Col de Menté (Pont de l'Oule)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Pont de l'Oule 1,349m 716m 10.9 km 6.6% 751 *****

Col de Menté Profile

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Climb Description

Col de Menté is a legendary climb of the Tour de France, set on the edge of the Ariège Pyrenees. It has never hosted a stage finish, but the steep slopes have seen many riders crack and it is certainly a mountain for genuine climbers. Riders who have crested the summit first include Lucien Van Impe, Richard Virenque and Robert Millar - hitting at the pedigree required to do well here.

The Col de Menté is perhaps more famous for its role in the 1971 Tour de France. The Spanish rider Luis Ocaña; was winning the race by seven minutes when he was attacked on the descent of the Col de Menté by Eddy Merckx in horrendous stormy conditions.

The latter rider crashed and took Ocaña with him. While Merckx was able to get up and continue - eventually riding to overall victory in the Tour - Ocaña had to be taken to hospital and had to wait until 1973 before he claimed his first overall win at the race. There is a plaque on one of the hairpins high up on the Saint Béat side which marks this event.

The climb from Pont de l'Oule is the better side of the Col de Menté. It is slightly easier - although the hairpin bends towards the top do contain some challenging gradients - and is also the more scenic side.

The view looking down on the road from the looping bends is fantastic and the whole climb has the distinctive feel of the Ariège Pyrenees region. The top of the climb is a slight anti-climax, with the whole area surrounded by forest, but overall it is a highly enjoyable ride.

Pont d'Oule from where this climb starts is also half way up the climb to Col de Portet d'Aspet. This makes it easy to do longer routes in the area which include several cols.

Subject to weather Col de Menté is open throughout the year.

Col de Menté (Pyrenees)

Sweeping hairpin bends are a lot of fun to ride

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition for most of the climb. The lower part of the climb is often re-surfaced during the summer which can result in there being patches of loose gravel.

There is little traffic on the climb.

Col de Menté (Pyrenees)

The top of the climb is a bit nondescript

Alternative Routes

Col de Menté can also be climbed from Saint Béat in the west.

Nearby Climbs

Port de Balès

Col de Peyresourde


Col du Portillon

Col de Portet d'Aspet


Cycling Holidays

Col de Menté is climbed as a route option on our Pyrenees Coast to Coast and Best Of The Pyrenees cycling holidays.

Check out the information below for details of these and some of the other tours that we run in high mountains.

Port de Pailheres Cycling
French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 9 Days
Level: Difficulty Hard
Price: €1,980 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: €1,630 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Picos de Europa National Park
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,490 EUR