Piedmont – “Il tracciolino” and the Rosazza tunnel
On May 30, 1999 Marco Pantani undertook the solitary climb to the Sanctuary of Oropa, one of his last great feats only a few days before the incident in Madonna di Campiglio that marked the beginning of the end of his career. That time his chain came off 8 kilometres from the finish line, but he still managed to overtake the group in the lead and cross the finish line well ahead of the pack. You can travel the same route starting from Biella, taking a tour of the holy sanctuaries, even including a Buddhist monastery, before coming to Rosazza: a total of 63 kilometres with a 1275 metre elevation gain. This is a route strictly for professional cyclists, or particularly well-trained amateurs – unless you have an e-bike, that is!
Lombardy – The Ghisallo Pass
There are at least three good reasons to go up to the Ghisallo Pass. The first is, of course, for the challenge. A tough, but not impossible challenge: 47 kilometres, an 800-metre elevation gain, with an interval that is not quite so steep midway through the route to give the legs and the lungs a rest. The second reason is for the view, and that little stone church dedicated to Our Lady of Ghisallo, patron saint of cyclists since 1946. The third and last reason is to visit the Cycling Museum that has stood on the mountain since 2006, a voyage through the history of the bicycle featuring a series of artefacts of great value testifying to the fame of this climb in the world of cycling.
Lombardy - King Stelvio
The Giro d'Italia never climbed any higher than this: 2758 metres above sea level. The Stelvio is another legendary pass of the Giro d'Italia, another of those routes an amateur cyclist dare not attempt without special training. It’s a long, steep climb up to the pass, 113 kilometres with an elevation gain of 2721 metres, over four passes and two different countries: the Stelvio, the Fuorn in Switzerland, the Eira and the Foscagno. Starting and ending in Bormio, in Valtellina, and enjoying the beauty of magnificent landscapes in two national parks. This is a route that is pretty tough even on an e-bike, recommended only for cyclists with plenty of training.