We have just wrapped up our 9 day tour following the 100th edition of the Giro across the Italian Alps and Dolomites, and what a final week it was. With amazing riding and spectacular scenery up some iconic mountains, and delicious food and wine shared with our group each night, this was the perfect way to take in this Grand Tour’s final week
Here are a few highlights from on and off the bike.
Day 1: Bormio – Cancano
After arriving to Bormio for a welcome lunch of beautiful local produce, we had a small warm-up ride to Cancano Lake, also know as “little Stelvio” with its many switch backs. This was followed by our welcome dinner at one of Bormio’s premier restaurants in a 14th century cave with the food highlights being homemade fettucine with pesto citrus and parmesan chips, and a dish of smoked Osso bucco, cooked for 12 hours.
Day 2: Bormio – Gavia
On Sunday, we tackled Passo di Gavia on a road that was still closed to motorbikes and cars. This was a beautiful experience with snow still alongside the road and only cyclists enjoying the tranquility of the open, snow covered landscape. The taste of the day was to be the inferno Valtellina, a beautiful local red wine to accompany our 4 course dinner made completely from local produce or ‘Zero km’s’.
Day 3: Bormio – Mortirolo
Monday was the day we took on Mortirolo and its whopping average of 10.5% for 12.4km. This was a climb that pushed everyone. After we finally made it back up the valley and had time to take a dip in the old roman baths, we enjoyed a beautiful 5 course private and traditional Lombardian meal, courtesy of our fantastic hosts at our family run hotel. Capped off with our traditional nightly digestive of Braulio around the fire, this was the perfect way to end a tough and long day on the bike.
Day 4: Bormio – Stelvio
Stelvio was on the schedule for Tuesday to watch the Cima Coppi, double ascent of this iconic mountain, and it was quite a unique experience to be a part of such a grand procession of fellow riders and spectators. There were literally thousands of people riding up the mountain, making it feel like a pilgrimage. Arriving back into town for the finish of this great Stage and enjoying a few post-ride local beers in the atmosphere of the 100th Giro in spectacular sunshine made for an awesome day all round.
Day 5: Tirano – Start Village
Before we departed for our transfer across to the Dolomites, we took the opportunity to enjoy the start village in Tirano from the VIP area, where we were able to get up close to the action with riders as they signed on for the stage and took their final espresso before the start.
Day 6: La Villa
Our first day in the Dolomites and what a day of riding, with the highlight being taking on the climbs of Passo Campolongo, Passo Giau and Passo Falzarego before we watched the race pass by and then continued on to Passo Valparolo, and a 16k descent home. The landscape of the Dolomites is like nothing else.
Post-ride we enjoyed aperitivo at our local and traditional Alta Badia bar, indulging in beautiful, thinly sliced speck, local cheeses and the very complimentary and delicious array of pane, all washed down with local beers and prosecco…..while taking in the picture perfect setting as a backdrop and as the sun set.
Day 7: La Villa – Sella Ronda
On our last day in the Dolomites, we rode the beautiful Sella Ronda route of Gardena, Sella, Pordoi and Campolongo, a day of 4 climbs and 4 descents, and truly spectacular scenery. In the evening, we experienced another very local, 5 course Ladin meal from the region with delicate home made ravioli with spinach and ricotta, topped with butter, olive oil and garden fresh chives. The slow cooked pork ribs and polenta which followed, accompanied by the amazing Blauburger wine, was an absolute standout.
Day 8: Asolo – Monte Grappa
Our last day of riding saw us transfer further south into the Veneto region, before making a start on the epic Monte Grappa. This was a day to test everyone with more heat than we had experienced all week, fatigued legs and a long 23.4km up. This was another day where we were to cross the Giro’s path and hence, it was another procession of cyclists of all types making the pilgrimage up the mountain.
Making our way through the small cobbled stone streets of Asolo to our hotel following a very tough day out on the bike, there was a great feeling of achievement for all. This had been a very big week of riding so to cap it off with a progressive aperitivo, local prosecco tasting and finally, dinner on a beautiful terrace overlooking the magnificent hills and vineyards of Asolo, while enjoying wonderful food and wine, was truly special.
What a week, thanks to our fantastic guests who helped make it a great experience. We’re already looking forward to our next Italian Adventure.
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