Tour Dates 22 July to 1 August 2017
Tour Cost – $5500
Availability – Open
Phone Rob 0416 274 161 to secure a spot
The Spectacular Dolomites
The Dolomites will take your breath away both on the bike and off it. We have put together a week of sensational riding in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. The rides of our ‘Tour Dolomiti’ have been made famous over many years in the Giro d’Italia. The towns we base our tours in are absolutely stunning, with plenty to see and do on or off the bike.
This is what Evan had to say about his Tour Dolomiti:
‘Had an absolutely awesome time in the Dolomites. If you have not been yet you want to give these guys a call. Small groups, great people and epic riding. Thanks Rob, Tony, Peter and Henda’.
Our first night is in Milan so we can welcome you to the tour and be ready to transit to Como the next morning. Milan is a great place to absorb some Italian culture, check out the history and style of the city and above all taste the delights of Italian cuisine. Milan is the fashion centre of Italy and that is on show everywhere in the city. For us though it is time to stretch the legs after some travel time to get to Milan. We have a welcome dinner in the evening to get to know each other and be briefed for the week ahead.
Milan to Como.
Ride distance 85kms and ascent 1896mtrs.
The transit to Como is short and we will have plenty of time to get organised for our ride. This is one of the most spectacular parts of Italy and the riding is in the same category. Our ride is a loop including the Muro di Somano and the Ghisallo. The backdrop of the lake and the mountains is truly wonderful. At the summit of the Ghisallo we stop at the little Church that is a shrine to cycling and the Giro d’Italia. Next to the church is the Museum of Cycling. Are you getting the idea that cycling is a passion in this area!
We have another bonus this day as well. It is the famous Muro di Sormano pictured below. This is what Wikipedia says about this climb-” This climb is famous as one of the most severe of any road cycling race, with an average gradient of 17% and a maximum of 25%. The road up the climb, though famous in cycling folklore, fell out of use from 1963 to 2006. After pressure from local cyclists it was restored, and now features split-times and soundbites from the riders of the climb in the 1960s era stencilled on the road. The current record time for the short but painful climb is 7 minutes 36 seconds, achieved by local rider Matteo Cappè”. All of our group took the challenge of riding the Muro on our last tour but you will be pleased to know there is an alternative route with a much steadier gradient! At the top of this climb is our coffee stop for the morning. Much appreciated.
Today we will do a short local ride and keep the afternoon free for a little Como time. This is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, let alone Italy. The opportunity to wander the streets of the old town will be well appreciated.
Como to Aprica.
Ride distance 71kms and ascent 2144mtrs.
After enjoying the delights of Como overnight today we transit to Aprica to ride the Mortirolo/Edolo loop. The Giro in 2013 turned off before reaching the summit of the Mortirolo but we will ride all the way before descending to Edolo.
The Mortirolo is one of the most testing climbs in Italy and features regularly in the Giro. We ride from Aprica to Mazzo where we re-group for our ascent. The ascent is not long at 12.4ks but there is 1300m of climbing and an average of 10.5%. The road is narrow and quiet with many hairpins. It is also in very good condition as it has been used so often in the Giro. It is on this climb that the memorial to Marco Pantani takes pride of place on a hairpin bend.
Aprica to Bormio.
Ride distance 80kms and ascent 2117mtrs.
Our next stop is Bormio and we get there by riding over the Gavia. The climb starts at the town of Ponte di Legno, Lombardy. It’s a gradual climb for about 4 kms but after that the gradient increases significantly. At the steapest it hits 16% with an average of around 8%. The distance climbed is 17.3km. Bring your lights because there is a tunnel near the top! The rest stop at the top is always welcome so we take time for photos and hot/cold drinks before starting the descent to Bormio. The cafe also has some great memorabilia of past Giro races.
This is a rest day of sorts as we head to the tax free area of Italy, Livigno. The climb is not hard or overly long but it is a favourite training ground for the pros. Last year we spoke to Tom Dumoulin who was using the route to warm up for the Giro. So it is a combination ride and shop day.
Ride distance 101kms and ascent 3229mtrs.
Today we climb the Stelvio from both sides!
This is perhaps the best know climb in Italy. The Stelvio is the highest pass in Italy and we have climbed it in brilliant sunshine and still been surrounded by snow. This is a great day on the bike for we get to climb the Stelvio from both sides as we descend the other side of the Stelvio into Switzerland. Here we stop for lunch before again ascending the Stelvio. Remember though that as well as two ascents, there are also two descents to look forward to!
The classic approach to the Stelvio is from Bormio but it is ridden and raced from both sides. From Bormio we are quickly on the start of the climb. The gradient is not too steep and it is easy to get into a rhythm. It is a ride in several parts. Initially a traverse along the side of the mountain. Then we are into the first set of swithchbacks followed by more steady climbing then more switchbacks and finally emerge into a valley that at first sight you might think is the summit, but no, it is just a respite before we hit the famous switchbacks shown in the picture below. It is hard to pick out a special climb from our repertoire but this one is right at the top of the list.
The ascent from the Prato Allo Stelvio side is more daunting in the sense that the summit and its many switchbacks are visible for much of the ride. The length is not so great though as from Bormio and initially the riding is in forest that keeps us cool and stops us looking up to see what lies ahead. So we quickly eat up the switchbacks till finally we emerge above the treeline to see the summit in all its glory. There is no stopping us now, the challenge is on. The reward is the photo at the summit, coffee at the hotel and purchasing a momento of the occasion. A chat with the sausage seller at the top reminds us of the history of this pass. He remembered the days when Eddy Merx stayed in the area for weeks of altitude training and climbed the mountain from both sides daily. Of course the pass remains a great place to train and ride as we know.
Ride distance 63kms and ascent 1660mtrs.
Our tour tour then transits towards the lovely alpine town of Canazei at the foot of the Passo Pordoi. The area surrounding Canazei has many fabulous routes, beautiful villages and spectacular scenery. Climbs in the area include Passo San Pellegrino, Passo Pordoi, Passo Fedaia, Passo Sella and many more.
After our efforts on the Stelvio today is a shorter ride, but challenging nonetheless. We head to Canazei via Tesero. Georgeous villages, quiet roads and thickly forested hills and a route that takes us literaly through a skifield. A spectacular day of riding that drops us into the valley below Canazei from where we follow the river into town.
Around Canazei we have designed rides that let us do loops into and around the stunning mountains. This is cycling at its most spectacular and challenging best.
San Pellegrino-Fedaia Loop.
Ride distance 91kms and ascent 2497mtrs.
Our first climb takes us over the Passo San Pellegrino. The climb starts at Moena. The road runs alongside a stream and through wooded areas before breaking out into cattle farming country. Once we reach San Pellegrino it is an excellent descent to Falcade and our first coffee stop of the day. At this point we have ridden about 40ks but with only 11 ks of ascent so everyone should be feeling pretty good.
From the café we continue to roll down the valley till the next climb of the day to San Tomaso. Here it a photo opportunity in the square and a top up of bottles before the push to the main climb of the day, the mighty Fedaia. This is a legendary climb. Around 14 kms and at gradients that range from 6-15% with an average of about 9% this can be a very testing climb. The reward is the view of the Massif which dominates the landscape. After photos and drinks at the summit it is a descent all the way to our base at Canazei.
Ride distance 64kms and ascent 2049mtrs.
On our second day of riding from Canazei we cover 64kms but we do so over 4 spectacular mountain passes. With 4 passes on this loop it is a challenging ride but the compensation is the Sella Massif that dominates the ride as we circumnavigate it offering spectacular views at every stage. We stop for lunch in the middle of the massif that is the Dolomites near the summit of the Passo Gardena. Around us is a cathedral of rock. It is a truly awesome experience.
The riders pictured below are at Passo Sella. One down three to go!
This is the last night of our Dolomiti Tour and our farewell dinner is a time to reflect on the great riding that we have had during the week and to start thinking about the next time….
Our Dolomites Tour concludes with a transit back to Milan.
Tour Dolomiti should be on every cyclists’ wish list, see you there !!!