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REF: #08173

Retro Etape 1910

In a fantastic ‘reconstruction’ of that second 1910 stage, our ‘Retro-Etape 1910’ ride, run in association with the British Triathlon Trust, brings you the chance to tackle some of the most famous of Pyrenean cols.

  • Half board hotel
  • Pyrenees — > Bayonne
  • Activity Type
    • Route advice only
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 20


100 years ago, the Tour de France made its first major incursions into the mountain ranges of the South. In earlier Tours the organizers had included one-off climbs of cols in the Massif Central and a solitary Alpine pass, but 1910 represented the first true ‘mountain’ stages, both of them through the now infamous passes of the Pyrenees.

On the first of two race days, the riders rode from Perpignan via a series of (now) Category 2 and 3 cols - the Portel, Port, Portet d’ Aspet & Ares - which tested, but didn’t terrorise, them.

Two days later, on July 21st, they tackled what – at the time - was surely the greatest single-day cycling challenge that had ever been undertaken. Starting out in Luchon, they successively climbed the cols of Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Soulor, Aubisque and Osquich, before negotiating some stinging minor hills in the Basque country and rolling into the finish at Bayonne. 326km; around 5500m of climbing; 14 hours 10 minutes of riding for the stage (and eventual Tour) -winner Octave Lapize; a gruppetto arriving 7 hours 33 minutes after Lapize; and only 46 riders able to finish at all. The word ‘epic’ could have been invented to describe this undertaking.


  • Airport transfers (Toulouse to Luchon)
  • 3 nights’ accommodation (shared room basis; single supplement available at a cost of an additional £110)
  • 3 breakfasts
  • 3 evening meals
  • All-day on-the-road support vehicle for third day
  • Route mapping
  • Bike workshop access.


Day 1 – airport transfer and warm-up

We collect you from Toulouse airport and transfer you to our base in Bertren, near to the stage start in Luchon, where you’ll have the chance to build up your bike and head out on a warm-up ride. The real mountain goats may wish to try a local climb and there are plenty to choose from, with the Col de Mente, the Col des Ares and the mighty Port de Bales all within easy range. Others will prefer to take things easier and keep their powder dry for Day 2 and the other challenges which lie ahead.

Day 2 – Luchon to Argeles Gazost

118km; 3150m climbing, with vehicle back-up

The climbs rather than the distance make this ride a challenge as you’ll successively tackle the cols of Peyresourde, Aspin and Tourmalet.

Day 3 – Argeles-Gazost to Bayonne

208km; 2350m climbing, with vehicle back-up

By Day 2’s standards, the climbing today is more modest, albeit with 28km to get from Argeles to the summit of the Aubisque (via the Col de Soulor), it may not initially feel that way. After the Aubisque, the last remaining categorized climb is the Cat 3 Osquich, albeit the finishing kilometers through the Basque Country to Bayonne contain any number of smaller, demanding climbs.

Day 4 – Bayonne to return airport

You may elect to fly home from Biarritz airport, which is only 10km from Bayonne (e.g. to Bristol or London, Stansted) or from Toulouse airport. For the latter we recommend the outbound flights later in the day as it isn’t practical to provide airport transfers from the Atlantic coast back to Toulouse in time to check in for morning flights.


3 nights accommodation will be provided in our base near Luchon, Argeles Gazost and Bayonne.


Ride the following: the Portel, Port, Portet d’ Aspet & Ares, Cols of Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Soulor, Aubisque and Osquich.

Whilst the col roads are no longer the unmade gravel tracks which forced most riders off their bikes 100 years ago, the challenge remains undimmed.