Hourquette d’Ancizan cycling climb
The Hourquette d’Ancizan is a cycling climb located in the Haute Pyrenees at an elevation of 1,564m. There are 2 approaches to the top of the Hourquette d’Ancizan. From the village of Ancizan, on the eastern side, the climb is 10.4km in length at an average gradient of 7.6%. On the western side, the climb starts from Sainte Marie de Campan and is 17km in length at an average gradient of 4.2%. The climb is located close to the Col d’Aspin and on the western side the first 7km of the climb are the same as that of the Col d’Aspin.
In this article, you will find lots of useful information about the Hourquette d’Ancizan as well as some suggested cycling routes that we have put together. Our routes incorporate both this climb and the Col d’Aspin given their close proximity to each other. We have climbed this mountain from the western side only to date after climbing Col d’Aspin from the east. It is a truly beautiful climb and one we highly recommend including this climb in a visit to the area. In 2013 we watched our first ever stage of the Tour de France on the lower slopes of the eastern side and cycled the first few kilometers to spectate.
Climb profile – Hourquette d’Ancizan
Hourquette d’Ancizan’s eastern approach
From the east, the climb to Hourquette d’Ancizan starts in the village of Ancizan on the D113. It is 10.4km in length and has an average gradient of 7.6% before reaching the top. You gain 788m in elevation from the start to the finish of the climb. When the Tour de France uses this side in the race it is considered a Category 1 climb, making it the second hardest type of climb.
This is seen as the harder side of Hourquette d’Ancizan to cycle. Having ridden the first few kilometers of this when we watched the Tour de France it starts with double-digit gradients which don’t ease too much until you get to the top.
Hourquette d’Ancizan’s western approach
The western side of the climb starts in Sainte Marie de Campan, also the start of the Col du Tourmalet. From the bottom, it is 17km in length at an average gradient of 4.2% and you will ascend about 714m. This side is graded as a Category 2 climb when used by the Tour de France.
The first 7km of this climb follows the same route as that of the Col d’Aspin. At the holiday village of Payolle, you take the turn to the right which is signposted. The gradients get steeper with 7km left to the top, although you do get a short downhill before the last couple of kilometers to the top.
Practical information about cycling Hourquette d’Ancizan
If you are considering a trip to the Pyrenees to ride the Hourquette d’Ancizan this section has lots of practical information to help you plan. We also include links to some of the cycling routes we have that incorporate this climb.
Where to stay
To cycle the Hourquette d’Ancizan, your choice of where to stay comes down to what side of the mountain you would like to be on and what other cols you would like to ride. On the eastern side, you could consider villages such as Arreau, Ancizan, or Saint Lary Soulan. Hourquette d’Ancizan is a short ride from all of these locations and you are also nearby to the likes of Col d’Aspin, Pla d’Adet, Col de Portet, Col d’Azet and Col de Peyresourde to name a few.
On the western side of the mountain, you can base yourself in Bagneres de Biggore, Campan, or Lourdes. This gives you easy access to Hourquette d’Ancizan plus Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Hautacam, and Luz Ardiden plus a host of others.
You can read our article The Best Base for cycling in the Pyrenees for lots more information about cycling holidays in the Pyrenees. It also includes a host of other information about visiting the Pyrenees.
Memories of the Tour de France written on the road, and the markers you see each kilometer of the climb.
The Hourquette d’Ancizan is located in the Haute Pyrenees department in the southwest of France. It sits between the Vallée d’Aure on the east and the Ardour Valley in the west. The D113 road runs up and over the Hourquette d’Ancizan from Ancizan to Payolle, a small holiday village on the lower slopes of Col d’Aspin.
Bike hire and bike shops
If you need to hire a bike or grab some spares or parts for your bike there are plenty of options on both sides of the valley. On the eastern side, Saint Lary Soulan has two bike shops to assist, while on the western side there is a bike shop in Bagneres de Biggore. A little further afield in Lourdes, you will find more bike shops and bike hire outlets if the others do not suit or if you are staying closer to Lourdes.
Food and drink
There are plenty of places on both sides of Hourquette d’Ancizan to grab some food or drink. The villages you pass through on route to the mountain have cafés, and boulangeries (bakeries) if you would like to fuel up or refuel. You will find supermarkets in Saint Lary Soulan and Bagneres de Biggore. Unlike other mountain passes, there are no facilities at the top of Hourquette d’Ancizan. The closest facilities on the eastern side are in the village of Arreau, while on the western side you will find some food and beverage options in Payolle which is 10km from the summit.
When is Hourquette d’Ancizan open?
This mountain pass is usually closed over the winter months, unlike its neighbor Col d’Aspin. The exact open and closure dates each year vary depending on the snow but expect it to be closed from October through to April.
How long does it take to climb?
There is no single easy answer to this as this question obviously depends on a range of factors including your level of fitness and how often you ride a bike. To give you some idea the male pro riders take around 33 minutes to the top from Ancizan while the fastest females take around 41 minutes. from Sainte Marie de Campan male pro riders take 37 minutes and females 51 minutes. Regular cyclists with some training would expect to complete the climb from either side in under an hour.
Suggested cycling routes
We have put together a few cycling routes that encompass Hourquette d’Ancizan which you can access by clicking the link. Each of the suggested routes includes a GPX file which you can download to your device for navigation purposes.
- Col d’Aspin and the Hourquette de Ancizan from Saint Lary Soulan – a 56km ride with 1,520m of elevation
- Col d’Aspin and the Hourquette de Ancizan from Lourdes – a 130km ride with 2,750m of elevation. This could be shortened to a 90km out and back, excluding the Hourquette d’Ancizan.
- Col d’Aspin and the Hourquette d’Ancizan from Bagneres de Bigorre – a 81km route with 1,995m of elevation. This could be shortened to 50km and 995m of elevation as an out and back to the top of Col d’Aspin.
Other facts about Hourquette d’Ancizan
The Hourquette d’Ancizan is a relative newcomer to the Tour de France and was introduced for the first time in the 2011 edition of the race. Overall it has appeared 4 times in the race, 3 times on the eastern side from Ancizan and once on the western approach from Sainte Marie de Campan.
The Tour de France will once again cross the Hourquette d’Ancizan on stage 17 of the 2022 edition. This stage starts in Saint Gaudens before heading over Col d’Aspin from Arreau, then back over the Hourquette d’Ancizan before tackling Col de Azet and finishing at the ski station of Peyragoudes on the Col de Peyresourde. It should be a fantastic, but tough stage.
More information about the Pyrenees
We have lots of other information about visiting the Pyrenees for a cycling holiday to help you plan and discover what is on offer.
- Destination guides – head over to our destination guide pages to research specific locations including accommodation options, how to get there and more.
- Cycling routes – we have over 40 different cycling routes in the Pyrenees for you to look at. There are plenty of options also for those who are not as keen on the famous cols
- Saint Girons to Foix voie verte – 40km of car-free cycling through the foothills of the Pyrenees
More information about visiting France
Be sure to check out other sections of our website to help you plan your cycling holiday to France. We have put together lots of information to help you plan your trip all on the one website. From practical information such as using your mobile phone, visa requirements, and getting money out to destination guides including the French Alps, Nice, Provence and Bordeaux.