The city that welcomes 5-million visitors every year making it the third pilgrimage city of catholicism also frequently hosts the riders of the Tour. It was only in 1948 that a finish line was drawn in Lourdes victoriously crossed by Gino “the pious” Bartali. Other stages were decided on the heights of the city, in the neighboring resort of Hautacam, but in 2011 the last finish in town was won by Thor Hushovd, then wearing his World champion’s rainbow jersey
Close to the Spanish border the little common of Laruns welcomed in 1985 the start of a half-stage during a glorious day for team La Redoute. Leader of the squad, Stephen Roche had indeed won in the morning at the Col d’Aubisque, keeping his hopes to come and threaten his rivals at La Vie Claire, Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond, alive. In the afternoon, Roche’s team mate, Régis Simon went on to beat his breakaway companion Alvaro Pino between Laruns and Pau.