The Col du Tourmalet is one of the legendary climbs of the Pyrenees. With tough ascensions on both the east and west, it is a regular feature of the Tour de France. Indeed the Tour has tackled this pass more times than any other in France. So you’d hope the altitude of the pass is agreed. In case of doubt a giant sign marks the pass.
Only a new jersey by Rapha created to celebrate the legendary climbs of the Pyrenees appears to mention the wrong altitude.
As you can see from the image above the collar has a “Tourmalet 2114m” motif. That’s one metre off the stated altitude.
Ok, it’s the smallest difference possible but all the same it’s wrong. I’m not fussed and besides, in pointing this out maybe there’s time to fix it. I often blunder on here but am lucky that with a few clicks the mistakes can be fixed. The error isn’t original, some of the signs on the way up to help tourists know the upcoming gradient appear to mention 2114m too and there are other references to this altitude on the internet.
Third time unlucky?
I feel bad pointing this new example out. I’ve been keeping an eye on Rapha’s new products for a while. In 2010 the same company produced some “country jerseys” that appeared to have the bands of national colours the wrong way round, for example the Italian jersey looked more like the Hungarian one and it became a popular read, although in the comments a reader suggests this was later fixed. Then when Rapha launched a new jersey to commemorate the Tourmalet the wording on the front of the jersey looked wrong. So when I saw something on Twitter about a new jersey to celebrate the Pyrenees, I thought I’d check to see if it was accurate almost out of habit and sure enough, the altitude was off.
Anyway, it’s no big deal and perhaps Rapha are harking back to another era when the exact altitude wasn’t measured by satellite or a geological era when the pass wasn’t so high, this could be deliberate. The Pyrenees are a remote place and if this jersey encourages cyclists to ride around in celebration of these great roads, all the better for the locals keen to welcome tourists in the summer. By the time you get to the top of the Tourmalet you probably want it to be 2114m.