In the most recent edition of the Ariégeoise a new course was created, the Plateau de Beille Challenge!
This was timed climb up to the Plateau de Beille, a month before the Ariégeoise. This was foretaste for some of the final of the Ariégeoise or Mountagnole XXL 2018, and, for others to test themselves against this ferocious climb or, just simply, to make a timed ascension.
It was very popular … and demanded anew!!
However, the Plateau de Beille had to be replaced by an equivalent “lofty passage”! Not easy, you say? Well, in 2019, the col d’Agnès is programmed for the Ariégeoise (Classic or XXL and the Mountagnole XXL) …Western slope: shortest but toughest! In fact, the highlight of this edition, because this climb will certainly decide the victory. The climb in the late June heat may well cause problems to physiques already stressed by crossing previous cols! The choice was quickly made: “Col d’Agnès, Time Trial 26 May 2019”, one month before the queen stage! A time trial but with grouped starts so that the ascension is either an individual challenge or one between friends.
The 2004 Tour de France took this …genuinely vicious … slope; it’s a climb to the height of the col after the first 3 kilometers at over 10% … afterwards it’s a mountain road whose surface seems to drag you back, tiring over percentages still between 8 and 9% until km 7 … luckily, if the first 4.5 kilometers are painfully straight, or nearly so, the first “S” of Agneserre (starting point for some beautiful walks towards the mountain lakes of Garbet or Bleu) makes you realize that you’re really climbing, giving your morale a boost; how important that is in the noble sport of cycling!! At km 8 finally salvation in a false flat ;;; not very long …Now is the moment to eat and drink one last time, before once again slopes over 9% … km 10 … the long hoped-for summit!! The average percentage to reach it is 8.2% … Remember Sylvain Chavanel, who led at this point during the 2011 Tour de France St Gaudens/Plateau de Beille stage … Or again, Alberto Contador who likewise in the 100% Ariège stage of the 2017 Tour. A reference time: Warren Barguil in 29’ 44”.