Saturday, 9 January 2016

Port d'Envalira, 2408 mts

Road signal at the top of Port d'Envalira
One of the highlights of our adventure will be for sure the highest paved col in the Pyrenees: Port d'Envalira, at 2408 mts. Furthermore, this climb is in next Tour de France route! Stage 10th from Andorra to Revel, on July 12th.

Attention, being the highest paved col in the Pyrenees, Envalira is much higher than other much more known climbs in Pyrenees as Col du Tourmalet (2115 mts) or Aubisque (just 1709 mts).

Probably this is not the nicest climb in the Pyrenees, but you don't reach 2408 mts height every day! The climb from Ax Les Termes is incredibly long, 35 km climbing! In our way to Envalira, our route comes from col du Puymorens, This way, we get the Port d'Envalira road when just 10 kilometers left to the top. Nevertheless, you will climb Puymorens before...

The side from Andorra which we will descend, looks like a highway. Many km with 3 lanes. Probably you can get your speed record upon a bike in this descent!

High mountains deserve a lot of respect. Reaching 2408 meters can mean very bad weather even in summer. Snow and cold can happen easily. Watching weather forecast before climbing is a must!

Big professional Tours crossed this iconic climb in their routes for several years.
Pyrenees with Montefusco Cycling
Envalira stage in Tour 1997, that one was won by a certain Ullrich
Envalira appeard for the  first time in Tour de France 1964, and it was a very special appearence as the leader Jacques Anquetil suffered one of his worst days on a bike...
Tour de France crossed again Envalira in 1968, 1974, 1993, 1997 (see attached profile) and 2009. Also Vuelta a España got Port d'Envalira in 2001 and 2003 (stage finish with a certain Valverde as the winner). Even Volta a Catalunya professional race got Envalira in 1974 and 2000.

Port d'Envalira is also part of a very old and known cyclosportive in Catalonia: Ruta de les 3 Nacions, which is held from Puigcerdà. As stating the very name, the route crosses 3 Nations: Spain, Andorra and France. In a perfect 145 km loop from Puigcerdà the route leads to La Seu d'Urgell, Andorra, then climbing Envalira from Andorra, towards Pas de la Casa and Col du Puymorens, before descending to Bourg Madame and Puigcerdà again. Very nice loop!

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