I just did this on Sunday 11/07/10. Honestly it is a superb road. It has just been finished & it is immaculate from Sort to the top of the mountain. The surface is as black as new tarmac can be, the white lines look like they had been done that morning. It is uniformly wide like the new Silverstone wishes it was ( did a trackday there ), as smooth as any German road could be made & the bends make the N85 look like Sainsburys car park! It is absolutely the best bit of road I have ever seen. If you knee down at 100mph plus well its going to bite but relax & stay smooth & I bet you turn around & do it again. Ahem, they haven done the other side yet but its only bad for 2 miles .... 45 degrees.... & hairpins like tube station staircase :-)
I rode here in July 08 just after heavy storms.
The north side has potholes and cracked surface, south side hairpins had been washed away. Hairpins being rebuilt but the village of Alt Aneu will be bypassed.
Update for August 08.
I was so looking forward to riding this road again as it was one of my favourites of my 05 trip. However, theyve ruined is with roadworks for the time being. The Esterri DAneu side is seeing major changes like 4 lane bridges and dual carriageway (i think)
The top part of the mountain is also seeing improvements but I dont think theyll manage to straighten too much of it out so it will hopefully retain its character.
Stelios - theyve now ruined the surface down towards Vielha. (see the pics with the gravel!!)
(Avoid for 09 and maybe 10)
We met too many road works all the way up from Esterri d'Aineu to Port de la Bonaigua so i have nothing to say about this part. But the way down to Vielha is great. Nice open corners and great road surface. Do a stop at the top in the big ski parking and enjoy the view.
Rode the route from Sort to Vielha back in June 05. Refreshed ourselves with a lager server in a 'Glass Boot' in the picturesque village of Sort, and watched the world go by. It a popular area for climbers, canoers etc. We followed the C13 North out of Sort which changes to the C28. This route is a stunner with magnificent scenery, and luckily for us some of the mountain sections had been freshly resurfaced for the Tour de France. A peaceful part of the world with really nice locals. When we stopped to take a drink and a photo or two high in the mountains, two people stopped to ask if we were okay! The first was a Spaniard in a Jeep and the next was a bloke on a Beemer with his missus. His words were - "Alright lad, ain't seen many british plates out ere". He was from Grimsby!!
Some spectacular views and good hairpins in places but generally quite narrow and dangerous for overtaking. The road twists and turns on the ascent/descent and is picturesque, but visibility of oncoming traffic is not the best. Also be on the lookout for animal droppings as I saw some.