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Legendary cols of Europe: part 4

Which col is the toughest, most famous, most iconic? Opinions differ on that. With the Iconic Cols of Europe scratch card, we are trying to put an end to that discussion. In our humble opinion, these are the 20 most iconic cols we have collected on our scratch map.


After part 1, part 2 and part 3 we end with part 4: the last five giants on the map, located in Spain, Switzerland and Austria.


16. Lagos de Covadonga


Lagos de Covadonga is undoubtedly one of Spain's most famous climbs, and it has not stolen that reputation. This is the jewel of the 'Picos de Europa' National Park, a fantastic region for cycling because of its exceptional natural beauty.


Throughout its rich history in the Vuelta, Lagos de Covadonga has developed a strong reputation for being a tough and unpredictable beast to beat.


Lagos de Covadonga (from Covadonga)


Top: 1,134 m

Length: 16 km at 7.4 % average

Maximum gradient: 12.5


17. Pico del Veleta


With its peak at 3,395 metres, the Pico del Veleta is the highest paved mountain pass in Europe. The name Pico literally means 'peak' and Veleta means 'wind vane'. Those approaching the summit will understand this naming convention Up to about 3,050 metres, the road surface is still relatively good, after that the number of cracks and potholes becomes increasingly numerous.


Pico del Veleta (from Granada)


Top: 3,398 m

Length: 43 km at 6.2% average

Maximum gradient: 9.7%



18. Bola del Mundo

Located just 50 kilometres from the Spanish capital Madrid, the Guadarrama Sierra mountain range offers a wide range of Category 1, 2, 3 and 4 climbs, in addition to the mythical 'Hors Catégorie' (HC) Bola del Mundo climb.


The steep gradients, high altitude and tricky road surface of this col made for entertaining races and set the theme of steep finishes for subsequent editions.


Bola del Mundo (from Collado Villalba)


Top: 2,265 m

Length: 21.8 km at 6.2 % average

Maximum gradient: 19

19. Grossglockner


Austria's Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße rises to a staggering 2,556 metres above sea level. This beautiful scenic route is featured annually in the Tour of Austria and has also been used twice by the Giro d'Italia.


The northern approach climbs over 19 km at an average of 9%, making it one hell of a col. In case you are wondering how far you are from the summit: the hairpin bends are numbered from top to bottom, starting with 'Kehre no 1'.


Grossglockner (from Fusch)


Summit: 2,571 m

Length: 21.4 km at 8.3 % average

Maximum gradient: 11.9%


20. Furkapass


The Furkapass is one of Switzerland's, if not the world's, most impressive Alpine crossings. This Swiss mountain pass at 2,431 metres above sea level has a long history since the 14th century.


But its real fame came in 1964, when Sean Connery raced over the Furkapass and past the iconic and now abandoned 'Belvedere' hotel in his Aston Martin DB5 as 007 for the filming of the James Bond film Goldfinger.


Furkapass (from Oberwald)


Summit: 2,429 m

Length: 16.5 km at 6.4 % average

Maximum gradient: 13


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