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The Dolomites are like nothing you've ever done on a bike. There are few long valleys here, as there are in the Alps and the Pyrenees; you're either cycling up or down, which is great if you like climbing and descending. Our Dolomites supported cycling tours are among the most challenging events in our range and you need to be quite fit to get the best out of them.
Nothing can compare to the scenery here, it's absolutely stunning, and each of the passes has its own unique character. This area was part of Austria until after the war, when it was given to Italy, and it still has a very confused identity. You'll see signs in both Italian and German, and the buildings have a very Tyrolean style, with lots of wooden beams and endless window boxes of red geraniums.
The hotels are all 3 or 4*, many with swimming pools or spa facilities. Breakfasts are all buffet-style, and dinners are almost all four courses, including a salad buffet to start.
If you're looking for a challenging cycling holiday amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, then you really can't beat the Dolomites.
We start at Lake Alleghe and spend three days cycling 11 of the best passes that the Dolomites has to offer - San Pellegrino, Sella, Gardena, Campolongo, Pordoi, Fedaia, Duran, Staulanza, Giau, Tre Croci, Tre Cime di Lavaredo - before we pack up and transfer to the quaint, medieval market town of Glurns, which is very Austrian, even though it's in Italy now. After a hearty breakfast we set off to cycle the mighty Stelvio with its 48 hairpins, probably stopping at the top for coffee and the most amazing Strudel you've ever tasted. Then it's down to Bormio for lunch before we ride the Gavia, which is very green and wooded at the beginning, but becomes quite bleak and stark as we approach the top, passing the dramatic war memorial as we go. At the refuge you can enjoy a coffee while you contemplate all the memorabilia; it's almost a cycling museum. On our final day we tackle the incomparable Mortirolo, for which Marco Pantani still holds the record, passing his memorial on the way. Then we transfer to Lecco on Lake Como, where we spend our last night.
DOLOMITES & STELVIO - 6 NIGHTS - £1,250 - 400 KM - CLIMBING AROUND 13,000 METRES
We begin in the town of Belluno and head West, riding along pretty Lago del Mis and through a series of small tunnels for 20km before we start the first climb. In all we spend four days in the Dolomites, cycling 14 of the famous passes - Forcella Franche, Duran, Staulanza, Giau, Tre Croci, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Falzarego, Valparola, Fedaia, Sella, Gardena, Campolongo, Pordoi, San Pellegrino - before we make the transfer to the town of Glurns. On Day 5 we enjoy a breakfast of bacon and eggs before we start the biggest day of the trip, cycling the famous 48 hairpins of Passo Stelvio, followed by the beautiful but very diverse Gavia, an incredible ride. On our last day we tackle the infamous Mortirolo and then we transfer to Lecco, where we spend the night and enjoy a wonderful dinner on the banks of Lake Como.
6-DAY DOLOMITES & STELVIO - 7 NIGHTS - £1,375 - 450 KM - CLIMBING AROUND 13,500 METRES
This is our most difficult and demanding Dolomites cycling tour and we've packed in the climbs. We cycle a minimum of 100km with 3,000 metres of ascent per day, taking in 18 passes - the Croce d'Aune, Forcella Aurine, Cereda, San Pellegrino, Sella, Gardena, Valparolla, Pordoi, Fedaia, Duran, Staulanza, Giau, Tre Croci, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Ciampigotto (Razzo), and Pura in the Dolomites - before we head into the Carnic Alps and ride the mighty Monte Zoncolan and Monte Crostis. You need to be very fit to get the best out of this event.
DOLOMITES & ZONCOLAN - 6 NIGHTS - £1,250 - 560 KM - CLIMBING AROUND 16,000 METRES