The Portet pass

At the top of the Pyrenees

The Col du Portet is a mountain pass above the village of Saint-Lary-Soulan. In winter, it lies at the heart of the resort’s ski area.


On the road to the Tour de France

At an altitude of 2,215 m, it now surpasses the Col du Tourmalet to become the highest pass in the French Pyrenees crossed by the Tour de France in 2018 and a whole new challenge for cyclists, amateur and professional alike.

Tadej Pogacar won the stage on July 14, 2021 as for the Tour de France 2021, Saint-Lary saw Nairo Quintana’s victory on stage 17.

Identity sheet
  • Start altitude: 822 m
  • End altitude: 2,215 m
  • Cumulative positive ascent: 1,675 m
  • Distance:16 km
  • Average gradient:8.7%
  • Level: difficult

This is a fairly regular pass in terms of difficulty without any extreme passages. But beware of the average gradient close to 9% along the 16km ascent.

A 34×32 gear ratio is ideal, or even a 36×34 for the less trained. Don’t go too hard. Ride smoothly and regularly.

Think about bringing water and enough to hydrate yourself regularly. Remember to fill up your water bottle at the village of Soulan: it’s the last water point up to the Col.

You’ll be able to enjoy an exceptional view from the 10ᵉ kilometer mark. You’re in the middle of the mountains, and fortunately you’ll encounter very few cars. You ride between meadows and pastures amid herds of sheep and cows.

Preparing for the climb

The climb starts at 810 m above sea level just outside the village of Saint-Lary Soulan in Vignec and ends at the top of the pass after the lace zone and passage under a short tunnel at 2215 m above sea level. A longer, steeper and higher ascent than the Alpe d’Huez climb!

You’ll climb this pass for 16 km at 8.7% average gradient with passages that can reach 11%! “Le Portet is a giant, a Tourmalet bis”, enthused the Tour director when presenting the stage. A real challenge for any cyclist!

Get yourself a road bike for this climb on a grueling course with 1,500m of ascent. During the ascent, you’ll enjoy views over the village of Saint-Lary.

Arrived at the top of the pass, which ends in a cul de sac, you can take time to breathe and admire the scenery, an exceptional panorama over the Pyrenees National Park.