By Chris Smith

Tuesday 5th June 2018

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Lourdes Routes

 


Lourdes is a great place to base your self for a few days riding. Therte are some classic climbs such as the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Hautacam and Cirque de Gavarnie all a day ride from Lourdes. There is also a great cycle path up the valley towards Argeles Gazost and a brilliant cycle hotel- The Hotel Alba. It has everything you need for a few days testing the legs in the legendary Pyrenean mountians. 

Col de Tourmalet - You could do this route just as well in reverse. We have chosen to do it this way round as the 2018 Tour de France will climb it from this east side.

After leaving Lourdes you turn to climb your first small hill of the day. Small should be used carefully here as the climb is still 500m in height. Just compared with what is to come, it is small! You wind your way round some delightful tiny roads, dodging cows and sleepy villagers. Once you crest the top of the hill, a fast descent to Pouzac leaves you joining the main valley road. The road is busy for a few km's until you clear Bagneres-de-Bigorre and then it gradullay climbs for a further 15km or so until you swing right on to the D918 and you start the climb of the Tourmalet properly. From here it is over 12km at 8.5%. There is not alot of gear changing that occurs! You climb, first through a few villages and then through a shaded forest area, before the one hairpin of note on the lower slopes. You climb straight for what seems like an eternity until you reach the ski station of Super Bareges. Not the prettiest ski station and there isn't much super about it, other than you can get an emergency can of coke from one of the few cafe's. From here it is 4km more at around 9%, and the altitdue begins to have an effect. Two kilometers of hairpins and you crest the top! 

There is a cafe at the top for a well earned rest, then wrap up, and plummet downhill. There are some tight turns, but most of the descent can be taken quickly. Take care through the villages that dot the descent and jump on the cycle way for a traffic free spin back to Lourdes. 

Relive 'Col du Tourmalet'

 

Click here for the GPX file 

 

The Hautacam - A Tour De France classic, where many a hero has fallen short. The constantly changing gradient makes it very difficult to find a rythm. Although if you are not used to climbing, this may play to your advantage! 

Leaving Lourdes you jump on the cycle path to Argeles Gazost (about 12km on the path). Swing left on to the D100 and follow the signs for the Hautacam. The road weaves it's way up the hill, constantly changing in pitch as it does. You'll pass through a few tiny hamlets, and then the first steep ramp of above 10% appears. The climb continues snaking its way up the climb. 3km from the summit, there are pitches of 15% and then mercifully the gradient drops to a much more manageable 7% and the final few km's to the Tour de France finish line are much easier. All that is left to do, is don a wind proof and plumit back down to the valley, retracing your steps.

Relive 'Hautacam'

 

Click here for the GPX file 

 

 

 

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