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Bormio and Alta Valtellina are destinations not to be missed by lovers of road cycling: its streets, passes, and peaks, in fact, now rightfully belong to the circle of the legendary big climbs of modern professional cycling, and for many years, have been protagonists of the famous Giro d’Italia stage race. (on May 23, 2017, the Stelvio will be the Cima Coppi of the Giro d’Italia)
The big climbs
To climb the big passes like the Stelvio, Gavia, and Mortirolo, is always a dream and goal for enthusiastic road cyclists, who want to challenge themselves and their personal limits on these big climbs, as have the great champions who made these passes famous.
In addition to the three magnificent and much feared climbs of the Stelvio, Gavia, and Mortirolo, there are several other local climbs made famous by the passage of the “corsa rosa” (Giro d’Italia), such as the ascent from Bormio to Bormio 2000 (stage arrival in 2004) and the road from Bormio to Livigno over Foscagno Pass and Eira Pass (stage arrival in 2006).
Two other Alta Valtellina climbs are popular and worth riding: the first, from Bormio to the Cancano lakes in Valdidentro, climbing by the Towers of Fraele; the second, is the ascent of the Bernina Pass from Tirano, which climbs along the Poschiavo Valley and optionally, after the pass descends into the Engadine valley to St. Moritz.
There are many great cycling events (some are races), during the summer months, that attract thousands of cyclists to the Stelvio Pass Road: among others, the Granfondo Stelvio Santini, which has become a Bormio classic of early summer; the Re Stelvio Mapei, which has taken place in July for over thirty years, and Climbing Cima Coppi, although not a competitive race is very popular, because for the event all three roads to the Stelvio Pass are closed to vehicular traffic. So cyclists can climb from Bormio, Santa Maria, or Prato allo Stelvio and the roads to themselves (typically from 8.30 a.m. until 4 p.m., and there are occasional police and support vehicles).
Finally, for the last two years, another event is taking off and is attracting many cyclists: the Contador Day allows all cycling fans to climb Gavia Pass and Mortirolo Pass alongside a champion such as Alberto Contador.