Giro d’Italia

Whenever the Treasury Secretary sanctions another trip into the high mountains, I think ‘Giro d’Italia’.

To be more precise: when I mention Italy, I think of the Dolomites in the northeast, nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino. Just looking at the pictures and profiles of the climbs there, does make my heart beat faster.

Obviously, I do not mind wandering off in the Ortler Alps to the west of the Dolomites, if only for the Stelvio, Gavia and a few equally beautiful passes. But, as much as I like the area around Bormio, it pales in comparison to that of the Sella group, which may be considered the heart of the Dolomites.

My most favorite spot in this cycling heaven, is Corvara in Badia (or Kurfar) at the bottom of the climbs up the Campolongo* and Gardena, the Valparola being just around the corner.

The views are overwhelming – the Sassongher towering over it – but if you want a bit more activity, you should probably go to the other end of the Gardena, to Selva di Val Gardena or Sante Cristina. Or, alternatively, to the east, to Cortina d’Ampezzo at the bottom of the climbs up the Giau and Falzarego.

If you want to stay in an equally strategically placed town in the Ortler Alps, you will most likely end up in Bormio. Other than the starting point of the climbs up the Gavia and the Stelvio, it also connects to the Foscagno leading to Livigno. And it is within cycling distance of two of the climbs up the Mortirolo…

So, whenever there is a trip scheduled to these areas, I shamelessly dub it ‘Giro d’Italia’. After all, the UCI pro version of that course is usually decided in the mountain stages there 🙂

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*At least the more commonly known final 6 kilometers of it: the full Campolongo starts in Pederoa, 14 kilometers north of Corvara.

Favorite hot spot for my Giro d'Italia - near Corvara, view on the Sella group
Picture by Vasile Cotovanu – Flickr: Colfosco and Sella, CC BY 2.0

Giro d’Italia 2015

In June 2015 we went back to Italy for some more. Again divided into two parts: one week in Corvara and one in Bormio (Valdisotto). It was concluded with a smashing Swiss stage on the way back home.

Some old friends like the Stelvio and Giau were revisited and new friends like the Würzjoch were found – sadly, we were denied the world renounced view on (top of) the Tre Cime di Lavaredo because of the clouds/fog.

The Swiss stage brought us the Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel – the special Via Tremola, the breathtaking views from both the Furka and Grimsel were something not easily forgotten either…

Summary of this trip here.

Giro d’Italia 2011

In July of 2011 I had my first “Giro d’Italia”. It consisted of two parts, one based in San Pietro (near Selva di Val Gardena) and the second part based in Valdidentro (Bormio).

The most difficult climb of that Giro was the Monte Zoncolan. Difficult ‘as is’, this ‘gateway to hell’ almost got the better of me. However, it made climbing the Mortirolo seem like a piece of cake.

Read more about this trip here.

Giro d’Italia 2015 – The Stats

Giro 2015 VeloviewerAlmost a week has passed since my final ride in Switzerland and I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my Giro d’Italia 2015 is over and that it’s mostly going to be the flats of my backyard again as far as riding zee baik is concerned.

Oh well, we had an unforgettable time in Italy and Switzerland once more and collected enough memories during those rides to last for months.

Despite the current heatwave – the temperature is expected to rise to a healthy 40 degrees Celsius – the wind is continuing to do its best to make the efforts of my rides resemble climbing up another mountain.

The only difference with (most of) the wind I endured during my Giro, is that it’s not freezing cold – it’s more like a mistral, which is really not any better…

Read moreGiro d’Italia 2015 – The Stats

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Countdown

Passo Gardena - Sella Ronda 2011

Yes, I am completely bonkers and yes, I do know that UCI’s Giro d’Italia has finished.

And I have enjoyed watching that very much, with Contador’s comeback on the Mortirolo probably being the most exciting hour of an overall eventful race.

However, that was just to warm me up for my own Giro d’Italia 2015, which will obviously be even more epic and I am counting down the days left to the start…

Read moreGiro d’Italia 2015 – Countdown

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Valdisotto

The Stages Part 2: Valdisotto

Bormio 2011For the second part of the Giro d’Italia 2015, we’ve booked an apartment in Valdisotto.

Valdisotto is located just south of Bormio, on the road to Grosio and Mazzo di Valtellina, two starting points for the climb up the Mortirolo.

Other than the Mortirolo from Mazzo, I already cycled a couple of other passes in the area four years ago. Most notably the Gavia (both ends), the Foscagno, the Umbrail and of course the Stelvio.

The latter I cycled up twice, but I’m pretty sure that one of the stages will include it again this year, for instance if/when I decide to ride my own version of the Dreiländergiro*.

Read moreGiro d’Italia 2015 – Valdisotto

Giro d’Italia 2015

Giro d'Italia 2015 - the Sella group

Two weeks in heaven

From June 12 to June 26, we were in (cycling) heaven for two weeks for my own ‘Giro d’Italia 2015’. Both from Corvara as from Valdisotto, I cycled the Giro of all Giro’s, concluded with a breathtaking final stage from Airolo, Switzerland.

The first week of my Giro d’Italia 2015, we had an apartment in Corvara, from where a score of passes can be cycled. Most famous new cols for the “Col Collector’s list” were Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Würzjoch, but also de Alpe di Siusi made it on there.

Part two of the Giro was based in Valdisotto, from were the Mortirolo was attacked from Monno and the Bernina was cycled in full, from both ends in one trip. I did that with the Gavia and Stelvio too, by the way…

The final stage of the Giro d’Italia 2015 was, in fact, entirely in Switzerland. It included the Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel, which brought me scenery unlike any I’d seen before, although the preceding revisit to the Stelvio brought back some great memories…

You can read all about the – in total 12 – stages, concluded with a recap in these separate posts:

A stage of my Giro d'Italia 2015 - the Stelvio from both ends

Planning / Preparation

Ever since my epic Giro d’Italia 2011, I’ve been longing to get back to the Italian Alps.

The Bormio area, at the base of the Stelvio and the Gavia, is situated in the Ortler Alps (Lombardia region) and while it’s a great place to be, I enjoyed the Trentino – Alto Adige area just a bit more. Together with Veneto (Belluno) this is better known as “the Dolomites range” and it’s a true paradise.

So, this June, Paula and I will go back there – we will again stay in both areas to revisit mountains climbed back in 2011, but obviously I’m also looking to conquer new ones.

Until then, you can follow my preparations for my “Giro d’Italia 2015” on this page – as always, preparation is half the fun, right?

Related posts:

General info on my ‘Giro d’Italia’ expeditions here.