The Passo dello Stelvio (Stilfserjoch) is one of the great mountain passes of the Alps. One that has to be on the bucket list of every upright cyclist. Prato allo Stelvio (Prad am Stilfserjoch) is the starting point of the most famous Stelvio side, the one with the bends.
Via the Strade statale 38 you drive south. The first kilometers are quite easy. Between the trees the road rises slowly via Ponte di Stelvio and Stelvio, after which the climb was named.
A mountain hiker announces the first of 48 bends. After reaching the bridge over the Rio Trafoi, it becomes more difficult. You only have one kilometre under 7% left to recover. The other 17 kilometers are all above 7%.
But good news, because soon the first reward will follow. The aptly named Bella Vista (Schöne Aussicht) Hotel announces a fantastic view of the peaks along the pass.
Don't drive into the hotel in front of you, but take the two hairpin bends to get a better view yourself.
The climb gets steeper and steeper, but still hasn't shown its true face. After 15 kilometers of climbing, you reach another milestone; the restaurant Rocca Bianca (zum Weissen Knott).
You are at about 1861 meters above sea level, more or less on top of Mont Ventoux. The Stelvio has yet to start ... Despite the many hairpin bends, you still haven't reached the typical hairpin section with the stone walls.
But that will change soon. The col now reaches its steepest part as visibility opens. A stone wall on the right announces the last part. Before you know it, you've started it. Many realize this only after a few kilometers, but the first hairpin bend to the right is the start of one of the most famous climbing sections on our globe. A bit further you suddenly see the top of the pass right in front of you, behind the Hotel Franzenhöhe.
You are now at Tornante 24. Still 23 hairpin bends to go and still more than 600 altimeters. It's a long way to the top.
But the view and the surroundings now inspire you to get the best out of yourself. The climb still rises more than 8% on average, but unless you've lost your rhythm completely, the hairpins now follow each other faster and faster. Motorcycles ruin your fresh air, cars ruin your perfect line to the left, but finally you reach the top with its typical stalls.
Sometimes it can be a "casino" up there with cyclists, motorcyclists and tourists looking for food, souvenirs, views and selfies.
On the left you see the Restaurant Albergo Tibet with its typical ... Tibetan construction.
Looking down, you finally get the best view of all the hairpin bends you have just completed.
Stelvio summer events and tours :
.• juni: Granfondo Santini
• juni: VEB – Valtellina Extrême Brevet
• juni: Tristan Hoffman Challenge
• juni: Stelvio Challenge
• juni: Motoraduno
• juli: S. Antonio Valfurva – Passo Gavia (amateur fietswedstrijd)
• juli: Mapei Day
• juli: Granfondo MTB
• augustus: Zero RH+ Contador
• augustus: Scalata Cima Coppi
• augustus: Giro dei Laghi di Cancano