Location: D4 Cluses to Le Grand-Bornand (19 miles)
The Col de la Colombiere climb doesn’t really start in Cluses, it starts in earnest at Scionzier. And there are two distinct sections to it, above and below the village of Le Reposoir – the resting place.
The first section is in the forest, climbing along the flank of a valley with the gradient gradually increasing bit by bit, before eventually levelling out a little on the intermediate plateau. From Reposoir the road initially gains height quickly by looping around before finally exiting the forest where the vista begins to open up. At this point the road follows the side of the valley, climbing steadily all the way up to the summit.
The final 7 miles down the other side into Le Grand-Bornand are as enjoyable as the ride up from Cluses. There are a couple of hairpins early on, with the road bending around as it descends into Chinaillon, followed by a fairly long straight stretch. This takes you all the way to a final section of nice, wide, open switchbacks that drop you slap bang in the centre of town.
When we rode this pass in 2018 the Tour de France had just used it weeks before and as a result the road surface was as good as it gets.
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