After considering the Pyrenees and very seriously considering the Swiss Alps – we even made reservations for apartments there – it’s now final: this year my “altitude training” will be in Italy once more where I will cycle my own Giro d’Italia 2015!
Switzerland was cancelled due to the fact that our accommodation had become 25-30% more expensive overnight, after the Swiss let go of the Euro cap.
Compared to France and Italy, Switzerland is already an expensive country for a holiday, but since I was eager to climb mythical cols like the Gotthard, Grimsel, Nufenen, Susten and Albula, I was ready to pay extra.
However, when the costs for a 5-night stay rose to 800 Euro just for the apartment, with the chances that it would get worse considering the latest financial developments in the Euro-zone, I let go of the idea and I eventually managed to get a full two weeks of holiday in Italy for a little more than for those five nights in Switzerland.
The Italian Alps are favorite anyway, since my first trip in 2008 when I conquered the Stelvio from Prato. I then had a ball during my “Giro d’Italia 2011” when I had the chance to get to know more of the area and during which I climbed two dozen mountain passes.
Since then, I have been longing to get back – I have been to France twice but – at least for me – that didn’t match the “look-and-feel” of especially the Dolomites. Obviously, a stay in (the area of) Barcelonnette, Briançon or Bourg-d’Oisans will offer you fantastic scenery and brutal mountains and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a great time there too…
So, the first week of the Giro d’Italia 2015 we’ll stay in Corvara, which on the map from Cycling the Alps looks like the epic center of cycling paradise.
In 2011, I participated in the Sella Ronda Bike Day, which is a loop over four passes around the Sella group, with the added bonus of the roads being closed to all motorized traffic.
By the time they ride that this year, my Giro d’Italia 2015 will have moved to its next location, but I’ve “been there, done that”, so it’s okay.
I have not done the Maratona dles Dolomites and because that won’t be before we are back home, I will ride my own version of it.
Other than the Sella Ronda being part of that, also the Giau and the Valparola have to be climbed during this (max) 138 kilometer ride.
In the picture(s) the passes marked red were climbed in 2011, but many of those are on this year’s “to do list” again.
Most notable passes I “missed” in 2011 are Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which can be combined with Tre Croci from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Valcroce (Kreuztal), delle Erbe (Würzjoch) and of course the Plan de Corones (Kronplatz).
That last one was on the list, but I didn’t have the energy left after I climbed the Pennes and Giovo, before a long (car) transfer to San Vigilio.
I managed to get up the Furcia, but just looking at the start of the Corones, was enough to decide to call it a day at that time.
I’m studying the possibility to revisit the Zoncolan too, but that may just be too far away from Corvara.
Transfer by car to Ovaro will take up to three hours – cycling there will take me a lot longer, crossing Valparola, Tre Croci and Ciampigotto…
I’ve been in touch with a guy from Gruppo Dei Cas, who offer several apartments in the area.
He was very helpful in finding the “perfect” apartment for us – all three of them look great, but the addition of “penthouse” to the one (Rose) we eventually picked made all the difference 🙂
The original plan to stay in Silandro didn’t make it – it’s on the Prato side of the Stelvio and I absolutely want to ride that again.
But other than that, only Val Martello is a “must” on that side – most other climbs on my list are easier reached from Bormio and I’m hoping to get some Swiss climbs into my schedule too.
Also the “Stelvio fork” to Solda and Madonna di Campiglio were not climbed in 2011 and I might ride some version of the Drieländergiro, but I will not be starting in Nauders.
And yes, the Mortirolo is on the list again too – I climbed it from Mazzo in 2011, but I’m planning on cycling the alternatives – Edolo/Monno and/or Grosio as well…