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Col de Peyresourde

Its cycling history, statistics, photos and map

Statistics | History | Peyresourde memories | Photos | Map |

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The Col de Peyresourde is a high mountain pass in the central Pyrenees. The D618 goes over the pass on an east-west axis.

West of the Peyresourde's summit lies the French department of Haute-Garonne and to the east is Haute-Pyrénées

The Peyresourde has not only been an important part of the Tour de France for over a century, it also been included in other races, including the Vuelta a España.

Col de Peyresourde statistics:

Climbing from the east, starting in Bagnères de Luchon:
Average gradient: 6.1%
Maximum gradient: 9.8%
Length of climb: 15.27 km
Elevation at start: 630 meters
Elevation at crest: 1569 meters
Elevation gain: 939 meters

Climbing from the west, starting in Armenteule:
Average gradient: 7.6%
Maximum gradient: 11.3%
Length of climb: 8.3 km
Elevation at start: 940 meters
Elevation at crest: 1569 meters
Elevation gain: 629 meters

Climbing from the west, starting in Avajan:
Average gradient: 6.6%
Maximum gradient: 11.3%
Length of climb: 9.96 km
Elevation at start: 914 meters
Elevation at crest: 1569 meters
Elevation gain 655 meters

Col de Peyresourde history in the Tour de France:

Until 1910 the Tour de France had not gone into either the high Alps or Pyrenees. Tour father Henri Desgrange had reluctantly sent racers over several modest mountains in 1905. It was a grand success. But the man behind adding climbing in the Tour, Alphonse Steinès, had bigger ambitions for the Tour de France. He want to send racers into the high Pyrenees.

In 1910, Desgrange succumbed to Steinès badgering. Stage nine had the Port, Portet d'Aspet and the Ares. But stage ten was the big one: a stage so difficult it was labeled the "Circle of Death". Going from Luchon to Bayonne, stage ten was 326 kilometers long and included the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Aubisque and the smaller Osquich.

Octave Lapize won the "circle of death" stage and went on to win the 1910 Tour.

Since then the Peyresourde has been included in a majority of Tours de France.

Our mountains expert, Larry Theobald of CycleItalia cycling tours remembers the Peyresourde:

Peyresourde memories - watching video of the exploits of Thomas Voeckler in 2012 at the Tour de France brought back almost instant memories, despite the fact I'd last climbed this mountain in 1998. I could visualize each bend in the road before the TV cameras revealed them, even feeling the heat from the day I actually climbed it. In itself it's not that difficult but I remember climbing it after the Portet d'Aspet and continuing on to St. Lary Soulan where we were served at dinner the most awful pasta I've ever tasted. Of course one would ask "Why would you eat pasta in France?"..but this place boasted of their wonderful homemade pastas. This horrible experience was one reason we created CycleItalia later this same year!

Col de Peyresourde Photos:

Unknown rider goes over the Peyresourde in the 1921 Tour de France

An unknown rider goes over the Peyresourde in the 1921 Tour de France.

Gasone Nencini on the Peyresourde int the 1960 Tour de France

1960 Tour de France, stage 11: Gastone Nencini in yellow on the Peyresourde. Nencini won the 1960 Tour.

Thomas Voeckler descends the Peyresourde

2012 Tour de France stage 16: Thomas Voeckler is riding to a stage victory as he descends the Peyresourde.

Chirs Froome leads Bradley wiggins down the Peyresourde

A few minutes later Chris Froome led Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali down the same road.

Larry Theobald at the crest of the Peyresourde

Larry Theobald of CycleItalia at the crest of the Peyresourde.


Map of Col de peyresourde

Map of the Peyresourde. The summit is the red "A" dot. Bagnères de Luchon is on the right. Armenteule, not noted on the map, is just south of Adervielle-Pouchergue (on the left, mid page) and Avajan is just to the north of the same city.

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