The Football World Cup has brought its share of emotion, and now it is time for the Tour de France, which will award the yellow jersey to the best cyclist in the competition on 29 July. Each year, the different stages of the Grande Boucle put the participants to the test in the highest mountain passes in France. If you have a competitive soul and a good pedal stroke, be aware that some roads have become mythical for cycling enthusiasts around the world. Will you have the audacity to challenge yourself? We have selected 10 mythical climbs, to always go higher!
The Angliru Pass, a sacred monster
This pass located in northwestern Spain, in the Asturias region, is renowned as one of the most difficult in the world. The most important stage of the Vuelta, the most important cycling competition in Spain, it stands at 1,570 m with average slopes of 20%. This old path crossed by shepherds during goat transhumance makes the most trained cyclists tremble and challenges the best climbers
The Kitzbüheler Horn, Tyrolean giant
This summit in the Alps of Kitzbühel, Austria, reaches an altitude of 1,996 m. It is one of the most challenging climbs in Europe with a climb of about 10 km and slopes between 9% and 13%. The Kitzbüheler Horn is also a very feared event for cyclists during the Tour of Austria. The efforts are rewarded with a splendid view of the East Tyrolean mountains and Lake Chiemsee in Germany
Khardung La, the record pass
The Khardung Pass in Ladakh, northern India, is believed to be the highest passable road in the world: it culminates at 5,602 m - according to Indian army measurements - and 5,359 m, according to the GPS. From Leh, it takes 40 km of climbing to reach the top of the giant and enjoy a splendid panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains. There is also a chörten decorated with flags, dedicated to Buddhist worship
Paso Ticlio, in the heart of Peru
On the Central Carratera, one of Peru's main roads, the Paso Ticlio rises to 4,818 m. If its altitude is already dizzying, it is its 4,755 m altitude difference that the best cyclists fear! From Lima, the road extends 150 km along the Pacific Ocean. Paso Ticlio also sees one of the highest train lines in the world, the Ferrocaril Central Andino, which links Lima to Huancayo
The Icefields Parkway, through the Rockies
The Icefields Parkway is located in Alberta, Canada. It extends 230 km from Lake Louise to Jasper, along glaciers and lakes with azure blue waters. Two passes are to be crossed: Bow Pass - 2,067 m - and Sunwapta Pass - 2,030 m, they are the highest in the Rockies. In the surrounding areas, be careful: woodland caribou, black bears and other marmots live in their natural habitat!
Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, between Chile and Argentina
This Andean Cordillera crossing is located on the main road from Santiago de Chile to Mendoza, Argentina. Its 25 km of winding road leads to a statue of Christ the Redeemer of the Andes watching over the valley at an altitude of 3,800 m, facing the Aconcagua, the highest massif in South America. In winter, the cold, wind and the different rocks on the road make climbing very difficult
The Queen Victoria Ride, attacking the Australian mountains
The famous Great Ocean Drive along the southeast coast of Victoria is a dream for many cyclists, but it is another road in the same state that tests their endurance: the Queen Victoria Ride. This tour starts at Mount Beauty and takes you to the dreaded Back o' Falls and its 4,000 m drop. After crossing Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, we quickly regret thinking that Australia lacked relief!
Mauna Kea, at the foot of the volcano
Its name seems almost enchanting, ,4,500 years ago Mauna Kea was a terrifying volcano on the island of Hawaii. Now asleep, the giant makes the most trained cyclists tremble with its altitude difference of 0 to 4,205 m over 80 km. The last 10 kilometres are the most challenging because the asphalt becomes earth and volcanic gravel. At the top, you reach one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation
Mont Ventoux, the giant of Provence
The Mont Ventoux is the premier stage of the Tour de France, reaching a height of 1,912 m and attracts many amateur cyclists every year to follow in the footsteps of their idols. For 25 km from Bédoin, in the Vaucluse, a slope of up to 10% allows to reach the summit not without effort but once there, the view of the Alps is breathtaking. On a clear day, you can even see the Massif Central and the Cévennes
Il passo dello Stelvio, the terror of the Giro
The second highest pass in Europe, Il Passo dello Stelvio is located in northern Italy, between Trentino Alto Adige and Lombardy. The ascent from the north side is the most complicated since it involves a 26 km ascent and a difference in altitude of 1,808 m. And that's not all, there are also 48 very tight corners! When the weather conditions allow it, il passo dello Stevio is a dreaded stop on the Giro d'Italia