The Quintessential Italian Climb – Passo Pordoi, Dolomites.

The 2nd Pass on route in the Maratona is the Passo Pordoi. For many this climb is seen as the quintessential Dolomite climb. Certainly there are harder and arguably more spectacular climbs to be found in the Dolomites, but few, if any, can lay claim to having more significance for cyclists. With is summit at 2,239m it has served as the Cima Coppi (highest point in Giro d’Italia – awarded to first rider in race to pass this point) 11 times! Clearly the organizers of the Giro d’Italia – and Maratona dles Dolomites for that matter – quickly understood there were few better ways to show off the spectacular beauty of the Dolomites than via Pordoi.

The climb itself (from Arabba) is moderately challenging. It is not overly steep (9.7% max gradient/ 6.8% average gradient), but long, climbing consistently for 9.4km with 33 numbered switchbacks. As it comes so early into the event, the climb is literally ‘bumper to bumper’ with cyclists, slowing everything down and as a consequence giving all on board the opportunity to sit-up and absorb the enormity of the occasion. Absolutely mind-blowing…