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Cycling Tour 2011 :  Psso di Gavia and Mortirolo
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Passo di Gavia 5 June 1988
Passo di Gavia 2 June 2011

Leftnewspaper 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.
RightWard and Oof at the Passo di Gavia (2 June 2011, 23 years and 3 days after, under more pleasant conditions).


The 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 very bad.
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.


Map of Gavia and Mortirolo

Gradient of Gavia and Mortirolo

gradient coding

GPS track (66 KB zip file; 109 km, 3973 waypoints; start and finish: albergo Quai, Monno).


start page Mortirolo, Carette
and Guspessa
Santa Cristina
and Mortirolo
Gavia and
Vivione Stelvio and
Sulden and