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Col d'Aspin

There are bigger climbs, shorter climbs, steeper climbs, longer climbs, higher climbs, you name it climbs. But there are no climbs anywhere more serenely beautiful than the Col d'Aspin.

Just after sunrise on the Col d'Aspin, the sun's heat is starting to evaporate the clouds. Around halfway up the climb, the road turns around a little hilltop with a tree and a tiny hayfield, almost back on itself before continuing its uphill trajectory. Allowing you to view back down the valley you have just climbed.

The Col d'Aspin was the second climb included in the very first Tour de France mountain stage of 1910, climbed after the Col de Peyresourde and before the Col du Tourmalet, with the Col d'Aubisque finishing up a colossal 326 kilometres stage. The riders had to start at 3.30 a.m. to stand a chance of finishing the same day. The organisers introduced the Broom Wagon for the first time as they didn't think most of the riders would be able to finish. They weren't wrong.

Octave Lapize eventually won the first mountain stage and the tour overall. He was foolishly asked by Alphonse Steinés, one of the organisers at the top of the Aubisque, how are was feeling.

"You are assassins, yes, assassins", was his now-legendary reply. And vowed to quit.

@davidt 2022

 

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Col d'Aspin