Tour de France 2021 – Near The Base Camp

As mentioned, we will stay in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne for my Tour de France 2021.

I’ve designated Briançon and Barcelonnette as French cycling hotspots – like Corvara and Bormio in the Dolomites – but this capital of the Maurienne Valley in the Savoie is definitely one too.

There are a lot of cols within cycling distance and a lot more further away, where opting for a car transfer seems the way to go.

The mountains on the southern side are the Dauphiné Alps and the Cottian Alps.

On the northern side is the part of the Graian Alps known as the Vanoise.

In this post, I’ll list the cols and possible routes that are “around the corner” from our base camp.

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Col de la Croix de Fer


The Col de la Croix de Fer (2,067 meters) connects the Isère and Savoie regions. The area – on both sides – attracts many cyclists, as there are many famous climbs to be found, besides this one.

In Isère – centered around Bourg-d’Oisans – these include the Lautaret, Les Deux Alps, la Bérarde and “the most famous of them all”, the Alpe d’Huez.

In the Savoie region, centered around Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, you’ll find – among others – the Glandon, Télégraphe / Galibier and the Madeleine.

At the time I published this page, the Croix de Fer had featured in the Tour de France 17 times since 1947, most recently in 2017.

In 2015 it was included in 2 stages: stage 19 via the Col du Glandon from la Chambre and stage 20 from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

The latter stage was the result of an alteration, since the original stage route over the Télégraphe / Galibier was blocked because a landslide had made descending the Lautaret unsafe.

In stage 18, the climb from Rochetaillée was included too, but that took the left turn over the Glandon…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 4

Madeleine and Glandon

As expected, despite the fatigue, the ride up the Madeleine from La Léchère was easier than the one from La Chambre on Monday.

The altitude gain is about the same, but you have some 5 kilometers more to conquer that.

Too bad the weather was not really cooperating – it would frequently drizzle just enough to soak all clothes, but the temperature was not unpleasant…

This time, both restaurants at the summit were open and I had a good omelette at ‘Les Deux Mazots’.

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