Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:15 PM
The col is on the northern slopes of the Pic de Ger (2,613m.) and connects the towns of Laruns, in the vallée d'Ossau to the west and Argelès-Gazost, in the vallée du Lavedan, via the Col du Soulor. The road between Col d’Aubisque and Col du Soulor crosses the Cirque du Litor, in the upper part of the Ouzom valley. This road is closed from December to May due to snow.
Col d’Aubisque is the second most used climb in Le Tour de France.
Photo taken at the summit looking east. Col du Soulor, Col du Spandelles and Hautacam are visable in this photo.
There is a café at the summit which is open year round. It is a popular lunch destination with cyclists and I personally highly recommend it.
From the west, the climb to the Aubisque starts in Laruns. From there, the Aubisque is 16.6 km. and rises 1,190m, an average of 7.2%. The first kilometres, to the partly derelict spa town of Eaux-Bonnes, are easy enough. At 8km from the summit there is a section of 13% and the remainder averages 8%.The ski station of Gourette is 3.5km from the summit at 1400m altitude.
From the east you must first climb Col du Soulor (1474m). From Col du Soulor the Col d’Aubisque is just over 10km. Firstly the road descends to Cirque du Litor and then climbs for 7.5km at 4.6% to the summit gaining 350m. The Cirque du Litor is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. Absolutely breath-taking. There are 2 short tunnels on the Cirque. One has a turn in it which makes it very dark, remember to remove your sun glasses and watch out for the sheep.
The complete climb from the east side is 32km from Argeles-Gazost. The climb is very hard, 8% for the first 5km to Arras en Lavedan, it then eases off until the village of Arrens, 8km from the summit of Col du Soulor. That 8km is the hardest of the climb, averaging 8.3% with one short section at 18%.
From the north you climb Col du Soulor via Ferriéres and then onto the Cirque du Litor. From the north it is 23km climb to Col du Soulor, average 4.5%. The last 12km to Col du Soulor average 8%.
A true legend of Le Tour de France, Col d’Aubisque is a must do for anyone who wishes to call themselves a cyclist.
View of Col du Spandelles from the summit of Col d'Aubisque. The name Aubisque comes from the Gascon language and is the word for grass.
A View of Cirque du Litor. Litor is the Gascon word for avalanche.
Flock of sheep on Cirque du Litor.
One of the two small tunnels. This is the one with the bend.
The Col d'Aubisque has been ridden by Le Tour de France 73 times since 1910.
This is the list of the first rider up the climb on each stage.
2012 – Thomas Voeckler - France
2011 – Jérémy Roy - France
2010 – Christophe Moreau - France
2007 - Michael Rasmussen - Denmark - Stage finish. Rasmussen sacked by team after stage. Second rider Levi Leiphimer - USA
2005 - Cadel Evans - Australia
2002 - Laurent Jalabert - France
2000 - Javier Ochoa -Spain
1999 - Alberto Elli - Italy
1998 - Cedric Vasseur - France
1996 - Neil Stephens - Australia
1995 - Stage nutralised after death of Fabio Casartelli on previous day.
1993 - Claudio Chiappucci - Italy
1991 - Guido Winterberg - Switzerland
1990 - Oscar Vargas- Colombia
1989 - Miguel Indurain- Spain1987 - Thierry Claveyrolat- France
1980 - Maurice Le Guilloux - France
1977 - Hennie Kuiper - Netherlands
1976 - Wladimiro Panizza - Italy
1972 - Wilfried David - Belgium
1971 - Bernard Labourdette - France
1970 - Raymond Delisle - France
1969 - Eddy Merckx - Belgium
1968 - Julio Jimenez - Spain
1967 - Jean-Claude Theillière - France
1966 - Tommaso de Pra - Italy
1965 - Julio Jimenez - Spain
1964 - Federico Bahamontes - Spain
1963 - Federico Bahamontes - Spain
1961 - Eddy Pauwels - Belgium
1960 - Graziano Battistini - Italy
1958 - Federico Bahamontes - Spain
1957 - Jean Dotto - France
1956 - Valentin Huot - France
1955 - Charly Gaul - Luxembourg
1954 - Federico Bahamontes - Spain
1953 - Jesus Loroño - Spain
1952 - Fausto Coppi - Belgium
1951 - Raphael Géminiani - France
1950 - Jean Robic - France
1949 - Fausto Coppi - Italy
1948 - Bernard Gauthier - France
1947 - Jean Robic - France
1939 - Edward Vissers - Belgium
1938 - Gino Bartali- Italy
1937 - Mario Vicini - Italy
1936 - Maes Sylvère - Belgium
1935 - Ambrogio Morelli -Italy
1934 - Rene Vietto - France
1933 - Vicente Trueba -Spain
1932 - Vicente Trueba -Spain
1931 - Alfons Schepers - Belgium
1930 - Benoit Faure - France
1929 - Lucien Buysse - Belgium
1928 - Camille Van de Casteele - Belgium
1927 - Michele Gordini - Italy
1926 - Lucien Buysse - Belgium
1925 - Ottavio Bottecchia - Italy
1924 - Ottavio Bottecchia - Italy
1923 - Jean Alavoine - France
1921 - Leon Scieur - Belgium
1920 - Firmin Lambot - Belgium
1919 - Luigi Lucotti - Italy
1914 - Oscar Egg - Switzerland & Henri Pelissier - France
1913 - Eugène Christophe - France
1912 - Louis Mottiat - Belgium
1912 - Eugène Christophe - France
1911 - Maurice Brocco - France
1910 - François Lafourcade - France
Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:33 PM
The summit of the col has a commemorative plaque to André Bach, 1888–1945, a member of Legion of Honour and President of the Cyclo Club of Béarn (governors of Raid Pyreneen.). André Bach lost his left arm in WWI. In 1943 he was deported by the Nazi to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. He died on the return journey after being freed in May 1945. The club hold a commemorative ride to the summet each year in his honour.
The inscription reads:
“Andre Bach 1888-1945
Officier de la Légion d'honneur
Grand Mutile President du C.C.B. Mort en Deportation
Pour perpetuer son souvenir en ce lieu qu'il aimait tant
Ses amis Les Cyclotouristes du C.C.B. 1948”
Posted 18 September 2012 - 04:12 PM
Wim Van Est
It was on this road that Dutch rider Win Van Est went over the edge in the 1951 Tour de France.
la Corniche du Cirque de Litor between Col du Soulor and Col d'Aubisque.
"Here on 17 July 1951 the cyclist Wim van Est fell 70 metres. He survived but lost the yellow jersey."