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