Romme is a village at the altitude of 1297 m in the northern end of the Aravis. The road up from Cluses at the bottom of the valley passes through Nancy-sur-Cluses and Romme before dropping down to Reposoir, the village half-way up the road from Cluses to the col de la Colombière.
Climbing the Col de Romme
The climb to the col de Romme is easily one of the toughest in Haute Savoie. The unforgiving slope only drops very briefly below 7.5% during the 9.3 km climb, and averages 8.8% all the way.
For the first three kilometres it clings to the rock face as it quickly gains height above Cluses. The gradient here varies from 9% to 12%. It then goes in and out of the trees, continuing to climb steeply through Alpine pastures until the village of Nancy-sur-Cluses. There is very little traffic on the road, and little respite, even in the village.
The views become more and more spectacular while the slope seems to get tougher and tougher before at last arriving at the village of Romme, where the road flattens out before the summit, just after the village.
If you are continuing on to the Col de la Colombière you then follow a fast descent through the forest to Reposoir, some 365 m below. Take your time to drink and refuel, because there is still a lot of climbing to reach the summit of the Colombière!
The Col de Romme figures every year on the long parcours of the Grand Bô cyclosportive and will the be third of four major climbs on the Etape du Tour in 2018. During our training camps, we often propose climbing it as an option on Tuesday.
The Col de Romme in the Tour de France
Before 2018, the col Romme has been used only once by the Tour de France. This was during the 17th stage in 2009 when the Luxembourger Franck Schleck was the first over. It was an epic stage, starting in Bourg St Maurice and crossing the Cormet de Roselend, the Col des Saisies and the Côte d’Arâches before attacking the Col de Romme and the Col de la Colombière before the finish in Le Grand Bornand.
Halfway up the col de Romme, the Schleck brothers upped the tempo and split the remaining peloton apart. Vandevelde, Nibali, Armstrong and Wiggins all fell away as only Contador and Klöden could hold their wheels. The four men crossed the col and started up the Colombière together, where Contador, wearing yellow, decided to attack. His attack didn’t last long however as he soon realised his team mate Klöden couldn’t hold the pace and was in danger of losing his podium position. Franck Schleck won the stage, and an angry Johan Bruyneel was quoted as saying
“I told him (Contador) clearly not to attack in the Colombière. And I speak fluent Spanish.”