Col de la Faucille is one of the best know climbs in the Jura Mountains.
It has appeared 10 times in the Tour de France since 1951. Last appearing in Stage 18 in 2004, I watched this stage live.
This was the day Armstrong – despite already clinching the Tour – chased down an escape as it contained Filippo Simeoni. Simeoni had testified in a doping probe and tried to implicate Armstrong. Armstrong had called him a compulsive liar.
So – although Simeoni was no threat to the general classification – Armstrong decided to chase him down. As the peleton passed us, we were shocked to see the yellow jersey leading a stretched pack of riders as they approached Faucille. Simeoni’s break-away of course came to nothing.
It’s not the hardest climb, but leads to views of the Alps and Lake Geneva below. Martin and I started in downtown Geneva (in total 63 kms, just under 1000 metres vertical). But the climb really starts in Gex.
It’s a popular route for cyclists and we saw several, but the route has a fair amount of traffic. A Sunday in March is probably as quiet as it gets – avoid on weekdays as Trucks use this route as a short-cut to Dijon.
In the summer there are many better ways to climb this area of the Juras. Nearby are superb, deserted forest roads up to La Baudichonne, La Vattay and La Barillette. But they are not cleared in winter.