I have to declare a personal interest here, as our regulars know all too well the Maratona is my favourite bike ride. The scenery, the climbs, the descents and the outstanding food of Alta Badia make this a landmark on our calendar every year. It is a fantastically organised closed road event with some of the most iconic climbs of the Giro D’Italia. Passo Pordoi has been the Cime Coppi (highest point of the Giro) 13 times and is the highest point of the Maratona at 2,339 metres. The 55km Sella Ronda route fits in Campolongo, Pordoi, Selva and Val Gardena climbs and finshes with the 15km descent down to the event village at Corvara. That descent is one of the best in Europe, technical, tight and steep at the top then straight, shallower and extremely fast through the village of Colfosco.
At Corvara most riders kick on towards the fearsome Passo Giau loop. A quick burst up Campolongo again before the serious stuff sets in. Giau is one of the toughest climbs in Europe and most grovel up it. A selction of local cheeses await the victorious riders at the top before a rapid descent down to the base of the last proper climb, Valparoloa. This is shallower but still 13km. The drop to La Villa is fast, fun and can be a little frantic as everyone starts to push for the finish line. A short 25% climb up the Mur Di Giat awaits, but is but a pimple in comparison to what has been ticked off already. A pasta party, free massages and dubious europop are your rewards for making it round a fearsome course.
- For a fantastic family run hotel 25 metres from the start line - Ciasa Soleil
- a Soleil
- Break Out Sports for a helpful and friendly bike shop in La Villa
- Wear thin long finger gloves to protect from chill on the descents, even at pace the Val Gardena descent is 10-15 minutes.
- The transfer to Innsbruck is under 2 hours, and much more palatable than the 3+ hours drive to Venice.