|Left: newspaper photo at rifugio Bonetta commemorating a day of cycling history. On 5 June 1988, the race passed over the Gavia in a snowstorm,
making for an epic stage won by Erik Breukink. The photo shows Andy
Hampsten, the overall race leader, followed by Erik Breukink the winner of the stage. Unfortunately not shown is Johan van der Velde, who reached the pass just before Andy and Erik.
Right: Ward and Oof at the Passo di Gavia (2 June 2011, 23 years and 3 days after, under more pleasant conditions).
Gavia south slope is known as the classic ascent. Most of time when the
Gavia was incorporated in a Giro d'Italia stage the Ponte di Legno to
Bormio route was chosen. Until quite recently a part of Gavia ascent
was unpaved, but nowadays there is asphalt from bottom to top.
Approximately 3 km before reaching the top you have to pass a curved
and non-illuminated tunnel (400 m). Under such circumstances motorbikes
are appreciated. Their head lights were helpful in discriminating
between black asphalt and black walls. It is possible for walkers and
cyclists to take the remnants of the former road, but only if you have a tunnel-phobia. The quality of the unpaved track is
There is little doubt that the Mazzo approach is the most challenging Mortirolo ascent. However, despite being 3 km longer, and therefore on average less steep, the 1160 m uphill from Grosio is unexpectedly tough. It is a very irregular climb, with many abrupt changes in grade between between 2-4% and 10-13%. Nice for an indoor spinning program, but less appreciated on this 100+ km roundtrip.
Note that shortly before Vezza d'Oglio we have tried to escape from the state road nr. 42. That was a waste of time and energy; no signs, dead end roads and sometimes bad road quality. It is better to follow the SS42 up to Ponte di Legno.
GPS track (66 KB zip file; 109 km, 3973 waypoints; start and finish: albergo Quai, Monno).
|start page||Mortirolo, Carette