Ortles Alps Weekend
Ortles Alps Weekend
One weekend, three iconic climbs: test yourself on the Mortirolo, Gavia and Stelvio passes over two days
At GPM10, we have designed our ‘weekend series’ to ensure that a tight schedule does not prevent you from experiencing the fantastic cycling on offer in France and Italy. The third weekend in our series is the Stelvio Weekend.
GPM10’s Stelvio weekend is based in the ski town of Bormio, high in the Ortles Alps in the province of Sondrio. This remote and ruggedly beautiful area includes three iconic climbs of the Giro d’Italia: the Passo del Mortirolo, the Passo di Gavia, and the legendary Passo dello Stelvio. We will tackle all three passes over the course of two days, meaning that this is the toughest of our weekends on offer. We therefore recommend you have a good level of base fitness and previous experience of riding in the high mountains before you book.
On the road you will be supported by our professional guides and acclaimed logistical service, enabling you to focus on simply enjoying the ride. Accommodation is in an excellent three-star hotel that caters specifically for cyclists.
May 30 - June 2, 2014 Fully Booked
Total distance: 212.5km
Total climbing: 6,180m
Friday: Arrive at Milan Linate airport and transfer to Bormio
Our staff will meet you at Milan Linate airport in the early afternoon, and a private transfer will take you on to our hotel in Bormio. On arrival, our mechanic will assist you with the assembly of your bike, before we dine in the hotel restaurant in the early evening.
Saturday: Bormio – Bormio via the Passo del Mortirolo and the Passo di Gavia
Major climbs: Passo del Mortirolo (1,852m) 12.4km at 10.5% (max 18%); Passo di Gavia (2,621m) 17.3km at 7.9% (max 16%)
Departing from our hotel, we will ride down the Valtellina valley for around 30km to the village of Mazzo di Valtellina, and the foot of the Passo del Mortirolo. Be warned: it is not without good reason that the Mortirolo is often cited as one of the hardest climbs in Europe. We therefore recommend you come equipped with a low gear of 34 x 28 or smaller in order to maintain a reasonable cadence. The road is narrow and tree-lined, and the slope is unrelenting. The gradient regularly pitches up to over 15% as you slowly count down the 33 hairpin bends on the grind to the summit. However, if you can conquer the Mortirolo, you can be safe in the knowledge that you can probably handle just about any climb in Europe.
We then drop down into the Valle delle Messi. After 15km on the valley floor we arrive in Ponte di Legno and the start of the Passo di Gavia. The Gavia has played host to many an epic Giro battle, including American Andy Hampsten’s famous solo break through a blizzard en route to overall victory in 1988. The lower slopes wind through an alpine forest, before the road narrows and opens out into a stunning panorama of snow-capped peaks. From the top, all that remains is a long and enjoyable descent back to our base in Bormio.
Sunday: Bormio – Bormio via the Passo dello Stelvio and Umbrail Pass
Major climbs: Passo dello Stelvio from Bormio (2,758m) 21.5km at 7.1% (max 12%); Umbrail Pass (2,501m) 14.6km at 7.7% (max 11%)
We leave our hotel in Bormio in the early morning. Today there is almost no warm-up as the southern side of the Passo dello Stelvio - the second highest mountain pass in Europe -begins as soon as we leave town. The road ranks among the most spectacular in the world, and even caused the legendary racing driver Stirling Moss to crash during a vintage car race in the 1990s. Once you reach the summit at 2,758m, no less than 48 hairpin bends await you on the 25km descent to Prato allo Stelvio.
A flat ride north then takes us to the village of Sluderno, where we turn and ride towards the Swiss border. Once in the town of Santa Maria Val Müstair, we commence the Umbrail Pass, which eventually brings us back to the Stelvio road. On this little known climb you can easily imagine yourself in a legendary Giro scene of old, as the road includes gravel sections nearer the summit. We then conclude our weekend in style, with another 20km descent back to Bormio.
There will be time to shower, and our mechanic will assist you in packing your bike before a private transfer will take you back to Milan Linate for flights departing from 8.30pm onwards.