MONTE ZONCOLAN FROM OVARO BIKE CLIMB | PREALPS
Monte Zoncolan is located in the Friuli Venezia Region of Italy. Just north of the town of Udine is Tomezzo, a cross roads type village at the start of the Julian Dolomites and Alps. Mt. Zoncolan sits just to the northwest of the town, Tomezzo is the best location for a bike touring base.
The Monte Zoncolan bike climb, starting from Ovaro, Udine, is considered one of the hardest bike routes utilized in Gran Tours, in Europe, if not the hardest. I have road almost all the Italian climbs, and I would agree, that Zoncolan is not a climb to take lightly regardless your fitness level and is a must ride for those you like to ride uphill. The climb has a 6 km section with grades continuously greater than14%, that will challenge you as a rider. If you are a rider that gets excited at the challenge of extending your limits the Zoncolan is a perfect platform.
Suggested gears; you should have at least a compact with a 29 in the rear or use a triple. For riders of less fitness having a Sram "Apex", is not a bad selection the 32 can come in handy especially if you are planning a week riding the classic climbs. What makes a difference on this climb are the total km you have ridden to arrive to the base, the standard loop from Tolmezzo is 84 km, with 37 km being done to arrive a the base.
MONTE ZONCOLAN BIKE CLIMB FROM OVARO
|REGION||Friuli Venezia Region|
|MOUNTAIN GROUP||Juilia Alps|
|START ELEVATION||525 meters a.s.l.|
|MAX ELEVATION||1735 meters a.s.l.|
|ELEVATION GAIN||1210 meters|
|TIME TO RIDE||
Cycle-tourist - 2 hr
Semi Pro - 1:30 hr
Pro - 1 hr
MAP TO MONTE ZONCOLAN BIKE CLIMB
ROUTE NOTES FOR THE MONTE ZONCOLAN BIKE RIDE
Turning right in Ovaro (coming from Tomezzo) you start the climb and the first km is at an average grade of 11.5% until you pass the church of the Camine. From here the route lessens to 6.8% until the township of Liariis where you will turn right following the Monte Zoncolan (brown) sign. From here you have a flat section to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead.
Pass through the small village and as you round the curve coming out of the last houses you will be at the ramp starting the "salita della'inferno" now being translated at the Hell Climb. There is a water fountain on the left side of the road to refill if you have yet to do so.· Do not do this climb with out water, you may have a hard time getting the bottle out to drink but you will need water. The next 6 km is some of the hardest climbing I have done on a road bike, from 657 meters elevation to 1049 meters the grade is all above 15%, then a 200 meter rest at 8% you return to above 15% with a ramp of 20% at the 1300meter elevation.
During you climb you have the hero's of cycling to keep you company. Marking the distance are signposts with champion riders from the Giro d'Italia. At the 1569 meter elevation mark the extreme part of the climb ends and the remaining sections are manageable.
Just over the 9 km mark at 1639 meters elevation you will come to the first of three tunnels. They are not lighted by you can see through, they are only wide enough of a small car so if one is coming toward you stop and wait for they to clear the tunnel.
The last short ramp after the tunnel is a nice serpentine road with grades averaging 10% to the top, but here you can see the top you are now in a lower alpine environment with wonderful views. There is often wind at the summit so dress according and carry a jacket even in the summer.
At the top you will find a sculpture to cyclist and the sign for the saddle of Monte Zoncolan, 1750 meters above sea level. The best descent is on the opposing side, the road is two lanes and modern to service the ski resort. Watch for cars during the descent.