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Tour

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Italian Alpine Challenge

Price from €1455 per person

Degree of difficulty -

Start: Como

Finish: Vicenza

Daily Ave: 100kms

Weekly Ave: 500kms

Sportive

Tours

Terrain: An Alpine Tour!

Join the Cycling Safaris Team on this 5 day cycling challenge event tackles the most famous Giro d’Italia climbs where the biggest names in professional cycling have battled, crossing some of the highest roads in Europe .

From the stunning Lake Como the route goes east for 580km climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest. The relatively benign 27km Passo San Marco is followed by the more savage Passo del Mortirolo – its 18% section cursed by British former World Champion Mark Cavendish. Then on to the iconic Passo Stelvio with 36 switchbacks on the 21km ascent to the highest road in Italy (2758m) and 48 switch backs on the descent - if the scenery doesn’t take your breath away the engineering achievement must.

The descent of the Stelvio to Bolzano is a history lesson as the architecture and accents are distinctly German. There is plenty of apple strudel and beer around here. Along the spectacular River Adige into Trento and Veneto and up Monte Grappa’s 26.5km ascent before a final relieving descent to the elegant UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city of Vincenza.

Tour Itinerary

6 Night Tour

Day
1

Arrival at Lake Como image 1

Arrival at Lake Como

Suggested Ryanair flight from Dublin @ 06.25am to Milan Bergamo, arrival 09.50am ( flight not included in the tour price )

Transfer approx 1 hour to the shores of Lake Como. The 3rd biggest of the Italian lakes and one of the deepest in Europe. Como boasts idyllic shorelines and lovely gardens that has attracted many of the rich and famous to stay

Arrival at Lake Como image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
2

Lake Como to Sondrio image 1

Lake Como to Sondrio

Riding away from the lake, a lovely paved bike path follows the river Adda along green fields of the valley to Morbegno. The town lies at the entrance to several lateral valleys and therefore some interesting easier options are possible. The pick of the cycles however, is to tackle the Passo San Marco.

It has been used in the Giro and although not as high as other passes (1992m) it starts pretty low down, so gains a massive 1742m over almost 27km –so not especially steep. It is a very quiet pass with a lovely combination of scenery. The bike path then beckons again, gradually climbing to Sondrio, a wonderful Alpine town that is famous for its Terraces of Vineyards that many good Italian wines are produced.

Lake Como to Sondrio image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
3

Sondrio to Bormio (70kms/700m or 116km/2100m) image 1

Sondrio to Bormio (70kms/700m or 116km/2100m)

The route continues on the lovely bike path beside the Adda river, gradually climbing its way towards the mountains and offering wonderful views.

The day is deliberately kept short so that those who wish can tackle the infamous climb that is the Mortirolo. This is not the longest or most beautiful of climbs. It is however known as a “leg breaker” and the Mort in the name gives a hint as to its murderous past. An average gradient of 10.5% and a maximum of 18% topping out at 1852m, says plenty but perhaps the words of Mark Cavendish say it all “its savage, f**ing savage”

Sondrio to Bormio (70kms/700m or 116km/2100m) image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
4

Bormio to Bolzano	(130km/1800m – 2800m descent) image 1

Bormio to Bolzano (130km/1800m – 2800m descent)

Today is the big day. The Stelvio. Considered by many to be the roof on Europe (only two roads are higher) as it tops out at a massive 2758m.

The climb from this side gains 1533m over 22km with an average of 7.1%.  We still have not reached the top,  there follows one of the great marvels of engineering as you tackle the 48 Hairpin bends that lead to Prato.

Here another paved bike path leads the way through apple orchards and pleasant villages to Bolzano. A city of beautiful Pastel coloured houses surrounded by green hills with a rich market of Alpine cheeses and cured hams. The city is an anomaly where the majority speak Italian in a predominantly German speaking region.

Bormio to Bolzano	(130km/1800m – 2800m descent) image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
5

Bolzano to Levice Terme	(100km/940m) image 1

Bolzano to Levice Terme (100km/940m)

Bolzano is a city of cyclists and radiating from the city are bike paths along the various river valleys. Initially there will be many cyclists on the paths on the edge of the city until you pick up the river Adige path as it winds its way spectacularly to Trento.

Trento is a lovely easy going city with much to admire as stone castles, renaissance fountains and medieval frescoes radiate out from the Piazza del Duomo. Apple Strudel and Beer Halls mingle with this Italian feel as the Austrian and Italian intermingle. The destination is on the lago di caldonazzo, a magnificent lake that is lovely spot to swim with the temperature in the 20C-24C range.

Bolzano to Levice Terme	(100km/940m) image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
6

Levice Terme to Vicenza (106km/680m or 135km/2200m) image 1

Levice Terme to Vicenza (106km/680m or 135km/2200m)

The Lago di Caldonazzo is the source of the Brenta river and the easy mainly downhill bike path that follows this river is another scenic and wonderful ride. The path will lead all the way to Bassano del Grappa (although of course there is the extra option to tackle Monte Grappa). Bassano is a charming medieval town nestled on the river Brenta. A well-known and much photographed wooden bridge (Ponte Vechio) spans the river and there is much in the way of Palladian architecture to be seen. The towns most famous export is the drink to which it gives its name, Grappa

Option: Monte Grappo
Visible from as far away as Venice, this mountain dominates the Veneto much like Ventoux does Provence. It has a dark past from two World Wars and the 1st world war battle led to the name change of Bassano del Grappo to honour the thousands that died on the mountain.   For the cyclist it offers nine different possible routes to the summit with a variety of scenery and a claim to be one of the hardest climbs in Europe. From Romano d’Ezzolino (the classic climb) it is 26.5km with an average gradient of 5.9%. Topping out at 1745m. An obligatory stop in Ponte San Lorenzo and the signed photos left by Bartali and Pantani.

It is then a few more kms to reach Vicenza. This is the adopted home of Palladio, whose genius would create Vicenza and the surrounding villas that today are a UNESCO world heritage site that also happens to offer many great bars and restaurants to enjoy.

Levice Terme to Vicenza (106km/680m or 135km/2200m) image 2

6 Night Tour

Day
7

Homeward Bound image 1

Homeward Bound

It’s 2.5 hour long transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport for the direct flight back to Dublin while the bikes are brought back overland. Aer Lingus – Depart Venice Marco Polo at 22.30

Homeward Bound image 2

Prices / Dates

€1455pps ( based on a minimum of 20 participants )
€335.00  Single supplement ( limited availability )

Tour Includes

 6 x accommodation in minimum 3 star hotels
 6 x dinners
 5 x Lunches
 Snacks on route
 2 x Cycling Guide
 Support vehicle carrying luggage with Bike Mechanic
 One Set Transfer from Milan Bergamo to Como (for flight arrival at 09.50 )
 One Set Transfer from Vicenza to Venice Marco Polo Airport (for flight departure at 22.30)
 Careful Transportation of bikes from Dublin to Start and back from Finish
 Fully Researched cycle routes
 Insurance for bike transportation
 Flights not included

Self Guided Tour Information

This tour is not available on a self guided basis.

Accommodation

(Subject to availability)

Travel

Although flights are not included on this trip we suggest you Ryanair flight from Dublin @ 06.25am to Milan Bergamo, arrival 09.50am.  We will organise one set airport transfer to coincide with the arrival of this plane.

At the end of the tour we will organise one transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport.   It’s 2.5 hour long transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport for the direct flight back to Dublin departing Venice Marco Polo at 22.30

tour map coming soon

Tour Reviews

I just wanted to say a quick thank you for all you help & support. Your advice and encouragement in advance of departure was much appreciated and really helped in my enjoyment of the trip. The cycle itself was brilliant, one of the best "holidays" I ever had. A big thank you to yourself for your calm and professional approach and also to Marcin and John. Overall it was a great group and we had a good laugh. You have me fi rmly hooked at this stage. Mick Keenan - Dublin to Paris 2013

Mick Keenan - Dublin to Paris Sportive 2013

Thanks so much, Aidan, Duncan and Marcin for a fantastic trip!  
Day 2 was the most epic, hardest day on a bike, but within your excellent advice, on clothing, ascending and descending, eating - things went better.
Be back next year for sure!

Anthony O Malley 2018

“I think it is a great route and one that many enthusiastic amateurs such as ourselves would enjoy as much as we did. I based my whole summer’s cycling on this and I’m really glad I did. Aidan and David looked after us really well - they couldn’t have done more for us.” Gerry Hassett, Alpe d’Huez Express Sportive Ride 2014

Gerry Hassett - Alp Huez Tour 2014

Tour FAQ

Prices / Dates

€1455pps ( based on a minimum of 20 participants )
€335.00  Single supplement ( limited availability )

Tour Includes

 6 x accommodation in minimum 3 star hotels
 6 x dinners
 5 x Lunches
 Snacks on route
 2 x Cycling Guide
 Support vehicle carrying luggage with Bike Mechanic
 One Set Transfer from Milan Bergamo to Como (for flight arrival at 09.50 )
 One Set Transfer from Vicenza to Venice Marco Polo Airport (for flight departure at 22.30)
 Careful Transportation of bikes from Dublin to Start and back from Finish
 Fully Researched cycle routes
 Insurance for bike transportation
 Flights not included

Self Guided Tour Information

This tour is not available on a self guided basis.

 

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