- Cycling through stunning mountain scenery
- Climbing the iconic Mortirolo, Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio, all of Giro d’Italia fame
- Enjoying post-ride relaxation in typical chalet-style mountain hotels
- The sense of achievement on reaching the top of infamous, legendary climbs
- Sampling delicious Italian cuisine night after night
- Sweeping down stunning descents in reward for your climbing achievements
The Skedaddle team will be waiting to meet you at Bergamo airport and we will transfer together to the town of Iseo, situated on the shores of the lake which shares its name, where we will spend our first evening. After building and/or fitting to bikes we’ll enjoy dinner, over which the Skedaddle team will brief and provide instructions about the week ahead.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Ascent: 1,650 Metres Approx.
We’ll start the day gently, warming our legs as we cruise along the lakeside from where we can gaze in awe at the mountains and challenges which await us in the distance. Shortly after leaving Iseo we meet the relatively small, but not insignificant, Passo dei Tre Termini (681m) with its series of lovely sweeping bends. A swift descent follows, leading us down to Gardena Val Trompia where we can enjoy a short break and a cappuccino. From here we continue, gently, along the valley bottom before turning off to tackle the second climb of the day, the Cocca di Lodrino (735m). Surrounded by lush oak forests, we then have to negotiate another series of tight switchback bends which leads from the summit to the village of Nozza on the banks of Chiese River. Finally, via the shores of Lake Idro, we arrive in Bagolino where we spend the evening in a cosy local hotel.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,900 Metres Approx.
Today we enter into the beautiful Alpi Orobie properly, which, with their rugged peaks, are reminiscent of the Dolomites. Leaving our hotel we begin a gradual climb passing open, grassy fields and pine forests as we make our way up to the summit of Passo di Crocedomini (1,892m). The higher up we climb, the more spectacular views open up. After reaching the pass and having taken in the views, we cycle down the fast descent into the Val Camonica. On reaching the valley bottom we regroup in front of a cup of coffee, before cruising up the valley to our day’s destination at Edolo, a small town located under the Aprica pass.
This small pass, not far from the Mortirolo, became famous in the 1994 Giro d’Italia when Marco Pantani left Miguel Indurain behind on the final sprint for the finishing line. On reaching Aprica we settle into our hotel and rest in preparation for another big day ahead.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Ascent: 1,800 Metres Approx.
What lies ahead might be our shortest day so far but it does include the Mortirolo (1,852m), one of professional cycling’s most infamous ascents and the toughest climb in our schedule. Once described by Lance Armstrong as the hardest climb he’d ever ridden, it isn’t a climb to be taken lightheartedly, even if we are approaching it from the so-called ‘easy’ direction.
It is however an achievable challenge and taken at the right pace and with the right frame of mind it can be conquered… and today we are in no hurry! Having basked in the glory of our achievement, we leave the summit, carefully negotiating the many tight hairpins which wind their way, steeply, all the way back down into the Valtellina. On the way down we’ll pass the ‘blink and you miss it’ monument commemorating Italian hero Marco Pantani who died tragically in 2004, 10 years after a blistering attack on this very mountain resulted in an historic stage victory.
Once back down in the Vatellina we end the day riding gradually up the valley road to the mountain-and-spa town of Bormio, our home for the next two days.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 850 Metres Approx.
After yesterday’s epic ascent, today is an opportunity to rest our weary legs. Anyone not wishing to spend the entire day relaxing can join us for an optional morning ride up what is locally known as the ‘Little Stelvio’ on account of the 17 hairpin bends which lead up to the mountain lake of Lago delle Scale (1,935m). ‘Little’ it may be but is is still higher than we’ve reached on our adventure to date.
The afternoon is left free to enjoy a little downtime, a hearty lunch in town and perhaps a visit to the thermal baths as we prepare for the remaining the last two days during which we will test ourselves on two more of the Giro d’Italia’s most iconic climbs.
- Meals: Breakfast, dinner
- Ascent: 2,800 Metres Approx.
Some people refer to the Stelvio as the Queen of the Alpine Roads while others have nicknamed it King Stelvio. Whilst the gender of the mighty mountain may be a discussion point for some, its majestic credentials are never called into question and today we definitely have an audience with alpine royalty. What’s more, we get to experience it from both sides!
On just about every cyclist’s to-do list, the Stelvio, at 2,757m above sea level, is one of the highest points ever reached by the Grand Tours and definitely the highest point of our own tour. The climb begins gently as we leave Bormio and head to the old spa of Bagni Vecchi, after which the amazing views of soaring peaks surround us and leave us in no doubt that we are about to enter the real high mountains.
As the altitude gains so too does the average gradient, although there are frequent sections of respite where the gradient eases slightly, allowing us to catch our breath and take in the jaw-dropping scenery. After almost 25km of climbing we reach the summit where will take time to soak up busy hustle and bustle of cyclists and other sightseers dropping in to enjoy the views and take their obligatory photographs.
Once re-assembled and everyone has caught their breath we will head down over the other side and ride down to the village of Trafoi via the 48 hairpin bends for which the Stelvio has become famous. On reaching Trafoi we’ll take a break before about-turning and heading back over those magnificent hairpin bends, back over the summit and then finally descending back to Bormio.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.
While the Stelvio scores points for high altitude and high drama, Passo Gavia, only slightly lower at 2,620m, rivals it in beauty and with its stunning scenery, including several alpine lakes approaching the summit, is considered by many to be even more spectacular.
In what is by now familiar fashion, the road from Bormio eases us in gradually with 12 gentle kilometres along the valley to the town of Santa Caterina. From here things start to get a little more serious as we start to ride up through the hairpins, initially surrounded by pine woods but before too long passing the tree line and entering a more open terrain.
Beyond the trees the grassy mountainsides eventually give way to a landscape of bare exposed rock and low shrubs until finally we reach the summit where we can take a breather and celebrate the completion of the final climb of our tour by sampling the cakes in the cafe which overlooks the pretty lake that tops the mountain.
It is, quite literally, all downhill from here as we descend, firstly to Ponte di Legno and then finally down the valley to Edolo where, after a hot shower, we sit down one last time at the dinner table to recount our adventure.
The title of the tour suggests the nature of the terrain: high mountains. The riding takes us into some of the most fantastic regions of Italy’s Northern Alps and features a number of long switchback climbs, sometimes up to 25km long, followed by similarly long descents.
Gradients are generally moderately steep with short sections occasionally creeping up to 10-12%.
Road surfaces are generally very good although they can be affected by seasonal weather extremes – occasional gravel sections, potholes and rough surfaces may be encountered. Traffic is generally light away from the cities and town although some of the more iconic climbs attract sightseeing drivers. Some stages feature short sections on designated cycle-paths paths, particularly the valley bottoms, in order to avoid busier roads in the more urban areas.
Road Cycling Grade
Distances between 50-75 miles / 80-120km per day
For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time
Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities
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 enthusiast. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cylo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols, or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.
Dates & Prices
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.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en-suite rooms)
B) Meals as per the itinerary above
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 Milan Bergamo airport (BGY)
What's not Included
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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