Port de Larrau (Pyrenees)
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Port de Larrau is a very tough climb - even harder than the statistics suggest. It has numerous sections above 15% and the overall average gradient is lowered by a flat 3km following the Col d'Erroymendi.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in good condition throughout.
There is little traffic on this climb.
Port de Larrau may lack the fame of Col du Tourmalet or Hautacam, but make no mistake, this is one of the toughest climbs in the Pyrenees.
So tough, in fact, that it effectively ended the career of one of cycling's all time greats - Miguel Induraín. The Spaniard was bidding to win his sixth consecutive Tour de France in 1996 when he cracked on the relentlessly steep gradients of Port de Larrau, losing minutes and any hope of winning the general classification.
This was a cruel twist of fate for Induraín who was looking forward to the Tour de France passing into his home region of Navarra on that very stage. Indeed, Port de Larrau is one of many border crossings between France and Spain that are dotted along the Pyrenees range.
The scenery here is not the most spectacular in the Pyrenees, but nor is it humdrum. The upper slopes are particularly impressive, as you climb above the tree-line. The beauty of Port de Larrau - and the Basque Pyrenees in general - is their isolation. There are very few tourists here - indeed, very few people in general - which adds to a great sense of tranquility and peacefulness. The climb, incidentally, begins a few kilometres to the north of the village of Larrau.
Port de Larrau is open from May to November. It is also sometimes clear to ride in April and early December, but don't count on it in these months.
Other sidesPort de Larrau can also be climbed from the Spanish side, beginning to the north of Ochagavia.
Nearby ClimbsPierre St Martin
Col de Marie Blanque
Col de Bagargi