Cycle in the tyre tracks of the Giro d’Italia, and up (and down) some of the world’s best climbs, including the 48 hairpins of the mighty Passo Stelvio – Italy’s most famous ascent.. Ride at your own pace among some of the most stunning scenery known to cycling and discover some hidden gems that only local cyclists (and your leader) know about!. Visit the church of the Madonna di Ghisallo – the ‘Patron Saint of Cycling’ and witness an amazing collection of cycling memorabilia from cycling legends including Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx.. Cycle the 100 hairpins of the stunning Sella Ronda route, possibly the best day you’ll ever have on a bike.
Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the jagged Dolomite Mountains to the mighty Italian Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Giro d’Italia. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Passo Gavia, Passo Pordoi, Mortirolo and the iconic hairpins of the Passo Stelvio. Add the 100 hairpins of the stunning Sella Ronda route, a visit to the Ghisallo, home of the Patron Saint of Cycling, plus uncover some hidden gems that only local cyclists know about, and you’ve got the perfect Italian road cycling trip. This is an adventure that will test your cycling skills while rewarding you with sublime mountain vistas, thrilling downhills, great company and an excuse to eat as much pizza, pasta and gelato as you want!
Breakfast Included: 5 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Benvenuto a Treviso! Your cycling adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you arrive early, check out the Treviso Cathedral, Casa dei Carraresi, wander the ancient walls or chill out with a good Italian expresso in the charming Piazza dei Signori. Alternatively, you may want to spend some time in vibrant Venice, located a short 30-minute train ride away. If you’ve brought your own bike, it’s a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. There are a number of good quality bike shops in Treviso, but please note that most close around 7 pm on a Saturday and don't open Sundays or Monday mornings. For those that have brought their own GPS device, we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter what pace you’re going.
After breakfast start the day with a drive approximately 100 kilometres (65 miles) from Treviso to the small town of Lozzo di Cadore, on the border of the mighty Dolomites. After a quick bike check, set off on your first ride. Start by finding your cycling legs on a quick warm up ride on the relatively flat road before commencing a gradual climb through the valley of Cadore. You first cycle past Lake Auronzo with its pristine glacial waters to then follow the river upstream through a lush green valley with towering Dolomite peaks above. Climbing higher, the valley narrows with dense pine forests around. The gradient picks up getting closer to Misurina Lake before leaving the main road for the last 7km push up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The gradient really starts to bite in the last 4 kms (consistently above 10%) but the views are stunning as the pine forest gives way to jagged peaks with frequent glimpses of the valley far below.
The three peaks of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo are the symbol of the Dolomites and the 360 degree views at the top will take your breath away. Take a short break for a coffee or cool drink from the café and admire the view before descending the same road to Misurina Lake and carry on the descent to the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Perhaps enjoy an evening walk around the delightful Centro Storico (Old Town) and enjoy dinner at one of the many well priced restaurants.
This is pure cycling country and the nearby climbs are a regular feature in the Giro d’Italia. Today you have a double treat in store as you climb two nearby iconic passes: the Passo Giau (2236 m/7335 ft) and the Passo Pordoi (2239 m/7345 ft) and enjoy part of the legendary Sella Ronda route.
Beginning your ride from the hotel, you’ll soon ascend the mighty Passo Giau – one of the more challenging climbs in the Dolomites. The effort is well worth it for the amazing panoramic mountain scenery and snaking hairpins, on a clear day it is a truly unforgettable sight! This is what cycling dreams are made of.
After the obligatory photos (believe us when we say you’ll take plenty!) descend down to the small hamlet of Santa Lucia to top up your energy levels with a well-earned drink and bite to eat before commencing your next section of riding. Catch your breath while you ride along a narrow valley toward Arabba before the road heads upwards once again. Leaving Arabba the climb begins almost immediately with small switchbacks, rising steadily for 10 kilometres (5 miles) until you reach Passo Pordoi (also known as Cima Coppi). This is a tough ascent, but once at the pass you are rewarded with yet more stunning scenery with the iconic Sella range towering above you high above the trees and green meadows.
Putting on layers, it is time to ride the lightening quick descent to Canazei in time to pack the bikes into the support vehicle for the 65-kilometre (40-mile) drive to the South Tyrol province and the charming city of Bolzano where a hot shower and relaxing afternoon awaits.
After an early breakfast, depart Bolzano and start the day with a 72-kilometre (45-mile) drive towards the Italian Alps and on to Laas, a delightful small-town featuring a beautiful variety of pastel-painted buildings. To warm the legs up after yesterday’s exertion, enjoy a leisurely ride of approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles) along the flat valley before commencing perhaps the cycling highlight of the trip – the mighty Stelvio Pass. Often designated the ‘Cima Coppi’ (the highest point of the Giro d’Italia), at 2758 metres (9050 feet), it’s the second highest paved road in the Alps and a formidable – and beautiful – climb. Starting from Prato, cycle up the ‘quieter’ side of the Stelvio, a 24-kilometre (15-mile) climb with stunning mountain and forest scenery, and 48 hairpin bends to help keep your mind off your legs along the way. Those hairpin bends are numbered backwards from the Pass so that you always know how far you are from the top! After reaching the top, the real fun begins as you ride the long descent through multiple switchbacks down to the cycling and ski mecca of Bormio. The rest of the day is free for you to explore and perhaps enjoy a tasty pizza or pasta dinner.
Time to relax! Today is officially a rest day and you may choose to simply put your feet up or walk around town – there's plenty to see and do in Bormio.
For those craving more cycling, there are a number of optional rides nearby, including going back up the Stelvio from the Bormio side (approximately 40 kilometres/25 miles and 1540 m/5050 ft of elevation gain), a loop ride up and down Passo Gavia (2618 m/8590 ft) or up to the Laghi Di Cancano (1962m/6440ft), included for the first time on the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Please bear in mind that these optional rides will be unsupported, and you will need to navigate the routes without the assistance of your guide.
Leaving early from Bormio, ride 30 kilometres (18 miles) slightly downhill along the green valley to the small town of Mazzo di Valtellina before leaving the busy road and heading uphill along the forested narrow road and 32 signed hairpins to the iconic Passo del Mortirolo (1854 m/6080 ft). Nicknamed Salita de Pirata or ‘Pirate’s Ascent’ after local legend Marco Pantani this strangely lonely climb is one for the purists - keep an eye out (at hairpin 11) for the monument honouring the much loved Italian cyclist.
This is a challenging climb, at an average gradient of 11% over 13 kilometres (8 miles) and you’ll use every gear your bike has, so hopefully yesterday’s rest day will have helped you recover! Once at the top, enjoy the fast 14km (8 mile) descent down to Grossio (take it easy on the narrow roads!) then shake the legs out on a cruisy 16kms to Tirano where your ride concludes for the day.
From here drive (95 kms/59 miles) to the lake side town of Varenna, from where we catch the ferry across the blue waters of the lake to the beautiful village of Bellagio located on the shores of Lake Como. Known for it’s cobbled (mostly car-free) streets, colourful yet elegant buildings and charming waterfront Bellagio is the picture perfect Italian lakeside village and a great place to relax after a week's cycling in the mountains.
Today is your final ride, and it’s a good one. Leaving the mountains behind, experience more breathtaking scenery with frequent views over picturesque Lake Como. Your last climbing challenge of the week starts right from the hotel as you leave the lakeside and cycle inland and follow the 9kms (5 miles) of sinuous roads featured in Il Lombardia, Italy’s famed cycling monument, up to the church of the Madonna di Ghisallo – the Patron Saint of Cycling.
This small church (probably the only religious site in the world that welcomes people wearing tight lycra!) is home to an amazing collection of cycling memorabilia from Fausto Coppi, to Eddy Merckx and more modern champions – this is a ‘must visit’ on any cyclist’s wish list.
After paying your respects to the cycling legends, cycle back down to Bellagio. From here we take a short ferry ride (approx. 15 mins) across to the charming town of Menaggio then cycle the undulating lakeside road heading south with stunning views over the lake. We pass regal villas and quaint villages before arriving in Cernobbio, our final destination, on the far end of Lake Como.
Time permitting, you can hop on a ferry over to Como for a visit. Often known as a playground for the rich and beautiful, Como is famous for its Gothic Como Cathedral, a scenic funicular railway and a waterfront promenade, as well as the jump off point for boat tours around the lake itself. This evening, celebrate your achievements – perhaps over dinner and a few beers or wines on the waterfront with fellow travellers – you've earned it!
Your cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are free to leave at any time, but with so much to see and do in the city of Como and its surrounding area, you may wish to stay on for a day or two and we will be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).