Col du Peyresourde is a rich and historical climb, similar to Col de la Bonette. The climb first featured in the Tour de France in 1910 and has been a prominent feature through races over the years since.
When to ride the Col de Peyresourde
The road surface is very good all year around, and although the Col de Peyresourde is actually a relatively large highway, it is not particularly busy with road traffic at any point during the year. As a result, the route is passable throughout the year – though may be closed in winter for short periods. Traditional cycling season from June to October is peak time for the Col de Peyresourde and either side of these months are good time periods to go if you fancy a quieter ride.
Riding the Col de Peyresourde
Col de Peyresourde, compared to other climbs in the area, is a relatively easy ride and is a great way to start a climbing holiday. The ride is 14 kilometres long, up to a height of 1,569 metres above sea level, at a gradient no higher than 6.5%. Starting from Luchon, the hardest part of the climb is actually at the beginning as you follow the road signposted to Arreau through a number of small villages. Col de Peyresourde continues to test riders despite its relatively sedate pace and gradient increases, but the reward 4km from the top is well worth the expense.
At this point of the Col de Peyresourde, the road opens wide to reveal delightful views of the midi Pyrenees including a great sight of a couple of switchbacks. Once the Col de Peyresourde climb has been ascended, the descent is one of the greatest in Europe!