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Cycling Colle dell'Agnello

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The Summit Beer
The Summit Beer
Will

I am sitting in a gas station eating bad Italian pizza.  But I thought I'd quickly put up a photo-heavy post on my day climbing Colle dell'Agnello (Col Agnel in French).

Entering the valley heading towards the Alps it was fun to see so much pink passing through little villages. And even before the climb starts in Casteldelfino, the riders will have been going up for a long time.  Some great hairpins in fact just below town.

But Casteldelfino is what most people call the start of the 3rd highest paved mountain pass in Europe.  After a few steepish kilometres, the flat part on the profile is where the route rides along side a nice lake / dam.

Being well behaved I ate around this point.

The climb is uneventful until one passes the last village, perhaps 10 kilometres below the summit.  Then the road turns up. It's tough to show steepness in photos, but the fun starts here:

Many alpine cols have nice kilometre markers with % grade / altitude, etc.  Agnello is different.  It has very few signs, strategically placed.  And they always mean bad news (+11% ahead).

From this point on, it is always steep.  Think of the last 10 kms as similar statistically to Passo Giau, but far higher.  Also from this point on, every kilometre gets more beautiful than the previous one.

There were cyclists of all levels.  Quite a few walking a LONG way from the summit.  Some as fast as pros (in my slow mind).  I chatted briefly with this couple, perhaps 70.  Cheerful, chatty, and able to turn a pedal quite nicely.

Damn, another of those signs:

Perhaps with 5 kms to go, (and half a kilometre of vertical) - there was more and more snow.  And lots of sexy hairpins.

Not surprisingly the last couple of kilometres were the most fun.

Woohoo: 

Nice kit !

The final hairpin, one of the easiest:

Here's a view down the French side:

I'd never cycled the Italian side.  Wow, I was impressed.  Beautiful.  Looking down on the summit, I chatted with a nice Italian family.  I am a Francophile but asked them "Why is the Italian side of almost every Alpine border pass more beautiful than the French side?"

The pass itself:

A nice lady from the Italian emergency services took my photo (luckily I had bought a beer at a panino stand much lower - worth the extra weight).

Sorry for the hastily written post, and cin cin.