Col d'Aspin Tour de FranceExpo photo 2003 Expo photo 2004
©Col d'Aspin Tour de France|HPTE A.S.O
The big event for cyclists

The Tour de France

The Tour de France is the most famous and most challenging cycle race in the world. Every summer, it brings together cyclists of all nationalities to ride more than 3,000 km. Some of the greatest stages of the Tour de France are in the Pyrenees: Tourmalet, Portet d’Aspet, Aubisque, Aspin, Marie Blanque, Peyresourde, Puymorens, Plateau de Beille.

The Tourmalet

The Col du Tourmalet is still the most frequently climbed mountain pass in the Tour de France, to which it was added 1910. That year, to mark the seventh anniversary of the Tour, the organisers wanted to introduce some new thrills to the race. Henri Desgranges, the event’s founder, wanted to add the Pyrenean mountain passes to the route. He sent his colleagues out on a reconnaissance mission. They came back issuing dire warnings: there were no roads, wild animals posed a threat, some of the populations didn’t speak French.

Did you know?

The Tour was created to boost the sales of a paper. Henri Desgrange, a former racing cyclist and director of the daily paper L’Auto, organised this race in order to win back readers with an interest in cycling, following the court case which forced him to remove the word “vélo” (French for “bike”) from the title of his paper, which was originally L’Auto-Vélo.

Great men of the Tour

Some moments have remained etched in everyone’s memory over the years, such as in 1969, when “Cannibal” Eddy Merckx, a very young man at the time, embarked on a solo ride over the Tourmalet with an 8-minute lead over the second-placed competitor. Or when Armstrong, in 2003, achieved victory after a fall at the beginning of the climb to Luz-Ardiden. Not forgetting the victories of Miguel Indurain, the climbs of Richard Virenque, or the fierce duel between Contador and Schleck on the final bends of the Tourmalet, in 2010…

Memories of the 19th of July

The cyclists always set off on the 19th of July, going from Perpignan to Luchon (289 km) and climbing the Col de Port, the Portet d’Aspet and the Col des Ares. On the next day, they all meet at 3.30 am, to race to Bayonne. This stage of 325 kilometres features some Pyrenean giants: Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Aubisque. On the Tourmalet, the winner of the day, Octave Lapize, had to dismount: the slope was too steep, he could take no more. The same thing happened on the Aubisque, which saw him complete the climb on foot and yell at the officials: “You are murderers!” Fourteen hours later, he triumphed in Bayonne.

with Octave Lapize

Starting from Lourdes

Stopping over

Places to stay

These accommodation providers have been awarded the Altamonta certification, a quality label for establishments catering to cycle tourists.
Their facilities are designed with you and your bike in mind!