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Italy

Alps and Dolomites - Giants of the Giro

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

9 days

Prices from

$2,340 P.P.
Italy

Alps and Dolomites - Giants of the Giro

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

9 days

Prices from

$2,340 P.P.
BOOK NOW
Our most challenging Italian road cycling tour takes us through the Italian Alps and into the mighty Dolomites. Huge castles, vineyards and dramatic mountain peaks mark the far north of Italy as a genuinely special riding destination. It’s a dramatic setting with the high Alps of Austria to the north and the Swiss Alps to the east - it is here that the Giro d’Italia showcases some of the most challenging and thrilling mountain riding in the world of professional cycling.
Our tour takes in the most spectacular of these mountains and, of course, their legendary climbs. Starting our week in the spa town of San Pellegrino Terme, near Bergamo in the Alps, our introductory climb is Passo San Marco which taking us up to almost 2,000m above sea level for the first of many times.
During the course of the next few days things get progressively tougher as we dig deeper into the mountains. An early highlight is the Mortirolo, a climb once described by Lance Armstrong as the hardest he’d ever ridden.
More classic climbs, including Passo Gavia (2,620m) and the legendary Passo Stelvio (2,758m), follow in quick succession before we transition into the Dolomites via the Adige Valley. Once amongst their spectacular limestone peaks we take on the 4 passes of the Sella Ronda, possibly the most spectacular loop ride in the whole of Italy.
Later we conquer Passo Rolle and Passo Valles as we make our way to the mountain resort town of San Martino di Castrozza. For a grand finale we take on the 30km ascent of Monte Grappa (1,775m) before completing our adventure in the lively town of Bassano del Grappa.
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Highlights

  • Cycling through stunning mountain scenery
  • Climbing the iconic Mortirolo, Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio of Giro d’Italia fame
  • Enjoying post-ride relaxation in typical chalet-style mountain hotels
  • Re-charging your energy levels every evening with tasty local fayre
  • Testing your legs and endurance on the final Monte Grappa climb
  • Enjoying an aperitif in the lively towns of San Pellegrino Terme, Bormio and Bassano del Grappa

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I have done several continental cycling tour holidays and this trip set a whole new standard!

David, UK

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Milan Bergamo
Non Riding Day

Following your arrival in Bergamo we will transfer you to the spa town of San Pellegrino Terme where we will spend our first evening. Once a grand thermal centre, San Pellegrino is still a lively town and sits nestled in a narrow valley in the midst of the soaring mountains.

Day 2
San Pellegrino Terme to Tirano via Passo San Marco
78 Miles / 125 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,400 Metres Approx.

We leave San Pellegrino Terme via an old railway line, now converted into a designated cycle path, and head up the valley to Piazza Brembana where we begin to ascend Passo San Marco. A 25km climb reaching almost 2,000m above sea level, this little-known pass is not to be sniffed at. We’ll enjoy a well-deserved lunch at the summit after which a deserved 25km descent takes us down to Morbegno in the Valtellina valley where we spend the rest of the day pedalling along a series of quiet secondary roads and well-surfaced cycle paths until we reach our destination in the town of Tirano.

Day 3
Tirano to Bormio via Mortirolo and Gavia
59 Miles / 95 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 3,300 Metres Approx.

Leaving Tirano we have a gentle 10km to warm up before we arrive at an inconspicuous right hand turn which marks the beginning of the infamous Mortirolo. The challenging climb, with its 4 sections of 18% and average gradient of 11%, certainly lives up to its reputation. 8kms into the climb we pass the famous monument honouring Italian hero and Giro winner Marco Pantani who famously launched a blistering attacked here and went on to take a stage victory during the 1994 race.

Once we’ve caught our breath at the summit we’ll descend before taking the valley road to Ponte di Legno where the seemingly never-ending and fantastically-scenic slopes of the Gavia await us. A final sweeping descent takes us down to the mountain town of Bormio which will be our home tonight.

Day 4
Bormio to Bolzano via Stelvio, Passo Palade and Passo della Mendola
106 Miles / 170 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 3,500 Metres Approx.

Today is, by far, our longest day as we ride into the Dolomites region. With 3,500m of climbing however, it cannot be considered merely as a transition stage and we start the day with what is possibly the most famous of all of Italy’s classic climbs.

Peaking at 2,758m above seal level, Passo dello Stelvio is one of highest mountain passes in Europe and is known around the world for its 48, impressively-engineered, tight hairpin bends. We descend the mountain via those bends into the Adige Valley and push on along the river towards Bolzano in the province of Trentino.

The stage finishes in style with successive ascents of Passo Palade and the Passo della Mendola, both of which featured in the Giros of recent years. At 1,500m and 1,300m they may seem like mere bumps by comparison to what has preceded, however at the end of such a day they certainly pack a punch!

Day 5
Bolzano to Arabba via Passo Nigra and Passo
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,800 Metres Approx.

Today we will head into the very heart of the Dolomites via roads less-travelled and a series of lesser-known climbs. The climbs are, nevertheless, outstandingly beautiful and serve as a very fitting overture to what lays in wait for us during the next couple of days.

Passo Nigra (1,688m) is our first challenge which we must tackle before rolling gently upwards and then gently downhill to Passo Costalungo. The downward trend continues as we head further down into the Val di Fassa and then onwards to the town of Canazei, a community dominated by the towering vertical cliff faces of the enormous Sella Massif.

The final challenge of the day begins in Canazei as we ascend to the summit of Passo Pordoi (2,239m) after which we cruise down to Arabba where we will be staying for the next two nights.

Day 6
Sella Ronda Loop Ride (Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, Passo Gardena, Passo Valparola, Passo Falzarego)
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 2,400 Metres Approx.

Our exploration of the roads around the Sella Massif is possibly one of the most spectacular loop rides in the world. The circular route boasts an impressive roll-call of classic climbs including Passo Pordoi (2,239m) which we take on from the opposite direction to yesterday, Passo Sella (2,240m) and Passo Gardena (2,121m).

On reaching the town of Corvara in Badia those of us who have had enough climbing can head directly back to Arabba for an afternoon of relaxation, while others may choose to continue and conquer Passo Valparola (2,168m) and Passo Falzarego (2,109m) before calling it a day.

Day 7
Arabba to Siror via Passo Valles and Passo Rolle
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 2,000 Metres Approx.

As we bid farewell to Arabba, we start the day with a welcome 32km of mainly downhill riding after which a sharp change in direction announces the start of our first test of the day, the challenging 20km climb through dense forest to Passo di Valles.

From here the road drops away swiftly for 8km until we reach the start the Passo di Rolle. As we climb we pass through the Brenta region where we are treated to some of the Europe’s most spectacular scenery.

Half way into the exhilarating descent from the summit of the Rolle we pass through the mountain resort town of San Martino di Castrozza, nestled below the towering craggy peaks of the magnificent Pale di San Martino. Descending further we finally reach our hotel in the delightfully scenic town of Siror.

Day 8
Siror to Bassano del Grappa via Passo Croce d’Aune & Monte Grappa
62 Miles / 100 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,700 Metres Approx.

We’ve reached the final stage of our own mini Giro and it’s another epic ride featuring two more classic and historic mountains. The first is Croce d’Aune, the start of which is in the town of Zorzoi that we reach after approximately 20km of mainly downhill riding. This somewhat unassuming little climb is hugely significant to cyclists worldwide as it is here that Tullio Campagnolo, founder of the revered component manufacturing company, is reputed to have come up with the idea of the quick release skewer while attempting, and apparently failing, to remove the rear wheel from his bicycle.

A monument to the legendary inventor commemorates the occasion and five decades later, after Tullio himself had passed away, the Campagnolo Company named a groupset after the mountain.

We descend via another series of hairpin bends to Pedavena from where we launch our final mountain assault. Monte Grappa, considered by historians to be the place where ‘Italy was made‘, is the site of an historic battle ground that saw significant action during both World Wars. At the summit we’ll pass the second monument of the day, this one, more poignantly than the first commemorates, and holds the remains of some 12,615 soldiers, the identities of which more than 10,000 are unknown.

Whilst we may feel a little reflective as we pass over the summit we can allow the beauty of the landscape to lift our spirits as we embark on a breath-taking final 20km descent which eventually delivers us to our final destination. The beautiful Roman town of Bassano del Grappa sits on the banks of the Brenta River and is the perfect place to finish a remarkable journey and perhaps celebrate with a shot or two of the local grappa.

Day 9
Departure: Venice
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast this morning we will transfer to Venice Airport in time for homeward or onward flights.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The riding takes us into the fantastic regions of Italian Northern Alps and Dolomites, engaging in long winding climbs followed by long descents, often with a long series of switchbacks. The Grappa will challenge you to the longest climb, taking us 30km to reach the top. Gradients vary throughout the trip, but you will encounter 8-12% gradients in some sections.

The most difficult climb is the Mortirolo, which will test you on a regular basis with sections up to 18%. The road is generally very good both in terms of tarmac quality and width and heavy traffic is only usually encountered in the proximity of towns, and on the most iconic climbs. On some days there are sections on cycle paths to avoid the unpleasant and busy roads along the valley bottoms. The choice of the type of gearing is mainly linked to your fitness level and your personal preferences, taking into account that this tour is a grade 4-5.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4 - 5

A challenging ride with a level of difficulty somewhere between Grades 4 & 5. Not quite as tough as our most challenging tours but will feature long distances upwards of 60 miles / 100 km per day and will include a number of tough climbs.

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re an experienced cyclist and have ridden in the high mountains on numerous occasions. You’re keen to push your boundaries a bit further. You’re well-equipped with all the gear necessary to keep yourself warm and safe in the mountains in all conditions, a self-sufficient rider who likes to get on and ride with minimum fuss and faffing. Your riding experience is the most important aspect of your trip. You live to ride, love to climb and the prospect of consecutive days of long distances and/or multiple extended or high-altitude ascents fills you with joy. You’re a very competent descender, but you understand the risks of road riding and always ride with your own safety, and that of your companions, at the forefront of your mind. You’re already fit and you’re prepared to work hard to stay in shape in order to get the best possible experience out of your holiday.

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The cycling was everything I expected and more. Superb scenery, challenging climbs, and fantastic descents.

Guy, UK

Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
17/07/2021
Return Date
25/07/2021
Duration
9 days
Price
$2,340.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en-suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in First Aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Milan Bergamo airport (BGY)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Milan Bergamo airport (BGY) by 11:30 for a 12:00 transfer.

At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group to Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE), with an estimated arrival time of 10:00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

The majority of our accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en-suite in 3* hotels or guesthouses.

Bike Hire

If you have opted to hire then your bike will typically be a Giant Defy or Contend with Giant/Liv Avails (alu frames) for those preferring a women’s specific frame. They are great bikes with good quality components and generally come equipped with at least one bottle cage, a saddle bag and a small pump. We can also include a helmet which should be requested at time of booking. Please note that your bike will come with flat pedals as standard, so please do bring your own if you use clip-in pedals.

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