Col de Marie Blanque climb- (Escot approach)
The Col de Marie Blanque climb is well known due to its regular inclusion in the Tour de France. This is the Western approach from the village of Escot which contains some quite steep gradients to contend within the back half of the climb. Makes sure to pack your climbing legs before heading out for this summit to get you over those 13% pitches towards the top!
Image courtesy of Gilles Guillamot / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Gentle start for the first section of the Col de Marie Blanque Climb
The climb of the Col de Marie Blanque can really be looked at as one of two distinct halves. The first section of the climb contains some quite pleasant gradients which will allow your legs to warm up nicely. The first few kilometers only average between 2 and 5% so it is easy to get into a good rhythm early on.
Steeper and steeper towards the summit
It is once you reach the halfway point of the climb that the real test begins. Gradients quickly steepen and get progressively harder until you reach the summit. The last 4kms of this climb are extremely steep – averaging between 10 and 11% with several sections above 13% for you to contend with. After the gentle start to begin with you can now finally get to appreciate the challenge of this famous Tour de France climb. Try and measure your efforts and keep forward momentum. You will get there and have bragging rights over summiting another great of the Pyrenees forevermore.
Suggested cycling route
Distance: 68.2km / mi
Start elevation: 528m / 1,732ft
Max elevation: 1035m / 3396ft
Metres climbed: 1,418m / 4,652ft
Metres descended: 1,418m / 4,652ft
Categorised climbs: 1
Image courtesy of: Gilles Guillamot / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
A summit sign photo is always a must.
Food and water
While the climbing distance from this approach is short in length don’t underestimate the challenge of the steep gradients to the top. We recommend setting off with plenty of food and water. You can top up before you set off from the village of Escot.
Climb statistics and gradient profile
Col de Marie Blanque Climb
Length: 10km / 6.2mi
Average gradient: 7.2%
Start point: Escot
Elevation at top: 1035m / 3396ft
- Getting to the top of the Col de Marie Blanque climb from this approach will leave you with a grin (eventually) and a great sense of achievement having overcome those steep gradients!
Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in the Pyrenees
The Col de Marie Blanque climb is just one of many great cycling routes in the Pyrenees which you can enjoy. This area of the Pyrenees is very popular with cyclists who are keen to ride some of the famous climbs of the Tour de France for themselves.
If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:
- a map of the French Pyrenees with climbs and towns marked
- where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
- cycling hotels and lodges
- bike hire outlets
- getting to and from the Pyrenees
- non-cycling attractions and activities in the region
Click here to see a list of cycling routes available in the Pyrenees. We have mapped out 38 rides across five regions within the Pyrenees mountain range for you to explore.