The Marmotte Gran Fondo Pyrenees is a challenging cycling event that takes place in the stunning Pyrenees mountain range in Southwest France. It is known for its demanding climbs and breathtaking scenery, attracting cyclists from around the world. The event encompasses several iconic climbs, including the Col du Tourmalet, Hourquette d’Ancizan, Col d’Aspin, and Col du Tourmalet again, culminating with the ascent of Luz Ardiden. The total Marmotte Gran Fondo Pyrenees route comes in at 102 Miles and a whopping 18,000 feet in elevation gain.
The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs in cycling history. It stands at an elevation of 2,115 meters (6,939 feet) and is commonly featured in the Tour de France. With its steep gradients and challenging switchbacks, the Col du Tourmalet presents a formidable test of endurance and strength for cyclists.
The Hourquette d’Ancizan is another notable climb along the route. This ascent is less well-known but equally rewarding, offering cyclists a chance to appreciate the picturesque landscapes of the Pyrenees. Cyclists will face a steady ascent with some challenging sections as they make their way up to an elevation of 1,564 meters (5,131 feet).
The Col d’Aspin is a classic Pyrenean climb renowned for its scenic beauty. Cyclists will tackle this ascent, reaching an altitude of 1,489 meters (4,885 feet). The Col d’Aspin provides a steady climb with moderate gradients, allowing riders to find their rhythm and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way.
After conquering these three challenging climbs, participants will once again face the legendary Col du Tourmalet. This second ascent presents a true test of endurance, as cyclists will need to summon their remaining strength to conquer the steep gradients and hairpin bends.
The final climb of the event is Luz Ardiden, a renowned ski resort that has become a cycling landmark. This ascent is known for its challenging slopes, particularly in the latter stages, as riders battle fatigue to reach the summit at an elevation of 1,715 meters (5,627 feet).
The Marmotte Grand Fondo Pyrenees combines these formidable climbs, offering participants a chance to challenge themselves on some of the most iconic routes in cycling. It is a grueling yet rewarding event that showcases the natural beauty and cycling heritage of the Pyrenees.
The event start, and the host city is Argeles Gazost, a picturesque town located in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains. Argelès-Gazost is a Mecca for cycling in the Pyrenees. Located at the foot of Hautacam, its history is closely linked to cycling, as witnessed by the numerous passages of the Tour de France. In 2022, the Tour has chosen Hautacam as the finish for its last mountain stage, where the last great battle for the general classification was played out. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, it serves as an ideal base for exploring the region. The town itself is known for its charming atmosphere, with traditional French architecture, cozy cafes, and vibrant markets.
Luz-Saint-Sauveur, also a host city, is another captivating town nestled in the Hautes Pyrenees region. It is renowned for its thermal baths and rich historical heritage. The town’s charming streets are lined with beautiful stone houses, and its central square offers a delightful place to relax before and after the event. Luz-Saint-Sauveur is a popular starting point for several iconic mountain climbs, attracting cyclists from around the world.
The Hautes Pyrenees region itself is a cyclist’s paradise, offering a diverse range of terrain and stunning landscapes. With towering peaks, verdant valleys, and winding roads, this region provides a variety of challenging routes for cyclists of all levels. From picturesque mountain passes to tranquil lakeside rides, there is something to suit every preference. In addition to the captivating natural scenery, the Hautes Pyrenees region boasts a rich cultural heritage. Cyclists can explore historic villages and ancient castles and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals. The cuisine of the region is another highlight, with delicious traditional dishes such as garbure (a hearty vegetable and meat soup) and local cheeses.
Overall, Argeles Gazost, Luz-Saint-Sauveur, and the Hautes Pyrenees region offer a captivating destination to build a cycling travel vacation in France around. The event operator works with a travel partner who can help with travel needs as you need: Val de Roland
Finally, expect a professionally produced event that includes:
- Start number
- A roadbook
- A souvenir
- Timing with chip
- Access to feeding stations along the route
- Breakdown assistance and first aid
- General rankings and rankings per category
- Diploma available on the website
- Finisher medal
- Pasta party at the finish