Follow in the tracks of the Giro d'Italia as you tackle the legendary climbs of the Dolomites and Italian Alps

Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the jagged Dolomite Mountains to the mighty Italian Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Giro d’Italia. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Passo Gavia, Passo Pordoi, Mortirolo and the iconic hairpins of the Passo Stelvio. Add the 100 hairpins of the stunning Sella Ronda route, a visit to the Ghisallo, home of the Patron Saint of Cycling, plus uncover some hidden gems that only local cyclists know about, and you’ve got the perfect Italian road cycling trip. This is an adventure that will test your cycling skills while rewarding you with sublime mountain vistas, thrilling downhills, great company and an excuse to eat as much pizza, pasta and gelato as you want!


Start
Treviso, Italy
Finish
Como, Italy
Destination
Italy
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures, Cycling
Code
ZXXD
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cycle in the tyre tracks of the Giro d’Italia, and up (and down) some of the world’s best climbs, including the 48 hairpins of the mighty Passo Stelvio – Italy’s most famous ascent.

  • Ride at your own pace among some of the most stunning scenery known to cycling and discover some hidden gems that only local cyclists (and your leader) know about!

  • Visit the church of the Madonna di Ghisallo – the ‘Patron Saint of Cycling’ and witness an amazing collection of cycling memorabilia from cycling legends including Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx.

  • Cycle the 100 hairpins of the stunning Sella Ronda route, possibly the best day you'll ever have on a bike.

  • Enjoy a free day to relax and rest your legs in the beautiful town of Bormio, or if you can’t get enough of the wide-open road, take the opportunity to ascend the Stelvio along an alternate route.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Just as a heads up before you book: this trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise, but every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

  • Our ‘Road Cycling’ trips are physically the hardest Cycling trips we do at Intrepid and can be a definite physical challenge. However, we believe that anyone confident and competent on a bicycle, with a good level of fitness, can both complete and enjoy them.

  • Although this is a group trip, the differing levels of cycling fitness are more pronounced in the mountains. There will be times when you are likely to be riding on your own (but safe in the knowledge that the support vehicle/s and group leader are never too far away). At the initial group meeting we can provide downloadable files of the route for your GPS device to make sure you never get lost.

  • On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back-marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back-marker. For groups of 8 or more we will have a second support vehicle.

  • The route is designed so you cycle on the best parts and includes driving portions on most days. The support vehicle/s will almost always be available in case you need to take a break for an hour (or a day).

  • There may be times when the leader asks you to use the support vehicle for your own safety (such as on steep descents on windy days, or poor weather) – please respect this decision.

  • As the riding is on sealed roads there are no off-road technical cycling skills required. However, we highly recommend frequent downhill cycling practice before your trip to best prepare for the long and steep descents.

  • The weather in the Dolomites and Italian Alps is notoriously unpredictable, even in summer. There may be times when we need to reroute ir even cancel a ride due to unsafe weather conditions.

Itinerary

Benvenuto a Treviso! Your cycling adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you arrive early, check out the Treviso Cathedral, Casa dei Carraresi, wander the ancient walls or chill out with a good Italian expresso in the charming Piazza dei Signori. Alternatively, you may want to spend some time in vibrant Venice, located a short 30-minute train ride away. If you’ve brought your own bike, it’s a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. There are a number of good quality bike shops in Treviso, but please note that most close around 7 pm on a Saturday and don't open Sundays or Monday mornings. For those that have brought their own GPS device, we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter what pace you’re going.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

You have the choice of contributing to an optional food kitty of approximately 75 euro per person, per day. The crew will use this to purchase food to prepare lunch picnics and on-ride snacks such as cakes, fruit, and drinks such as coffee or cola along the way. This is purely optional, but those that do not wish to participate will need to source their own lunches and snacks along the way.
After breakfast start the day with a drive approximately 100 kilometres (65 miles) from Treviso to the small town of Lozzo di Cadore, on the border of the mighty Dolomites. After a quick bike check, set off on your first ride. Start by finding your cycling legs on a quick warm up ride on the relatively flat road before commencing a gradual climb through the valley of Cadore. You first cycle past Lake Auronzo with its pristine glacial waters to then follow the river upstream through a lush green valley with towering Dolomite peaks above. Climbing higher, the valley narrows with dense pine forests around. The gradient picks up getting closer to Misurina Lake before leaving the main road for the last 7km push up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The gradient really starts to bite in the last 4 kms (consistently above 10%) but the views are stunning as the pine forest gives way to jagged peaks with frequent glimpses of the valley far below.

The three peaks of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo are the symbol of the Dolomites and the 360 degree views at the top will take your breath away. Take a short break for a coffee or cool drink from the café and admire the view before descending the same road to Misurina Lake and carry on the descent to the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Perhaps enjoy an evening walk around the delightful Centro Storico (Old Town) and enjoy dinner at one of the many well priced restaurants.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The feature climb today is Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2333 m/7650 ft).
The riding distance is approximately 63 kilometres (38 miles) with a gradual climb in open valley in the first part, surrounded by forest and peaks and then becomes steeper till reaching the highest point of Rifugio di Auronzo with elevation gain of approx. 2050 m/6725ft. Riding time is approximately 4-5 hours.
This is pure cycling country and the nearby climbs are a regular feature in the Giro d’Italia. Today you have a double treat in store as you climb two nearby iconic passes: the Passo Giau (2236 m/7335 ft) and the Passo Pordoi (2239 m/7345 ft) and enjoy part of the legendary Sella Ronda route.

Beginning your ride from the hotel, you’ll soon ascend the mighty Passo Giau – one of the more challenging climbs in the Dolomites. The effort is well worth it for the amazing panoramic mountain scenery and snaking hairpins, on a clear day it is a truly unforgettable sight! This is what cycling dreams are made of.

After the obligatory photos (believe us when we say you’ll take plenty!) descend down to the small hamlet of Santa Lucia to top up your energy levels with a well-earned drink and bite to eat before commencing your next section of riding. Catch your breath while you ride along a narrow valley toward Arabba before the road heads upwards once again. Leaving Arabba the climb begins almost immediately with small switchbacks, rising steadily for 10 kilometres (5 miles) until you reach Passo Pordoi (also known as Cima Coppi). This is a tough ascent, but once at the pass you are rewarded with yet more stunning scenery with the iconic Sella range towering above you high above the trees and green meadows.

Putting on layers, it is time to ride the lightening quick descent to Canazei in time to pack the bikes into the support vehicle for the 65-kilometre (40-mile) drive to the South Tyrol province and the charming city of Bolzano where a hot shower and relaxing afternoon awaits.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The feature climbs today are Passo Giau (2236 m/7335 ft) and Passo Pordoi (2239 m/7345 ft).
The riding distance is approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) with two significant climbs and one significant descent, and an elevation gain of 3150 m/10300 ft. Riding time is approximately 4-5 hours.
After an early breakfast, depart Bolzano and start the day with a 72-kilometre (45-mile) drive towards the Italian Alps and on to Laas, a delightful small-town featuring a beautiful variety of pastel-painted buildings. To warm the legs up after yesterday’s exertion, enjoy a leisurely ride of approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles) along the flat valley before commencing perhaps the cycling highlight of the trip – the mighty Stelvio Pass. Often designated the ‘Cima Coppi’ (the highest point of the Giro d’Italia), at 2758 metres (9050 feet), it’s the second highest paved road in the Alps and a formidable – and beautiful – climb. Starting from Prato, cycle up the ‘quieter’ side of the Stelvio, a 24-kilometre (15-mile) climb with stunning mountain and forest scenery, and 48 hairpin bends to help keep your mind off your legs along the way. Those hairpin bends are numbered backwards from the Pass so that you always know how far you are from the top! After reaching the top, the real fun begins as you ride the long descent through multiple switchbacks down to the cycling and ski mecca of Bormio. The rest of the day is free for you to explore and perhaps enjoy a tasty pizza or pasta dinner.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The feature climb today is Passo Stelvio (2758 m/9050 ft).
The riding distance is approximately 52 kilometres (32 miles), with one significant climb and descent, and an elevation gain of 2000 m/6560 ft. Riding time is approximately 3-4 hours.
Time to relax! Today is officially a rest day and you may choose to simply put your feet up or walk around town – there's plenty to see and do in Bormio.

For those craving more cycling, there are a number of optional rides nearby, including going back up the Stelvio from the Bormio side (approximately 40 kilometres/25 miles and 1540 m/5050 ft of elevation gain), a loop ride up and down Passo Gavia (2618 m/8590 ft) or up to the Laghi Di Cancano (1962m/6440ft), included for the first time on the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Please bear in mind that these optional rides will be unsupported, and you will need to navigate the routes without the assistance of your guide.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leaving early from Bormio, ride 30 kilometres (18 miles) slightly downhill along the green valley to the small town of Mazzo di Valtellina before leaving the busy road and heading uphill along the forested narrow road and 32 signed hairpins to the iconic Passo del Mortirolo (1854 m/6080 ft). Nicknamed Salita de Pirata or ‘Pirate’s Ascent’ after local legend Marco Pantani this strangely lonely climb is one for the purists - keep an eye out (at hairpin 11) for the monument honouring the much loved Italian cyclist.

This is a challenging climb, at an average gradient of 11% over 13 kilometres (8 miles) and you’ll use every gear your bike has, so hopefully yesterday’s rest day will have helped you recover! Once at the top, enjoy the fast 14km (8 mile) descent down to Grossio (take it easy on the narrow roads!) then shake the legs out on a cruisy 16kms to Tirano where your ride concludes for the day.

From here drive (95 kms/59 miles) to the lake side town of Varenna, from where we catch the ferry across the blue waters of the lake to the beautiful village of Bellagio located on the shores of Lake Como. Known for it’s cobbled (mostly car-free) streets, colourful yet elegant buildings and charming waterfront Bellagio is the picture perfect Italian lakeside village and a great place to relax after a week's cycling in the mountains.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The feature climb today is Passo del Mortirolo (1854m /6080 ft).
The riding distance is approximately 72 kilometres (44 miles), with a slight downhill for 30 kms (18 miles) and one significant climb and descent – the 11km / 7 mile climb is tough the entire way, averaging 11.3%. Today there’s an elevation gain of 1570 m/5150 ft and the riding time is approximately 3-4 hours.
Today is your final ride, and it’s a good one. Leaving the mountains behind, experience more breathtaking scenery with frequent views over picturesque Lake Como. Your last climbing challenge of the week starts right from the hotel as you leave the lakeside and cycle inland and follow the 9kms (5 miles) of sinuous roads featured in Il Lombardia, Italy’s famed cycling monument, up to the church of the Madonna di Ghisallo – the Patron Saint of Cycling.

This small church (probably the only religious site in the world that welcomes people wearing tight lycra!) is home to an amazing collection of cycling memorabilia from Fausto Coppi, to Eddy Merckx and more modern champions – this is a ‘must visit’ on any cyclist’s wish list.

After paying your respects to the cycling legends, cycle back down to Bellagio. From here we take a short ferry ride (approx. 15 mins) across to the charming town of Menaggio then cycle the undulating lakeside road heading south with stunning views over the lake. We pass regal villas and quaint villages before arriving in Cernobbio, our final destination, on the far end of Lake Como.

Time permitting, you can hop on a ferry over to Como for a visit. Often known as a playground for the rich and beautiful, Como is famous for its Gothic Como Cathedral, a scenic funicular railway and a waterfront promenade, as well as the jump off point for boat tours around the lake itself. This evening, celebrate your achievements – perhaps over dinner and a few beers or wines on the waterfront with fellow travellers – you've earned it!
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The feature climb today is Ghisallo (754 m/2470 ft).
The riding distance is approximately 50 kilometres (30 miles), with one significant climb to the Ghisallo, and an undulating lakeside road with an overall elevation gain of 1640m m/5380 ft. The riding time is approximately 3 hours.
Your cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are free to leave at any time, but with so much to see and do in the city of Como and its surrounding area, you may wish to stay on for a day or two and we will be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

5 breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle, Support Vehicle, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Bicycle hire is not included in your trip price. Please advise us if you wish to hire a bike at time of booking and provide your height so we can organise a suitable sized bike. See the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information for bike details.
2. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. There are several local options to purchase a helmet if you do not wish to bring your own.
3. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and a support staff that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker when needed.
4. While we will always endeavour to ride the advertsied route, due to the quickly changing weather in the mountains there may be times when the leader chooses to vary/shorten or even cancel the route due to safety concerns.
5. A Single Supplement is not currently available on this trip.
6. Many of the hotels and restaurants on this trip only reopen in June, and services are usually a bit slower in the early part of the season.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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