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Aosta valley - any recommendations?

edited September 2018 in Tour & expedition
I'm heading out to the Aosta valley in a week or so and will have the road bike for four days of riding. Staying near St Vincent in the east of the Valley, I wanted to know if anyone had any recommendations for climbs nearby. Colle Tzecore and Colle Joux both look good, as does Col di Saint Panthaleon. We're going to try to get down to the Colle Nivolet too, and might try and fit in the Grand Bernard pass into Switzerland. We can manage 4-5 hour days with upto 100k rides, though perhaps not that much every time :wink:

Also, and almost as importantly, it would be good to hear any food and drink recommendations - good restaurants in the area, or local wines to be drunk.

Thanks in advance.

Posts

  • paulwoodpaulwood Posts: 220
    The road up to Lillaz is quiet once you leave the valley. The road up to Cervinia has great views of the Matterhorn at the village but is busy.
  • paulwood wrote:
    The road up to Lillaz is quiet once you leave the valley. The road up to Cervinia has great views of the Matterhorn at the village but is busy.

    Nice one. How busy is busy? Is it worth it for the views?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,841
    Col d'Arlaz... not very long but quite hard and very rewarding... this loop is nice and includes the Col de Joux too

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1490817528

    For something very hard Colle San Carlo from Morgex.

    Don't bother with Nivolet... the 3 km tunnel is pretty nasty... or drive to Ceresole and start there.
  • paulwoodpaulwood Posts: 220
    Nice one. How busy is busy? Is it worth it for the views?[/quote]

    Never done it in summer, only winter. Big road suitable for coaches up to a ski station.

    But the mountain is magnificent.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,653
    Have to disagree with Ugo, Nivolet is great. You can drive further up the valley than the book we had suggests though.


    I cant describe it any better than this but at the bottom of the main climb, on a corner is a little bar/trattoria which is just like a slice of Italian perfection. We got a full, 3 course dinner, plus wine...nice wine...for about 15 each.


    Piccolo San Bernado is further up the valley, I ve not ridden (was working for an MTB people so had to pick people up to take them back to the top) it but its very pretty. However it is sodding vertical!

    I ve Grand St. Bernard too but it was getting dark... It's not as steep up the main road but when you get past that... ;) That's also very pretty at the top. Dogs etc...

    Or hire an MTB and go up to Pila!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,841
    Nivolet is great if you start after the tunnel in Ceresole... you still have a thousand vertical metres to climb, so plenty of fun.
    It's quite a way from Valle d'Aosta though and I can think of at least 20 serious climbs which are closer. I like the Gressoney valley, main valley all the way to La Trinite' climb is 20 miles steady, or you can tackle side climbs like Plan Coumarial from Fontainemore.

    Something from a few years back

    https://whosatthewheel.com/2015/04/14/r ... tern-alps/
  • Thanks for the recommendations, Ugo, ddraver.

    Definitely want to go up to Nivolet - I heard that there is a small side road for walkers and cyclists that bypasses the tunnel? If not, we might drive up through it and start shortly after.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,841
    Thanks for the recommendations, Ugo, ddraver.

    Definitely want to go up to Nivolet - I heard that there is a small side road for walkers and cyclists that bypasses the tunnel? If not, we might drive up through it and start shortly after.

    There was a thread recently, someone has been up there very recently and the old road is now definitively closed to traffic.
    It has suddenly become popular, but it's a road to nowhere that for years nobody cared about. Never featured in any major race, its popularity probably down to the film.

    There is a much harder climb (and in my view better) that goes up to the lago di Teleccio and the dam... very spectacular, brutal!!
    It starts from the same SP460 road, just after Locana, so well before the 3km tunnel, which you avoid altogether. As you can see, not many takers on Strava and the KOM appears to be a certain Egan Bernal!

    https://www.strava.com/segments/12966801

    Lqgo-di-Teleccio.jpg
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,841
    You mentioned wines... there is a small production of very fine red wines in Valle d'Aosta... the most famous are "Donnas" and "Chambave" and of course "Carema" although the latter is technically in Piemonte.

    If you like pork cured meat, I suggest you try the famous "Lardo di Arnad", which is incredible and of course St. Marcel is famous for their cured ham.
    Cured beef comes in the form of "Mocetta", which is a spicier and meatier form of Bresaola.

    The typical dishes revolve around polenta and my favourite is polenta concia, with lots and lots of melted cheese and butter...
    it's got nothing to do with mediterranean diet and it's as unhealthy as it gets. Polenta is also eaten with "camoscio", which is the mountain goat.

    You have to try "la grolla" it's a round wooden container filled with sweet hot coffee and grappa and set alight. You drink it from holes at the side.
    Grappa comes in all forms and shapes, including that with an adder inside
  • Mille grazie, Ugo. That's some great local advice. Am getting hungry just reading your last post. That Lago di Teleccio climb looks mad - might be a bit too much for the 85kg sprinters amongst our group ;o) Do Bernal and Ivan Sosa live in the region then?

    I'll be sure to have a La Grolla for breakfast!
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,841
    Mille grazie, Ugo. That's some great local advice. Am getting hungry just reading your last post. That Lago di Teleccio climb looks mad - might be a bit too much for the 85kg sprinters amongst our group ;o) Do Bernal and Ivan Sosa live in the region then?

    I'll be sure to have a La Grolla for breakfast!

    I don't think so... it's not a place famous for cycling... maybe he was in the region for a race and someone told him about that climb.

    Grolla is a sharing experience, typically a winter thing all around the fire, maybe not a late summer thing, but worth trying if it's cold.

    Closer to St. Vincent, this is a lovely ride, which takes in the famous Oropa sanctuary, but descending towards it, rather than climbing to it.
    There is an unlit tunnel at the top of the climb, but it's only 400 mt long and straight, so you can kind of do it without lights... quite an experience, I have to say

    https://www.strava.com/activities/936154430

    Galleria-Rosazza.jpg
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,653
    Oropa is worth a visit, the main basillica (?) was shut for refurbishment when we were there though so maybe worth checking.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Couple of points you might want to consider:

    We recently did the Tour De Mont blanc staying in Aosta. We cycled from Megeve to Aosta and back round over 2 days. Aosta is pretty much bang on half way. This might be something to throw into the mix. It was pure credit card touring but a great trip none the less.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1761250419
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1763267661


    Also, on said trip, my spoke broke on the run into the hotel on the first day. The following shop managed to fix my wheel the next morning eventually taking a spoke from another wheel for the princely sum of 10 euro, a real life saver, so if you have any bike problem it is the place to go.

    http://www.ciclilucchini.it/index.php?lang=it
  • manxshredmanxshred Posts: 287
    I did the Nivolet earlier in the year. As mentioned, the side road is now closed with gates and there was construction going on. I did not find the tunnel too bad at all. It was long, but cool and was not very busy at all. I did it at around midday. The descent back through the tunnel was great fun, and it is well lit so no issues with light.

    My write up is in here : viewtopic.php?f=40003&t=13092902
    Road - Volagi Liscio
    MTB - Santa Cruz TallBoy
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,864
    Thanks for the recommendations, Ugo, ddraver.

    Definitely want to go up to Nivolet - I heard that there is a small side road for walkers and cyclists that bypasses the tunnel? If not, we might drive up through it and start shortly after.

    There was a thread recently, someone has been up there very recently and the old road is now definitively closed to traffic.
    It has suddenly become popular, but it's a road to nowhere that for years nobody cared about. Never featured in any major race, its popularity probably down to the film.

    There is a much harder climb (and in my view better) that goes up to the lago di Teleccio and the dam... very spectacular, brutal!!
    It starts from the same SP460 road, just after Locana, so well before the 3km tunnel, which you avoid altogether. As you can see, not many takers on Strava and the KOM appears to be a certain Egan Bernal!

    https://www.strava.com/segments/12966801

    Lqgo-di-Teleccio.jpg

    Hey Ugo, like the look of that segment a lot!
    My brother lives in Champoluc, so wondering if next time I visit him, I could bung the bike in a potentially new car, and head over to try some of these climbs.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Big thanks to Ugo (and others) for the recommendations. That was a great trip, all the better for the advice offered in advance. But man, that climb to Teleccio was an absolute beast - not least because we'd already done the Nivolet earlier in the day. Those final 4kms almost ruined me, but it was a great feeling to be at the top, and jump the (very flimsy) barrier at the dam so we could take a look down from the middle. Lots of great food but more importantly, lots of great riding around there. Colle de Joux and Tzecore are lovely, quiet roads, as is the climb to Saint Pantaleon. I'm not sure I'd recommend the climb to Cervinia to anyone. Way too much traffic and mad Italian driving, but otherwise it's a cracking place to go cycling.

    Unfortunately, Ugo, I wasnt able to sample the Grolla but had lots of polenta and lardo di anard. And we saw another one of Gianni Savio's boys on the Nivolet - Kevin Rivera, I think.

    Btw, the side road past the tunnel is just about passable, but in a very bad way indeed.
  • Big thanks to Ugo (and others) for the recommendations. That was a great trip, all the better for the advice offered in advance. But man, that climb to Teleccio was an absolute beast - not least because we'd already done the Nivolet earlier in the day. Those final 4kms almost ruined me, but it was a great feeling to be at the top, and jump the (very flimsy) barrier at the dam so we could take a look down from the middle. Lots of great food but more importantly, lots of great riding around there. Colle de Joux and Tzecore are lovely, quiet roads, as is the climb to Saint Pantaleon. I'm not sure I'd recommend the climb to Cervinia to anyone. Way too much traffic and mad Italian driving, but otherwise it's a cracking place to go cycling.

    Unfortunately, Ugo, I wasnt able to sample the Grolla but had lots of polenta and lardo di anard. And we saw another one of Gianni Savio's boys on the Nivolet - Kevin Rivera, I think.

    Btw, the side road past the tunnel is just about passable, but in a very bad way indeed.

    Excellent!! :D

    Yeah, the road to Cervinia is not nice for cycling...
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