Friday, August 31, 2018

Port de Pailheres, spectacular climb in the Pyrenees!

Roadcycling in the Pyrenees
Port de Pailheres, such a climb!
Port de Pailheres is possibly one of the nicest climbs in the Pyrenees. A bit out of the way of the more known climbs in central Pyrenees, Port de Pailheres is an amazing climb, also with personality, starting with very steep slopes in a long stretch of the road, then we have a very nice part with many switchbacks very close to each other, and finally a superb scenic road for the last 3 km.

Numbers do not lie, this is a very tough climb. 1200 mts elevation for 15,4 km, that gives an average 7,3% gradient. Tough, very tough, including passages at 10%, 11%, 12%...

Port de Pailheres has been included in Tour de France route 5 times so far, in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013. In all these years, Port de Pailheres was the last but one climb in the stage, and was always climbed by the eastern side starying at Usson les Bain. Its privileged location, arriving to Ax les Thermes, permits a final climb to Plateau de Bonascre (Ax 3 Domains) or Plateau de Beille.

Roadcycling in the Pyrenees
The views from the top are spectacular!
Let me recommend a very nice loop in which you can include Port de Pailheres and also Col de Pradel, a not-so-steep climb in a tiny solitaire road getting to 1680 mts.
Loop about 85 km long is really nice, but watch out, almost 2500 mts elevation!
Roadcycling in the Pyrenees
Mandatory picture at the summit!