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21 HC climbs the Tour should (re)visit

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Jun 12, 2013
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didn't quite realise about the puy de dome road being actually replaced by a railway, thought they put a railway separate from the road and just shut the road to traffic from the general public. really sad to hear that, really sad to hear that :(. probably won't be used in my lifetime then. also didn't realise that climbs used in the past 10 years or so won't be included. les deux alps comes to mind then as it hasn't been used since about 2001, interestingly it is part the jandri. given that your're wanting new or climbs that haven't been used for a long time something like the jandri fits well as the tour would have enough influence to make it be sealed and it is regularly used by mtb'rs and the occasional roadie and during the winter skiiers so I doubt environmental protection would be an issue, the top is large enough to have a mtf and if the sealed road was like zoncolan the cable car would solve the problem about room. that won't happen with prudholme as director however.

as for the climb you're suggesting, super besse :confused: ??
 

Gugashwill

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Jun 8, 2013
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Linkinito said:
Here's the hint for today's climb:
media_1355709939536.jpg

Try to guess which one it is! :D
Super Collet?
Superbagnères?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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#7: Superbagnères (Haute-Garonne)
The superignored

superbagneres02.jpg


Let's head for the Pyrénées to discover another forgotten climb. We all know it's part of the two biggest mountains for the Tour de France and we can't really see a Tour without going through. Of course, it has its legends: Tourmalet, Aubisque, Peyresourde, and some nice finishes in stations like La Mongie (on Tourmalet's slopes), Plateau de Beille, Ax 3 Domaines, Hautacam... And today, we're going to get quite close to a stage finish in the Vuelta this year. Yeah Netserk and Eshnar, you guessed it right.

The Superbagnères winter sports station is located above the famous city of Bagnères-de-Luchon (or simply called Luchon), which hosted the Tour on 28 occasions since 1947. So yeah, that's a lot. But it's explained by the fact it has a central place in the Pyrénées, being at the doors of Spain, and is surround by very known passes: Peyresourde at the west, Balès at the north-west which was recently paved in 2007, Portillon at the east, and if we go a little bit farther north, we'll face the grueling Col de Menté which is one of the hardest 1st category climbs in France (9.3 km at 9.1 %). The city of Luchon is also part of the "Circle of Death" of the Pyrénées, composed of the Col de Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque, and comes to an end in Pau. The Tour kinda likes to do these climbs frequently.

But what's actually kinda surprising is since 1989, the Superbagnères climb hasn't been used, but the Tour actually stopped 5 times in Luchon. So why the Tour places its finish at the bottom of the valley, while they could add another hard climb and do a mountain top finish which is only mere kilometers away from Luchon? And the fact is the climb could be easily chained with any of the climbs surrounding the city. It could be either Peyresourde, Portillon, and the pavement of Balès, which is also HC, added even more value to the Superbagnères climb.

So why is it ignored by the Tour and other cycling races? Why the city of Luchon wants stage finishes in their city instead of their winter sports station? One thing's sure: it's not because the climb is too easy.

Top: 1800 m
Length: 16.4 km
Ascent: 1147 m
Average gradient: 7 %
Climbbybike Difficulty rating: 133
Superbagn%C3%A8res_Bagn%C3%A8res_de_Luchon_profile.gif

Let's just drop the first 2 kilometers that are flat to just take the real start of the climb. Being more than 16 kilometers long, it averages 7 % in gradient, but the climb is very irregular. After starting with some steep ramps, a false-flat part follows for a few kilometers. Then it comes back again to some steep ramps above 8 %. And after 4 kilometers of climbing (km 6 on the graph), the whole climb just goes up and flat over and over again, making it difficult to find a cruise speed and making shift gears frequent, but effectively giving some bits of rest in the flat parts. The final five kilometers are the hardest, averaging 8.5 %, that adds even more difficulty to an already demanding climb.

This climb has the whole package: being near a known city, has an irregular and a very demanding climb, could be chained with other demanding climbs for a very nice queen stage, and the architecture of the station is quite nice nonetheless. Much better than some recent stations that just have grey concrete buildings that actually ruin the scenery. So it might be a mystery: why this climb became, all of a sudden, unpopular? Is it because of money? Logistics? And even the Route du Sud doesn't want to climb it this year despite arriving, also, to Luchon. It's a bit of an injustice to see this climb completely ignored by the organizers. But maybe it's because the station just doesn't want it anymore and isn't candidate to host a stage finish in any race. Let's just hope they'll get some interest again in the future!

routeluchonsuperfyak1.jpg

superbagneres01.jpg


Yeah, the hint was easy. ^^
 
May 24, 2010
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Anyone know if they have tarmaced the Col du Parpallion between Jausiers and Embrun yet???

27.9km @6.3% from Embrun or...
17.2KM @7.9% from Condamine la Chatelard
 
Sep 29, 2012
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jens_attacks said:
super pau?

i think pescheux can invent something like that

Thanks for making my day. :D

Siriuscat said:
Anyone know if they have tarmaced the Col du Parpallion between Jausiers and Embrun yet???

27.9km @6.3% from Embrun or...
17.2KM @7.9% from Condamine la Chatelard
Incompletely paved. Final 11 km unpaved from Embrun side, final 9 km unpaved from La Condamine-Châtelard.
 
Jun 12, 2013
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was thinking of Bagnères-de-Luchon which has been used recently as a host for the tour so I got that correct :). that climb reminds me of the madeline which surely deserves a summit finish also. as for why it hasn't been used - that's prudholm logic for you :rolleyes: theres similar climbs around that are used more frequently so maybe he'd rather use those instead??. plus he refuses to use climbs over 9% and rules out climbs that the would be spectacular for a race like the giro or vuelta
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Netserk said:
Wouldn't mind to see Parpaillon used as often as that. But who would pay for it to be paved?
Well, actually, there's already the col de Vars that does the same thing as they link the same valleys. As it was 600 meters below the Parpaillon, Vars was paved and widened, and Parpaillon stayed as is.

There's a huge bunch of history about these two climbs, and some people wouldn't actually see the Parpaillon paved, as it reminds today's people how cycling climbs were at the beginning of the 20th century.
 
Great thread. I absolutely love all this stuff about the great 'forgotten' climbs.

I don't want to do any hijacking, but I have to mention, as some of you probably knows, that a fictional film (or rather mockumentary) was made about Parpaillon (directed by Luc Moullet, 1993). Here are some thumbnail screencaptures from the film:

 
Jul 28, 2012
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Great thread.

Thanks for the Granon summary and those who gave their experiences.

Next month Im going to tackle the granon / south side izoard on the second rest day of the tour. The granon looks fairly similar to l'alpe, but just a bit steeper and at higher altitude :)

I presume the best approach is to have my entire team attack at the base of the climb then burst out after 2km ala the blue train? Think I should be able to replicate that...