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Cycling the Col d’Aubisque

8th June, 2022

Cycling the Col d’Aubisque is one of the highlights of any cycling trip in the Pyrenees. Not only has this climb featured in the Tour De France, it has also been featured in the Vuelta de Espana. When you ride the climb, it’s easy to understand what makes it so incredible. The views from the cliff edge are unbelievable as you ride alongside the legendary valley while looking back on the epic miles you have covered.

Riding the Col d’Aubisque

When you ride a famous mountain like this, it’s like riding a piece of history. You can feel the epic races that have gone into this tarmac and the blood, sweat, and tears that have fallen over the years. Suppose you are planning on a cycling holiday, why not go to a place full of mountain passes and rich in cycling history. Cycling enthusiasts for years have been coming to climb the Aubisque and take on the surrounding climbs including the Tourmalet and the Col du Solour. In the Pyrenees, if there’s a ski station and ski resort there for winter, then you can expect many cyclists will come here in summer. If you plan to attack for the yellow jersey, the quickest time is currently 48 minutes by the professional Robert Gesink.

bike leaning up against the Col d'aubisque sign in the Pyrenees

The Route

From the west side, cycling the Col d’Aubisque climb starts in Laguna, and from there, the climb is 1190m to the top over 16 kilometres with an average gradient of 7.2%. Although it might not sound too tough as far as Pyrenean cols go, it might surprise you, this climb is much more challenging than most think. The start of this climb holds a fairly low gradient of about 4% to 5%, and you are not high in the mountains yet. However, you don’t have to be at the top for the amazing views. Climbs like the Col d’Aubisque look just as impressive from the bottom even though you can see the huge journey you have ahead.

After the spa resort of Eaux-Bonnes, the road kicks up, and you know you’re now really in the mountains. The higher you climb, the less oxygen you have in the air, and the tougher the work. The second half, at some points, even hits 13%. After these steep sections settle, it averages 8% to the finish, where you are literally riding on the side of a cliff where the views are just immense, especially as you pass through the short tunnels. The top is beautiful snow-capped mountains, and you are going to want to stop for some pictures before making your descent on the way down.

GPX Route

This is our favourite route which takes in the Col du Soulor as well as the Aubisque.