Col de l’Iseran is a high mountain pass in France, located in the department of Hautes-Alpes. The pass is situated between the towns of Val d’Isère to the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc to the south and provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Col de l’Iseran is the highest paved road in the French Alps at 2,764m above sea level.
It’s also one of the most famous climbs for cyclists in France. Col de l’Iseran is a monster climb as you’ll ride above 2,000m above sea level, where oxygen levels start to deplete.
There are two ways to climb the Col de l’Iseran.
- From Bourg-Saint-Maurice via Val d’Isère (north)
- From Lanslebourg via Bonneval-sur-Arc (south)
Starting point : Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is located to the north of Col de l’Iseran. The climb from Bourg-Saint-Maurice is very long, 47.7km averaging 4.1%.
You’ll ride through several dimly lit tunnels, so remember to use your front and rear lights.
Remember to pace yourself as the last 15km that starts from Val-d’Isère averages 6%.
|Col de l’Iseran from Bourg-Saint-Maurice|
|Strava segment||Col de l’Iseran from Bourg-Saint-Maurice|
Starting point : Lanslebourg
Lanslebourg is to the south of the Col de l’Iseran. The climb from Lanslebourg is 32.3km long with an average gradient of 4.3%.
The last 13.4km that starts from Bonneval-sur-Arc has an average gradient of 7.3% and has several sections exceeding 10%.
|Col de l’Iseran from Lanslebourg|
|Strava segment||Col de l’Iseran from Lanslebourg|
Col de l’Iseran in the Tour de France
Col de l’Iseran is a Hors Category climb from both directions; Val-d’Isère and Bonneval-sur-Arc. It has featured in the Tour de France eight times, dating back to 1938.
It was last used in 2019, on Stage 19, where the peloton climbed from Bonneval-sur-Arc and descended into Val-d’Isère. Egal Bernal, who won the 2019 Tour de France, was the first to summit this monster climb and took the Souvenir Henri Desgrange.
The Souvenir Henri Desgrange is awarded to the first rider to summit the highest point of each year’s Tour de France.
|Year||Stage||Category||Start||Finish||First to summit|
|2019||19||HC||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne||Tignes Col de l’Iseran||Egan Bernal|
|1959||18||1||Le Lautaret||Saint-Vincent||Adolf Christian|