Tour celebrates 100 years of punishing Pyrenees

Updated: Jul 20, 2010, 09:26 AM IST

Bagneres de Luchon: The first riders to climb the Pyrenees on the Tour de France 100 years ago called the organisers ‘criminals’ and this year’s peloton may start to feel the same during Tuesday’s punishing 16th stage.

Since the day in 1910 when Octave Lapize was the first at the top of the Tourmalet, the Pyrenees have become a tradition of the Tour and Tuesday’s stage is seen by many as the hardest of this year’s race.

The bunch will ride the 2,110-metres Tourmalet summit for the 76th time in a 199.5-km stage that includes the four climbs featured on the course of a ride between Perpignan and Bagneres-de-Luchon in 1910.

The Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque mountain passes remain as tough as they were a century ago and the celebration will be a painful one for many riders.

Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, who lost his yellow jersey to defending champion Alberto Contador in the 15th stage and trails by eight seconds, has vowed to take his revenge and is expected to go on the attack.

Bureau Report