Etape 2 – 129km
Today the real test starts! Our first major climb is the Col d’Osquich which at 500m is the lowest climb of the week, so a good one for getting those climbing muscles working.
After lunch we then take on the Col de Marie-Blanque which at 1,035m is a much sterner test. In fact the last 4km of the climb is very steep averaging between 11% and 14%. The Marie-Blanque surprisingly only made its Tour de France debut in 1978, although it wasn’t used in the direction that we’ll be going until 1986, when Pedro Delgado was first over the top of the climb on his way to winning Stage 12 into Pau that day. Delgado would finally win the Tour in 1988 after narrowly missing out in 1987 after his epic battle with eventual winner Stephen Roche.
There is a beautiful plateau on the descent of the Marie-Blanque where you can stop to take some fantastic photos before the long and flat run to Lestelle-Bétharram.