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The day after we did Col du Tourmalet, we cycled jaw-dropping Col d'Ausbisque... two of the greatest days we've ever had on a bike.

July 18 post: This is a classic route over the famous climbs of the High Pyrénées. The climbs are long or steep or in the case of Col du Tourmalet, both. Long ago, the course was called the "circle of the dead men" for its 13000 ft of climbing.

Starting from the Stage 15 finish in Bagneres de Luchon, the race will head west over the highest part of the French Pyrénées. This will be a spectacular stage with four big climbs early in the day before the long descent and flat run into Pau. Some non climbers will have trouble making the time-limit. The two host towns and all the climbs have been used many times since the Pyrénées were first used by the Tour 100 years ago. See our two reports below for much more on the beauty and history of this route.

With the descent and the long run to finish in Pau, major changes at the top of the general classification are less likely than the other three Pyrénées stages. — Steve

Col du Soulor and Col d'Ausbisque: photo report of a portion of stage 16 —
Col du Tourmalet photo report, our most popular touring report to date —
  Four Part History of the Tour de France and the Pyrénéesversus
  Bernard Hinault Previews Stage 16 in english and en français (01:26) —

Stage 16 climbs
Km 11.0 - Col de Peyresourde - 11.0 km of 7.4 % - Category 1
Km 42.5 - Col d'Aspin - 12.3 km of 6.3 % - Category 1
Km 72.0 - Col du Tourmalet - 17.1 km of 7.3 % - Category HC
Km 138.0 - Col d'Aubisque - 29.2 km of 4.2 % - Category HC
... written preview coming...

(Y! 2010 Edition)