Col de Pierre St Martin (Pyrenees)
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The average gradient does not tell the whole story on this climb. The first 8km are little more than a false flat, before the next 10km average 9%. These contain numerous stretches above 10% and are enough to tire out even strong riders.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in very good condition throughout.
There is little traffic on this climb.
La Pierre St Martin is the highest road climb in the Basque Pyrenees and it is without doubt one of the toughest. The challenging gradients - particularly in the middle part of the climb - have attracted the attention of the Tour de France, and the climb was used for the second time in the 2015 edition. Chris Froome won the stage finish here, taking more than a minute out of his main rivals - an advantage that he never lost on his way to claiming his second overall title.
Much of the first 20km is in forest and so there are only occasional views; however, the scenery opens up towards the top, particularly as you turn right just before the ski resort - and from here there are some fine views. The climb finishes on the border with Spain.
Piedra San Martín is usually open from May to October; although it is sometimes open for more of the year, depending on snow in the area.
Other sidesPierre San Martín can also be climbed from the Spanish side, beginning a few kilometres to the north of Isaba.
There is also a second way to climb to the summit on the French side, also beginning from Arette and joining the main route at the Col de Labays - 400m from the top of the climb. This follows a minor road which has a poor road surface in places, but it is an enjoyable and very quiet climb.
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Col de Marie Blanque
Col de Bagargi