Cycling Monte Zoncolan Ovaro

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Monte Zoncolan - Ovaro

picture Monte Zoncolan

Basic data & ranking

Average grade: 11.5 %

Length: 10.5 km

Height start: 525 m

Height top: 1735 m

Elevation gain: 1210 m

Maximum: %

Monte Zoncolan rankings

Difficulty ranking world: 136 (all)
Ranking Italy: 19 (all)
Ranking Alps: 33 (all)
Difficulty score: 180.28 what?

Monte Zoncolan ratings

(4.9) Overall

(4.7) Road

(4.7) Traffic

(4.3) Amenities

(4.3) Surroundings

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One of the most difficult climbs in Europe, the Zoncolan has been compared with El Angliru, the fearsome climb in the Spanish region of Asturias. The steepest, 23.6-percent pitch of the Angliru is very short however, being part of a kilometer stretch that averages "only" 17.2 percent. While the Zoncolan has a kilometer of nearly 20%.

The Monte Zoncolan is situated in Friuli Venezia Giulia and belongs to the Alps . Starting from Ovaro, the Monte Zoncolan ascent is 10.5 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1210 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 11.5 %.

Look for other sides to climb the Monte Zoncolan.

Since 2005, the Monte Zoncolan will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Giro d'Italia 2014 :  Maniago - Monte Zoncolan on 31/05/2014
Giro d'Italia 2011 :  Lienz - Monte Zoncolan on 21/05/2011
Giro d'Italia 2007 :  Lienz - Monte Zoncolan on 30/05/2007

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Location info

Find all information on climbs and cycling in Friuli Venezia Giulia and find all climbs in Friuli Venezia Giulia on a map.

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Stories, information and comments from Monte Zoncolan climbers
Story by RudiP from Maribor, Slovenia, submitted on 16/06/2014
Great climb. I rode my MTB Corratec. The wether was rainy and on the top was 7degrees. I was very carefully and rode slow because I didn''t know how hard the climb is. I need 1h 33 minutes. I estimated that next time I would be 10 to 15 minutes faster.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Paolo De Angelis from Martinsicuro, Italy, submitted on 31/05/2014

It''s the perfection, the purity, the force of cycling.

Probably the best climb of the world, for difficulty and view. This is the "Kaiser"!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Ian walker from Campolongo Sul Brenta, Italy, submitted on 05/01/2014
We organised a Dolomites Tour for a group of Australians and this was the first major climb on the itinery. We started well and thought "what''s all the fuss about" After the 1st km we found out! Having done many big climbs in Italy I have to say Zoncolan lives up to it''s reputation. This was the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike. The climb is relentless with no real hairpins to give a bit of rest. Once you stop it is very difficult to get going again. Lots of front wheel lifting and wobbling. Having said that, a spectacular climb and once through the tunnel at the last km point the sense of relief and achievement is worth the pain. At 95kg and riding a compact with 28 on the back maybe the Zoncolan is not meant for me, but bragging rights last forever!
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Story by Michele Bean from Corno di Rosazzo (UD), Italy, submitted on 29/01/2012
I am a local from Friuli I have done more times form both wonderful, but is better with mountain bike from the other side from Villa Santina center you take the road for Lauco. You climb from there to the top of the mountain. It is the road untill Lauco then you enter in the forest. There is a road in rough concrete done for forest use then become mix of gravel and red soil with a good grip. With 22x36 ( not 36x22) and 29 inches wheel ( 2,25 and max 2 bars) you go up. Thinking bad words.

It is, i think 30% and also 40% in some parts and the medium is 20%. or more.

When you arrive down on the road before start to climb you think: ok is something that they use for cut trees in forest or is it the water line. No it is the road.

When you arrive in Malga you do the circle and you go up sweetly on the top. There, the view is a gift for your future life. You never forget it if you have a clean day without clouds.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Eudald from Barcelona, Spain, submitted on 27/01/2012
Climbed in 1992 with 3 friends. Is a very nice mountain to go. I think is more harder than mortirolo and angliru (spain) which i rate level 3. My rating is 4 because the level 5 i think is only for the maximum climbs: Scanupia-MalgaPalazzo, Nebelhorn, Saltner-Edelweiss and only some others
My personal climb rating:
Story by Robert from , The Netherlands, submitted on 27/07/2011
As it was 36 degrees and over while climbing, I confess I thought I wouldn''t make it, but I did (barely). ''Gate way to hell'' is correct under the circumstances! Once on the summit, you feel inconvincible though, as you have just finished one of the toughest climbs in Europe... A couple of days later, I climbed the Mortirolo and that was - or at least seemed - much easier.
My personal climb rating:
Story by jdam from Nuenen, The Netherlands, submitted on 15/07/2011
After the scanuppia the hardest clinb i''ve ever done. Did 300 different climbs dureing the last 20 years, but this one is special. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb and it was tough. If yoy ever have the change to climb it. Do so you will remember it..
My personal climb rating:
Story by jdam from Nuenen, The Netherlands, submitted on 15/07/2011
After the scanupia this is really a killer. I did the climb in July 2011 with perfect weather. Teh first 3 kilomters are tough but when you passed the little village aand have a few meters flat road it begins to climb very steep. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb it''s really tough. Nothing (except the Scanuppi which i did in 2009) can compare to this one. I''ve climbed more the 300 different climbs (not the Angliru) and this one really is special. If you have a change to climb it, do so.
My personal climb rating:
Story by jdam from Nuenen, The Netherlands, submitted on 15/07/2011
After the scanupia this is really a killer. I did the climb in July 2011 with perfect weather. Teh first 3 kilomters are tough but when you passed the little village aand have a few meters flat road it begins to climb very steep. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb it''s really tough. Nothing (except the Scanuppi which i did in 2009) can compare to this one. I''ve climbed more the 300 different climbs (not the Angliru) and this one really is special. If you have a change to climb it, do so.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Greg M from Adelaide, Australia, submitted on 06/08/2011
Rode the Zoncolan on the giro stage for 2011. Had a 34 28 and found it very difficult but possible. The large number of people walking up for the stage and the mountain bike riders wobbling added to the challenge. Had at least 5 people on road and mountain bikes fall over in front of me when they couldn''t keep momentum. A MUST DO climb. Did Stelvio, Passo Giau, Mortirolo, Stelvio and colle del Finestre and this made Mortirolo seem easy in comparison..... Strangely if I am back in that part of the Alps I''d do it again! :)
My personal climb rating:
Story by Miklos from Pécs, Hungary, submitted on 24/05/2011
I think this is one of the most difficult mountain in Europe! I have climbed from Ovaro the 21 May 2011, it was raining so I cant wait to climb it because I was realy cold. From Liariis it take about 1h10m to the summit. I''ve climbed with 39-28 without stop or walking, I highly recommend to use 34 or 36 chainring, it possible to climb with 39 but it wasnt to easy. It''s a beautifull mountain, You have to climb it!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Glenn Caruso from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, United States, submitted on 17/05/2011
The Zoncolan has my vote for the hardest road bike climb I''ve ever done. A technical problem forced me to ride it the first time in a 34-23 and I remember thinking I could have saved a few grams by leaving the seatpost and saddle at home - I didn''t spend much time sitting down. I''ve been lucky enough to catch two Giro stages on the Zoncolan and keep getting attracted to ride it again. The best part is when you get a chance to ride the Mortirolo a few days later and start thinking that one is easy! It would have been a real spectacle if Pantani had ridden the Zoncolan during his best years.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Mike Kilduff from , New Zealand, submitted on 19/09/2010
The hardest climb Ive done because of the steepness. I made it up on a 39-24 but after about 4km (the first steep section) I was boiling over so I resorted to zigzaging up the steep parts of the road.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Arrigo Frisano-Paulon from San Daniele del Friuli, Italy, submitted on 22/08/2010
It certainly lives up to its hype. Tough, beautiful, and you will need every ounce of strength. But yes, it can be done. Just to give you an idea, I am 42 years old, weigh 80 kilos and did it with a 34x25 (no triple) without stopping, just a few zig-zags here and there. This means its tough, but not impossible. After Liariis you immediately get a sense of whats coming: 300 straight meters, sign says 13% but feels more like 15%. Thats what you get for the next 6 kms: 15% average, 18%-20% max, never under 12%. First 3 kms of those 6 is the hardest part, then 3 to 6 are just a bit lighter but since youre tired from the first part, the pain is the same. When you see Indurain, the tough part is almost over. Last 2 kms are human, with only a violent ramp ca. halfway and then the last 400 m or so at around 12% (curious thing, it almost feels like nothing, compared to the rest). Hard to make comparisons with Angliru... probably Zoncolan is just a bit tougher because you need to be in red zone for 6 kms straight, and thats a lot of time here, with Angliru lets you rest here and there. You need to be mentally tough and know that those 6 kms wont give you any break, never... it just get worse as you accumulate acid.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Richard from Manlius, NY, United States, submitted on 31/05/2010
I climbed this the day the Giro went through in 2010. By far the hardest climb Ive ever done. I had to get off my bike at one of the few switch backs on the mountain because my hart was going into the red zone even though I was just trying to pace myself up. I hardly ever get off my bike, but I had to here. I was in excellent shape and had trained hard for this particular week of muliple climbs. However, it was much more prudent to get off the bike for a few minutes than to keel over on one of the steep sections of this unbelievably hard ascent. Good luck and leave your ego at Ovaro.
My personal climb rating:
Story by OL from Enemonzo/Brighton/..., , submitted on 13/08/2009
Wow. I never believed I would make it to the top... with my city bike (aka ""Pippi"")! It took me forever, 2 hours and 10 minutes, a couple of stops (one was forced by landscape works). But what kept me going are the panels (each 500 m) with all the Giro dItalia heroes, which made me feel Marco Pantanis spirit haunting the place. The reason I did it is that the local cyclists kept taunting me... When they learned that I did it without the clips and on a city bike, everybody was left incredulous, including me:-)
My personal climb rating:
Story by Daniel from , Hungary, submitted on 13/07/2009
We did this as the closing act of our Alpine Campaign, 2 weeks of joyful cycling in South Tirol. It is inhuman. We were all young, accomplished climbers (late 20s and early 30s) but we all suffered terribly, in spite of being in great form. Nothing compares to it Ive ever done. Probably with light gearing I could have enjoyed it somehow... I had 39x27 as bottom gear but I realized that it is somehow easier to go with 39x24. Of course I couldnt sit down on the saddle (almost) at all. I had blisters on my palms by the time I got to the top. I have never, ever suffered on the bike that badly. My average heart rate was 179 for one hour and 15 mins... I have to admit, although I made it to the top, the mountain proved stronger than me that day. For I had nothing left in me, I had to give it everything: joy, hate, anger, theye wer all gone. Only emptiness remained. There and than I swore that I will never, ever again will do that climb on a bicycle. On foot, or with a car, yes. With bike, no. Would I do it again though? But of course... every goddamn year, if I could make it to Italy that often.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Steven Ballance from Leeds, United Kingdom, submitted on 14/10/2008
I found a badge near Leeds in the UK. It is about 1 inch in diameter with the words TEST INTERNATIONAL at the top, the word ZONCOLAN in the middle, and ITALIA at the bottom. At either side of ITALIA are the numerals II. Who lost it ?
My personal climb rating:
Story by Martin from , UK, submitted on 14/09/2007
Climbed Zoncolan August 2007 as a finale to my riding the Leman Adriatique Randonnee. (Though its not on the official route which takes an easier route north). Loved the climb. Done several of the other classics (including Huez, Galibier, Tourmalet, Ventoux) and this is as good as any of them. Apart from being (much) steeper it is quite different in character. First the road is very quiet and much of the climb is in woods so plenty of shade (needed!). While there is the occasional hairpin there are also long straight sections which makes the climb all the harder. Cows are all about when you approach the top (watch out for manure!) where the climb gets much easier as you go through some tunnels before a final, more typical, set of hairpins to the top. (Where there are no refreshments but great views which you get time to savour as the (very steep) descent does not start for a bit. On the way up the pain is relieved by looking down at the road and all the graffiti. Also every now and then you see a tableau celebrating one of the Giro greats. (Note these do not come at regular distances, so do not panic if you do not see one for a while). For those thinking "can I do it" the answer is probably "Yes". I used a 30*23 which let me ride seated most of the way up averaging 240W for the hour or so it took to go up. Hard but a 25 mile time trial is harder. For those thinking "should I do it" the answer is YES!
Story by Mauro Repetti from Tirano, Italy, submitted on 30/07/2007
I have claimbed Zoncolan from Ovaro the 28 july 2007. Unhuman, terrible, incredible, I have no others is a lot more hard than is important not only the legs and the breathe, but above all the can climb this one only with the have to find your pedal...
Story by renko from Zurich, Switzerland, submitted on 01/06/2006
What a mountain!! It is harder than the Mortirolo, no other pass is this difficult. Its not easy to get to, though.

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