Col du Tourmalet (2,115)


col de la cayolle cycling



The Col du Tourmalet holds the title of the most celebrated ascent in the Pyrenees, largely owing to its frequent appearances in the Tour de France, more than any other mountain pass. Its significance in the Tour de France is commemorated at its summit, where the iconic statue, The Giant of Tourmalet (Le Géant du Tourmalet), often referred to as Octave in tribute to Octave Lapize, the first cyclist to summit the Col du Tourmalet, stands watch. Additionally, a memorial dedicated to Jacques Goddet, the director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987, is located at the col.

This site is also remembered for Alphonse Steines’ historic telegram to Henri Desgrange, the Tour de France organizer, sent after his rescue from deep snow. His message read: “Crossed Tourmalet. Very Good Road. Perfectly Passable. Signed Steines.”

While Col du Tourmalet is surrounded by hype, some argue that Troumouse and Tentes are superior choices in the vicinity. Nonetheless, the Col du Tourmalet remains an impressive and noteworthy climb.