Climbs of Alpe d’Huez to Italy Part 3 – Colle dell’Agnello

31 Aug

The Col Agnel or Colle dell’Agnello links France with Italy. At 2744m, it is the 3rd highest pass in the Alps after the Stelvio and the Iseran. Leaving Pinerolo, we split the route of Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France (Pinerolo – Col du Galibier) over 2 days . The Italian ascent of the Agnel is very hard with the final 10km averaging 9.5%. There are ramps of 14% and lengthy sections of 11-12%.The lower slopes are gentle but still provide enough resistance to sap energy from the legs. The climb seems to go on for ever – leaving Pinerolo, you will climb 2400m upon reaching the summit.

Halfway through the interminable final 10km

Halfway through the interminable final 10km

Looking down on the gentle lower slopes of the Agnel

Looking down on the gentle lower slopes of the Agnel

It is by far the hardest climb I have ever done but its difficulty made it all the more worthwhile. A year in the Alps has taken the edge off reaching the summit of most Cols, however the Agnel was different. The thrill of conquering a mountain pass was rekindled and I soon forgot the impossibly difficult last 10km. It is a stunning climb and must be one of the hardest climbs in the Alps.

Exhaustion atop the Col Agnel

Exhaustion atop the Col Agnel

More exhaustion...

More exhaustion…

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