homeColle di Lauson
Colle di Lauson Height Climbing height
2490m 2217m (Pinerolo); 2364m (Susa)
799m (Sestriere); 1493m (Cesana Torinese)
Difficulty Beauty
5 (5) (Susa); 4 (5) (Pinerolo); 3 (5) (Cesana) 4-5 (5)
How to get there

This is one of many passes on the spectacular Assietta ridge road from Susa to Sestriere in the western Italian alps. Most cycloclimbers wish to go on this road at least once in their life. The hardest (and recommended) climb is the one starting in Susa (484m) on the north side of Colle delle Finestre (2175m). The climb starts off with a section of 17-18% and then there is a seemingly endless series of hairpin bends (more than on the Stelvio, but shorter) on harsh asphalt with around 10% all the way to Il Colletto (di Meana) (1455m), where the road eases off temporarily while turning into a gravel road and then it is 9% to the pass.

Then one descends on the asphalted road 2.4 km until the start of the Assietta ridge road, which is now asphalted for 1.9 km until a last junction where you go up the gravel road. It is only very hard cycling just before reaching the Colle dell’Assietta (2470m). The Assietta ridge road is mostly okay for cycling between Colle dell’Assietta and Colle Basset (2426m) where the road goes somewhat steeply down to Sestriere with varying gravel road quality. It is 35.7 km from the turn-off on the Finestre road to Colle del Sestriere (of which 3 km is asphalted).

You can also start in the southeast at Pinerolo (410m) and turn off the road up to Sestriere at Depot (1077m) and then continue until just 2.5 km before Colle delle Finestre, where the Assietta road leads off west. The climb from Cesana Torinese (1342m) and Colle del Sestriere (2036m) is the easiest. Fine asphalt with moderate gradients to Sestriere and then some hard climbing up to 2466m and Colle Basset (2426m). Avoid rain (but it is good if it rained a few days ago as it get less dusty then).

Other comments

The highest point (2538m) on the ridge road is after the Assietta pass and the lowest point (2286m) is between Colle di Costa Piana (2320m) and Colle Bourget (2299m) in the middle. I started at 5 o’clock in the afternoon in Susa (not advisable if you wish to reach Sestriere before dark)! For most people this is a full day ride. This also explains why I only have one photo along the very nice road (and one at Colle delle Finestre).

There is not much water to be found along this road and water is needed, so most people should probably have two bottles with them. This year, Giro d’Italia will go over Colle delle Finestre (but not, luckily for the riders, go along the Assietta ridge road). This should still prove to be a harder climb than the Stelvio one and is one of the few climbs in the Alps that makes me a little nervous.

All the passes are: Il Colletto (di Meana) (1455m); Colle delle Finestre (2175m); Colle dell’Assietta (2470m); Colle (2488m); Colle di Lauson (2490m); Colle Blegier (2378m); Colle di Costa Piana (2320m); Colle Bourget (2299m); Colle Basset (2426m); Colle del Sestriere (2036m).