Col de l’Iseran from Mont Cenis in the Savoie
Col de l’Iseran is the highest paved pass in the Alps and connects the valley of the Isere in the Tarantaise to the valley of the Arc river in the Maurienne.
The climb to the col from the Maurienne side is not the hardest of climbs. Just after starting out there is a short, steep stretch to Col de la Madeleine at 1,746 metres -this is not the famous Madeleine! The route is then flat for several kms until Bonneval-sur-Arc.
After Bonneval, apart from the occasional ruin, there is nothing but mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and beautiful views to enjoy during the steady and occasionally steep ascent with one final sting in the tail in the last two kilometres.
The col has been crossed by the Tour de France 7 times in its history, most recently in 2007. Plans for the col to be crossed by the Tour in 1996 had to be abandoned due to bad weather.
Height at start: 1399m
Height at finish: 2770m
Average gradient: 4.2%
Maximum gradient: 10%