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    Tour de France 2102 - Etape 17;Bagnères-de-Luchon-->Peyragudes,143.5Km(2)

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    Eastern Daily News

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    19.Iulie.2012;
    Bagnères-de-Luchon (pronounced: [baɲɛːʁ də lyʃɔ̃]) (Occitan: Banhèras de Luishon), also referred to as Luchon, is a spa town and a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.
    Geography

    Bagnères-de-Luchon is located 87 m. S.S.W. of Toulouse, at the end of a branch line of the Southern railway from Montréjeau. The town is situated at the foot of the central Pyrenees in a beautiful valley at the confluence of the One and the Pique.

    Thermal springs;
    Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated for its thermal springs. The springs, which number forty eight, vary in composition, but are chiefly impregnated with sodium sulfate, and range in temperature from 62 to 150 Fahrenheit. The discovery of numerous Roman remains attests the antiquity of the baths, which are identified with the Onesiorum Thermae of Strabo. Their revival in modern times dates from the latter half of the 18th century, and was due to Antoine Mégret d'Étigny, intendant of Auch.
    Within the town today (2006), a more modern entrance to the baths sits alongside the older buildings. The bathing experience consists of repeated spells within a hot, sulphurous atmosphere in caves that run approximately 100 metres inside the Superbagnères mountain, and in a cool swimming pool within the entrance building. It was these sulphur springs that led to a twinning of the settlement with Harrogate in 1952.

    Population
    Historical populations
    Year Pop. ±%
    1793 1,164 —
    1800 1,080 −7.2%
    1806 1,396 +29.3%
    1821 1,683 +20.6%
    1831 2,077 +23.4%
    1836 2,385 +14.8%
    1841 2,629 +10.2%
    1846 2,770 +5.4%
    1851 2,770 +0.0%
    1856 3,016 +8.9%
    1861 3,294 +9.2%
    1866 3,921 +19.0%
    1872 3,829 −2.3%
    1876 4,012 +4.8%
    1881 4,256 +6.1%
    1886 3,729 −12.4%
    1891 3,528 −5.4%
    1896 3,720 +5.4%
    1901 3,260 −12.4%
    1906 3,465 +6.3%
    1911 3,415 −1.4%
    1921 3,635 +6.4%
    1926 3,820 +5.1%
    1931 3,884 +1.7%
    1936 3,591 −7.5%
    1946 4,105 +14.3%
    1954 3,666 −10.7%
    1962 3,888 +6.1%
    1968 4,123 +6.0%
    1975 3,484 −15.5%
    1982 3,498 +0.4%
    1990 3,094 −11.5%
    1999 2,903 −6.2%
    2008 2,622 −9.7%
    Sights;

    Bagnères-de-Luchon is celebrated as a fashionable resort. Of the promenades, the finest and most frequented are the Allées d'Étigny, an avenue planted with lime-trees, at the southern extremity of which is the Thermes, or hot baths. The road is lined with bars and restaurants.

    Sports;
    Superbagnères, located on the territory of the commune, to the south-west of the town, is a ski resort. Historically it was connected to the town by a railway, and it was the second resort in France to install a lift, but today it is connected with a gondola lift. Each cabin holds up to four people and takes about ten minutes to reach the summit, running in the summer as well as the winter. It is not possible to ski back down to Luchon, except in times of exceptional snow for talented locals who know the woods.
    Cycling is a popular sport in the region in the summer. The climbs of Superbagnères, Col de Peyresourde, Port de Balès, Col de Menté, Col du Portillon and the Col de Portet d'Aspet are all nearby.
    The Tour de France route often passes through Luchon, due to its location deep between two cols. List of stage winners and stage starts in Luchon:
    1910 - Lapize
    1911 - Duboc
    1912 - Defraye
    1913 - Thys
    1914 - Lambot (July 8) - Stage start from Luchon on July 10
    1919 - Barthélémy
    1920 - Lambot
    1921 - Heusghem
    1922 - Alavoine
    1923 - Alavoine
    1924 - Bottecchia
    1925 - Benoit
    1926 - L. Buysse
    1927 - Frantz
    1928 - Fontan
    1929 - Cardona
    1930 - Binda
    1931 - A. Magne
    1932 - Pesenti
    1933 - Louyet
    1934 - Vignoli
    1935 - S. Maes
    1936 - Ducazeaux
    1937 - Meulenberg
    1938 - F. Vervaecke
    1947 - Bourlon
    1949 - Robic
    1951 - Koblet
    1953 - Robic
    1954 - Bauvin
    1956 - Schmitz
    1958 - Bahamontès
    1960 - Gimmi
    1961 - Stage start, after arrival at Superbagnères
    1962 - Stage start, after arrival at Superbagnères
    1963 - Ignolin
    1964 - Poulidor
    1966 - Mugnaini
    1967 - Manzanèque
    1969 - Delisle
    1971 - Fuente
    1972 - Merckx
    1973 - Ocaña
    1979 - Bittinger
    1980 - Martin
    1983 - Millar
    1989 - Stage start (July 12), after arrival at Superbagnères (July 11)
    1997 - Stage start
    1998 - Massi
    2006 - Stage start (July 14, Bastille Day)
    2010 - Voeckler
    2012 - Voeckler
    In Superbagnères:
    1961 - Massignan
    1962 - Bahamontès
    1971 - Fuente
    1979 - Hinault
    1986 - LeMond
    1989 - Millar (July 11)
    In addition to the Tour, the pro series race Route du Sud is also partnered with Luchon, with a stage finish in Superbagneres in 2008 and Luchon in 2009.
    Luchon is also a mountain biking destination. Its position at the confluence of two valleys gives a wide variety of routes up into the mountains – although most of them start with a large climb (although the gondola can carry mountain bikes). There is one mountain biking guiding organisation based in Luchon itself, and another further down the valley. (See external links).
    Luchon also offers a golf course, tandem paragliding (from Superbagnères), tennis courts, and an airfield with gliding.