As one of the oldest climbs in the Tour de France, first featuring in 1910, starting from the spa town of Bagnères-de-Luchon the Col de Peyresourde is a deceptively tough ascent. 14.5km in length and although only climbing up at an average gradient of 6.5% up to 1,569 metres above sea level don’t be fooled by the numbers. The road ramps up straight out of Luchon, continually tickling the legs and edging you ever closer towards the red. It was on this very road that during the 2007 L’Etape du Tour the furnace-like summer sun did everything in its powers to melt the tarmac and make it feel like I was wading through quicksand. The Peyresourde’s a cunning little fox, regularly applying the pressure and threatening to turn you around and send you packing back to Luchon for an early shower. Take your time, keep the faith, and you will be rewarded for all your hard work. With 4 kilometres to go the road opens up to reveal the Midi-Pyrenees in all its finest, putting everything in perspective once more. The climb is one thing but the descent is something else altogether. Without a doubt, an absolute masterpiece of a mountain.
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