Tour: Bormio > Mortirolo > Gavia > Bormio
This classic loop starts from the Bike Hotel La Genzianella.
If outside our parking place you turn right you choose the hardest tour and you head to Mortirolo.
Going right you do the tour on the reverse side that is less harder.
Since our guests are all well trained we turn right and head to Mortirolo.
Passo del Mortirolo is a hard pass (it has sections at 22%): in May 2004,
while training in Italian Alps, Lance Armstrong said that it was the hardest climb he had ever ridden.
Before the first tunnel, turn right direction "Cepina", it always follows the old road up to Mazzo di Valtellina,
synonymous Mortirolo for cyclists.
The road from Mazzo di Valtellina is one of the most demanding climbs in professional road bicycle racing, having been used in the Giro d'Italia stage race many times. The Giro only
went over the climb for the first time in 1990. In 1994, the first rider over the top was a young
Marco Pantani and there is now a memorial of il Pirata on the climb. His best time was 42 minutes.
Pantani made a name for himself on the Mortirolo and his attack in the next years instantly made
him a darling of the cycling media and in time, a national hero in Italy.
Back to our route the mountain pass can be climbed
1) from Mazzo di Valtellina: the actual climb to the summit starts at Mazzo di Valtellina
and is 12.4 kilometres long at an average of 10.5% (height gain: 1300 m), the maximum gradient being 18%
2) from Grosio: The actual climb to the summit starts at Grosio and is 14.8 kilometres
long at an average of 8.3% (height gain: 1222 m).
Climbed the mythical past ("temple of cycling" as stated by a sign along the road), we
we reach Monno where we have to turn left towards Ponte di Legno, about 20km,
then follow the signs to Passo Gavia up to 2620m.
It is a gradual climb for about 4 kms. The road is paved, but after a couple of km,
it turns to a dirty narrow one lane road, where it reaches suddenly 16%.
The Passo Gavia a really hard climb with 18% in parts. It never really
gets below 10% with steady, steep grades, lots of switchbacks and often very narrow. A dark gallery scares a lot of cyclists. Often you are tempted to increase the rhythm to exit the gallery, and when you are out you are exhausted! For the guests staying at the hotel we will provide bike lights for your climb. Just ask it at the reception!
Every few hundred meters there’s a little parking place carved out of the mountain,
for cars to pull over and pass. If summer has just begun at the top you will ride between snow walls. It is really spectacular!
Now it's all downhill a hard and tricky descent into Bormio with an incredible number of switchbacks;
the same descent as ridden by Andy Hampsten in 88’ Giro when it was snowing and freezing cold!
When you will be having a drink in La Genzianella garden you will have in your
legs 115km and 3200m of difference in altitude.
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