Col de Portet and Pla d’Adet

The Col de Portet may be a relative newcomer to the Tour de France but it is sure to become a legend. It is a tough climb of over 17kms /10 mi in length and has an average gradient of 8.3%. The summit peaks at 2215m/7267ft which is higher than the infamous Col du Tourmalet. This route also includes the climb of Pla d’Adet which is situated on the same road.

Views of Pla d'adet a famous cycling climb of the French Pyrenees

Don’t be fooled by the short length of this ride. What it lacks in distance it certainly makes up in altitude gained. From the starting point at Saint Lary you can see the road that will take you to the top of the Col de Portet. That menacing hairpin in the distance with double digit gradient steep ramps that seemingly go forever. The start of the climb is quite close to the centre of town so you may wish to roll down the valley road for a few kilometres to really warm the climbing legs.

From the start the climbing is hard and the gradient will often creep up around 10%. The first few kilometres of road seemingly cling to the side of the mountain which give you commanding views of the valley below. This is the same road which will take you to the other famous tour climb – Pla d’Adet. The gradient stays steep for the first 8kms and you will reach a turn off on the road. One way takes you to Pla d’Adet the other to to the top of the Portet.

From here the road surface is a bit more rugged and a series of 11 steep switchbacks follow The arrival of the Tour de France here in 2018 saw the gravel surface resealed with tarmac, which makes it a little more forgiving. You will pass through a short tunnel and then it is not much further to the summit. Once you reach the top savour the feeling of having climbed the highest Pyrenean pass ridden by the Tour de France – 100m higher than the Tourmalet!

Given you have already climbed this far, why not take in another climb? If you take the turn off 8kms down from the summit you can do the few remaining kilometres to the summit of Pla d’Adet. A tour giant in it’s own right, this climb is a brute on it’s own. Given you’ve completed most of the climb already why not finish it off and add another col to your list?

Quick Stats

Distance: 40.4km / 25.1mi

Start elevation: 816m / 2,677ft

Max elevation: 2,215m / 7,267ft

Metres climbed: 1,600m / 5,249ft

Metres descended: 1,600m / 5,249ft

Categorised climbs: 1

Col de Portet

Length: 17km / 10.56

Average gradient: 8.3%

Start point: Saint Lary Soulan

Elevation at top: 2,215m / 7,267ft

Food and water

Saint Lary Soulan is the starting point for this ride route and we recommend topping up with food and water here before taking on the climb.

Whilst the summit is only 20km / 12.5mi from the starting point, expect it to take you close to 2hours to reach, so pack food and water accordingly.

Highlights

* Climbing the highest Pyrenean pass the Tour de France has visited – 100m higher than the infamous Col du Tourmalet.

  • Ticking off two big Pyrenean climbs in the space of 40kilometres.
Saint-Lary a cycling friendly village in the Pyrenees

Saint Lary is the starting point for this ride.

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Looking down a layer of cloud in the valley from the summit of Col du Tourmalet

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