Published by Andrew on 16 November 2017
Combine the Pierre Jacques en Barétous – a local sportive in the Pyrenees – with watching the 2018 Tour de France.
La Pierre Jacques en Barétous is one of the top cycle sportives in France thanks to its friendly atmosphere and organisation – yet it's relatively unknown outside the Pyrenees and the French club cycling scene.
The sportive is run in the Barétous valley of the western Pyrenees, with all routes starting and finishing in the village of Arette, about 15km south-west of Oloron-Sainte-Marie.
The 2018 edition will be held on Sunday, July 29. The event is usually held on a Saturday, but this year the 2018 Tour de France time trial – the Tour's penultimate stage – gets in the way on Saturday, July 28. That means the weekend is a great chance to take part in a truly local French cycling event while at the same time catching what could be the decisive TDF stage.
In 2017 there were three different route options (two timed sportives and one untimed 'rando' course), with the Col de La Pierre Saint Martin and Col du Soudet featuring on the two longer courses. To give you an idea of what to expect, the distances and climbing for each 2017 parcours is shown below.
- A distance of 148km (3700m altitude gain)
- A distance of 124km (2900m altitude gain)
- A distance of 56km (1500m altitude gain)
The official site with all the sportive information and route profiles can be found here. Watch the “inscriptions” link for 2018 registrations (they were not yet open at the time of writing).
Thanks to Margaret and John at Lae de Haut for letting us know about this local sportive. They have B&B, camping and self-catered accommodation available near the sportive route that's also ideal for the Tour de France time trial the day before.