VeloViews for May 6, 2022 – Famous European Climbs (Passo di Stelvio)

Unknown photographer

Today is May 6th, 2022 and the start of the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy), the first major stage race of the European Pro Cycling season. As with the other two Grand Tours, the Giro launches with glitz and glamour by starting in another adjacent country. For the 2022 edition, the race begins in Budapest. This stage is called the prologue, which is the official start of the race where every rider from each team does a short time trial of about 5 miles.

The next day, and usually after a short transfer, the race begins in earnest within the boundaries of Italy. And like the Tour de France and the Vuelta d’Espana, the Giro lasts a little over three weeks. The start and end points for the race and the route are different every year, but this year the Giro ends in Verona, Italy on the 29th of May.

Begun in 1909 as a way to increase newspaper sales of La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Giro d’Italia consists of 21 stages with two time trials in addition to road and mountain stages in the Alps, specifically the Dolomites. When I did my Italian cycling trip in 2014, I was fortunate enough to ride some of the roads used in the race. I got to see the Dolomites up close and they are just stunning, a bit of a distraction when one is zooming down the road.

There were so many memorable days on this trip, and the riding was both challenging and rewarding. However, without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the trip was riding the Passo d’Stelvio. The road consists of over 40 switchbacks with various grades from 5% to over 10% as you grind it out toward the top.

Picture of me midway up the Stelvio with the Alps in the background

Once you reach the top of the Stelvio, you enter the town of Bormio and there are places to eat, to get a coffee, and to buy all the cheesy souvenirs your heart desires.

Me and a fellow cyclist from the trip

Once I was well rested, I started the descent, which consists of those same 40 plus switchbacks. The views coming down, though, were just mind blowing. I could sit here and try to describe it but words don’t do it justice, you’ll just have to go there and experience it yourself.

Italy is a beautiful country and the people there are very friendly. I loved this trip and think about it often, and I hope I get to do another one like it sometime in the near future.

Have you ever been to Italy? Have you ridden your bike up the Passo d’Stelvio or even just driven it? Please like, comment, and share and let me know. Until next week, I hope you can watch some the Giro d’Italia on television or catch some highlights online. And, of course, I hope you get to do some rides of your own.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

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