Etape 6 – 141km
Our last day of climbing before we hit the Med!
We’re taking on 4 climbs today and you’ll get perhaps the best views of the entire week as we climb the Pas de Souloumbrie (911m), Col de Marmare (1,361m), Col de Sept Freres (1,253m) and the Col de Jau (1,513m).
After leaving Tarascon we climb to the road high above the valley floor and the Pas de Souloumbrie which is 9km long with a fairly easy 4% avaerage gradient. After traversing above the valley where the views really are magnificent, we climb the Col de Marmare and then onto the Plateau de Sault via a small climb to the summit of the Col de Sept Freres. Again the views here are magnificent before we descend along a fast road into Quillan for lunch.
Before our final major climb of the week, the Col de Jau, we ride through the spectacular Gorges de St. Georges which to be honest will be something that you’ll never forget.
The Col de Jau was first used in the Tour in 1976 and the first man over the climb that day was Raymond Delisle who went on to win the stage and take the Yellow Jersey for the next 2 days. He went on to finish 4th that year but is more noted for his exploits in 1969 for being the only Frenchman to win on 14th July whilst wearing the jersey of French National Champion.
The climb of the Col de Jau is quite steep in places but when you reach the top 2 things await you……
Firstly the Mediterranean which you can see from the summit and secondly a 25km descent to the hotel in Prades!