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Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:54 pm
by Arlberg
Last year I spent 10 days in the Dolomites (based in Corvara) doing nearly all the big 'famous' climbs around there, followed by 10 days in the Italian Alps (based in Bormio) doing the same.

I really enjoyed Italy and I would like to go back there this Summer. What other mountainous cycling regions/hubs should I check out? I'd be looking to base myself in a region/village/town with lots of nice Giro or Giro style climbs.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:40 pm
by cyclotaur
Just move further west to the Swiss/Italian border area near Varese/Lake Como, then again to the French/Italian area near Nice and San Remo. Fly in/out to Milan/Nice.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:24 pm
by Arlberg
Thanks Cyclotaur. I will have a look at Varese and its surrounds as I prefer somewhere mountainous, although it seems a lot less mountainous than Bormio or the Sella Ronda region? Varese is quite a big place, (Population 80000) have you stayed at or visited any of the smaller villages in the area and is there one particular 'cycling centric' town that provides good access to most of the climbs, somewhere like Le Bourg d' Osains, Argeles Gazost or Luchon in France? I would prefer somewhere about the size of these places as I really only need a supermarket and a few restaurants. (and I hate traffic!)

Anyone else have any other alternatives?

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:35 pm
by cyclotaur
I haven't actually ridden either around Como/Varese or Nice/San Remo but like you have done Dolomites twice and west to Bormio/Stelvio/Gavia and Lago Iseo area. I just know there is good riding in those areas.

On the other hand you could go to Annecy in France and ride to your hearts content. I had a week there with my wife 2 years ago and hired a bike and did three rides. I was rusty and that was enough for me but there are plenty of longer climb-ier routes around.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:47 am
by Arlberg
I've been to Annecy and I had 10 days riding around there in 2014. From there I went to Le Bourg d' Osains for 10 days followed by Bedoin (Mt.Ventoux) for another 8 days.

In 2015 I had 10 days in Argeles Gazost followed by 10 days in Bagneres de Luchon, and as we've discussed already 10 days in Corvara followed by 10 days in Bormio last year. In all these places I rented a small apartment and did day rides to the famous climbs, that's how I like to do it rather than riding from A to B to C etc with a different destination each night. Of all these places I found Italy to be my favourite, so looking for somewhere else there although I enjoyed it so much I reckon I could quite happily do a repeat of last year again this year.

BTW has anyone been cycling in Mallorca? Apparently it's quite good riding in the north west...

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:02 am
by RonK
You prefer somewhere mountainous? How about Corsica? There were plenty of mountains when the TDF started there a few years ago, and looks like a nice place to visit too.

CorsicaCyclist

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:39 pm
by cyclotaur
Arlberg wrote:I've been to Annecy and I had 10 days riding around there in 2014. From there I went to Le Bourg d' Osains for 10 days followed by Bedoin (Mt.Ventoux) for another 8 days.

In 2015 I had 10 days in Argeles Gazost followed by 10 days in Bagneres de Luchon, and as we've discussed already 10 days in Corvara followed by 10 days in Bormio last year. In all these places I rented a small apartment and did day rides to the famous climbs, that's how I like to do it rather than riding from A to B to C etc with a different destination each night. Of all these places I found Italy to be my favourite, so looking for somewhere else there although I enjoyed it so much I reckon I could quite happily do a repeat of last year again this year.

BTW has anyone been cycling in Mallorca? Apparently it's quite good riding in the north west...

Looks like we should be asking you where to go next - that's an impressive list.

Maybe you should go to Belgium and tackle the Classics rides next. Or Spain.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:28 pm
by scirocco
Arlberg wrote:Last year I spent 10 days in the Dolomites (based in Corvara) doing nearly all the big 'famous' climbs around there, followed by 10 days in the Italian Alps (based in Bormio) doing the same.


In 2015 I spent a few days based in Corvara, and as you'll be aware if you've been there in July or August, the riding and scenery is great but the traffic is a drag (not aggressive or anything, just lots of it). Then we went east to Ovaro for three nights, which is a town near the base of the Mt Zoncolan climb. What a contrast. Not so much of the limestone scenery, but a heavily forested, eastern European feel to it (which it is; you're nearly in Slovenia).

Best of all, beautifully surfaced roads and almost zero traffic. Like riding in parts of the Pyrenees - you wonder why the road exists because obviously no-one lives there. To be fair, I haven't checked out the extent of the climbs so I don't know if, say, a full week would be workable. But as a short term destination I actually enjoyed it more than Corvara.

As far as other destinations go, I was also looking for alternatives to the Alps and Pyrenees and last year went to the Massif Centrale. Limited time meant I didn't get to the really big climbs like Puy Mary, so was mostly riding in the Correze department near where I was staying. Quite different from the other French mountain ranges where you are either riding over a big col or up and down a valley beside a river. The peaks are not much over 1200m or so but the road is never flat or straight for long, and you have never seen so many trees in your life. The upper reaches of the Dorgogne are reachable and are good riding with plenty of climbing and scenery. I would aim for Brive-la-Gaillard or Clermont Ferrand as initial stating points.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:07 pm
by MREJ
You could try the Valsugana. This 80k valley at the southern end of the Dolomites runs from Trento to Bassano del Grappa. A high quality bike path runs the full length, and at the Trento end, has a branch that goes down to Lake Garda. (If you keep falling it north from Trento, you end up in Germany - all on the bike path, I'm told!. It's called Via Claudia Augusta.)

All along the 80k there are mountains either side, with quiet, steep climbs. Most of these are little used as they typically go "nowhere" and all the traffic is on the highway along the valley floor. Half way along is Passo Manghen, a climb that I believe has been in the Giro, and at the southern end is Monte Grappa, with about 6 challenging alternative routes to the top, and one of Italy's premier cycling locations. There is a good map online showing many of the climbs. http://www.visitvalsugana.it/documenti/ ... 16-web.pdf

There is a very good bike hotel in Levico Terme and numerous other options, but none of the towns along the valley is big, so you would be able to enjoy small town and rural life with easy access to plenty of good riding. It's easy to get to Trento, Bassano del Grappa or even Venice on the train, should you want a non-cycling outing. Lake Garda and Verona are also options, although you'd have to drive (or ride) to those places. It's also a very interesting area from a historical point of view, being the focus of Italian / Austro-Hungarian interaction over centuries. I've been there twice already and am going again in September, for a week there and a week at Lake Como. We'll do a day trip to Sella Ronda if the weather is suitable - it's about 90 minutes drive to Canazei.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:37 pm
by Arlberg
Thanks MREJ for the comprehensive post which I just saw now as I haven't been on this site for a while. Sorry it took me a while to reply. Had I seen your post earlier I would have certainly had a good look at that area but as it turns out in the meantime I have already booked a trip. It's basically a repeat of last year, 10 days in Corvara followed by another 10 days in Bormio. Both areas are magnificent. Last year I lost 4 days due to rain in Corvara so hopefully that won't happen again this year, and there's still a few climbs in the area I haven't done yet, namely the Passo Fedaia and the Passo Giau from the Cortina de Ampezzo side. I've done it from the other side, it was superb as are all the climbs in the area. I'll be in Corvara from 18th-27th July and in Bormio from 28th onwards if anyone else is gonna be there too. Send a PM if you are.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:09 pm
by Chris249
I also found the Valsugana was a great ride, although since my frame had been bashed in a collision with a motor scooter while on the way from the French Alps I didn't get to ride the climbs.

For anyone else interested, if I may make one minor correction to MREJ's informative post; you can get to Lake Garda via train and bus, and the bus takes bikes. Alternatively, it's not a hard ride from the end of the Valsugana to Lake Garda, which is a magic place if you can avoid the lurking scooters. If you are heading south and loaded up, you can avoid the climb from Trento to the start of the Valsugana by taking the attractive local train up the hill.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:13 pm
by Chris249
scirocco wrote:
Arlberg wrote:Last year I spent 10 days in the Dolomites (based in Corvara) doing nearly all the big 'famous' climbs around there, followed by 10 days in the Italian Alps (based in Bormio) doing the same.


In 2015 I spent a few days based in Corvara, and as you'll be aware if you've been there in July or August, the riding and scenery is great but the traffic is a drag (not aggressive or anything, just lots of it). Then we went east to Ovaro for three nights, which is a town near the base of the Mt Zoncolan climb. What a contrast. Not so much of the limestone scenery, but a heavily forested, eastern European feel to it (which it is; you're nearly in Slovenia).

Best of all, beautifully surfaced roads and almost zero traffic. Like riding in parts of the Pyrenees - you wonder why the road exists because obviously no-one lives there. To be fair, I haven't checked out the extent of the climbs so I don't know if, say, a full week would be workable. But as a short term destination I actually enjoyed it more than Corvara.

As far as other destinations go, I was also looking for alternatives to the Alps and Pyrenees and last year went to the Massif Centrale. Limited time meant I didn't get to the really big climbs like Puy Mary, so was mostly riding in the Correze department near where I was staying. Quite different from the other French mountain ranges where you are either riding over a big col or up and down a valley beside a river. The peaks are not much over 1200m or so but the road is never flat or straight for long, and you have never seen so many trees in your life. The upper reaches of the Dorgogne are reachable and are good riding with plenty of climbing and scenery. I would aim for Brive-la-Gaillard or Clermont Ferrand as initial stating points.


Great post. Can you see any problems with riding from Corvara to the Ovaro area, or catching public transport with a bike?

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 11:49 am
by scirocco
I'm not sure. It's kind of a cross-country route so I suspect not much public transport - I was in a big group and we chartered an 18 seater bus from the local bus company in Corvara. It would be possible to ride (one couple in our group planned to do it but ended up taking the easy way out). It's a bit of a hike, pretty hilly and there are a few sections where it's quite busy. But there are probably alternative back roads that we didn't take, since we were in the bus.

Re: Italian alternatives to the Bormio/Alps and Corvara/Dolomites regions.

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:58 pm
by jules21
there's some nice riding around Lago Maggiore. we stayed in Stresa and there is a big climb directly off the lake. lots of options you can do as loops. Italy is full of idillic riding areas though, you can pretty much through a dart at the board.