Cycling Weekly - - FEATURE -

This new as­cent comes at the end of a stage that starts in Li­moux, home to the Blan­quette fizzy wine that lo­cals in­sist in­spired Cham­pagne, passes be­low the eyrie-like Cathar cas­tle of Montségur, and climbs the spec­tac­u­lar Port de Lers be­fore its ex­tremely test­ing fi­nale, which begins on the Mur de Péguère, three kilo­me­tres at an av­er­age of 12 per cent where the pelo­ton will be shred­ded.

Prat d’al­bis is al­most as steep as it climbs away from the me­dieval cas­tle that dom­i­nates Foix. The bunch’s moun­tain goats will be poised to at­tack on these early sec­tions, mak­ing it a good point to see the ac­tion. Higher up, above thick wood­land, the road emerges onto open moun­tain­side with an im­mense panorama to the north. Don’t for­get your binoc­u­lars! Where to stay and ride

Eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from Toulouse and Car­cas­sonne air­ports, and set in the heart of one of France’s least densely pop­u­lated de­part­ments, Foix is the ideal place to ex­plore a wealth of quiet roads, rang­ing from rolling to the north to fa­mous as­cents to the south and west, in­clud­ing the Col du Port, Plateau de Beille and the Port de Pail­hères.

“The road emerges onto an im­mense panorama to the north”

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