Jul 6, 2023
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Col du Tourmalet, France

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Tourmalet is a mountain pass in the French Pyrenees, located in the province of Hautes-Pyrénées, and it has an altitude of 2,115 meters (6,939 feet) above sea level. It is considered one of the most iconic climbs in professional cycling and has a rich history in the Tour de France. The Tourmalet is situated in the Hautes-Pyrénées department of France, in the Pyrenees mountain range. It is part of the route connecting the towns of Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Sainte-Marie-de-Campan. Over the years, the Tourmalet has seen improvements in its road infrastructure to accommodate the increasing number of cyclists and visitors. The road is well-maintained, and facilities such as viewpoints, cafes, and souvenir shops are available near the pass.

Mountain RangePyrénées
Coordinates42°54′25'N 0°08′53'E
Elevation2.115 meters (6938 ft)
Opening MonthsJune - November


There is a misconception that the name Tourmalet means “bad trip” because in French, “tour” means trip and “mal” translates to bad. However, the original language of the name is Gascon, where “tour” means distance or journey, “mal” translates to mountain, and “et” translates to the. Therefore, the Gascon translation would be something like “the distance of the mountain” or “the mountain in the distance.”

Different Access Routes to Tourmalet

Average Gradient7.7 %
7.4 %
Maximum Gradient10.2 %10.5 %
Distance18.3 km (11.3 miles)17.1 km (10.6 miles)
Access RoadRD 918RD 918

Tourmalet Ascent from Luz-Saint-Sauveur. On the western side, the ascent starts from Luz-Saint-Sauveur and is slightly tougher. Between Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Barèges, at kilometer 7, the route is more or less straight. After passing Barèges, the slope increases to 9% for one kilometer. After this stretch, the road begins to wind through beautiful meadows with spectacular views. Five kilometers from the summit, you can see the peak of Midi de Bigorre. The last kilometer is the toughest, with a 10% gradient. In 2011, a wider track was created from Barèges, making the climb more comfortable for both bicycles and cars.

  • The average gradient is 7.7% over 18.3 km.
  • The maximum gradient reaches 10.2% in certain sections.
  • The toughest stretch is in the final kilometer, with a gradient of 10%.

Tourmalet Ascent from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan. On the eastern side, the climb starts in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan at an altitude of 851 meters. The beginning is easy with moderate percentages and a straight line, but once the village of Gripp (at 1,020 meters) is passed, the slope becomes steeper. A little further, the road passes by the small town of Artigues-Campan. After this town and before reaching the La Mongie ski resort, the slope steepens to 11%. From La Mongie, you can take a cable car up to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. At the top of the climb, there is a monument dedicated to Jacques Goddet, who was the director of the Tour de France from 1936 to 1987.

  • The average gradient is 7.4% over 17.1 km.
  • The maximum gradient reaches 10.5% in certain sections.
  • The most demanding section is near the La Mongie ski resort, with a gradient of 11%.

There is a third car-free route that passes through the Gaubie bridge and is reserved for cyclists. This route is called Laurent Fignon, in honor of the French cyclist of the 80s and 90s, who won two Tours and a Giro.

Tourmalet Profile & Altimetry

Profile Tourmalet

The Tourmalet presents a challenging and distinctive altimetry. Throughout its ascent, there are several steep sections and significant changes in gradient. Here’s a summary of the altimetry of Tourmalet from both sides:

These figures demonstrate that the Tourmalet is a demanding and challenging mountain pass, both for cyclists and cars. Its steep gradients and significant altitude make it an iconic challenge for participants in the Tour de France and a draw for cycling enthusiasts.

Tourmalet in the Tour de France

The Tourmalet holds a special place in the hearts of cycling enthusiasts. It has witnessed many epic battles and memorable moments in the history of the Tour de France. The pass is often crowded with passionate spectators during the race, creating an electrifying atmosphere. Thinking of the Col du Tourmalet is synonymous with the Tour de France. Not in vain, this mountain pass was first climbed in the Tour de France in 1910 and it is also the pass with the most ascents, with over 80. Therefore, it is one of the most emblematic and popular climbs of the Tour.

Tourmalet is the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenees, although it is neither the highest paved road nor the highest mountain pass. The paved roads leading to Lake Cap de Long and Lake d’Aumar, also in the Hautes-Pyrénées, reach altitudes of 2,161 and 2,192 meters, respectively, but neither of them is considered a mountain pass. From Tourmalet itself

In addition to all these ascents, the Tourmalet has witnessed a stage finish on two occasions. In 1974, the French rider Jean-Pierre Danguillaume emerged as the winner, and in 2010, Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck crossed the finish line in first place.

Tourmalet in Google Maps

All the Tourmalet Winners in the Tour de France

YearStageStartFinishStage Winner
202118PauLuz ArdidenPierre Latour (FRA)
201819LourdesLarunsJulian Alaphilippe (FRA)
20168PauBagnères-de-Luchon Thibaut Pinot (FRA)
201511PauCauterets Rafal Majka (POL)
201418PauHautacam Blel Kadri (FRA)
201216PauBagnères-de-Luchon Thomas Voeckler (FRA)
201112CugnauxLuz-Ardiden Jérémy Roy (FRA)
201016Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Christophe Moreau (FRA)
20099Saint-GaudensTarbes Franco Pellizotti (ITA)
200810PauHautacam Rémy Di Gregorio (FRA)
200611TarbesVal d'Aran–Pla-de-Beret David de la Fuente (ESP)
200315Bagnères-de-BigorreLuz-Ardiden Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
200114TarbesLuz-Ardiden Sven Montgomery (SUI)
199916LannemezanPau Alberto Elli (ITA)
199810PauBagnères-de-Luchon Alberto Elli (ITA)
19979PauLoudenvielle Javier Pascual-Rodriguez (ESP)
199515Saint-GironsCauterets–Crêtes du Lys Richard Virenque (FRA)
199412LourdesLuz-Ardiden Richard Virenque (FRA)
199317TarbesPau Tony Rominger (SUI)
199113JacaVal-Louron Claudio Chiappucci (ITA)
199016BlagnacLuz-Ardiden Miguel Martinez-Torres (ESP)
198910CauteretsSuperbagnères Robert Millar (GBR)
198815Saint-GironsLuz-Ardiden Laudelino Cubino (ESP)
198613PauSuperbagnères Dominique Arnaud (FRA)
198517ToulouseLuz-Ardiden Pello Ruiz-Cabestany (ESP)
198310PauBagnères-de-Luchon Patrocinio Jimenez (COL)
198013PauBagnères-de-Luchon Raymond Martin (FRA)
197811PauSaint-Lary-Soulan Pla d'Adet Michel Pollentier (FRA)
19772AuchPau Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
197615Saint-Lary-SoulanPau Francisco Galdós (ESP)
197511PauSaint-Lary-Soulan Pla d'Adet Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
197418Bagnères-de-BigorrePau Gonzalo Aja (ESP)
197314Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Bernard Thévenet (FRA)
19728PauBagnères-de-Luchon Roger Swerts (BEL)
197116Bagnères-de-LuchonGourette–les-Eaux-Bonnes Lucien Van Impe (BEL)
197019Bagnères-de-BigorreMourenx Andrés Gandarias (ESP)
196917La MongieMourenx Eddy Merckx (BEL)
19688PauSaint-Gaudens Jean-Pierre Ducasse (FRA)
196717Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Julio Jiménez (ESP)
19659DaxBagnères-de-Bigorre Julio Jiménez (ESP)
196416Bagnères-de-LuchonPauJulio Jiménez (ESP)
196317PauBagnères-de-BigorreRaymond Poulidor (FRA)
196217PauSaint-GaudensFederico Bahamontes (ESP)
196117Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Marcel Queheille (FRA)
196011PauBagnères-de-Luchon Kurt Gimmi (SUI)
195910BayonneBagnères-de-Bigorre Armand Desmet (BEL)
195718Saint-GaudensPau José Manuel Ribeiro da Silva (POR)
195518Saint-GaudensPau Miguel Poblet (ESP)
195412PauBagnères-de-Luchon Federico Bahamontes (ESP)
195311CauteretsBagnères-de-Luchon Jean Robic (FRA)
195218Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Fausto Coppi (ITA)
195114TarbesBagnères-de-Luchon Jean Diederich (LUX)
195011PauSaint-Gaudens Kléber Piot (FRA)
194911PauBagnères-de-Luchon Fausto Coppi (ITA)
19488LourdesToulouse Jean Robic (FRA)
194715Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Jean Robic (FRA)
19399PauToulouse Edward Vissers (BEL)
19388PauBagnères-de-Luchon Gino Bartali (ITA)
193715Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Julián Berrendero (ESP)
193616Bagnères-de-LuchonPau Sylvère Maes (BEL)
193515PerpignanBagnères-de-Luchon Sylvère Maes (BEL)
193415TarbesPau René Vietto (FRA)
193318TarbesPau Vicente Trueba (ESP)
19325PauBagnères-de-Luchon Benoît Fauré (FRA)
19319PauBagnères-de-Luchon Jef Demuysere (BEL)
19309PauBagnères-de-Luchon Benoît Fauré (FRA)
19299BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Victor Fontan (FRA)
19289HendayeBagnères-de-Luchon Camille Van de Casteele (BEL)
192711BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Nicolas Frantz (LUX)
192610BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Odiel Taillieu (BEL)
19258BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Omer Huyse (BEL)
19246BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Ottavio Bottecchia (ITA)
19236BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Robert Jacquinot (FRA)
19216BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Hector Heusghem (BEL)
19206BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Firmin Lambot (BEL)
19196BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Honore Barthelemy (FRA)
19146BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Firmin Lambot (BEL)
19136BayonneBagnères-de-Luchon Philippe Thys (BEL)
191210Bagnères-de-LuchonBayonne Odile Defraye (BEL)
191110Bagnères-de-LuchonBayonne Paul Duboc (FRA)
191010Bagnères-de-LuchonBayonne Octave Lapize (FRA)
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