Monday, November 25, 2019

Portet d'Aspet, a crash made this climb famous

Pyrenees Portet d'Aspet
Nice statue remembering Fabio Casartelli
Portet d'Aspet is one of those not-so-known climbs in the french Pyrenees. The fact that made it famous was the fatal crash of the olimpic champion Fabio Casartelli in Tour de France 1995. Those years when wearing the helmet was not mandatory.
Fabio Casartelli had won the cycling race in 1992 Barcelona Olimpic games (at that time professional athletes could not compete in the Olimpic games). He was a cyclist with a great future ahead and in 1995 he was in Motorola team, same team as Lance Armstrong much before he had cancer and started to dominate the Tour de France.

Portet d'Aspet is a steep climb, no doubt. Usually included together with its neighbour and also very steep Col de Mente. It was in the descent towards Col de Mente with passages at 17% that Fabio crashed. Since the very first moment TV images showed how bad the crash was for Fabio. Even if other cyclists crashed with him and went off the road, he was not moving, laying on the road. Fatal crash.

Little later it was built a nice sculpture of a wheel with flying wings. This place has become a pilgrimage destination for many cyclist, to remember Fabio and the fatal crash in 1995.

Pyrenees Portet d'Aspet
Portet d'Aspet, just 1060 mts but it is a steep climb!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Transpyrenees trip July 2020

Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Transpyrenees trip July 2020
Stage 1 Hondarribia-Saint Jean de Pied de Port 88 km with Otxondo and Izpegi. Izpegi is one of the nicest climbs in the basque Pyrenees! Nice first stage in tiny solitaire roads.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Hondarribia-St Jean de Pied de Port

Stage 2 Saint Jean de Pied de Port-Bielle 99 km with Marie Blanque, a very steep climb included in Tour de France 2020. For those not-so-strong riders,it is possible to skip the climb to Marie Blanque.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Saint Jean de Pied de Port-Bielle

Stage 3 Bielle-Luz St Sauveur 72 km with Aubisque. Short second stage with lots of options to include and additional second climb (no exit, way and back) before getting to the hotel. A steep option is Luz Ardiden (stage ending in several Tour de France), a scenic one is Cirque du Gavarnie, and a steep and scenic one is Cirque du Trumouse. Your choice!
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Bielle-Luz St Sauveur

Stage 4 Luz St Sauveur-Bagneres de Luchon 96 km with Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde. Queen stage. This stage is worth the whole trip. The best of the best. A stage to remember forever.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Luz St Sauveur-Bagneres de Luchon

Stage 5 Bagneres de Luchon-Sort 107 km with Portillon and Bonaigua. A very steep first climb and a very high second one (over 2000 mts). We are already in Spain.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Bagneres de Luchon-Sort

Stage 6 Sort-Puigcerdà 100 km with Coll de Cantó. Still a very demanding climb, and very long approach to Puigcerdà, slighltly uphill.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike

Stage 7 Puigcerdà-Joanetes 100 km with Collada de Toses and Coll de Canes. Nice stage through the vulcanic region of La Garrotxa. Amazing descent from Collada de Toses!
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Stage 8 Joanetes-Tossa de Mar 107 km including the final climb to Sant Grau, and the final road to Tossa de Mar is the amazing coastal road, the best road in Catalonia.
Transpyrenees 2020 roadbike
Joanetes-Tossa de Mar

Arrival to Hondarribia on July 10th
Stages July 11th to July 18th

Friday, November 8, 2019

Coll de Pradell, a monster climb in Catalonia

The famous stretch at 20%
This is not a very known climb. Not one of the famous. But I can tell you that if you climbed up there you will never forget about it: it is Coll de Pradell, in Barcelona province (Catalonia, Pyrenees).

The 20% steepness road sign has become iconic, and also a pilgrimage destination for most of the local riders. The images of the long straight uphill are impressive. On top of that, from the top of the climb, the views of Pedraforca (a famous catalan mountain fork shaped) are stunning.

In fact Coll de Pradell has never been included in any big professional tour as Volta a Catalunya or Vuelta a España.

The only event in which Coll de Pradell has been included is the Granfondo "La Ruta Minera", a tough route 154 km long with 3800 mts elevation, see stage profile below.

La Ruta minera, an amazing Granfondo, really challenging!
The area around Berga is amazing for climbers! Big climbs around Berga, such as Rasos de Peguera or also Coll de Pal makes this area a real paradise for climb lovers.

The numbers are really impressive. You can see details in the elevation profile below. Just mentioning that there are 3 sides you can climb to Coll de Pradell (see map below): Figols-Fumanya, Vallcebre (those 2 sides share the last part with the very steep part at 20%) and the western part from Saldes.

Map in which you can see the 3 sides of Coll de Pradell
Here below you can see the elevation profile for the Figols-Fumanya side. Tough!!

Very steep climb to Coll de Pradell