Col de Vars is a high mountain pass (2,108m) in the French Alps, between the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments in France. The pass is between the towns of Guillestre to the north and Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye to the east and provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
There are two ways to climb the Col de Vars.
- From Guillestre (north)
- From Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye (east)
Starting point : Guillestre
Guillestre is located to the north of Col de Vars. The climb from Guillestre is 18.7km long and averages 5.5%.
There is a 4km false flat and a slight downhill section after 8km into the climb, where you can recover and take in the beautiful scenery.
|Col de Vars from Guillestre|
|Strava segment||Col de Vars from Guillestre|
Starting point : Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye
Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye is to the east of the Col de Vars. The climb from Lanslebourg is shorter but harder. It’s 7.2km long with an average gradient of 7.1%.
There is a 1km downhill section after 3km, and the gradient gets steeper after the fourth kilometer and rarely dips below 6%.
|Col de Vars from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye|
|Strava segment||Col de Vars from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye|
Col de Vars in the Tour de France
Col de Vars ranks in the top 10 for the most times used in the Tour de France with 35. It’s ahead of well-known climbs such as the Col de la Madeleine (29) and Mont Ventoux (18).
Col de Vars first featured in the Tour de France in 1922 and as recently as 2019. It’s an Hors Catégorie (HC) climb from Guillestre and Category 2 climb from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye.
In 2019’s Stage 18, it was the stage’s first climb that also featured the Col d’Izoard, Col du Lautaret, and Col du Galibier. Nairo Quintana won the stage that day at Valloire.