Hautacam - one of the great ski resort TdF summit finishes of the Pyrenees . .
. . . with Superbagneres, Luz d’Ardiden and Pla d’Adet
Climb start - Intersection of D13 and Route du Hautacam.
Hautacam is a beast of a climb, averaging 7.9% (8.4% climb only) for nearly 14 kilometers, with a 500 meter segment at 12.8% and 1 kilometer at 11.1% average grade.
Photos early in the climb.
The climb is on a well maintained two lane road that has little traffic and lots of ranch animals.
Along the way we encounter some spectacular free-range horses, and . . .
Road markers each kilometer.
Photos are in sequence clockwise from top left.
Kilometer number designates kilometers to the finish.
Kilometer markers 6 to 1.
Continue past the TdF finish 1.5 km to Col du Tramassel - Strava Segment.
We preceded the 2014 Tour by two weeks.
Early Bird special June 2018.
Hautacam has been featured in the Tour six times since 1994 (1994, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2014, and Stage 18 in 2022). Since Hautacam has no outlet, the stage always finishes at the top of the mountain, near the parking lot at the ski resort. While one of the more difficult climbs of the Tour, Hautacam is not one of the most scenic.
This mountain first appeared in Stage 11 of the 1994 Tour. Luc Leblanc was the first Tour racer win a Hautacam stage.
I suppose we could call Hautacam “EPO Hill” since its first four winners were all found to have doped during the time in their career when they dominated Hautacam - Luc Leblanc 1994 (Festina - enough said; admitted to doping after retirement), 1996 Stage 16 and Tour champion - Bjarne Riis (too dominant at age 32 after a mediocre career - later admitted to cheating). 2000 Stage 10 - Lance Armstrong (enough said), and 2008 Stage 10 - Leonardo Piepoli (expelled later in the tour for a positive drug test).
Not so fast Leonardo . . .
Leonardo Piepoli won Stage 10 but he and his entire team stepped out of the race after Stage 11.
Piepoli was stripped of the stage win after two positive tests for CERA (an EPO).
The only pure stage winner is Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, winner of Stage 18 in 2014 (winner TdF 2014, Giro 2013, 2016, Vuelta 2010, Milan-San Remo 2018, Giro di Lombardia 2015, 2017).
Stage 18 - final mountain stage - Nibali wins by 01’12” over Thibaut Pinot
TdF 2014 Champion - 07’37” over Jean-Christophe Péraud
(Wikipedia - Hautacam)