After Lago di Santa Croce I continued on SS51 almost to Ponte Nelle Alpi, but took a right toward Arsie just before PNA. After riding through a couple of little towns the climb proper begins. It's called Val Cantuna and is part of the Giro d'Italia this year, on the stage from Longarone to Treviso. It's a gorgeous road, wide, well-paved with long, looping switchbacks to ease the gradient. The scenery is spectacular as well, woodlands and meadows in the conch valley of Alpago surrounded by Friuli's mountains to the east, and Dolomiti Bellunese to the north and west. The road ends at Pieve d'Alpago, a pretty hillside town.
Below Pieve d'Alpago I tried another new road connecting Garna with Chies d'Alpago. All down hill this direction, but it would be a steep climb going east to west. I descended to Cornei and started the long climb to Tambre, Spert and Il Cansiglio. The toughest part is the climb from the gorge below Spert up to Campone and Il Cansiglio. After that you're home free. Plenty of visitors picnic-ing and hiking around Il Cansilgio on this sunny day.
The descent was fun but the long ride home up Via Pedemontane was hard- I had already used up all my energy and there was none left the last few miles. Good ride though- I may try the Val Cantuna approach next time I climb Monte Dolada.
|Val Cantuna with Monte Dolada (1938m) in background|
|Across the meadows toward Nevegal and Belluno|
|Sign for the Giro d'Italia stage|