmalet to Sainte Marie de Campan, the Aspin begins for a new challenge on already tired legs.