Piemonte Training Camp Photo Bomb

With only a few weeks left before Haute Route Alps, and my legs still not feeling very ‘peaky’, I headed off to Cuneo, Italy for a few days of solo climbing in the Alps. I’m writing this, so the good news is that I survived. The other good news is that I got my 11-29 cassette in the mail two days before leaving – I’ve never seen so much 14% in all my days of riding.

In my four days over there I managed 450 km and 12,000 meters of riding uphill, crossed the Italian-French border 6 times and hit a car near the top of the aptly-named ‘Pass of the Dead’. Cuneo ended up being a fantastic little city to stay in, too; you just see a wall of ‘Alp’ spreading out in front of you from the edge of town. It’s as easy as choosing which direction to head and you’re sure to find some monumental climbing. It doesn’t hurt that there’s pasta and pizza waiting for you after each ride, either.

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The ride up the Colle dell’Agnello before it gets stupid.

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Colle dell’Agnello

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Looking down the French side – Col Agnel

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Probably the toughest climb I’ve ever done (twice): Colle della Fauniera (Colle dei Morti)

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Colle della Fauniera

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Those gradients never got under double digits

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Me, Pantani. Top of Colle dei Morti

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Climbing the other side. Much more beautiful in real life.

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Last stretch to the summit – Colle dei Morti

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Just a chapel at 2500 meters

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The Gran Fondo Fausto Coppi climbs this monster

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Sign on the way up the Colle della Maddalena. “One man alone and in command, his jersey is white and blue (biancoceleste), his name is Fausto Coppi.”

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Col de Larche

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Was going to climb up the Col de Vars till this happened.

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Another outstanding frontier climb – Colle della Lombarda

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Fellow Canuck, Reda, putting it all into perspective with those big, heavy panniers.

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The highest route in Europe. What could I do? There was no other way back to Italy.

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Near the top of the Col de la Bonette. Nice is just over there…

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17 thoughts on “Piemonte Training Camp Photo Bomb

  1. “…hit a car near the top of…” is not a throw-away line. While I’m sure you …. and your bike … are fine: story, please?

    THANKS! for taking the time to photograph these climbs … and to include so many here! They are fantastic, very inspirational, great to get a chance to look at. Loved seeing the Bonette sign!

    • I went around a blind corner and there it was, a car! I’m not sure who was at fault because the road was so narrow, but what happened was that I couldn’t turn to avoid him and sort of ‘shouldered’ the back door. No damage, except to my descending ego.

      Bonette was great from that side and I just found out that I’ll be doing it again in HR in a few weeks. I guess it was reconnaissance, too!

  2. Man you’re looking skinny! Watch out Froome. Managed to rent a Colnago with a little Ferrari pic on it with electronic shimano dura ace while I was in Nice. I didn’t really get to give it a good test as the recommended route through Monaco was extremely busy. But spectacular natural scenery with the Mediterranean coastline and azur water and man made scenery with massive yachts with heli landing pads and mansions with their infinity pools. Awesome. Great pics you took of your training ride and no traffic. Would have been perfect for my rental bike.

    • You get bonus points for calling me skinny, Luc!

      You rented that beauty from Cafe du Cycliste, right? I’ve been meaning to get down there since they opened up the shop a few months ago. How is the atmosphere there? Looks like a good location at least.

      I’ve ridden around there (but not on all the roads) and felt the same way – just busy. The arriere pays is a lot better.

      • Yes it was Café du Cycliste. Beautiful location out on the port staring out at those yachts. Great bunch of lads and lasses down there. The mechanic/owner? is a whiz at tearing the bike down and adjusting everything. He did a complete overall faster then I can change the rear wheel on my bike. There are likely better routes then the one I took but maybe next time when I take my own bike.

  3. Incredible scenery out there, amazing riding – very impressed. I’ve never been the most enthusiastic climber, but with views like that, I might have a change of heart…

    • I nearly always hate climbing when I’m climbing. It’s an odd thing. It’s pretty stunning on these roads, though, so maybe that has something to do with it.

  4. Relieved to learn that the meeting with a car didn’t result in injury… Cuneo is a lovely area to ride although the tarmac can be a bit choppy in places, making the descents a bit adventurous sometimes…

    • You’re right about the road surface. Also, if you don’t ride right to the climbs themselves it seems like you’d be obliged to get on some pretty big roads to get there. Not as ideal as France, but the food makes up for it.

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