Well our amazing French tour has come to an end for 2016. Our tourists have enjoyed all the climbs, sights, flavours and enjoyment of life that France delivers. They have ridden some of the most amazing climbs on the planet and have some amazing stories to tell.
But before we go let me tell you about the Col du Tourmalet. This was the pinnacle of our week. This climb is as iconic as it is hard. Our riders were now getting weary after a great tour of riding. Leaving the town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre our group headed out to tackle the eastern ascent of the Col du Tourmalet. This is the typical route for a mountain top finish on the Tourmalet. A truly spectacular day for it too. It’s a fairly cruisey ride out heading for the village of Campan, however you are climbing from the start.
Campan is a lovely little town with some life size dolls the locals have made to honour cyclists and Le Tour. On through Campan to the little village of Saint-Marie de Campan. This is where riders would normal come from the Col d’Aspin, to tackle the Tourmalet. It’s a great little stop for a bite to eat or drink. The sign advertising bread at the start nearly sums up this climb in one word – “Pane”, well should read “Pain”. However the satisfaction of conquering the climbs makes it all worthwhile.
From here the climb starts off at a gradual rate, with gradients of between 2 – 6%. This does lull you into a bit of a false sense of security, as we pass through small towns on our search for the summit. Ever climbing as we make our way along the valley, today bathed in sunshine, things are starting to heat up. The next 4 kms are at approximately 8% gradient, which brings us to the hairpin. The scenery along this valley is fantastic an a welcome distraction, but here things get serious. It hasn’t been too hard so far, but from now to the top we wont see much under 9-10%. Lucky its a magic day for riding.
We pass through the snow tunnels, thinking about the champions who have won on this climb in the Tour de France. In no time we roll into the ski village of La Mongie. This signifies just 4 kms to the summit. A little easing on the gradient, but not for long! Out of town you can see your destination. Creeping ever closer to the goal. Counting down the kilometres, until finally 1km to go. The Flamme Rouge. With a little more pep in the cadence we push on until finally reaching the top of the legendary Col du Tourmalet. Couldn’t have a better finish to our tour.
We are currently taking interest for our 2017 Tour de France tour. These are trips that you will never forget. There is high demand for this and our Giro tour so don’t delay else you will miss out.
Register your interest with us by speaking to David or Nick in the shop or on phone 03 9723 5164. Alternatively drop us an email at [email protected]