Col de Marie Blanque Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.4
FIETS
5.7 mi
DISTANCE
2,286 ft
GAINED
7.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Carl Hansen, Guernsey, UK

INTRO

The Col de Marie Blanque from Escot starts by meandering through several small villages at a fairly calm gradient. The fun really starts with about 4k to the top with 10%+ gradients for much of the remaining climb.

The climb has been featured 16 times in the Tour as of 2023.  Col de Marie Blanque has the steepest mile segment of any other climb of the 2023 TdF averaging 13.3% beginning at kilometer 6. 


See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
Roadway: The roadway is in good shape up to the col.

Traffic: There is very little traffic.

Parking: You can park near the bottom of the climb, or you can ride to the start of the climb from Arette, Aramits, and other nearby villages.

Summer in the Pyrenees is normally warm and sunny, even at higher elevations. However, there are some periods of low clouds that can make the climbs quite damp. Bring warm clothes just in case. Take food and water with you. There is a bike shop in Arette.  
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
There are places to stay in Arette, Aramits, and some of the smaller villages in the area. Arette and Aramits also have restaurants and shops for food. 

ROUTE MAP

MEMBER RATING

Difficulty: Strenuous
4
Road
4
Traffic
2
Scenery

CURRENT WEATHER

NEARBY CLIMBS (0) RADIAL PROXIMITY

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MEMBER REVIEWS & COMMENTS

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Apr 5, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 2
traffic: 4
road: 4
Apr 5, 2021
scenery: 2
traffic: 4
road: 4
This climb is all about the last 3 to 4 kilometers, which are pretty much all double digits gradient. There is not much scenery and there is little activity in this part of the Pyrenees, but the climb is a good challenge.
ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

Climb Profile Not Found
CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Col de Marie Blanque from Escot (west)

Ride 9.2  kilometers gaining 711 meters at 7.7% average grade.

The route to Col de Marie Blanque from the west is the more popular route when the col is featured in the Tour de France. This is also the most difficult side to climb the col from, by far.

 Legend has it that the col’s name dates back to the mid eighteenth century and Marie Asserquet, a renowned pale (white/blanque) skinned aurostère (an author and performer of improvised chants memorializing the dead).  Friebe and Goding, Mountain Higher p. 46.  

The eastern approach to the col from Beille (population 528) is the easiest by far at 11.1 kilometers/5.1% versus from Escot at 9.2 kilometers/7.7%.

Climb start - Escot.

There is 1 hairpin on the climb, 300 meters from the finish.  

The 3.5 kilometers leading to the hairpin averages 11.7% while the last 300 meters is at 1% - a sprint to the finish.

Kilometer markers lead us up the climb.

Finish

TOUR DE FRANCE HISTORY OF COL DE MARIE BLANQUE

The col first appeared in the Tour de France in 1978 when it dashed the repeat hopes of 1977 Tour champion Bernard Thevent.  Marie-Blanque was the major ascent of Stage 10 of the 1978 TdF and Thevenet was dropped on the climb and had lost 8 minutes by the summit and finished the stage nearly 13 minutes behind stage winner Henk Lubberding.  The two time Tour champion Thevenet retired from the race on Col du Tourmalet in Stage 11.

Col de Marie Blanque has been featured in the Tour de France 16 times as of 2023.  

Marie Blanque beat down Bradley Wiggins on Stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France leading to Wiggins stating ““This is just the mountain I don’t cope with very easily and it seems to defy analysis.”  Wiggins lost 23 minutes on Andy Schleck that day, finishing 88th.

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