Sweat and pride — Pass legends around Bormio

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

The Passo dello Stelvio is a myth. It is the epitome of pedaling pride and cycling euphoria; an epic pass right in the middle of one of the most beautiful regions of the Alps. At the same time, however, this pass stands for sweat, effort and a whole lot of torment—in the most wonderful form imaginable. Each of its 48 hairpin bends tells a story — of the Giro d'Italia, the usual guest here, and the epic cast of cycling characters who have fulfilled a dream by climbing the pass of passes.

The Stelvio is the main actor in this Collection, but it has much more to offer. At the foot of the Stelvio, down in the small Italian village of Bormio, not only the most famous of all pass roads starts — here an Alpine road cycling paradise opens up for you. Wonderful mountain roads, rapid descents, countless elevation gain and breathtaking views await you. Enjoy the exhilarating descent over the Umbrailpass into Müstairtal, grit your teeth on the legendary Mortirolo and let yourself be inspired by the amazing view up at the Gaviapass. Bormio is the hub of all these passes, which can be combined into wonderful rides. And Bormio, with its quiet Italian small town charm, its impressive mountain scenery and its thermal springs, is a base camp that is perfect for cyclists. Accordingly, cycling-specific offers are as abound as you'd expect, with Bikehotels being the best way to get the most out of your stay. Here, you can rent bikes on site and exchange ideas with other cyclists over a coffee, as well as spend all of your non-cycling hours in the small village of Valtellina—a place full of cultural and culinary opportunities.

Bormio lies in the Valtellina, the valley of the Adda, in the north of Italy, very close to the Swiss border and supposedly only a stone's throw away from Austria and southern Germany. However, the journey through the middle of the Alps requires a certain amount of patience: there is no motorway to Bormio. Instead, various pass roads lead into Valtellina. Arrival by train is possible, but then the journey - which leads via Milan — becomes part of the adventure. From there, it takes another two hours by regional train to Tirano. The last part to Bormio is by bus. Whether by train or car — it is best to plan several days directly for your stay in Bormio. That makes the long journey all the more worthwhile and above all you will have more time to explore the area by bike.

Our seven rides offer enough material for a wonderfully strenuous but also wonderfully relaxing week at one of the road bike hotspots in the Alps. From the short warm-up ride to the demanding day tour, we have put together a colorful program that is guaranteed to keep you entertained.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    02:39
    19.9 mi
    7.5 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,050 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    Everyone knows the feeling: If you finally arrive at the destination of the journey after a long journey, you can hardly wait to finally get on the bike and tackle the legendary passes. But when it comes to such a legendary passport as the Stelvio, it makes sense to slow down a bit. First of all, you do not drive the Stelvio Pass "just in time". You have to plan some time already. On the other hand, it makes sense to get used to the height first. And that's why it's a good idea to take it slow. This increase is just right.To warm you up, this "little" warm-up mountain takes you to almost 2,000 meters altitude. And if you have not been to Bormio yet, he has the guts to impress you. Out of Bormio, after all, you are pedaling almost 1,000 meters (930, to be exact) up a narrow winding road towards Torri di Fraele, from where you have a really great view of the lanes and Bormio. Just to enjoy. The best thing to do is to roll from the vantage point a little further to the Lago di Cancano, which will amaze you with its impressive mountain scenery. There is also a hut up here, where you can treat yourself to your first Italian coffee. And then the second highlight of the Alps is already waiting for you: the long, fast descent that you have earned before. Now you are ready for more!

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  • Difficult
    03:01
    26.4 mi
    8.8 mph
    5,125 ft
    5,125 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Even if the south ramp on the Stelvio is not really the "right" Stelvio driveway (because the northeast ramp of Prad actually stands for the legendary pass rise), it still belongs to it. First of all, you can start off comfortably from Bormio. And secondly, it is also a considerable challenge with 21.5 kilometers in length and at least 1,540 vertical meters. From the south, however, you have the opportunity to conquer the pass without having to plan a day trip. Because this variant really only includes this one increase. Then you roll back down to Bormio. Stelvio pure, so to speak. And yet the whole pack.Let's start in Bormio. From the main road, turn right, where a sign reading "Passo dello Stelvio" greets you and informs you that you are in the right place. From now on, you crank yourself slowly but surely higher and higher. Take it easy. First of all, more than 1,500 vertical meters can be like chewing gum if you overdo it in the beginning. And secondly you work your way up to 2,757 meters - that's where the air gets damn thin and you'll notice that.Past the old and the new thermal baths of Bormio and through several tunnels or "galleries" you will not be amazed. After each turn, an even more impressive view opens up. Until you suddenly have this wall in front of you: countless hairpin bends signal to you that now the rise really starts. Here, with 14 percent slope, the steepest stretch of driveway awaits you. When you are here for the first time, you will naturally feel the need to stop here and there and take a picture. Maybe you are planning some more time and enjoy a coffee in the National Park Café?Slowly the air gets thin. If you are not used to it, you will soon realize that your heart is racing but your legs are lacking in performance. Let it go slowly. This is completely normal. If you have been here for a few days, your body gets used to it and you have full power even at high altitude. After leaving the many switchbacks behind you, there follows a kind of plateau and you might be tempted to believe that it is about to happen. But it is not. Use the short "flat passage" and collect forces for the final spurt. If the road crosses the Umbrailpass, it goes to the point again. By now you have long since passed the tree line, instead you see snow-capped mountain peaks. If the weather cooperates, the view of the valley is absolutely impressive.At the roadside, signs point you to the remaining number of turns. Three, two, one ... then it's done! Quickly take a photo at the passport sign. Do not wonder that the silence of the mountain world awaits you here less than a collection of souvenir shops and food stalls. The Stelvio Pass is not for nothing called "Europe's Highest Fairground". Quickly put on the warm jacket, because there is now a great descent back to Bormio on you.tip
    If you want to conquer the Stelvio Pass, you should definitely pack warm clothes for the return journey. A windbreaker, warm gloves, a cap or a "buff" and arm warmers and leg warmers you should at least have it. Because even in summer it can be very cold on the top, temperatures just above freezing are not uncommon. Without appropriate clothing, the departure can easily be very uncomfortable.

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  • Difficult
    10:48
    106 mi
    9.8 mph
    14,575 ft
    14,575 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Once a year, this tour is a very special treat: when the "Granfondo Stelvio Santini" invites, the roads belong to the cyclists. Around 3,000 racing cyclists set off on this day to master two of the heaviest mountain passes ever. There is of course the legendary Stelvio. Above all, there is also the bitter Mortirolo, although shorter and less high, but it is a lot steeper. You can get information about the event here: granfondostelviosantini.comOf course you can also ride this tour alone at any time. She is wonderfully demanding - in the end you left 170 kilometers and over 4,400 vertical meters behind you. You will be completely exhausted but just as happy and proud. The reward for your efforts you'll get during the tour in one go: The beautiful landscape, the idyllic villages, the fast descents and the breathtaking views - all this is so impressive and unforgettable that the question of why you do this to you, answered by itself.It starts with a breathtaking, about 30 kilometers long descent from Bormio to Tirano. It follows a "small" rise to warm up. In view of the upcoming challenges of this tour, the approximately 400 meters uphill to Teglio can really only be described as "warmup". And the following descent as well as the slightly ascending passage back to Tirano as "calm before the storm".For now he comes. The notorious Mortirolo. And his most demanding variant. 10.5 percent slope on average is an announcement. It's over 20 percent towards the end and it's no shame if you have to get off here. You will sweat, your legs will burn but you will love it! On the next descent, not the calves, but the brakes will glow. Pure enjoyment and, as it were, a reward for what has been done, as well as a prelude to the last test of the day. Finally, the Stelvio calls. 21.5 kilometers and 1,540 vertical meters. At 2,757 meters is the highlight of the tour - in the truest sense of the word. The descent back to Bormio, however, is pure pleasure.tip
    In addition to adequate food, you should especially take warm clothing. Because it can get very cold on top of the mountains, even in good weather in summer. Arm warmers, leg warmers, a cap, warm gloves and a windbreaker make sure that the downhills are also a pleasure. Before the driveway to Stelvio really starts, about 25 kilometers Uphill to Bormio waiting for you. Do not underestimate this passage, then the rest will hurt less.

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  • Easy
    01:05
    12.8 mi
    11.8 mph
    775 ft
    750 ft
    Easy road ride. Great for any fitness level. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Bormio really offers a lot of opportunities to get the most out of it. If you made a strenuous tour and left some passes behind, you'll be exhausted. Relaxing a bit and giving the body the chance to regenerate is really important now. But that does not mean that you are lying on your lazy skin. A little exercise can even help. That's why this short, laid-back tour is the perfect way to help tired bones regenerate. By the way, you'll get to know the beautiful town of Bormio and its surroundings. For this we have incorporated a few "cultural" highlights. But our favorite of the tour is clearly the stop at a hidden in the forest hot spring - free and always open you can fully relax here.

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  • Difficult
    07:00
    67.2 mi
    9.6 mph
    10,725 ft
    10,675 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour is a classic. Today you will get to know the "true Stelvio"! Because today the Stelvio driveway from Prad is on the program and therefore a short trip to Switzerland. But one after anonther.Let's start in Bormio. The first kilometers are identical to the south ramp to the Stelvio Pass. Before you enter the sweaty final sprint, turn left onto the Umbrailpass, which leads you directly into Switzerland and down to Val Mustair, the Münstertal valley. In the face of the legendary Stelvio, the Umbrail ekes out a shadowy existence. Now you will learn why he did not deserve this. Apart from the fact that it is the highest Swiss passport - this descent is just breathtakingly beautiful! Thirteen kilometers long, you can just let it run and enjoy the wonderful nature. And the best thing about it: While the Stelvio on some days rather reminds of the rush hour traffic in the Ruhr area, you enjoy here wonderful peace, because among the motorized tourists, the higher Stelvio is much more popular.Once at the bottom, you reach the beautiful Münstertal. Relax and gather your strength as you roll gently downhill towards the Prad. Because there begins the northeastern ramp of Stelvio, which is even higher and longer than the driveway of Bormio. A whopping 24.6 kilometers and 1,844 vertical meters are waiting to torment you and make you burst with pride when you've made it. Shortly before the goal, you will live the world-famous images of the countless bends of the narrow street absorb and certainly never forget.Take some time when you have reached the top to process the impressions. Then follows the usual "pass-procedure": Warm dress and enjoy the long, fast descent back to Bormio!

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  • Difficult
    08:55
    92.6 mi
    10.4 mph
    12,225 ft
    12,150 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    All roads lead ... to a mountain! At least from Bormio. And that's a good thing. Because that's why you're here. Even today you do not drive on any mountains, but on two real firecrackers, which will demand you everything. You've already met Mortirolo. Today is the northern ramp of Mazzo off, which has as part of the Giro d'Italia real cult status. The good news: this climb is not quite as steep as Tovo's. The bad one: He is still damn steep! So get into the bump and enjoy how your leg muscles with each turn of the crank a bit further into the red area. Yes, this mountain hurts. And that is beautiful! Once at the top you can shoot a proof selfie and then relax on the beautiful meadow with panoramic views, before continuing.The following section is easy to enjoy. First it goes up and down on a ridge, while you can catch a breathtaking view of the valley on the right and left. Then it gets steep and you literally fly down until Bergstrasse finally spits you out in Aprica. It's best to go to this section in peace. First, you can enjoy the scenery much better. Second, the roads are not in good shape right now and it's just safer to drive a bit slower.Now the last highlight of the day is waiting for you. On the Gavia Pass, you can consume your remaining grains. He will take you from Ponte di Legno back to Bormio. In between, it goes once up to 2,618 meters. It is necessary to overcome 1,360 meters of altitude over a distance of 18 kilometers, a fairly similar caliber, like the Stelvio and the landscape almost even more impressive. The final descent into the city is once again a real treat, as long as you have warm clothing with you.

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  • Intermediate
    01:35
    11.6 mi
    7.3 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,225 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Actually, you should be on the way home long ago. But you do not want to. The mountains, the passes, the Italian small town idyll. A little round on the bike, that must still be in it. Okay, here you get it: the little farewell tour.The mountain is short and crisp and he starts without Vorgeplänkel directly in the city. The destination is the middle station of the ski resort at the gates of Bormio called "Bormio 2000". The name suggests: It goes up to 2,000 meters. Enough to breathe mountain air again and to make the calves glow again. And enough to enjoy a fantastic view again. Arrivederci Bormio, ciao mountains. For the last time you blow on the rapid departure of the wind around your nose, before it goes back to the plains. And if you have not done it yet: Now you have another chance for ice cream and a pizza. Do you want to come back? Certamente!

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    336 mi
  • Duration
    35:03 h
  • Elevation
    48,900 ft