Tour 2015,  26 - 30 June

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Lugano - Boffalora - Bellagio - Lecco1131910
Lecco - San Pietro - Ambria - Monte Altino1092730
Monte Altino - Iseo - Lodrino - San Zeno - Pisogne1472960
Pisogne - Borno - Vivione - Aprica1152670
Aprica - Santa Cristina - Tirano24330

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Stage 1 (26 June 2015): Lugano - Boffalora - Bellagio - Lecco


My plan was to make a tour in the French Alps. The day before, however, i heard that railway employees were striking there. The only possible connection was cancelled. Thus i completely changed my plans and took a train to Lugano, to make a tour in Italy. From Lugano, i went to Melide and over the dam to the other side of the lake. In Maroggia, i left the lake shore to climb to Arogno and then (after the Italian border) to Intelvi. The road was partly very steep. Then, instead of continuing straight to lake Como, i made a loop over Boffalora and Colonno passes. It was a very nice ride, even if roughly 2 km before Boffalora were not paved, but still perfectly rideable with a race bicycle. Then i had a long descent to Argegno. After a ride along the shore (with much traffic as one can imagine), i took a ferry boat from Cadennabia to Bellagio. Since courses are quite frequent, i did not have to wait long. Nevertheless, it was already 15 when i started to climb again. It was really warm and the road to the south was very steep up to Civenna. Further, the climb was easier and i reached the Ghisallo pass. This pass is quite well known among Italian cyclists: it features a church dedicated to Madonna del Ghisallo as a patroness of cyclists. There is also a small museum about cycling. The descent was less steep, and much easier anyway. It brought me to populated areas between Erba and Lecco. There were further lakes along the way: Lambro, Segrino, Pusiano, Annone. As often in Italy, there were many road signs, but by far not all useful and it is not easy to find one's way. For cyclists it is, not astonishingly, even much harder than for motor vehicles. At some place, it was even necessary to follow the signs for a highway, to finally dicover that there was a bicycle path parallel to it. Well, it was so narrow and in bad shape that there was a speed limit of 10 km/h. Can you imagine Italian race cyclists respecting this? Fortunately, nowadays there are GPS devices, otherwise i'd probably still be turning in circles searching for my way into Lecco, where i decided to stop for the night.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
San Martino431040
Mora (Scaria)24700 
San Fedele2775020
Passo Boffalora411230140
Bocchetta di Colonno43132090
>>> Bellagio72200 
Colle del Ghisallo83750120
San Giuseppe10229030
total113 1910

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Stage 2 (27 June 2015): Lecco - San Pietro - Ambria - Monte Altino


For the second day, i started to climb Ballabio and further to the pass of Balisio. In the second part, after the junction of the highway, there was much traffic, but after the pass i turned right into the upper Valsassina and it was quieter again. A small road with very few motor vehicles brought me south to the San Pietro pass. It was Saturday and there were numerous cyclists who climbed up there from either side. In the descent i came into the Tallegio valley. I crossed it to its right-hand side towards the next passes. There was first Forcellina, on a steep and unpaved small road which required me to push the bicylce for a short distance. Back on the normal road, i was soon at the Bura pass. After this easy climb, there was quite a long descent along the Valle Brembilla. In Sedrina, i took left into the Brembo valley, which i left again in Ambria to climb towards Serina. The sky was a bit hazy, temperatures agreable and the climb quite easy. From Selvino, i went further up along the main crest then to the Ganda pass. The descent brought me to yet another valley, Valle Seriana. The last climb of the day was again a very steep one. From Cene it went into the slopes of Monte Altino and towards the Gallo pass. Like the day before, this last pass had a church related to cycling (Madonna dei ciclisti) and a small museum. There was an hotel very close to it, but it had closed down. Instad of riding down into the valley, i preferred to stay in the mountains, even if it meant going back roughly 2 km to an hotel i has seen on the way.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Colle Balisio11720520
Culmine San Pietro241260480
Valle Bordesiglio291030 
Ponte Enna36660 
Incrocio Forcellina42880220
Incrocio Forcellina44880 
Forcella di Bura45880 
Ponti (Sedrina)61290 
Passo di Ganda86106050
Ospizio Altino104840480
Prati Moletti105750 
Monte Gallo10681060
Colle Gallo107760 
Monte Gallo10881050
Monte Altino109760 
total109 2730

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Stage 3 (28 June 2015): Monte Altino - Iseo - Lodrino - San Zeno - Pisogne


After a restorative night in the bergamesque prealps, my tour would lead me further to the east. I had first to ride again to Passo del Gallo. After this 'pass of the cock', i went down to the valley of the horses (Val Cavallina), which i followed for a while to the south-west. Reaching the town of Entratico, i turned left to a narrow road climbing to the small pass of Buca del Corno. Small by its elevation, but not by its slope, again a very steep one. I had a view towards the city of Bergamo to the west. After this, i continued towards the lake of Iseo, then along its south shore to the city of Iseo. There were many people and much traffic. There were some bicycle paths, but full of pedestrians and cyclotourists, and anyway unsuitable to ride at the normal speed of a race bicycle. All sportive cyclists (and they were numerous on this Sunday morning) were thus riding on the main roads. From Iseo, i rode again uphill. The next pass, Passo dei Tre Termini was a gentle climb, nevertheless with a gain of about 500 m in elevation and it was quite hot in the sun. After the descent, i turned left towards Gardone Val Trompia. I rode across this city and along the valley up to Brozzo, then i took a side valley up to Lodrino. The road was quiter and i could enjoy the ride. After Lodrino, it was going down again and i reached so what was more or less the turning point of my journey: from Nozza, my main direction would no longer be to the east but to the north. This meant first going up again. Fortunately there were some forests and thus shade, and always again some fountains so that i never had to fear thurst during the whole tour. I came so to the municipality of Pertica Alta, which is made of several picturesque hamlets. After them two passes were crowning this part of the ride: the Termine and Santellone passes. These were again nice little roads with few traffic. I descended back into the Trompia valley and retrieved there the route of my tour 2002. The next pass appeared to be a longer ride than 13 years before, but this time it was at the end of the stage, not in the morming. As i reached San Zeno pass, there were many people there who had enjoyed a Sunday in the mountains. And the last descent of the day brought me to those who had enjoyed a Sunday at the lake. It was lake Iseo again, its north end at Pisogne to be more precise. The day had been quite long, almost 10 hours including pauses, but i still had time for a beer on a terrace at the shore before dinner.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Monte Altino0760 
Monte Gallo181050
Colle del Gallo2760 
Buca del Corno17560290
Colle di San Giovanni20510 
Passo dei Tre Termini48680480
Ponte Zanano57300 
Passo del Termine103990190
Passo del Santellone106880 
Colle dello Zeno1291420910
total147 2960

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Stage 4 (29 June 2015): Pisogne - Borno - Vivione - Aprica


Monday morning, the weather was overcast but it did not look like it would be raining. Perfect riding weather. I went first along the Camonica valley almost up to Breno. Turning left let me then climb towards the town of Borno. The slope was not steep, and after Borno even less. I reached thus easily the pass of Croce di Salven. Riding this way not only brought me to this pass (new for me) but it also let me avoid the tunnels of the road along the lower Valle di Scalve, which i had taken in 2002. After the descent to Dezzo, i went to the upper part of this Scalve valley, first to the touristic town of Schilpàrio, then up to the highest point of this tour, Passo del Vivione. The road became very narrow, but well maintained. Probably because it would be hard to cross, there were barely any cars on the way, just a handful of bicycles or motorcycles. The slopes of the valley were becoming steeper and steeper up to the point where the forest ended and the road arrived on the small plain surrounding the pass (and itself surrounded by gentle mountain peaks). It was not only the highest but also one of the most beautiful locations of this tour. Just on time, the clouds retreated and the sun appeared. The descent from this pass was long and very nice, bringing me back into the Camonica valley. The next stretch was not nice at all, with a lot of traffic including lorries, but i got help from a good tailwind. After a short stop at Édolo, i rode up to Aprica, which was the last stop of this tour.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Croce di Salven381110220
Dezzo di Scalve48740 
Passo del Vivione691830710
total115 2670

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Stage 5 (30 June 2015): Aprica - Santa Cristina - Tirano


The last stage of this tour would have to be short because i needed to be back home in the evening. The bicycle would thus have to go into the train. Still, even if short, it was a very nice ride. Instead of just riding down into the Valtellina valley, i took the small road over the Santa Cristina pass. This short climb was on the same road as we came down to Aprica in 2003. It was almost entirely in the forest, but i could still have some glimpses over the Valtellina before coming down at Stazzona. From there, there were just a few kilometres left to reach Tirano and to go to the station of the Rhetic railways. It was the second time that i took the train over the Bernina pass and it was so beautiful that i did not regret too much not to have time to climb by bicycle. I'd recommend this train ride to anybody who did not yet have had a chance to enjoy it (or who did not have the chance to do it by such a good weather as i had).
This tour had started as a second choice because of strikes in France, but it turned out to be first choice. The only mistake was to think that all passes would be easy because none was really high: some were really steep and a triple chainring would not have been useless!

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
San Pietro21160 
Passo di S. Cristina71450290
total24 330

PS / 10.7.2015