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Colle del Nivolet

Italy

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Stunningly beautiful – and totally mythological. This climb ticks all the boxes.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

In the Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy, at the top of the Orco Valley, Colle del Nivolet reigns as one of the most beautiful and best climbs. Perhaps also, one of cyclings’ best kept-secrets – it has only recently featured in the Giro d'Italia. The climb is over 40km and ascends 1959m to 2641m altitude, with an average gradient of 4.9% and max gradient of 15%.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

From Locana, the climb starts with a gentle 14km warm-up.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

But first, it is four narrow and punchy ‘out-of-the-saddle’ hairpins.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Top tip: after a few kilometres, there is a decision to be made between a 3km long dark and narrow tunnel, or a service road that keeps you questioning about getting a gravel bike – we suggest to take the off road adventure.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Set in the woods, the mid-section of the route takes you through the village Ceresole Reale with stone buildings and thick slate roofs. After catching a view of Lake Ceresole, the route meanders and snakes along the river; an easy gradient before enduring the tough part of 18 kilometres ahead.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Once through the trees, it is a rustic and rather surreal scenery – raw and open. A set of switchbacks take you to the first dam, Lago di Serrù; a restaurant there to fill your bottles if needed.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Up and around, and down to the next lake.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Another set of switchbacks to ascend – built into the jagged rock.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

The higher, the more the road narrows and delivers breathtaking views.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet
Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

On days like this, the sun casts strong shadows on the road.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Higher yet, the ride becomes even more mythological.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet

Made by the cycling gods – this climb is beautiful, raw, and 100% epic.

Cycling climb Colle del Nivolet