La Montée du Géant and riding the Tourmalet

La Montée du Géant & riding the Tourmalet

by Nadezhda Pavlova (Editor)

Ascending with the Giant!

La Montée du Géant is an exciting cycling event organized by the Tour de France and Chez Octave Tourmalet shop. It takes place on the first Saturday of summer each year and attracts cycling of all levels and all kinds of bikes, from road to electric, from around the globe. This event is a dream come true for many cyclists, and I was excited to be invited, and to have the opportunity to ride up such an iconic mountain! Travelling and exploring the world, seems to be a hobby of mine – and one which I love doing by bike! This climb is something that I had wanted to cycle for so long, and to be part of such an event, it was wonderful!

The ascent of the Giant!

The name “La Montée du Géant” translates to “The Ascent of the Giant,” perfectly capturing the essence of the event. The monument is lifted up with the track at the Chez Octave shop and goes up to the top of the Tourmalet, at an altitude of 2112 meters, accompanied by music and hundreds of cyclists – this year, including me! The route offers breath-taking views of the Pyrenees mountains, and as an added bonus, if you’re lucky, you might even encounter llamas in the last few kilometers! And let’s not forget about the adorable donkeys too. 🙂

The Chez Octave bike shop itself is a work of art, housing numerous antique bikes, including the same model that Octave rode when he won the Tourmalet stage at the Tour de France in 1910. Not only can you indulge in a delicious lunch or coffee, but you can also take a shower and even ride your bike inside! 😉 It is a must-visit destination when you find yourself in the Pyrenees, specifically located in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

Riding the Tourmalet

As for the ride; well, the weather wasn’t great, but thankfully the scenery made up for this. Better still, this is an event and not a race; meaning that I was able to simply enjoy the whole ambience and friendly nature of the day, and to take my time in taking in the breath-taking scenery. I seem to have found a penchant for climbing classic mountains on my bike, and I do love the exhilaration and challenge of climbing. It’s even more breath-taking on climbs such as this, and I’d thoroughly recommend you doing the event next year. We began the climb ourselves from Bagnères-de-Bigorre which is perfect for your own ride. You’ll need to make sure that you have good kit, as the weather can be changeable, and that your bike is well serviced too. Accommodation in the area is plentiful and covers all budgets. Just bring a sense of adventure with you!

A Ride to adventure for all

With an altitude of altitude 2115, the Tourmalet is an epic challenge for all cyclists, and one that even the pro peloton fear. The first to ride it was Octave Lapize, completing the ride in 1910.

The current event, ridden by me this year, is organized by chez Octave yes, but alongside partners in the  Département des Hautes-Pyrénées (politics) and the Tour de France (through  ASO), as it falls as part of the Fête du Tour de France (Tour de France Festival). Yes, the Tourmalet is a ride that all cyclists should think about completing, and we’ve mapped out the ride to help you.

We’ve included a map and gpx file on this page, to help you to plan your own trip to the Tourmalet. Maybe I’ll see you here in the future! The ascent from the centre of the town, is around 27km and has an average gradient of 7.3% – with few breaks, so you need to be in condition. Prepare yourself, your bike, and take the right clothing for changes in conditions.

La Montée du Géant is more than just an event; it is an experience that leaves a lasting impression on all participants, and one that will stay with me forever. Save this date for next year and I’ll see you in the magnificent mountains of the Pyrenees!


  1. The route is straightforward and well-known. We’ve taken you on the quieter road initially (D8), which runs parallel with the D935.
  2. After a short warm-up, join the D935 near Campan and ride until a junction with the D918.
  3. It’s now a long and hard, but scenically rewarding to the summit of the Col, with some magnificent views all around.
  4. Afterwards, descend back to the cafe and enjoy food, coffee and smiles 🙂

Click here for GPX file

Click here for accommodation

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