Published by Lyn on 7 April 2016
Take part in a truly unique cycling event in the Pyrenees – guiding the Géant du Tourmalet up the mountain for summer.
Every year 'La Montée du Géant du Tourmalet' – the giant, famous statue that adorns the Col du Tourmalet – is taken down for winter.
After all the snow has melted, he is taken back to his rightful 'home' on the Tourmalet.
Le Géant – based on Octave Lapize, the winner of the first ever stage of the 1910 Tour de France which was the first to go into the Pyrenees. It was Lapize was was quoted as calling race officials 'assasins' after the infamous 325km mountain stage.
Le Géant become an iconic figure in the Pyrenees since his appearance on the col in 1999.
Guiding him back to the Tourmalet has become a ritual event for the local cycling community ever since, with a procession of hundreds of cyclists riding him home. This year the event falls on Saturday, June 4.
The statue is taken up on the back of a lorry – normally with a band playing – and is followed by about 1000 cyclists. Entry is free and everybody gets a souvenir at the top.
Anyone can join the procession (see our bike hire listings if you need to hire a bike), with riders enjoying cake, coffee, local cheeses and wines in villages along the route.
This year the ascent will start from Bagnères-de-Bigorre. Meet from 8am.
There is more information (in French) here.
Veloroo has a special guided tour that takes in the 2016 La Montée du Géant du Tourmalet'. See here for all the details.
For accommodation options in the Tourmalet area, see our Pyrenees cycling accommodation page, or browse the map below.