A very nice loop in the Valle d’Aosta, Italy.
While in Italy, Valle d’Aosta has French roots. Historically, it was part of the Kingdom of Savoy for most of the last millenium. It is the smallest and most sparsely populated region in Italy. Almost the entire population speaks Italian, but 75% also speak French, and 50% speak a Franco-Provençal dialect: Valdôtain.
It is on the south side of the Mont Blanc tunnel, and frankly it feels like just one giant valley, with a bunch of side valleys, all surrounded by high Alps. Yes, great for cycling.
I started in Saint-Vincent, 15 kilometres below Col de Joux (or Colle di Joux). It’s a big, modern, well-surfaced road, with broad, sweeping switchbacks. Thus, rarely too steep.
There are a few tiny hamlets, but after the first couple of kilometres it’s quiet. There are always views down below, so one gets a good feeling of “getting higher.” A very nice, if not fantastic, climb.
On the other side is Brusson – a small ski station. I descended half way down, but my goal was to return via the Col Tzecore.
If descending, the turn-off to Col Tzecore is easy to miss and only signed if climbing. It is a tiny road in Quincod – see map.
This is a small, very, very steep road – with some very fun hairpins, and great views. It is a fantastic detour.
I have included the entire profile, but I only cycled the top half of the climb. Ouch – although it felt steeper than the below profile. 🙂
Over the top of the Col, it is only four kilometres or so to join up with the Col de Joux road. Thus by doing this loop I not only got an extra Col, but more importantly skipped the lower, busier roads back to the start that would have been necessary if I skipped Col Tzecore.
Some bespoke Col signs today:
Overall, a very nice little loop on quiet roads, with views everywhere. I gave it a thumbs up:
Looks fun and you’re very color-coordinated. 🙂
2nd col looks tough to pronounce!
Just come across your website – thanks for sharing your experiences. I did most of this loop the other other way round in 2012. I started in Eresaz, up the Tsecore and down to Quincod – it felt very steep going down and the rims were hot from all the braking. Then came the ride along to Brusson and up the Col de Joux followed by half the descent before cutting across back to Eresaz. The roads were very quiet (this was at the end of August) and I had the most fantastic day riding. And yes, I also have the photos of the bike leaning against the col signs!
Just did a variation of this super nice loop, thanks for the suggestion. Coming back down from Col Tzecore, instead of going back to Saint Vincent, almost 5km into the descend I took a left towards Emarese. Another 4km later I took a left again onto a a small road that leads to Col d’Arlaz. There is only a small amount of climbing (about 50m) involved in this little stretch that is almost 4km. Large parts of it though are sterrate, unpaved. Nothing that a set of 28mm tyres couldn’t handle though.
From Col d’Arlaz is a nice decent back down to Verres. From Verres I continued down towards Ivrea, because that’s where I started. Take care of the winds downs from Arlaz towards Verres, they can be rather strong on a nice Summer day.
Thanks again for the suggestion!
thx for the tip