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REF: #07909

DOLOMITES & MONTE ZONCOLAN

If you're looking for a very challenging cycling tour, set in beautiful scenery, this is it. We ride the best and most famous passes in the Dolomites and then head east to take in Monte Zoncolan and Monte Crostis.

  • Half board hotel
  • Italian Alps —Feltre > Villa Santina
  • Activity Type
    • With guide
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 16
  • Features
    • Bar
    • Ensuite rooms
    • Restaurant
    • Secure bike storage
    • TV/DVD
    • Wifi

Service

Our Dolomites cycling tours are very challenging and this one is actually the most demanding of them all. If you’re very fit, it’s definitely worth considering this holiday. It’s difficult to describe the route in great detail without using the words beautiful, amazing and spectacular again and again - there are only so many superlatives you can use, and only so many ways to say that the scenery is absolutely stunning. Even so, each pass has its own unique character, and they’re all very diverse. There are very few long valleys here to offer you a break between climbs; you’re basically either going up or down.

This serene and breathtakingly beautiful area has been the scene of immense violence over its history and through two world wars. It’s been owned by both Austria, and more recently Italy, and the many war memorials remind us that it was the scene of several bloody disputes, with significant loss of life. Today it’s so peaceful, it’s hard to imagine. Even so, it has a split personality, and you’ll see signs in both German and Italian everywhere, although it still retains the Austrian flavour with chalet-style buildings and endless window boxes of colourful geraniums.

We spend three and a half days cycling as many passes as we can in the Dolomites, before heading east towards the Carnic Alps, finishing with the mighty Monte Zoncolan and the Monte Crostis.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Airport transfers
  • Souvenir Owayo full-zip Dolomites & Monte Zoncolan jersey.
  • Good quality accommodation every night, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are sometimes available and a supplement of £225 applies.
  • Buffet breakfasts every morning.
  • 3-course evening meals every night with 1/3 litre of house wine per person, or a beer or soft drink.
  • Snacks to keep you going during the day, such as cereal bars, chocolate and bananas.
  • Bottled water and carbohydrate powder to put in your bottles, as well as High5 Zero electrolyte tablets.
  • Maps of the route for you to refer to as you ride.
  • GPS files for you to upload to your device.
  • A high ratio of support vehicles to riders.
  • As many photos of you as we can take during your trip - usually several hundred pictures - so you can relive your journey from start to finish when you get home.
  • We accompany you closely throughout the day as you ride and we’ll try to be at every junction before you to make sure you don’t get lost.
  • You’ll always have access to your day bag, and there will always be tool kits and first aid kits available.
  • We’ll never be more than a few kilometres from you at any time, so you don’t need to carry loads of kit with you “just in case”. We’ll try to be at the bottom of every climb so you can shed unwanted clothing and top up your water bottles, and at the top of every col so you can grab a windproof layer before you start your descent.
  • We don’t make our prices look cheaper by leaving out evening meals, alcohol, or even airport transfers, so if you’re looking at prices, it pays to make sure you’re comparing like for like.

Arrival Day

We pick up from Venice (Marco Polo or Treviso) and take you to Feltre, where we’ll be staying the night. We’ll have tools and equipment available so you can assemble your bikes before we enjoy a good dinner and get ready for our start the following morning.

Day 1 - Feltre to Vigo di Fassa - 114 km, climbing 3,500 metres

After a hearty breakfast we mount up and ride out of Feltre, taking in some very beautiful scenery as we climb up to the Passo Croce d’Aune (1013m) on what used to be a main road until they built a tunnel that bypassed the col and it’s now very quiet. We descend into the green Cismon Valley and ride along a great plain for some time before we start to climb again, up to the Passo di Cereda (1369m). We continue on the undulating road, taking in the Forcella Aurine (1297m), before descending to the town of Agordo. Finally we make the 18km climb up to the Passo San Pellegrino (1915m), which gets steeper as it goes, with a couple of kilometres of 11% near the top, and a short section that touches 15%. Luckily there are also a couple of short flat sections along the way to give you a bit of recovery. We make our final descent to Vigo di Fassa, where we’ll be staying the night.

Day 2 - Vigo di Fassa to Canazei - 105 km, climbing 3,000 metres

We start with a fairly gentle climb until we arrive in Canazei at the foot of the Passo di Sella (2244m), which is rather more demanding. At the top there’s a stunning view, as well as a gift shop and a café, so a chance for a coffee break if you want one. We descend a short way and then climb again through an exceptionally beautiful landscape to the Passo di Gardena (2121m) a climb which is a little more friendly, with a nice flat bit in the middle to give you a rest. Down into Colfosco and on to La Villa Stern before we start our third climb to the amazing Passo Valparola (2198m). This is the most barren of all the passes we’ve seen to date, almost like the surface of the moon. Now we circle round as we descend into Pieve di Llivinallongo, riding along the flat valley for about 8km, asending gently into the small town of Arabba. One final climb to the Passo Pordoi (2239m), which is a nice climb, steady and manageable. We drop down into Canazei and that’s it for the day.

Day 3 - Canazei to Cortina d’Ampezzo - 122 km, climbing 3,900 metres

We leave Canazei and again we head straight into the 14km climb up to the Passo di Fedaia (2057m). It starts fairly gently, but becomes steeper as you climb. As we near the top you pass through a tunnel and there’s a beautiful lake. We ride along the banks of the lake for a while and then start the 37km descent down to Agordo, riding around another lake at Alleghe on the way. Our second climb of the day is the Passo Duran (1601m), one of the most demanding in the Dolomites, and dubbed “Duran Duran” by some former clients, who said it was so bad it should be named twice. They also said they never wanted to climb it again! We head down into Dont and then start our third climb up to the Forcella Staulanza (1773m), which is a little steeper at the bottom than the top. Down again into Selva di Cadore and then our last climb of the day, the Passo di Giau (2233m), which is ten challenging kilometres, but the view from the top is amazing. One side is green and undulating, the other side is stark and rocky. Finally we descend again to Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of the largest towns in the Dolomites and our overnight stop.

Day 4 - Cortina to Villa Santina - 129 km, climbing 3,200 metres

Today we head out of that part of the Alps that is considered to be the Dolomites and east into the Carnic Alps. From the pretty town of Cortina we go straight into the climb up to the Passo Tre Croci (1805m), which is a steady, gentle 8km climb. The road from there to Lake Misurina is rather undulating, but there are cafés and restaurants there so we can stop for a break. Then it’s a question of preparing yourself for our most difficult climb today, the magnificent Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2362m), which is about 9km with the last 4km ranging between 10 and nearly 14%. At the risk of gushing, the view from the top is absolutely stunning. Because of the altitude it will probably be too cold to have lunch, but we can descend again to Lake Misurina and eat there, before we continue east on a 30km descent, as we head away from the Dolomites. Our next climb is the 30km long, but much more gentle Sella di Razzo (1790m), otherwise known as the Sella Ciampigotto. The route undulates for a while, then we descend down to the beautiful Lago di Sauris. Our final climb is the Passo del Pura (1428m) which is only 6km, and then we head into Villa Santina, where we’ll be staying two nights.

Day 5 - Villa Santina to Villa Santina - 85 km, climbing 3,000 metres

Today you get a bit of a warm-up for a change. The first 10km is a very gentle climb along the valley before we turn off to the mighty Monte Zoncolan (1735m). There’s no getting away from it, this is almost 10km of pure hell, with an average of 12.1% and a maximum of 19%! When (or perhaps if) you get to the summit, you’ll have a choice. If you’ve had enough, you can retrace your steps to the hotel and chill with a beer while you bask in a well-deserved sense of achievement. If you want even more of a challenge (or you’re just crazy), you can carry on and take in the Monte Crostis (2251m). It’s 17km from the bottom of the climb to the summit, but that consists of a 10km climb averaging about 9% and then a 6km flat section before you come to the final kilometre of 7.3%. That’s the end of the climbing, so now it’s a question of continuing down back to the main road and the hotel. We’ll pack up the bikes and relive our epic adventure over a well-earned celebration dinner.

Departure Day

After breakfast we drop you back off at any one of the airports around Venice.

Accommodation

Good quality accommodation every night, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are sometimes available and a supplement appli

Location

It’s difficult to describe the route in great detail, because you’d be repeating yourself constantly - there are only so many superlatives you can use, and only so many ways to say that the scenery is absolutely stunning! Even so, each pass has its own unique character, and they’re all very diverse.

This serene and breathtakingly beautiful area has been the scene of immense violence over its history and through two world wars. It’s been owned by both Austria, and more recently Italy, and the many war memorials remind us that it was the scene of many bloody disputes, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers losing their lives. Today it has a split personality, and you’ll see signs in both German and Italian everywhere, although it still has the Austrian flavour with chalet-style buildings and endless window boxes full of red geraniums.

The nature of the terrain here is that there are very few long valleys between climbs, you’re basically either going up or down. So where you see that we leave our hotel in the morning and go straight into a climb, it’s not that we’ve organised things badly, it’s just that there’s no other option. You can only stay where there are towns and hotels, and unfortunately they weren’t situated to allow future generations of cyclists a nice warm up before the start of a climb.

We spend three and a half days riding as many passes as we can in the Dolomites, and then head East towards the Carnic Alps, finishing with the mighty Monte Zoncolan and the Monte Crostis as an optional extra for those who can and want to do it.

F.A.Q.