09 February 2012

Guess Where? #5

Where have we pedaled to now?
Time to once again take a journey and see if you can guess where these three landmarks are located, ready ....
Image #1
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Image #2
©Photo by PedalDancer.com/Kenny Rakestraw
Image #3
©Photo by PedalDancer.com

#1 The Giant of the Tourmalet sculpture (Montée du Géant du Tourmalet)
This enormous silver sculpture sits atop a stone wall on the summit of the Col du Tourmalet. No sooner do you reach the top of the Tourmalet, then the descent quickly begins off the other side, but here, in this narrow ridge of a mountain pass sits this very recognizable landmark welcoming cyclists and tourists. The statue was built in 1999 to honor the first leg of the Tour de France in the Pyreness, and was dedicated to the first winner, Octave Lapize. 
The statue used to, for years (please read comments by VeloPeloton), rest for the winter in the garden outside the Laurent Fignon Cycling Center (now closed), in Gerde near the town of Bagnéres de Bigorre, down valley from the Col du Tourmalet (but now rests in Tarbes, 50 km away, according to VeloPeloton). The first Saturday of June the statue re-emerges from it's winter hibernation and is ceremoniously accompanied by a legion of nearly 1000 cyclists back to it's glorious place on the peak. On it's journey back to the top, the statue and participants make stops in the towns along the route including Sainte-Marie de Campan, Gripp, Caderolles, and La Mongie. Locals mark the procession with events and celebrate with local foods of black Bigorre pork, AOC Madiran wine, Tarb beans, local cheeses and more. I think it would be exciting to join in the fun of accompanying the statue back to the top of the Col du Tourmalet, 2012 will mark the 13ème édition de la Montée du Géant du Tourmalet.
The Tourmalet is the most frequented climb in the Tour de France. Read a related post by VeloPeloton Montée du Géant du Tourmalet and Laurent Fignon, Salut au Champion! or more Pedal Dancer posts: Pedal Dancer: Today I saw the Tourmalet bring a man to tears or Pedal Dancer: More Pictures from the Tourmalet
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
#2 Jardins du château de Versailles
The Gardens of Versailles cover 800 hectares (324 acres) of land on the west side of the Palace of Versailles. Late in the 1630's Claude Mollet and Hilaire Masson designed the initial gardens for King Louis XIII. The Gardens of Versailles were further developed in the 1660's by King Louis XIV in the French Garden style and were refined and mostly designed by André Le Nôtre (between 1661 and 1700),. The gardens are most notable for their overwhelming size, broad expanses, and numerous thirsty fountains.

The gardens suffered damage from the 1999 winter storm but have mostly been replanted. You may take a train from Paris to Chateau Versailles using the RER C "yellow" line, 6,80€ for a return trip. See more images of the gardens. The Gardens might be a welcome reprieve from the internal glitz of the palace. 
The magnificent hallway of Mirrors at Versaille ©Photo by PedalDancer.com/Kenny Rakestraw
#3 Cormet de Roseland 
The Cormet de Roseland is a somewhat obscure climb in the Rhones-Alps region of France. It is one of those climbs that is sometimes included in the Tour de France (the last time was in 2007), but I never knew where this climb was, until I made a point to locate it on a map and go out of our way and climb it in 2007. Cormet de Roseland is a 20.23km steady winding climb to a beautiful lake and mountain pass with little else except for the lovely town of Beaufort at the base of the climb, where cyclists gather in cafes. The descent is screaming fast with recorded speeds of 62mph for riders during the Tour de France. The climb is located east of Albertville, France, the start city of Stage 11 of the 2012 Tour de France. If you are in the area, put it on your "to do" list of climbs.
Beaufort, France  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Cormet de Roseland Profile by ClimbbyBike
"A" marks the location of the Cormet de Roseland climb in the Alps.
The climb and fast descent of Cormet de Roseland from Beaufort (click images to enlarge):
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com

View the other Guess Where series: