5th longest climb in France - 28.5 km, 1,611 m climbed at 5.2%
This fantastic climb begins in St Jean-de-Maurienne (which we consider to be the center of one of the great climbing areas of the world - Climb Area Page) and travels through the Saint Sorlin-d’Arves ski resort to the Iron Cross at the top of the climb. There are 3 routes to the Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Cross) and we have charted those in the map in the menu bar at the bottom of this page.
The Pass of the Cross has been featured in the Tour de France 19 times between 1947 and 2017.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Gino Bartali and Louison Bobet - Croix de la Fer TdF 1948
Photo: Silvano Bottaro, Pintrest
It was on the Croix de Fer on Stage 18 (July 22) of the 1986 Tour de France that Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault distanced themselves from the all others and dueled for the stage win. Hinault, in search of what would have been a record 6th Tour victory, was trying to make up 3 minutes lost the day earlier to Lemond on the Col d’Izoard on Stage 17 attacked on Col du Galibier and Croix de Fer but could not shake Lemond and the two crossed the line in the same time with Hinault winning the stage, but Lemond the tour.
Gred Lemond on the Croix de Fer in 1989 (his second of 3 TdF wins)
Photo: Steve Selwood
Vincenzo Nibali took heat for looking back at disabled Froome on TdF 2015 Stage 19, then attacking
Col de la Croix de Fer has appeared in the Tour de France 19 times between 1947 and 2017 (see bottom of page for details).
COL DE LA CROIX DE FER EAST
The eastern approach to Croix de Fer offers exceptional views quite a beautiful climb which should be undertaken if one is staying anywhere nearby.
Climb begins in St. Jean de Maurienne - birthplace of Opinel knives
Spectacular views on this approach to the Col
Many grazing livestock along the climb.
Saint-Jean-d’Arves - km 18.5
Skiing in winter; hiking parasailing in the off season.
KM markers along the entire route.
Steepest kilometer starts at km 26.4 (10.10.6%)
Wikipedia has a good summary of this popular pass:
“Col de la Croix de Fer (English: Pass of the Iron Cross) (el. 2067 m.) is a high mountain pass in the French Alps linking Le Bourg-d'Oisans and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
The approach from the northeast from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne is 29.5 km at an average gradient of 5.5% with some sections at 9.5%, and the one from the southwest from Rochetaillée 31.5 km at an average gradient of 5.75% with short sections in excess of 11%. When coming from Rochetaillée, the road forks 2.5 km before the summit, leading to the Col du Glandon. There is also an approach from the north from La Chambre via Col du Glandon which is the hardest: 22.7 km at an average gradient of 7.0% (this is the route used for the 2012 Tour de France).
The pass has featured in the Tour de France nineteen times since it was first passed in the 1947 tour when the race was led over the summit by Fermo Camellini. It was crossed on Stage 11 of the 2012 race, between Albertville and La Toussuire-Les Sybelles. In the 2015 race it was passed twice in the two finale mountain stages stage 19 between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire - Les Sybelles, and from the other side in stage 20 between Modane to Alpe d'Huez. The route for stage 20 was changed in June 2015 caused by a landslide in April so Col de la Croix de Fer substitutes both Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier.” Wikipedia - Col de la Croix de Fer
Leader at the summit
Thomas De Gendt (BEL)
Alexandre Geniez (FRA)
Pierre Rolland (FRA)
Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE)
Peter Velits (SVK)
Michael Rasmussen (DEN)
Stéphane Heulot (FRA)
Rodolfo Massi (ITA)
Richard Virenque (FRA)
Eric Boyer (FRA)
Gert-Jan Theunisse (NED)
Bernard Hinault (FRA)
Joaquim Galera (ESP)
Federico Bahamontes (ESP)
Guy Ignolin (FRA)
René Marigil (ESP)
Fausto Coppi (ITA)
Gino Bartali (ITA)
Fermo Camellini (ITA)