When a travel editor from The Telegraph describes somewhere as ‘the most beautiful lap in the world’, you know it’s special.
We recently organised for journalist, Oliver Smith, to ride in the Italian Dolomites with 5 friends. With the weather on his side, an unforgettable few days on the mountains awaited the group as they prepared to take on the Sellaronda, the Giau and other famous climbs frequently featured on the Giro d’Italia.
The first day of riding saw the 6 UK based cyclists tackle the Dolomites from Badia, through the Passo delle Erbe and into the Val di Funes. In Oliver’s words:
“It is truly the stuff of travel brochures. Lush meadows, clusters of timber-framed houses, and pockets of forest, all lorded over by the most eye-catching mountains anywhere on the planet”.
An evening of recovery and relaxation justly ensued following 4000m of climbing and 60 miles of riding on day 1. With the Giau awaiting them on day 2, the restaurants in Corvara were more than happy to host the 6 riders.
The Giau – “a seven-mile grind with a gradient that clings resolutely to an exhausting 10 per cent, but offers a reward like no other” – provided Smith with another physical and mental test on day 2 but rewarded the group with remarkable views over the Italian mountains. The unforgettable landscape makes the gruelling climb even more rewarding before, following a rest and coffee refuelling, they enjoyed another stunning ride back to their hotel in Corvara.
The Sellaronda, one of the standout features on the Maratona dles Dolomites, capped off an unforgettable 3 days of riding for Smith and his friends. The famous four passes provided the group with a cycling experience that is hard to top anywhere else in the world. Anyone who has been lucky enough to climb the Gardena, the Sella, the Pordoi and the Campolongo could speak for hours on its prodigious beauty, undoubtedly wishing they never had to leave the mountains. In Oliver’s case, he simply decided to ride it again:
“It has been three hours of bliss, and we envy the local cyclists who have this on their doorstep – and not Richmond Park. We check our watches. Having set out at 8am, we are back in Corvara by 11am. A few hours until lunch… then, one more lap?”
Anyone who claims to love cycling should experience the Italian Dolomites. If you’re interested, find out how you can take part in the Maratona dles Dolomites below: