The Col d’Izoard is frequently on the route of the Tour de France. It is classified as an Hors Categorie climb. The southern climb from Guillestre is 15.9 km in length and has an average gradient of 6.9%. The climb from Briancon to the Col is 20 km in length and has an average gradient of 5.8%.
Several of the Tour de France’s more memorable moments have occurred on the Col d’Izoard, particularly the exploits of Fausto Coppi, Bernard Thevenet, and Louison Bobet.
In 1949 Coppi placed in his crucial jump in the 16th stage from Cannes to Briançon (275 km). On the false flat to Arvieux, at the foot of the Izoard, the two Italian champions jumped away so effectively that in 20 km they took 4 min. from the bunch. When Coppi punctured on the climb, Bartali waited for him, and when Bartali punctured on the rough descent, Coppi similarly waited. On the last climb to the citadel in Briançon, Coppi allowed Bartali to win on what was his 35th birthday.
A small cycling museum, Home of Tour de France, is located at the summit, along with a memorial to Coppi and Bobet.