The Pyrenees is a mountain range that stretches 305 miles across southwest Europe creating a natural border between France and Spain- not to mention some of the most challenging cycling climbing in all of Europe. This area is frequently a highlight of the Tour de France, and well known for its incredible landscape. Cyclists come from all over the globe to watch the famed race and test their legs on some of these monstrous passes.
What is it about The Pyrenees that make is special?
Anyone who visits The Pyrenees agrees the scenery is spectacular. The mountain peaks that stretch dramatically upwards, the never-ending jagged expanses of rocks, the bluebird sky that lights the mountains and endless rolling greenery. Besides the jaw-dropping views, the energy of the area has the essence of relaxed mountain town: a casual pace, friendly interaction, and the genuine kindness of locals in the quaint villages.
Cycling enthusiasts will know that some of the magic in cycling the french pyrenees lay in the folklore of the area. Tour de France often features the Pyrenees as a stage(s) that can be the “make or break” for individuals and teams vying for position during the race. With its unrelenting climbs and steep grades, this part of France has global recognition for its challenging cycling.
There are many discussions about the most famous climbs in The Pyrenees, but most cyclists unofficially agree that the Col du Tourmalet is the most famous, the most difficult (and ironically the most popular).
Professional cyclist Octave Lapize was climbing Col du Tourmalet in the Tour de France of 1910 when he leaned over his handlebars to yell at tour officials, “You are murders, yes, murders!” This year was the first year the Pyrenees made an appearance in the tour, and have been continuing attraction ever since, making a record 82 appearances since. In 2014, the Pyrenees will will be featured over three days towards the end of the tour for what’s sure to be a stunning finish.
You can expect to feel the magic when you arrive here. Between the amazing backdrop, the ambiance and leg (and lung!) screaming climbs, there is something truly special about this part of the world.