When it comes to legendary climbs Italy is spoilt for choice. Whilst the Passo dello Stelvio may be the highest, and unquestionably one of the toughest, the Monte Zoncolan is on a whole other level when it comes to steepness. After all, any climb that’s dubbed “The Pink Dragon” following its inclusion in the Giro in 2003 is sure to have some serious fire in its belly.
For a time the approach from Ovaro was considered to be the hardest. That was until a third route was found starting in Priola that averaged a despicable 13 per cent gradient with wall-like pitches up to 22 per cent. The fact is you shouldn’t even consider riding the mighty Zoncolan without ensuring you have adequately low gearing (34×27 is a must) and are prepared to feel like you’re climbing in slow motion. This year will see Giro return to the Zoncolan on the penultimate stage where the overall winner of the race will seal their victory. Whatever happens you can expect to see fireworks exploding at every kilometre to the top.