Lannemezan

Balcony on the Pyrenees

On the outskirts of the picturesque valleys of Aure and Louron, the Lannemezan plateau is ideally located. Directly accessible from Spain by the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel, it is also linked by the A64 motorway and the Vintimiglia-Hendaye railway. A balcony on the Pyrenees, Lannemezan is a great place to live with its educational, cultural and sporting facilities, its proximity to ski resorts and the National Park while Toulouse is only an hour away and the ocean just a half-hour further. The Demi-Lune (Half-Moon) leisure park attracts more than 120,000 visitors each year. A rugby union land, Lannemezan perfectly handled economic changes with the implantation in 2008 of a leading manufacture of isolating material which created 200 jobs in the area. The Peyrehitte industrial zone, close to the motorway, is also a perfect spot to implant new businesses. The disused CM10 military site, with its 110 hectares, will house from 2017 a platform for the French railways with an emphasis on freight.

Web sites

Town Hall © Florent Pécassou
4 times a stage town
6,500 inhabitants
Capital of a canton in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Economy: agro alimentary industry, chemicals
Specialities: gâteau des banouliers
Sport: Cercle Amical Lannemezannais (rugby)
Personalities: Pierre Berbizier, René Hourquet (rugby), Paul-Henri De Le Rue (snowboarding), Marie-Laure Brunet (biathlon)
Festivals: Inter-Pyrenean Theatre Festivals, Fêtes de la Saint-Jean, comedy festival

A la voeckler?

Finally featured on the Tour map during the Armstrong years, Lannemezan hasn't really been blessed by the stage winners in these parts, the American winning twice at Plateau de Beille in 2002 and 2004 before being stripped of his title for doping. In 2008, the last time Lannemezan hosted a start for a stage to Foix, the much more presentable Kurt-Asle Arvesen won, but that same morning the Spaniard Moisés Dueñas was arrested after testing positive for EPO. The next day at Lavelanet it was the irresponsible Italian Roberto Ricco who was arrested by the police. Let's hope then that this year we have a good winner at Plateau de Beille, a rider who will reflect a change of era and inspire the kind of beautiful pages written by Laurent Jalabert and Thomas Voeckler when they won stages from Lannemezan. In 2002, Jalabert attacked from the start and spent 143km alone in the lead, picking up the points needed to capture the polka dot jersey. In 2004, Voeckler valiantly resisted Armstrong's US Postal team, showing huge courage to keep his yellow jersey and also discover his virtues as a climber that would permit him to win the polka dot jersey in 2012.

© Presse Sports / FEL
4 times a stage town
6,500 inhabitants
Capital of a canton in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Economy: agro alimentary industry, chemicals
Specialities: gâteau des banouliers
Sport: Cercle Amical Lannemezannais (rugby)
Personalities: Pierre Berbizier, René Hourquet (rugby), Paul-Henri De Le Rue (snowboarding), Marie-Laure Brunet (biathlon)
Festivals: Inter-Pyrenean Theatre Festivals, Fêtes de la Saint-Jean, comedy festival

Web sites

Places to see

Demi-Lune leisure park
It covers 18 hectares in an exceptional setting surrounded by forest, with water diverted by canals from the Gers and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the background.

Gargas caves
The caves offer a 27,000-year voyage in time. The hunters of Stone Age were familiar with the place. On the walls can be admired the traces of their hunting feats.  Some hundred hands with missing fingers are printed on the rock, a mystery for historians.

Ocybelles: natural organic baths
Between the villages of Saint Laurent de Neste and Nestier, the Ôcybelles natural organic baths are part of a 1.5 ha leisure park. The baths take place in natural water filtered by plants and bacteria.

Domaine des Dieux
The Nordic domain of Nistos Cap Neste, dubbed Domaine des Dieux (Domain of the Gods) overlooks the valley and provides a great panorama over the main summits of the Pyrenees
(Aneto, Pic du Midi de Bigorre, Arbizon, Maladetta…).

Gargas caves ©« Le domaine des Dieux » © Pierre Bénard
4 times a stage town
6,500 inhabitants
Capital of a canton in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Economy: agro alimentary industry, chemicals
Specialities: gâteau des banouliers
Sport: Cercle Amical Lannemezannais (rugby)
Personalities: Pierre Berbizier, René Hourquet (rugby), Paul-Henri De Le Rue (snowboarding), Marie-Laure Brunet (biathlon)
Festivals: Inter-Pyrenean Theatre Festivals, Fêtes de la Saint-Jean, comedy festival

Web sites

The Quiés Calcaires de Tarascon sur Ariège and the Grotte de la Petite Caougno Natura 2000 site

Stage 12 runs along 17 km of this Natura 2000 site, between the towns of Alliat and Puech. In the central part of the Pyrenees, in south-east Ariège, this site covers a surface area of 2,483 ha of karstic landscape. There are some exceptional prehistoric environments and remarkable habitats for the protection of bats and large birds of prey, such as the Egyptian vulture or the Golden eagle.

Click here to find out more.

Vue sur les quiès calcaires de Tarascon sur Ariège © Q. Giry
4 times a stage town
6,500 inhabitants
Capital of a canton in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Economy: agro alimentary industry, chemicals
Specialities: gâteau des banouliers
Sport: Cercle Amical Lannemezannais (rugby)
Personalities: Pierre Berbizier, René Hourquet (rugby), Paul-Henri De Le Rue (snowboarding), Marie-Laure Brunet (biathlon)
Festivals: Inter-Pyrenean Theatre Festivals, Fêtes de la Saint-Jean, comedy festival

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 1

Classifications after the stage 1

The Jerseys of the Tour

Discover Historical Guide

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