Climbs to ride: Monte Zoncolan – “It’s like a slow execution”

Monte Zoncolan

The Col Collective takes on ‘pro cycling’s toughest climb’, the direct answer to the Vuelta’s a España’s Alto de l’Angliru.

Monte Zoncolan profile

It wasn’t until 2003 that the mighty Monte Zoncolan claimed worldwide notoriety when the Giro d’Italia used it for the first time, although on that occasion it was from the “easier” eastern approach from Sutrio. Four years later and it was back with a vengeance as the race unveiled the 10.2km monster, with ramps up to 22%, from Ovaro.

Highly regarded as the toughest climb in Europe by the professionals, Gilberto Simoni summed the climb up perfectly, “It’s like a slow execution, the easiest part of the Zoncolan is harder than the most difficult at the Tour”. Go under an hour from start to finish and you’re on serious fire, to put it in perspective on that day Simoni covered the climb in a mind bending 39 minutes (so obviously not quite as slow an execution for ‘Soignor Zoncolan’ as he was nicknamed after winning twice on the mountain) as it is for the rest of us!

Start: Ovaro
Length: 10.2km
Summit: 1,750m
Elevation gain: 1,225m
Average gradient: 11.9%
Max gradient: 22%


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