The fourth-largest city in France is perfectly positioned for the starts of the Pyrenean stages, which can sometimes set the stage for amazing climbing performances. It happened in 1952, when Raphaël Géminiani triumphed in Bagnères-de-Bigorre; then in 1964, with the victory of Raymond Poulidor, who struck back in Luchon in his battle for the overall victory with Jacques Anquetil.
The Pyrenean spa resort has hosted six Tour de France stage finishes. The one in 1963 helped Jacques Anquetil along in his quest for a fourth title. Fifty years later, Dan Martin flew to victory, outsprinting Jakob Fuglsang, the only rider who managed to hold onto the Irishman’s wheel on the descent to the town after the summit of La Hourquette d’Ancizan. Martin capped what was already a very successful year, with victories in the Volta a Catalunya and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.