Cycle the dramatic Dolomites and the mighty Stelvio
We are pleased to present our 2018 Maratona dles Dolomites Tour. The trip is designed around Italy’s premier ‘Gran Fondo’ race, which is held on closed roads and has 9,000 participants. Entry spots are hard to come by as more than 35,000 people apply every year! As we are an official travel partner of the Maratona, our guests have a guaranteed entry spot. More info about the race is at the official Maratona website.
We are offering an optional two day extension of the trip to experience the difference between the Dolomites and the Alps. The extension includes three additional rides in the Alps with a ‘beyond category’ climb in each of them. The highlight is the famous Passo dello Stelvio, with its 48 numbered switchback turns. We’ll also ride on a short stretch through Switzerland and visit another stage finish of the Giro d’Italia.
Below is a summary of our itinerary. Full details and route profiles are in our brochure.
Tuesday 26 June
Departure from the US on an overnight flight to Venice Marco Polo Airport.
Wednesday 27 June
Arrival at Venice airport and group transfer to La Villa/Stern. In the afternoon you can put your bike together and go for a quick test ride.
Thursday 28 June: Erbe and Gardena Passes (distance: 67 mi, vertical: 9,800 ft)
After a big breakfast we will set off on a tough loop over two high but very distinct passes. The rugged and remote Passo delle Erbe may be the most scenic of all of the Dolomites passes. The Gardena approach takes us through a few beautiful traditional ski towns. The last part of the Gardena climb and the descent are all part of Sunday’s Maratona courses, so pay attention!
Friday 29 June: Valparola and Campolongo Passes (47 mi / 6,800 ft)
Today’s loop will take us on another stretch of the Maratona course, albeit in the opposite direction of the race. The first climb is the ‘first category’ Passo Valparola. We can stop at the top for a cappuccino at a nice mountain hut. The final climb is the relatively easy Passo Campolongo that brings us to Corvara, where the Maratona finishes.
Saturday 30 June
Rest day. Time to enjoy the Maratona festival and pick up your race package.
Sunday 1 July: Maratona dles Dolomites Gran Fondo
The big day! The hotel will put on a special early breakfast for us. Our hotel is near the start so we can line up in time for a good spot. There are three routes offered and you can decide during the race which one to do. All three routes start with the famous Sella Ronda loop.
1. The full Maratona course (87 mi / 14,000 ft)
The stats tell the story: this is one hell of a ride! Eternal bragging rides if you finish this one.
2. The ‘Medio’ Maratona (68 mi / 10,300 ft)
This route is not as hard as the full course, but still not to be underestimated with the ‘first category’ climb of the Passo Falzarego at the end.
3. The Sella Ronda (38 mi / 5,900 ft)
This is the classic Dolomites loop of four passes and panoramic vistas along the way.
Monday 2 July: Transfer to Venice Airport or to Vinschgau for the Stelvio Extension and PM ride
Those going home can go for an optional short ride in the morning before packing the bike and getting ready for our private bus transfer to our hotel at Venice Airport. We’ll have a celebratory dinner in the evening to mark the end of our tour.
The lucky ones that are staying for the Stelvio extension will have a morning transfer to Vinschgau. For the afternoon we have planned a ride up the gorgeous Martelltal (Val Martello), a ‘beyond category’ summit finish of the Giro d’Italia. The ride today is 33 miles long with 5,200 ft of climbing.
Tuesday 3 July: Flight Home or Passo dello Stelvio (60 mi / 9,300 ft)
Those staying at the Venice Airport hotel will be taken to the airport by the hotel shuttle.
For the remaining riders, today is the literal high point of the trip: the mighty Passo dello Stelvio. This is probably the most famous of all Alpine passes with 48 numbered switchbacks and 6,000 ft vertical in 15 miles to reach an altitude of 9,045 ft. Bring your passport along, because on the descent we’ll cross into Switzerland. Once back in Italy, we’ll take on the gorgeous Vinschgauer Höhenweg climb. Then it is all downhill to our hotel.
Wednesday 4 July: Morning Ride and Afternoon Transfer to Venice Airport
We’ll go for a last ride in the morning. It is an easy spin in the valley with an optional steep out-and-back climb to Sonnenberg (‘Sun Mountain’). The ride is up to 25 mi long with up to 3,700 ft of vertical. Once back at the hotel you’ll have to pack your bike. After lunch, a private bus will take us to our hotel at Venice Airport. We’ll have a celebratory dinner in the evening to mark the end of our tour.
Thursday 5 July: Flight Home
The hotel shuttle will take you to the airport for your flight home.
Full details and route profiles are in our brochure.
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