Col du Tourmalet

The last kilometers before the pass

The Col du Tourmalet is 2115 meters above sea level the highest road pass in the French Pyrenees. It is situated in the Hautes -Pyrenees, connecting Luz -Saint -Sauveur with Campan.

The rise of the west side starts in Luz -Saint -Sauveur, going over Barèges and overcomes a height difference of 18.4 km from 1405 m at an average gradient of 7.6%. The Ostanfahrt of Sainte -Marie -de- Campan about La Mongie is 17.1 km long with an average gradient of 7.4 % at 1270 meters above sea level to be overcome.

At the summit branches off a 5.5 km long runway for Pic du Midi de Bigorre, which is closed to normal traffic. Your endpoint Les Laquets located at 2.650 meters above sea level and is the highest point can be approached in the Pyrenees.

The name means Tourmalet translated into German bad way.

Tour de France

The Col du Tourmalet is primarily known by the Tour de France. In 1910 the pass was added at the suggestion of Alphonse Steines Luxembourger the first high mountain pass at all in the program of the Tour de France. At the time, only one path over the pass, and also there were wild bears in the Pyrenees. During the inspection of the passport stone would have almost killed, but sent a telegram to his superiors Henri Desgrange the now almost legendary words " I well come across the Tourmalet. Stop. Road in good condition. Stop. No problems for the drivers. " He was the first Tour de France riders succeeded the later overall winner Octave Lapize to overcome the pass. A rise later, at the Col d' Aubisque, he called because of the severity of the route to inspectors of the tour organization as a murderer ( " Vous êtes des assassins. Oui, des assassins !"). The annual television commentators mentioned drama by Eugène Christophe and his broken bicycle fork, which he had to repair after a long walk in a forge in Sainte -Marie -de- Campan itself, in 1913 also occurred on the Tourmalet.

Today, the Col du Tourmalet is considered together with L' Alpe d' Huez, Col du Galibier and Mont Ventoux as one of the heaviest and most famous climbs of the Tour de France ( Hors Category ) with a particular number of points and is crossed almost every year, these days though on a good road. In the 2010 Tour de France he was tackled twice to mark the anniversary of the first descent round. The 16th stage ( 75 Befahrung ) went at him over the eastern ramp, on the 17th stage ( 76 Befahrung ) he was then for the second time after 1974 objective of a mountain top finish. Even then, he was twice part of the course. Most recently, the 16th stage of the Tour de France 2012 on the Col du Tourmalet.

The Tourmalet is not only the oldest but also the most frequently -used high mountain pass in the Tour. Only in the years 1922, 1956, 1958, 1966, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2013, he was not on the program. In addition to the 77 passages of Kulminationspunkts found in 1970, 2002 and 2004 stages instead of up in the ski resort of La Mongie. There, a mountain-top finish took place, that is, the pass was not run over.

Near the summit, is also located a memorial to Jacques Goddet, the longtime director of the Tour de France ( 1947-1986 ), and a statue symbolizing the sport of cycling.

Monument to Jacques Goddet

View from Col du Tourmalet on the Route du Pic du Midi