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REF: #08172

Epic Cols

Epic Cols route squeezes six legendary ascents into four days of superb riding.

  • Half board hotel
  • Pyrenees — >
  • Activity Type
    • With guide
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 20


Whether you’re looking for a “mountain/sportive training camp”, a best-of-the-Pyrenees mini-break or a late-in-the-season “blast” with some mates, our Epic Cols route, which squeezes six legendary ascents into three days (two full-days; two half-days) of superb riding, should really hit the mark. It will provide you with the perfect preparation for endeavours like L’Etape du Tour, La Marmotte & other major European cyclosportives. With on-the-road support across all of the rides, you can concentrate on the scenery and your pedaling rather than concerning yourself with directions, luggage, clothing layers and where to find refreshments.


  • 3 nights shared-room accommodation (1 night at a 2-star hotel; 2 nights at an independent guest house)
  • 3 breakfasts
  • 3x 3-course evening meals
  • On-the-road support or guiding throughout the rides.

Single room occupancy is available at a single supplement cost of £110 if notified to us at the time of booking).

Not Included

  • Flights or other transport to/from France
  • Food consumed at lunch-breaks and cafe stops
  • Alcohol & soft drinks consumed at hotels
  • Hotel telephone bills or other incidental expenses.

Airport rendezvous on arrival day will be at mid-day at Toulouse airport. Drop-off back to Toulouse airport for midweek departure will be at 15:30


Day 1 – Airport transfer (a.m. from Toulouse) Bertren to Bertren

67km, 1350m elevation gain via Col des Ares & Col de Mente

After bike building, you’ll ride out in the afternoon to tackle the often underestimated Col de Menté. A hairpin-strewn ‘nasty’ featuring several sections at 11% and a 8+% average for 8km. This col was the site of Luis Ocana’s race-ending accident in 1971 at a point when he led the Tour (including the great Eddy Merckx) by nearly seven minutes.

Day 2 - Lourdes to Luz St Sauveur

85km, 2550m elevation gain via Hautacam & Luz Ardiden

Second day brings an early start and we transport riders plus bikes across to Lourdes. Requests for divine intervention are optional as - with a support vehicle to carry spare kit, water, tools etc - we tackle the twin challenges of Hautacam followed by Luz Ardiden. All genuine Tour ‘monuments’, Hautacam (1520m; 15km , 7.8%) presents a very serious warm-up and ‘The Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrenees’, Luz Ardiden (1720m; 14.7km , 7.4%, with its 30 hairpin bends is a memorable mountain in its own right. We stay overnight in Luz Saint Sauveur.

Day 3 – Luz St Sauveur to Bertren

104km, 2300m elevation gain via Col du Tourmalet & Col d’Aspin

At 2115m, the Tourmalet is the highest road pass in the Pyrenees and rightly draws thousands of cyclists each year to its slopes. On this western side, an average gradient of 7.4% may not sound too intimidating, but on Monday morning when after 18km the last kilometre kicks up to 10% and the final ramp rises to 14%, you forget about averages for a few minutes! A superb descent into St Marie de Campan brings us to the foot of the day’s second climb, the less strenuous but highly enjoyable Col d’Aspin. Over the Aspin (1470m; 13km , 5.5%) we descend into Arreau and then spin our way home across rolling countryside on the road back to Bertren. Again, you’ll have a support vehicle ‘along for the ride’ to carry essential extras / clothing / energy products, etc.

Day 4 – Bertren to Bertren

81km, 1450m elevation gain via Port de Bales

Fully refueled by one of our hosts’ superb dinners, the morning of Day 4 brings the final challenge of the trip as you head for the HC climb of the Port de Balès. This local ‘treasure’ of a road was only properly surfaced so it could be included in the 2007 Tour de France. But it gained much of its notoriety on the 19th July 2010 when, on its second appearance in the Tour, it became the location for the race-definining moment - Andy Schleck’s slipped chain & Alberto Contador’s resulting ‘attack’. Whilst the first 8km of this 19km climb average only 3.5%, the remaining 11km average over 8.5% with several kilometeres at 9-10% and a summit at 1755m. We think it fits the bill rather nicely as a grand finale to your ‘Epic’ trip .

After a sweeping descent of 20km and a 25km slightly downhill run back to base, you’ll have a chance to shower & box the bike before heading back home. Sore legs? Maybe. Big smiles? For definite. Better climber when you get home? Everyone says so.

On this day we transport back to Toulouse for your homeward flight. It is important to book a homeward flight departing after 4 p.m. if you wish to complete the final day’s ride.


Enjoy this short tour for 3 nights in shared-room accommodation , with 1 night at a 2-star hotel and 2 nights at an independent guest house.


Some of the cols you will climb and places you will visit:

  • Col des Ares
  • Col de Mente
  • Hautacam
  • Luz Ardiden
  • Col du Tourmalet
  • Col d’Aspin
  • Port de Bales