Monte Zoncolan was only introduced to the Giro d’Italia this side of the Millennium but it has quickly become feared as one of pro cycling’s toughest ascents.
Billed as the direct answer to Spain’s Alto de l’Angliru, the thigh-numbing climb which often frequents the Vuelta a Espana route, the Zoncolan was first climbed from Ovaro by the Giro peloton in 2007.
Gilberto Simoni won on that occasion – having also triumphed when the ‘easier’ Zoncolan approach was traversed four years earlier.
He likened it to a ‘slow execution’ exclaiming that the easiest part of the climb was still tougher than the toughest moments of the Tour de France.
Nevertheless, Alpine adventurer has taken on the ascent for the first instalment of the Col Collective of 2016.
“I’ve been fortunate to ride some amazing mountains throughout the world and so far I’ve never come across anything like the Zoncolan,” he says.
“It just keeps going and pushing you, you’re questioning your sanity the whole way up, thinking to yourself ‘why am I doing this?’
“And then 400 metres from the top it completely opens up, you see they views behind, there’s mountain peaks, a little bit of baby blue sky and everything makes sense again.
“Savour every second, the Zoncolan is one of the true greats of cycling.”
Check out the video above, or see more from the Col Collective here.