Arrival Milan Bergamo / San Pellegrino Terme
Following your arrival in Bergamo, you will transfer to the spa town of San Pellegrino Terme where you will spend your first evening. Once a grand thermal center, San Pellegrino is still a lively town and sits nestled in a narrow valley in the midst of the soaring mountains.
San Pellegrino Terme to Tirano - Distance: 125 km
You leave San Pellegrino Terme via an old railway line, now converted into a designated cycle path, and head up the valley to Piazza Brembana where you begin to ascend Passo San Marco. A 25km climb reaching almost 2,000m above sea level, this little-known pass is not to be sniffed at. You’ll enjoy a well-deserved lunch at the summit after which a deserved 25km descent takes you down to Morbegno in the Valtellina valley where you spend the rest of the day pedaling along a series of quiet secondary roads and well-surfaced cycle paths until you reach your destination in the town of Tirano.
Tirano to Bormio - Distance: 125 km
Leaving Tirano you have a gentle 10km to warm up before you arrive at an inconspicuous right-hand turn which marks the beginning of the infamous Mortirolo. The challenging climb, with its 4 sections of 18% and an average gradient of 11%, certainly lives up to its reputation. 8kms into the climb you pass the famous monument honoring Italian hero and Giro winner Marco Pantani who famously launched a blistering attack here and went on to take a stage victory during the 1994 race.
Once you’ve caught your breath at the summit you’ll descend before taking the valley road to Ponte di Legno where the seemingly never-ending and fantastically-scenic slopes of the Gavia await us. A final sweeping descent takes you down to the mountain town of Bormio which will be your home tonight.
Bormio to Bolzano - Distance: 125 km
Today is, by far, your longest day as you ride into the Dolomites region. With 3,500m of climbing, however, it cannot be considered merely as a transition stage and you start the day with what is possibly the most famous of all of Italy's classic climbs.
Peaking at 2,758m above sea level, Passo Dello Stelvio is one of the highest mountain passes in Europe and is known around the world for its 48, impressively-engineered, tight hairpin bends. You descend the mountain via those bends into the Adige Valley and push on along the river towards Bolzano in the province of Trentino.
The stage finishes in style with successive ascents of Passo Palade and the Passo della Mendola, both of which featured in the Giros of recent years. At 1,500m and 1,300m, they may seem like mere bumps by comparison to what has preceded, however at the end of such a day they certainly pack a punch!
Bolzano to Arabba - Distance: 125 km
Today you will head into the very heart of the Dolomites via roads less-traveled and a series of lesser-known climbs. The climbs are, nevertheless, outstandingly beautiful and serve as a very fitting overture to what lays in wait for you during the next couple of days.
Passo Nigra (1,688m) is your first challenge which you must tackle before rolling gently upwards and then gently downhill to Passo Costalungo. The downward trend continues as you head further down into the Val di Fassa and then onwards to the town of Canazei, a community dominated by the towering vertical cliff faces of the enormous Sella Massif.
The final challenge of the day begins in Canazei as you ascend to the summit of Passo Pordoi (2,239m) after which you cruise down to Arabba where you will be staying for the next two nights.
Sella Ronda Loop Ride - Distance: 125 km
Cycle the roads around the Sella Massif this is possibly one of the most spectacular loop rides in the world. The circular route boasts an impressive roll-call of classic climbs including Passo Pordoi (2,239m) which you take on from the opposite direction to yesterday, Passo Sella (2,240m), and Passo Gardena (2,121m).
On reaching the town of Corvara in Badia those of you who have had enough climbing can head directly back to Arabba for an afternoon of relaxation, while others may choose to continue and conquer Passo Valparola (2,168m) and Passo Falzarego (2,109m) before calling it a day.
Arabba to Siror - Distance: 85 Km
As we bid farewell to Arabba, we start the day with a welcome 32km of mainly downhill riding after which a sharp change in direction announces the start of your first test of the day, the challenging 20km climb through dense forest to Passo di Valles.
From here the road drops away swiftly for 8km until you reach the start of the Passo di Rolle. As you climb we pass through the Brenta region where you are treated to some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery.
Halfway into the exhilarating descent from the summit of the Rolle, you pass through the mountain resort town of San Martino di Castrozza, nestled below the towering craggy peaks of the magnificent Pale di San Martino. Descending further we finally reach our hotel in the delightfully scenic town of Siror.
Siror to Bassano del Grappa - Distance: 100 Km
You've reached the final stage of your own mini Giro and it’s another epic ride featuring two more classic and historic mountains. The first is Croce d'Alene, the start of which is in the town of Zorzoi which you reach after approximately 20km of mainly downhill riding. This somewhat unassuming little climb is hugely significant to cyclists worldwide as it's here that Tullio Campagnolo, founder of the revered component manufacturing company, is reputed to have come up with the idea of the quick-release skewer while attempting, and apparently failing, to remove the rear wheel from his bicycle.
A monument to the legendary inventor commemorates the occasion and five decades later, after Tullio himself had passed away, the Campagnolo Company named a groupset after the mountain.
You descend via another series of hairpin bends to Pedavena from where you launch your final mountain assault. Monte Grappa, considered by historians to be the place where ‘Italy was made‘, is the site of a historic battleground that saw significant action during both World Wars. At the summit, you’ll pass the second monument of the day, this one, more poignantly than the first commemorates, and holds the remains of some 12,615 soldiers, the identities of which more than 10,000 are unknown.
Whilst you may feel a little reflective as you pass over the summit you can allow the beauty of the landscape to lift your spirits as you embark on a breath-taking final 20km descent which eventually delivers you to your final destination. The beautiful Roman town of Bassano del Grappa sits on the banks of the Brenta River and is the perfect place to finish a remarkable journey and perhaps celebrate with a shot or two of the local grappa
Departure: Bassano del Grappa / Venice
After breakfast this morning you will transfer to Venice Airport in time for homeward or onward flights.