The climb to Monte Zoncolan is 10 kilometres long and has an average gradient of 11.9%. On Saturday May 31 it was the last major climb in this year´s Giro and the toughest. All 156 cyclists who started the climb finished in time. Winner was Australian Michael Rogers, last one was Australian Michael Hepburn 29 minutes and 9 seconds later.
We were 5; Marjetka, Amadeja, Ela, Robin and me. After 1 kilometre of the climb we found a place to watch. Here´s what we saw.
But first, let me take a selfie…
Thumbs up for the big truck of the rolling disco that is the publicity caravan.
If you don´t have to ride up you would say that it´s a beautiful road that curves its way up Monte Zoncolan.
Cycling has always been popular in Colombia. Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote in the 1950ies a biography about Colombia´s first cycling hero Ramon Hoyo. Giro-winner Nairo Quintana from Tunja is now the new hero.
Love is…. watching a bike race together.
Simon Geschke of Giant-Shimano leads with teammate Georg Preidler in his wheel. ,,Payback time. After @PREIDI helped me to get 2nd in Savona i was happy to do some pace today for him. The Zoncolan is one crazy climb!´´, tweeted Geschke afterwards. Winner of the day Michael Rogers is the guy in yellow behind Geschke.
A young supporter follows a bad example while Robert Kiserlovski works his way up.
Nairo Quintana rides the Zoncolan with one hand.
Aero is everything! Wout Poels on the right rides the Zoncolan in the drops.
Samuel Sanchez was the 2008 Olympic Champion and still wears golden shoes.
2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego just made the top 20 this year.
Marc Goos silently rode to a very respectful 35th place in the general classification and 53th of the day.
Nacer Bouhanni, left in the red points jersey, gave up boxing for cycling. He won three stages and the points jersey.
True cycling supporters stay on the side of the road.
Cheers for Slovenian Jan Polanc who finished his first Giro in 42nd place.
Matteo Montaguti finished the day 82nd.
Luka Mezgec is from Slovenia, as were many of the spectators on Monte Zoncolan. ,,Today the atmosphere on Zoncolan was AMAZING! Thank you all! #GooseBumps´´, he tweeted afterwards. The next day he would win.
´Inspired by climbing´ is written in small lettres on the shirt of Leonarde Duque. But Leonardo is no climber, he is a sprinter and he has the arms to prove it.
Yukiya Arashiro is Japanese champion which bike supplier Colnago honored with a special paint job. The spectator on the right is Italian.
Manuel Quinziato is a self-pronounced music addict but it´s very unlikely that there is music playing through his earpiece.
Tom Stamsnijder is the son of former cyclocross world champion Hennie. Hennie never rode the Giro, but did ride the Tour de France. Tom never rode the Tour de France, but did ride the Giro and Vuelta.
Marco Canola, on the right, does a ´Froomy´and looks at his stem. Canola won stage 13. Today he finished 132th.
Even when you are on socks and you wear a Movistar shirt, when you see the immensely popular Stefano Pirazzi, you run and give him a push.
Stefano Pirazzi was in tears after he won stage 17.
Nicola Boem from Italy finished on Monte Zoncolan 148th at 27.51 from winner Michael Rogers.
The largest cog on this spare wheel of the Cannondale team has 30 teeth.
Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, as demonstrated by 23 year old Johan Le Bon; the world junior champion of 2008.
In the background the Giant-Shimano rider is pointing to a mobile phone lying on the ground?
Jos van Emden of the Belkin team got off his bike during Friday´s timetrial to ask his girlfriend to marry him. She said yes.
A smile on Tyler Farrar´s face. On stage 10 he fell in the last corner, a dozen riders tumbled over him.
Jetse Bol does a wheelie.
Jetse Bol wheelieing.
Jetse Bol still wheelieing. Jetse Bol finished last in the Giro 5 hours; 15 minutes and 19 seconds behind Nairo Quintana. It was the first Grand Tour for the 24 year old Dutchman.