Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross) has appeared 16 times in the Tour de France (first in 1947). Nestled in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes and surrounded by a veritable who’s who of mountain peaks like the Galibier and Alpe d’Huez, the Col de la Croix de Fer may not be quite as well known as its more celebrated siblings but that’s not to say it’s any less of a spectacle, quite the opposite in fact. If you ever need to be reminded exactly why you ride a bike then the Pass of the Iron Cross will help you find the answer. Starting from just after Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines this climb has three parts. The first part averages around 7,5% and runs until Saint-Colomban-des-Villards. After a flat section through the village, the second part up until the Col du Glandon starts. This is the hardest part, especially the last 2 kilometers. After a small downhill the final stretch to the Col de la Croix de Fer is the easiest and shortest.