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Gavia Pass

AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
edited February 2010 in Pro race
I like watching cycling and painting roads. I'm easily pleased :-)

I don't really do much cycling and am not that fit. Not really unfit either (I walked from Chalet Reynard to top of Ventoux & back quite easily), but not a cyclist like most of you lot seem to be.

I'm going to the final weekend of the Giro this year and thinking about staying in Santa Catarina Valfurva. That's a long way (over 13km) from the Gavia pass and I expect it'll be car-free on the day of the stage.

Help please:
1. Does anyone know whether the roads are shut all of day of the stage? If not, what time do they shut? I've done le Tour several times and the Vuelta once, but never the Giro.
2. Given my lack of fitness, will cycling that 13km up the Gavia pass kill me?
3. Does anyone know any hardware shops in the Bormio area where I can buy paint?


  • its been a few years since I was in Italy , but they used to close the roads about 3 hrs before the race passed through .
    Cant help on the others im afraid
    Suburban studs yodel better than anyone else
  • Haven't ridden up that side of the Gavia, but the other side is very narrow in places so it's usually closed to cars for the entire day. You may have no other choice but to cycle up! And it won't kill you, put some low gears on your bike and you'll be fine. Make sure you take some warm clothes, there were 3m snow drifts at the top both times I've been there.
  • pedro118118pedro118118 Posts: 1,102
    In my (limited) experience, the Giro is a little more flexible than the Tour when it comes to access to roads etc before the race arrives. That said, mountain passes are somewhat difficult, as they are a logistical headache. Would imagine the Passo will be closed on race day to anything other than foot/bike travel.

    Your other question of whether or not you could ride - that's a tricky one! I've ridden it, albeit at a very steady pace, and it is long. The gradient isn' the killer (c8% ave) it's the length. And there are pitches of 15% towards the top. I supose you could spin up there on a MTB or a triple, but it is still some undertaking.
  • andypandyp Posts: 9,009
    From a cycling perspective, the worst part of the northern side of the Gavia is the section before Santa Caterina, a long straight bit of road that averages 9%, so you'd only have the second section of the climb to do. As I recall, it's twisty and never overly steep and then there is a long flatter section of 2 kms or so to the summit. The link below shows the gradients of that side of the Gavia;

    The race will be coming from the south so you've more chance of driving up the morning of the race and finding somewhere to park shy of the summit from the northern side.

    Enjoy it, it's a beautiful area.
  • When I was at the Giro, I drove up the road to Tre Cime de Lavaredo in the morning, dumped the car at the side and then cycled up the rest, not an issue. You could drive most of it if you fancied it.
    The Zoncolan was different, they were stopping bikes from about halfway up, you had to walk. And no cars at all. But it was bit manic on there - it's chuffing steep and I think they were worried about cyclo-tourists keeling over and causing logistical issues.
    In general though it is more relaxed than the Tour, you don't have the stupidly big caravan and support vehicles for a start, but I think it depends on specific location. More 'relaxed' includes lots of pushing domestiques up the climbs :D

    As for the Gavia, it depends how unfit. I kind of think that anyone can cycle up any TdF style HC climb quite easily* if you take your time, stop lots and keep your heart rate low, even if laden with beers, baguettes and paint, but I appreciate some may find this a chore. The other thing is the weather can be pretty grotty up top in May, so you'll need proper warm clothes if you do any hanging about waiting for the race. It is not France in July.

    *OTT things like Zoncolan are a different kettle of fish entirely, there is no such thing as an easy ride up these.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Cheers all for the advice, I'm kind of keen to have a go at cycling up it, depends on mates though.

    I was up top of Col Agnel a couple of years ago and that was f-ing cold, but I fear this will be on a new level. At least I'll have more than shorts on this time LOL
  • Brian BBrian B Posts: 2,071
    The Gavia from this side is pretty tough for a non-cyclist(other side is far worse) but okay with a few stops to recuperate I reckon. I descended this side but to me it did not look that bad but I had just been over the Mortirolo and the other side of the Gavia that day.

    As for shops in Bormio - I was not on the lookout for hardware shops when I was there(only places that sold food) but most people spoke english and there was plent of shops around so would not be too hard to come by.

    A very nice part of the world though!
    Brian B.
  • Choppered wrote:
    I was up top of Col Agnel a couple of years ago and that was f-ing cold, but I fear this will be on a new level. At least I'll have more than shorts on this time LOL

    Photo from the Gavia in 2006. Yes, make sure you take plenty of clothes!

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