The Dolomites are a special and unique place. With breathtakingly beautiful scenery and a long list of mountain passes to conquer, it’s an idyllic Italian cycling holiday destination for those wanting a climbing challenge.
With both our Giro d’Italia cycling tour
and Como Stelvio & Dolomites
tour taking in many of the climbs of the Dolomites, we’ve recapped our top 5.
Passo Fedaia sits at the foot of the Marmolada Glacier and has been included in the Giro d’Italia 17 times.
It’s a tough ride at 14km’s long with a couple of steep pinches, but with some unique characteristics, including the slight detour to take in the Serrai di Sottoguda, a beautiful 2km gorge with a sheer wall more than 100m high, making this ride one of the best you will do.
Riding Sella Ronda is a superb day of climbing and descending, with spectacular landscape everywhere you turn. This is an iconic loop in the Dolomites and one that should not be missed, with the four distinct passes of Passo Gardena, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi and finishing with the beautiful, free flowing descent of Passo Campolongo . It’s a day where you will either be going up or down, but always in awe at the towering rugged peaks and the endless valley on the floor below.
At 60kms and 1820m evl, it is also the first stretch of the Maratona dles Dolomites.
With it’s steady and consistent gradients on the way up and it’s free flowing curves on the way down, this is a favourite on our Dolomites & Prosecco Road itinerary
whether we are ascending or descending it, often as part of our first day warm up ride.
Riding out of a valley surrounded by towering rocky peaks and the quintessential alpine village of Cortina d’Ampezzo, it is a 1000m and 16km trek up to the sensational Pian Falzarego. The landscape is ever- changing from the lush green valleys, to forests, and finally to the more desolate landscape, all the while being watched over by the imposing Dolomiti peaks.
Riding up to Passo Giau is one of our absolute favourite rides in the Dolomites and is a beautiful balance of a great challenge and reward amongst unique rugged snow-capped peaks.
The fun begins with a 15km free flowing descent before the little bump of Colle Santa Lucia, on the way to the base of Passo Giau. The climb then starts off with a straight 1km section that has pinches of 14%. The first hairpin arrives and so does our counting down the remaining 28 bends, as we push our way to the top. The trees start to give way to the classic Dolomites green pastures and, on a quiet day, you can even hear marmots whistle.
At about 2km from the top, we round a corner and are greeted with the spectacular view of the barren landscape and the Nuvolau peak, and then at the top is the ultimate reward of a 360-degree view, so spectacular you are humbled. There are some places in the world that have an aura about them greater than just their beauty, and this is one.
It is a challenging ride, but a fantastic ride.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Featured in the Giro d’Italia, Tre Cime is considered one of the biggest tests for any cyclist. Starting in Cortina d’Ampezzo, we climb up to Passo Tre Croci, followed by a very pleasant stretch to the scenic Lago di Misurina. We then take a right hand turn and the work begins, but so does the unveiling of an utterly majestic landscape that slowly unfolds out of the alpine forest.
At first, the stats don’t sound too bad. From Cortina, the climb is 21.9km long, with its highest point at 2333 m and an average grade of 7%. However, with a maximum incline of 18%, varying grades on short sections exceeding 15% and the last 4km’s just not letting up at an average 11.9%, this is a special day on the bike that delivers on many levels.
We’re hoping it’s going to be part of the Giro again in 2019 as we’ll definitely feature it in our Giro d’Italia cycling tour.
If you want to find out more about taking on these amazing Dolomites climbs for yourself, visit our Dolomites Cycling Tour
and Giro d’Italia Cycling Tour