Journeying over the most prestigious peaks and dramatic landscapes that the Dolomites are renowned for, as well as conquering the truly iconic 2,757m high Passo dello Stelvio, if you have a passion for Italy then this is going to be an unbelievable week of cycling, adventure and post ride wellness.
Italian mountains at their very best, we’ll be exploring some of the most prestigious and beautiful climbs that this country has to offer including the jaw-droppingly spectacular Sella Ronde loop, iconic Passo Giau and more before heading west to tame the mighty Passo dello Stelvio and the Passo di Gavia. Steeped in cycling history and mystique this week will give you a truly complete experience of the very best that northern Italy has to offer.
WHO’S IT FOR
This tour is for any rider who wants to experience the beauty of the Dolomties and ride the famous giants of the Italian Alps. There’s no doubt it’s a toughie, made in part by the steep gradients and long ascents that each region offers, but our routes and hotels have been carefully selected to enable riders of all abilities to join in and enjoy the tour. If you’re nervous at the number of climbs on a day, or even just fancy taking it a little easier, then you’ll be able to recover and relax in an idyllic mountain setting with soothing wellness facilities aplenty. Likewise if you’re looking for a challenging week in the mountains then this tour definitely won’t disappoint.
Capturing the spirit of the Dolomites and Italian Alps we’ll be hosting just one tour in 2020, with a maximum group size of 10 riders and full on the road support from The Col Collective.
July 2022 (7 nights) - Register your interest now at email@example.com
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 14 Cols / 400km / 14,000m elevation
Day 1 - Arrival and collection from Innsbruck airport at midday and transfer to Colfosco, bike build and short spin to loosen the legs and get ready for the week.
Day 2 - Sella Ronda loop clockwise - Passo Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella and Gardena > 51km / 1700m elevation
Day 3 - Passo Valparola, Passo di Giau, Passo Campolongo > 92km / 2,500m elevation
Day 4 - Passo Gardena, Passo delle Erbe > 110km 2,500m elevation
Day 5 - Laghi di Cancano (piccolo Stelvio) > 30km / 900m elevation
Day 6 - Stelvio Day! 52km / 1404m elevation to 115km / 3,000m elevation
Day 7 - Passo di Gavia from Bormio 52 km / 1,500m elevation
Day 8 - Grande breakfast (you’ll need it by now) and transfers back to the airport.
This is a general itinerary to give you a good idea of what to expect. There will be options throughout the week to trim the days down, or add more, depending on how you’re feeling so rest assured we’re here to look after you.
Arriving at Innsbruck airport we’ll collect you and your bike where we’ll then transfer to Colfosco in the heart of the Dolomites with a gentle spin to get the legs turning again after travel.
Starting the week in style with one of the most famous rides in the Dolomites, the spectacular Sella Ronda! Immersed in Dolomite greatness from the very beginning we’ll head clockwise to ascend the Passo Campolongo (1,875m) followed in quick succession by the eastern side of the Passo Pordoi (2,239m), the Passo Sella (2,218m) and Passo Gardena (2,136m). It may only be 51km in length but with four climbs (three of which are over 2,000 metres) this is a ride that’ll leave you in absolute awe of the mountains. Many have said that this is a ride that every cyclist should experience at least once in their lifetime and we’d be honoured to share that experience with you.
Today we have an absolute beauty on the menu, starting with a 7.5km descent as we head towards the town of La Villa Stern for the start of the Passo Valparola (2,200m) with chards of Dolomite rock towering above for company. As we start our descent we’ll join the eastern face of the Passo Falzarego as we continue towards Pocol for the start of the legendary Passo Giau, climbing up to the highest point of the day at 2,236m elevation. With huge views we’ll finish with the spectacular southern ascent of the Falzarego, one of the rare climbs that actually tunnels through the Dolomite rock(!) making a truly inspiring day and the perfect trio before a well earned afternoon session in the spa!
The Dolomites are such a wondrous playground and today we wanted to explore one of the regions hidden gems with you, the Passo delle Erbe at 2,006m elevation! We’ll start with a short 7km climb of the Passo Gardena (2,136m) before a long 30km descent, oooooh yeah, towards our main meal of the day. Very different in feel to many of the Dolomite classics the road now narrows as the Erbe takes us on a mountain dream for over 25 kilometres. No doubt this will be a challenging day but one we think you’ll really appreciate.
After three magical days in the Dolomites today we take a short road trip over to the Italian Alps where we’ll turn our attention to the highest road pass in Italy….any ideas of its name? To prep for the days ahead in the afternoon we’ll ride the spectacular switchbacks of the Stelvio’s little sister up to Laghi di Cancano and the ancient Fraele Towers, built to fortify the area from invasion in the 15th century. Part of the old ‘salt and wine’ route that connected Valtellina with Switzerland, this road is a hidden highlight with a gentle gradient which means we’re able to truly enjoy the beautiful views on our first afternoon in Bormio.
One of the most iconic and famous climbs in cycling history, the lure of the Stelvio is beyond words or comprehension! At 2,757m elevation it has the honour of being crowned the highest road pass in the whole of Italy and its serpentine switchbacks are like a supermodel, photogenic from every angle. Today we want to celebrate the Stelvio and the marvel of road engineering that it truly is. With over forty hairpins on each side this ride may very well be the most challenging of the entire week, but with the right mindset, pacing and support (which we’ll assist you with throughout) it’s proven to be very doable. From Bormio in the west the ascent is 21.5 kilometres at an average of 7.1% as we wind our way through a series of galleries and up to the Stelvio plateau, passing the World War 1 memorial as the summit comes into view. With the Swiss border just a breath away, a short descent and one kilometre climb allows us to saddle the country’s highest road, (and the forgotten third side of the Stelvio) up to the summit of the Umbrail Pass at 2,501m in elevation. Completely different in character the Umbrail descent is a real joy that will have you grinning like a Cheshire cat as we roll down the valley to the village of Prato where the final 48 hairpins of the Stelvio await. At 24.3 kilometres in length the climb may be long, but breaking it down section by section reminds us that progress is being made and as we count the switchbacks down one-by-one the feeling of excitement and elation start to grow and by the summit the achievement will be with you forever!
While the Stelvio often steals the limelight, its little brother the Passo di Gavia (2,621m) is no less of a challenge and, in our opinion, one that out trumps the Stelvio for pure ruggedness and beauty. Starting straight out of Bormio it’s amazing how close both climbs are to one another and yet how different they feel. The Gavia feels more wild and forgotten in comparison with iconic images of Andy Hampsten fighting the blizzard during the 1988 Giro d’Italia forever in its mind. Take your time, this is another long one at 25.6 kilometres in length, focus your mind and enjoy the moment. The combination of the Stelvio and Gavia that’s something that has to be ridden to be believed!
After all that climbing you’ll be quite right in feeling very proud of yourself, and we will be too for being able to share the whole experience with you. After we hoover up the breakfast table all that remains is a little bike packing and transfer back to Innsbruck for a midday drop off. The legs may be stiff but we can guarantee the mountain memories that you’ll now have will burn brightly forevermore.
This is a general itinerary to give you a good idea of what to expect. We may make some adjustments if we think we can further improve the week or if we need to dodge Mother Nature at any time. There will be options throughout the week to trim the days down, or add more, depending on how you’re feeling so rest assured we’re here to look after you.
We’re always looking to ensure that we’re offering the best possible experience and are currently confirming both for the four star hotels for the Dolomites and Italian Alps. Traditionally in the Dolomites we’ve stayed at the beautiful Romantik Arthotel Cappella nestled in the highest resort in Alta Badia at the foot of the remarkable Sella Massif, and in the Alps we’ve stayed at Eden Hotel in Bormio.
Further details of both hotels that we’ll use in 2020 will be posted here shortly. In the mean time you can check both hotel websites and the photo gallery section on this page for an idea of what you can expect.
Booking Terms Please complete the below booking request form so that we can start working with you to confirm your Col Collective cycling adventure. We’ll give you a call or send you an email with more details, also prior to booking we can answer any questions that you may have. Once you’re happy and have confirmed the booking we ask for 30% of the full price of the tour at this time, with the remaining balance paid in full 12 weeks before the tour. Changes and cancellations are detailed in our terms and conditions.
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to welcoming you to the Dolomites!
PLEASE NOTE THAT WE OCCASIONALLY ENCOUNTER AN ISSUE WITH OUR BOOKING FORM. IF YOU DON’T HEAR FROM US WITHIN 48 HOURS PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org
All fields required
We are delighted to bring you our Introduction to the Mountains week designed especially for riders with little or no experience of riding the high mountains, but with a passion to do so!
Our Grand Cols week is for those that are inspired to conquer the greatest cols in the French Pyrénées. Ride the most famous peaks and add your legend to the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Aspin, Hautacam, Luz Ardiden and many more with full Col Collective support.
The French Pyrénées are a wonderland of exploration and intrigue with many areas often overlooked in search of the more famous cols. Our Undiscovered Pyrénées week is all about heading off the beaten track, taming rugged wilderness and riding in awe at what can so easily be missed.
Our Tour de France week will capture the beauty of the mountains and the colours and character of the Tour as it passes through the Pyrénées, combining peaceful yet challenging ride days with the spectacle of the world's biggest bike race.
Our Into the Wild gravel tour is for those that have been bitten by the gravel bug and want to go much deeper off the beaten track, mixing roads with high altitude tracks and trails to get a very different perspective on the wild and rugged landscapes of the Pyrénées.
Our Grand Cols Tourmalet Celebration is for those who wish to be part of the grand opening of the Col du Tourmalet while also conquering the most prestigious peaks in the French Pyrénées.
If you want to create your own truly unique cycling experience with The Col Collective then drop us a line and we can put a bespoke tour together especially for you and your friends.