Christian Prudhomme's comment
As the Tour enters the Pyrenees, the pace should increase and the race enter a new dimension. The climb to the Col d'Aspin will be the only theater of battle on the day… in terms of climbing! But the descent, as splendid as it is technical, heading to the Lac de Payolle will also be a decisive exercise.
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A land of rugby with a club having seen the debuts of future internationals Jean-Claude Skrela and Patrick Tabacco, L'Isle-Jourdain will enter the circle of Tour stage cities. At the heart of the seventies, neighboring town Auch welcomed the pack on three occasions. In 1975, Eddy Merckx, wearing the Yellow Jersey, had claimed a time-trial taking off from Fleurance. One didn't yet know that it would be the 34th and last stage success of the Cannibal on the Tour.
County town in a canton of Gers (32)
8,600 inhabitants (Lislois), 18,500 inhabitants within the 14 towns (including one in Haute-Garonne) comprising the municipality of Gascogne Toulousaine
185,000 inhabitants in the Gers
Economy: Five areas of activity: Cyclelab, Abrisud, Ecocert, Parera Ingenierie, Air Cost Control, Crusta D'oc...
Culture: Saint-Martin Collegiate Church (18th century) and its bell tower (13th century), Pont Tourné bridge (13th century), Château de Panat (19th century), Place Gambetta (13th century) and its fountain that offers a nod to the The Sower, the emblem of the Larousse publishing house, the home of Claude Augé (founder of the Larousse Illustrated Dictionary), mansion (early 20th century), European Museum of Clockwork Art. Festivals: Gascon Carnival, Festival “Escota e Minja: vivre l'Occitanie” (celebration of Occitan culture), rock and blues festival in Ségoufielle
Sport: US l'isloise (rugby, Fédérale 2), judo. Events: Triathlon des Portes de Gascogne, Vélo en Fête cycling festival, Foulées de l'Isle (running)
Specialities: Cuisine based around duck (foie gras, confit, magret...), Gascon pastis (a flaky pie with an Armagnac base)
Sustainable development: Green lane from L'Isle-Jourdain to Cornebarrieu, bike path near the leisure centre
Distinctions: UVUP green resort (a village, its produce, L'Isle-Jourdain and cycling), poetry town. Centre of Rural Cycling Excellence (the only one in France)
Lac de Payolle
While a finish line was never set on its shores, the riders of the Tour were often able to see and admire the Lac de Payolle. When the pack takes on the climb to the Col d'Aspin from the village of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, the passage through the nordic skiing resort announces far steeper climbing gradients. In 2015, it was on a downhill that the riders went through Payolle before going up the Tourmalet and eventually reaching Cauterets.
Mountain resort attached to Campan, commune in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
1,400 inhabitants (Campanois), 17,200 inhabitants within the 24 communes comprising the Haute-Bigorre municipality
237,000 inhabitants in Hautes-Pyrénées
Economy: Tourism, winter sports, agro-pastoralism. Hydrotherapy and industry (aeronautics, mechanical and electrical engineering) at Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Culture: In Campan: Payolle marble quarry, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church (17th century) with a listed altarpiece, hall (16th century), Mounaques de Campan (life-sized models depicting local and traditional characters made using fabric and paint), Carrefour Heritage Museum. In Bagnères-de- Bigorre: the Great Baths (19th century), marble museum. Festivals: Mountain Festival in Payolle, Fête des Mariolles (life-sized dolls), Festival Piano Pic
Sport: Trout fishing and fishing facilities for the disabled, Ski Club Campan-Tourmalet, Stage Bagnérais de Rugby. Events: National snowshoe day, Grand Derby du Pic du Midi (cross-country skiing), Aneto Sports Trail de la Haute-Bigorre (mountain walking), La Pyrénéenne (cyclosportive), Rassemblement de mushers (dog sledding)
Specialities: Campan lamb (from red label Tarasconnaise breed), garbure (meat and cabbage stew), ceps, Trebens onions, spit/tree cake, Asté tart (vanilla sponge cake), artisan liqueur and blueberry jam production
Distinctions: Disabled tourism award for Lake Payolle, Pic du Midi is one of the nine International Dark Sky Reserves
Slogan: The little Canada of the Pyrenees
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Sponsorship and Environment
Since it was founded, Amaury Sport Organisation has been involved in various sponsorship and philanthropy activities. It is the generosity of sport that can be found in a certain number of initiatives aiming to invest in the workings of the disciplines themselves (sponsorship of the French Federation of Cycling), in a humanitarian and social framework, (Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, Actions Dakar, Un Techo Para Mi Pais) or in the environmental sphere (Madre De Dios, selective sorting, etc.). Read more
A.S.O. is committed to integrating environmental considerations into the organisation of its races: Limiting CO2 emissions; A quality waste management policy for the spectators but also for the organisers and the riders; The promotion of cycling as an alternative, environmentally-friendly means of transport. Read more