Giro 2020 Plans

Contrary to my past ‘Grand Tours’, I’m not going to write a road book for my Giro d’Italia 2020.

Every time I put a lot of effort in it and while I usually manage to generally follow the stages I had in mind, I frequently have to change plans anyway.

This can be for any number of reasons, my advancing age probably not being the least important.

But, I’ve also suffered from a cyclist nodule and intense, hernia induced or incident related (back) pains.

Plus, the weather can be a force to reckon with and not seldom have I been cycling in near freezing conditions or ice cold rain one day, only to have my brain blown out because of the heat the next.

And while I have new climbs to discover during this Giro, I am already quite familiar with the area(s) and most of its climbs.

So, I can leave it that and you can stop reading if you’re no longer interested, but I’m writing down a few (loose) ideas anyway…

Read moreGiro 2020 Plans

Giro d’Italia 2020

Gavia from Ponte di Legno 2015

After we had initially booked a vacation on Tenerife, where I would cycle and Paula would bake in the sun, we decided to not take avoidable risks and cancel that trip.

Paula being who she is, then asked me if I would be in for an alternative, like Italy, maybe the Dolomites…

The occasional visitor of this site will know that I didn’t need a lot of time to think that over – HELL YEAH!

So, this year, we’ll be based in Ponte di Legno, at the base of…

* Drum roll *

the Gavia.

Yes, it’s also on the road up Passo del Tonale, but let’s face it: that has gotten slightly less attention during the history of the Giro d’Italia.

It’s not in the Dolomites, but she also sanctioned a two-day trip with a one night stay at a hotel in Corvara.

More on this Giro d’Italia later, via various post, which I will list here.

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 and Gavia. 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 2020

The last week of July and the first week of August, we’ll have a base camp in Ponte di Legno for 11 days total.

Basically, because we found an all-inclusive **** hotel, with an offer that we couldn’t resist. And Ponte di Legno may not be Bormio, but it’s just as strategically located.

However, it is not located in my favorite area, the Dolomites. And although it’s relatively close by – a 2 to 3 hour drive to for instance Ponte di Gardena or Canazei – we have also booked one night in Corvara.

This will give me the opportunity to cycle there for two days, which is hardly enough to revisit all the passes in the area, but it’ll have to do.

More on this trip here.

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 cycled 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.

The Col Informer

Cyclopaat’s life being what it is, this is yet another project dedicated to his idiotic cycling adventures.

On these pages, you will find info on the more ‘famous’ climbs he’s had the pleasure to die on himself. The info you find on great sites like ClimbByBike are often too generic – just profiles, which usually mean jack shit  – to give you the whole picture.

The guys at The Col Collective provide great short movies on them, in which it looks even easier to climb a giant like the Bonette than Cyclopaat can possibly make up writing about it, so they’ll be added as they become available.

Anyway, have fun – or walk away while you still can – and feel free to share this page with your enemies…

NameCountrySummit
Grossglockner Austria2571
Col AgnelFrance2744
Col de la BonetteFrance2715/2802 (Cime)
Col de l'IseranFrance2764
Col du GalibierFrance2556/2642 (loop)
Alpe d'HuezFrance1860
Croix de FerFrance2068
Passo GaviaItaly2621
Passo delle StelvioItaly2758
Passo del MortiroloItaly1852
Monte ZoncolanItaly1735
Passo GiauItaly2236
Colle FaunieraItaly2478
FurkapassSwitzerland2436
GrimselpassSwitzerland2164
St. GotthardSwitzerland2091
UmbrailSwitzerland2501

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Part 2: Valdisotto

Valdisotto page header

Cyclopaat constructed his own Giro d’Italia 2015 – on this page, you can find the links to the reports of part 2, the stages from Valdisotto.

Epilogue

Giro d'Italia 2015 - EpilogueAs we will be leaving very early tomorrow morning, for the final “Swiss” stage of this Giro, I just flexed the muscles a bit around Bormio.

I headed towards Valdidentro, where the Alpen Hotel is located, our base camp in 2011.

After that, I returned via Le Motte, back to Santa Lucia and Bormio, were we then walked around town a bit, did some shopping and returned to the apartment.

We will start preparing the luggage and pile it into the car later on, which will probably exhaust me more than another Mortirolo 🙂

So, if all goes well, I hope to climb Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel tomorrow – a nearly 100 kilometer ride, including all descents, with a total elevation gain of of some 3,000 meters.

Going out with a blast…

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List – with links – of the stages from Valdisotto:

Transfer

As I strained a muscle in my back while preparing the transfer, I was afraid I might have to spend a couple of days in the passenger’s seat of the car.

Lunch break in SilandroTempting as that actually sounded at the time, I was not really amused – as I have built up some experience since my crashes in 2012 and 2013, I started taking NSAID’s and applied ice packs / heat patches.

However, I knew that the “transfer stage” to Bormio was a no go – apart from the inability to walk or stand straight, the only chance I had that I was going to be able to cycle again the next week, was to rest and (try to) relax.

So, no Mendola, Palade or Val Martello, just enjoying the views from within the car. The ride was actually enjoyable and not very eventful. We had a long(er) lunch stop in Silandro, where I had originally planned our base camp for part two.

Paula then knocked me out and put me blindfolded in the back of the car, as we were about to pass the Stelvio.

By the time we arrived in Valdisotto, I was pleased again with the apartment and the surroundings, albeit not as stunning as in Corvara.

We went shopping and had a beer and a good laugh on a terrace under a pleasant sun. It looks like I will live to climb another day – we’ll see tomorrow…