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Col du Tourmalet

This is a big one. Coming out of the pretty Luz-Saint-Sauveur there is 1,405m to be gained over 19km.
Due to flood damage (looks like a tsunami swept through the valley) the beginning slopes have diggers and road mending going on and some bits are gravelly.
You then get on to long straight stretches of steady, soul destroying 7 to 9% gradients.
After 8km there is some rest at a ski lift centre before hairpins and you first sight of the pass top. It looks about as far away and as high as a feature on the moon. Tiny ant-cyclists crawl up zig-zag roads way above you.
Pretty much unrelenting 8 to 10% with the final bit gravel and boulder strewn.
The top is a laugh with loads of cyclists blocking the road to take pictures of each other by the momument. I spotted at least three cyclists smoking cigarettes - extraordinary.
Descent difficult at first then fun on the long,  smooth drops - hurtling down like a missile.
Overall - epic, monumental views and a tough experience. Definitely one to do.
The famous top

Looking down

High up and approaching the top