Col du Tourmalet
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Tour de France Smiles
Living and working in Europe for over a decade always meant an annual pilgrimage to follow certain stages of 'The Great Race'. This moment was from the 2010 Tour de France on the Col du Tourmalet and I'd just run across the road wearing my yellow Tour de France flag as a cape. Thankfully, that brought out a few grins from the battling climbers. I love the colors and the emotions of this epic race and encourage people to go and see a few stages. If you're looking to tackle one of the most grueling and most beautiful climbs in Europe, make sure you tackle the Col du Tourmalet from the Eastern or Western approach. I fell in love with the Eastern approach the day I took this photo on the 17th stage when the riders finished at the summit. It's a continual 19 kilometer climb that will most certainly have you smiling while you're out of that saddle, battling the grade. When you reach the summit, be sure to say 'chapeaux' ('hats off') to the memorial of Jacques Goddet (director of the Tour for over four decades) and hello to the large statue of Octave Lapize gasping for air as he struggles to make the climb.
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