Legendary passes of the Tour de France

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

These legendary passes — the segments of road that make up the best moments of the world's best cycling race — have the ability to turn athletes into heroes. They turn seemingly ordinary men into extraordinary achievers, as well as reducing the heroes of yesterday into broken has-beens. Here, on the passes of the Tour de France, happiness and success go hand in hand with suffering and failure, with barely a pedal stroke separating one from the other. These legendary ascents in the Alps and Pyrenees are the places where legends are born, where the toughest bike race the world has ever seen is lost or won — year after year.

When the pros ride these roads, all they pay attention to is their speedometer and the passing seconds. For you, when you conquer these passes, try and focus less on performance and more on experience, and we encourage you to stop every now and then to enjoy the view. These should be rides you enjoy after all, even if you're only able to enjoy them when you finally crest the hill. Therefore, before you take the road back down, give yourself a moment, remember those who went before you — and take in the spectacular views. Then go.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

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    Col du Galibier

    Bike Touring Highlight

    The Col du Galibier is undoubtedly one of the most famous classic climbs of the Tour de France. Not without reason he is also called the roof of the tour. If you pedal between the serpentines, you also realize why. The more you approach the 2634 m, the more likely you are to hit the snow. Often, like-minded people with shorts and short-sleeved jerseys shoot past meter-high snowy peaks. Garnished with the panorama of Mont Blanc and the barren lunar landscape a real treat. Pure Tour de France!

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    Col du Tourmalet

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The Col du Tourmalet is the highest French Pyrenees Pass at 2,115 m. Since it is a blessing that every 1,000 meters a sign identifies the already reached altitude. The curse is sometimes the fact that on the same sign the remaining distance to the pass and the average slope on the next kilometer are displayed. But it is precisely the last few kilometers that give rise to a real passport feeling and give a foretaste of the feeling of happiness on the pass. The monument above commemorates Jacques Goddet, the former director of the Tour de France and founder of the sports newspaper L'Equipe.

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    Tip by
    Kathi
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    Sommet/Gipfel du Mont Ventoux

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The Mont Ventoux is a real challenge - not in vain is it always part of the Tour de France. The rise for the race starts in Saint-Estève at 536 meters altitude. Then it goes over 1376 meters over a distance of almost 16 kilometers, with a maximum gradient of almost 14% in the air.

    The harder option to get to the summit is the rise of Bédoin from the southwest. 1600 meters in altitude will be overcome over 21 kilometers - with an average gradient of 7.6%. For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, head up the mountain on the eastern side, 1150 vertical meters over 26 kilometers with an average gradient of 4.5%. Well, depending on what you consider simple. Incidentally, the Col des Tempêtes is a particularly well-known and beautiful section. Here the road runs along the ridge.

    Since 1951, Mont Ventoux has been part of the Tour de France 15 times and, together with de, Col du Galibier, the Col du Tourmalet and the ascent to L'Alpe d'Huez, belongs to their "sacred mountains". The Mont Ventoux is not only feared for its stark slope. The bare mountain offers neither protection from the sun nor from the wind. The weather is here delivered - for many, but only an additional incentive to conquer the track.

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    Tip by
    Betty
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    Col d'Izoard

    Bike Touring Highlight

    In addition to big names like Tourmalet, Galibier and Ventoux, the Izoard is ever forgotten, which almost gives him the status of a secret favorite - although he is too well known and too legendary. After all, he is one of the top ten Tour de France passes ever! In 2017, the Izoard is even the first time with a mountain arrival on the program of the "Grande Boucle".
    Because it is more economical to drive through the Durance valley to get from Briançon to Guillestre, the technical importance of Col d'Izoard is almost zero. To the delight of racing cyclists! So you can enjoy here really undisturbed grandiose nature. While you are traveling in the lower part in sparse pine forests, you have a clear view of the magnificent serpentine road. It leads through rugged, wild rock and desert landscapes. Breathtaking! Thanks to several passages with double-digit percentage increase in the double sense of the word.

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    Kathi
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    Col d'Aspin

    Road Cycling Highlight

    If you want to choose the simpler option, you can drive to Col d'Aspin from Ste. Marie-de-Campan. If you prefer the more beautiful landscape, start in Arreau. Both climbs are feasible, scenic and definitely worth to be climbed. If you leave for Arreau, stay focused until the end. The last corners are difficult to see and "shut up", as the saying goes.

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    Kathi
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    Col de la Croix de Fer

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The Col de la Croix de Fer is not on the Route des Grandes Alpes. And that is definitely an advantage in this case! Thus, the tourist flows at this pass are significantly lower than, for example, the eastern parallel pass Col du Galibier. And so you can enjoy the beautiful landscape at the Col de la Croix de Fer. The pass offers the entire portfolio of alpine mountain roads: a beautiful canyon landscape (north approach), a picturesque reservoir (south approach) and a barren high valley at the pass.

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    Kathi
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    Col de la Madeleine

    Road Cycling Highlight

    Once at the top there is a nice café

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    Andreas
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    Col d'Aubisque

    Road Cycling Highlight

    According to the mountain price classification, the east side of the Col d'Aubisque (1st category) is slightly lighter than the west side (Hors category). This is mainly due to the fact that the Col du Soulor, which you must first climb from the east, has a small intermediate run. A good opportunity for the legs to regenerate something! On the west side of the pass, you realize that you are getting closer and closer to the Atlantic and you are steadily away from the Mediterranean Sea. The Vallée d'Ossau, in which one leaves, already belongs to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques - cool and humid Atlantic weather sends greetings.

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    Kathi
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    Col de l'Iseran

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The Col de l'Iseran is with 2,764 meters the highest alpine pass ever. And that is exactly what makes it unique: While you are surrounded on many other passes by high peaks, you seem to be on the Col de l'Iseran already at eye level with them. The approach on the north side makes fun only from Val d'Isère. Because up to the ski resort, the road is quite busy. Naturally, ski tourism has also left its mark on the landscape.

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    Kathi
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    Alpe d'Huez

    Road Cycling Highlight

    Originally Alpe d'Huez was just a retort town for winter sports enthusiasts. But why not make money in the summer? In 1953, Alpe d'Huez became the first mountain arrival of the Tour de France, with the offer to let the entire peloton spend the night in the bungalows for free. Since then, the 21 turns to Alpe d'Huez are for many cyclists the epitome of mountain adventures, spectacles and cycling myths - to experience live during the ascent through the names of the stage winners who are immortalized in the bends. For short-term during the climbing party is therefore taken care of. But myth beats nature in this case, because there are clearly more beautiful mountain passes.

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    Kathi

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