Col du Tourmalet (2,115 m / 6,939 ft) is the highest road in the central Pyrenees in the department of Hautes-Pyrénées in France. Sainte-Marie-de-Campan is at the foot on the eastern side and the ski station La Mongie two-thirds of the way up. Luz-Saint-Sauveur is at the bottom of the western side.Tourmalet is also a cheese made from sheep milk produced in these mountains.
Details Of The Climb
The western side, from Luz-Saint-Sauveur, is 19 km. long, climbing 1,404 m. at an average of 7.4% with a maximum of 10.2% near the summit. Starting from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, the climb is 17.2 km., gaining 1,268 m., at an average of 7.4% with a maximum of 10%. As with most French climbs, each kilometre is marked by the distance to the summit and the average gradient of the next kilometre.From the pass itself a track leads to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre observatory (2,877 m.).
Tour de France
The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France. It has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910, when the Pyrenees were introduced. The first rider over was Octave Lapize, who went on to claim the yellow jersey in Paris.
In 1913, Eugène Christophe broke his fork on the Tourmalet and repaired it himself at a forge in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan.Since 1947, the Tour has crossed the summit 47 times, plus a stage finish at the summit in 1974. As of the 2010 edition of the tour, the summit has been crossed 75 times in the tour's history. There have also been three finishes at La Mongie. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. The Vuelta a España has also crossed the pass several times.
The 2010 edition of the Tour included the pass on two consecutive stages, crossing westward on the 16th stage to Pau and eastward on the 17th stage with a finish at the summit.At the col is a memorial to Jacques Goddet, director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987, and a large statue of Octave Lapize gasping for air as he struggles to make the climb.
Elevation: 2,115 m (6,939 ft)