The Col du Tourmalet has a proud Tour de France history, having featured more than any other ascent in the race’s history.
First introduced in 1910, the Tourmalet notched up its 83rd appearance last year as part of stage 18 from Pau to Hautacam – the same route used for last year’s Etape du Tour.
The Col rises to 2,115m, making it one of the highest roads in the Pyrenees, and the eastern ascent of the climb – from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan boasts an average gradient of 7.4 per cent over the course of the grueling 17km ascent.
It is a climb which Etape veteran and sportive guru Mike Cotty is no stranger to, having tackled it many times, and he returned again with the Col Collective to grant us an insight into what climbing the iconic Pyrenean ascent looks like.
“I’ve ridden the Tourmalet in the rain, shine and even under moonlight and every time I can feel a certain energy that’s unlike anything else,” said Cotty.
“Maybe it’s the legends of the road in spirit riding with you? Maybe it’s my over active imagination dreaming of racing in the Tour?
“Or maybe it’s just the experience of the Tourmalet itself, something we all should have at least once in our lives.”
Start: Sainte Marie de Campan
Elevation gain: 1,275m
Average gradient: 7.4%
Max gradient: 13%