The Cogne classic is big mountain riding at it’s glorious best

In Stats

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy

Start: Cogne

Time: 5-6hrs

Distance: 35km

Ascent: 1550m

Descent: 1550m

E-bike? Yes

Uplift? No


Rideable: 100%


Pedal: 80%

Push: 1%

Carry: 2%

The Trail

The Ascent

Affectionately known as the ‘Banzai’ trail, this one is an absolute banger offering a little bit of everything you can expect on a big mountain day out. Starting in Cogne, you follow a flat riverside trail to Lillaz when the climb begins. It’s steep initially, but it’s beautifully efficient on smooth tarmac, and when the tarmac ends, a gravel track carry’s on, never too steep, until just 300m from the col. The final pitch, a traversing singletrack, is a mixture of mostly pushing, some pedalling, and a tiny amount of carrying over two small rock steps. Cursing can be expected here. But look left, that’s 4061m Gran Paradiso over there, cheer up! It’s a long climb, but you’re unlikely gain 1500m to almost 3000m altitude any more easily.

The Descent

Once you’ve updated your Instagam profile with questionable selfies, the descent! All 15km of it, and with the exception of a couple of very short climbs, it’s all down. Fast, flowing, and with a few short technical section on the upper half, it’s generally flat out. There are two technical sections on the lower half of the descent, the first only a few metres long (video) but you’ll want to know the line to avoid an untimely demise. The second is more sustained, physical, and with a real thirst for rear derailleurs (video). Think rock steps and awkward rocky switchbacks – delicious if you’re a confident rider, probably a short walk if you’re not. Either way, they make up  tiny percentage of the full descent.




Useful Info

Parking: Free parking, toilets available, electric car charging avialable.
Map: Aosta-Pila-Valle di Cogne-Gran Paradiso (Fraternali Editore)