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Legendary passes of the Tour de France

K_Peignot (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

    © OSM

    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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    © OSM

    Col du Tourmalet

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The route Laurent Fignon is probably the nicer way to the summit even though hardly anyone uses it (from Luz -Saint-Sauveur). It branches off to the right just after the "flat" section and is closed to traffic (a large sign with Laurent Fignon shows the way). Shortly before the summit he meets the main road again.

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    Tip by
    Henning
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  • © OSM

    Mont Ventoux

    Road Cycling Highlight

    The view is great! Always watch out for the wind before going up. A fantastic mountain for training.

    Also go up from Sault, very nice and not that difficult. Very nice ascent, different on all 3 sides and always beautiful. A must for every cyclist.

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    Tip by
    Andreas
    © OSM

    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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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    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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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    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's definitely an advantage in this case! The tourist flows on this pass are significantly lower than, for example, on the eastern parallel pass Col du Galibier. And so you can enjoy the wonderful landscape all the more at the Col de la Croix de Fer. The pass offers the complete portfolio of alpine mountain roads: a beautiful gorge landscape (north approach), a picturesque reservoir (south approach) and a barren high valley at the top of the pass.

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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    Col de la Madeleine

    Road Cycling Highlight

    As far as the absolute height is concerned, the Col de la Madeleine is actually not exactly "hors catégorie". But what the difference in altitude is concerned. Starting in Feissons (north side), 1,582 vertical meters have to be conquered, from La Chambre (south side) 1,535 vertical meters. So there is no such thing as “easy rolling” here. Instead, there are ramps with a gradient of more than ten percent on both sides. The legs may find this uncomfortable at times, but the landscape and the views of the Mont-Blanc massif, among other things, thank you for the effort.

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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    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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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    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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    Tip by
    Kathi
    © OSM

    Alpe d'Huez

    Road Cycling Highlight

    Originally, Alpe d'Huez was just a test-tube town for winter sports enthusiasts. But why not earn money in summer too? With the offer to let the entire peloton spend the night in the castles free of charge, Alpe d'Huez became the first mountain finish of the Tour de France in 1953. Since then, the 21 bends to Alpe d'Huez have been the epitome of mountain arrivals, for spectacles, for cycling legend for many cyclists - to be experienced live during the ascent through the names of the stage winners who are immortalized in the bends. So there is plenty of entertainment during the climbing party. But myth beats nature in this case, because there are much more scenic pass roads.

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    Tip by
    Kathi

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Legendary passes of the Tour de France