Col de la Croix de Fer from St Jean de Maurienne in the Savoie
Col de la Croix de Fer can be accessed via the Col de Glandon– and its two access points of La Chambre and Barrage du Verney- or from the Maurienne valley floor at St Jean de Maurienne.
It is a roller coaster type climb, with a combination of steep sections and descents rendering the average gradient of 5% meaningless. The ride includes three tunnels and at times heavy traffic, but it also offers up some postcard perfect Alpine views.
The last few kilometres after the Saint Sorlin d’Arves ski station are the most interesting part of the climb with characteristic Alpine hairpins linked together by some steep ramps.
The col has been crossed by the Tour de France 16 times since it was first passed in 1947.
Height at start: 546m
Height at finish: 2068m
Average gradient: 5.1%
Maximum gradient: 9.1%