Introducing Ruta Negra Italia.
2 weeks of climbing the hardest climbs in the Italian Alps.
Trip Difficulty Levels - What They Mean
An amazing trip concept that will test the most hardcore cyclists. La Ruta Negra is a 15 day cycling challenge whose goal is to conquer as many HC climbs as possible.
The Ruta Negra Italia follows a spectacular, masterfully-designed route that will tackle the toughest peaks in the Italian Alps, including Stelvio, Mortirolo, Gavia, Zoncolan, Monte Grappa, Finestre and many more. This will certainly be the most challenging 2 weeks you’ve ever spent on a bike.
Check out the highlights from Colle del Finestre through to Passo San Marco:
Our trip starts at Turin airport where our staff will be there to welcome you before the transfer to our hotel in Costigliole Saluzzo.
After lunch, an orientation meeting, and bike build-up, we’ll head out on an afternoon ride to loosen up the legs. It may be the warm-up ride but we have the Cat.1 Colle di Valmala lined up - just to set the tone for the weeks ahead!
La Fauniera & Sampeyre
We kick off the trip for real with a huge 148km ride and almost 4000m of elevation gain. First up is one of the Top 10 most beautiful climbs in Europe - the Colle della Fauniera. It’s also a beast of a climb with a total gain of 1662m over 21km, making it even tougher than the Passo Stelvio. From the Fauniera enjoy the descent to Stroppo where we start the next HC climb of the day - the 18km Colle di Sampeyre!
Vive La France!
Our route today takes us over the border into France where we’ll tackle Tour de France favourite, the Col d’Izoard. Before the Izoard we have the small task of climbing the mighty Colle dell’Agnello, at 34km in length, the Agnello takes us up to the French border at 2700m.
Our final climb of the day is the short but really impressive Col de L’Echelle which sees us say “au revoir” to France as we drop down into Italy and our hotel in Bardonecchia.
Colle delle Finestre
Our main challenge today is the massive Colle delle Finestre where Alberto Contador cracked on the last day of the 2015 Giro d’Italia. With an average grade of 9% over 19km, the Finestre has a sting in the tail - the last 8km are on gravel roads!
From the Finestre we have a long downhill before starting the final climb of the day to the ski station in Sestriere.
Ghisallo & Muro di Sormano
Today’s ride is one of these dream rides that every cyclist should complete at least once in a lifetime. Our ride follows many of the routes taken by the autumn “falling leaves” classic, the Giro di Lombardia. Leaving our hotel we head north towards the village of Sormano which signals the start of the “Muro” di Sormano with it’s 15% average grade over 1.5 km. From the Muro we descend to the Lake Como shore and head for Bellagio where we start climbing to one of cycling’s most famous sites - the Madonna del Ghisallo church and cycling musuem. We’ll stop for a while to explore this fascinating shrine before continuing our route back to our hotel.
Passo San Marco
From our hotel we head north along the lakeside to Bellagio where we can enjoy the stunning lake views during the 15 minute ferry ride across Lake Como to Varenna. Enjoy these 15 minutes of flat as it won’t be long before we’re climbing again. Along the shore of Lake Como we’ll eventually come to Morbegno which signals the start of the 26km Passo San Marco. Enjoy the stunning views of the Lombardy countryside as we climb the San Marco. From the San Marco we descend deep into the Italian cycling heartland of Lombardy where we can enjoy a couple of short climbs before reaching our hotel halfway up the Passo della Presolana.
Vivione and Padrio
Out of the hotel and we’re immediately climbing the remainder of the Passo della Presolana. The scenery in this part of Italy is particularly impressive and soon we’re on the lower slopes of one of our favourite climbs - the Passo Vivione. From the Vivione we head mostly downhill to Edolo where we soon start the steep climb to Monte Padrio. Monte Padrio is on the backside of the famous Mortirolo which we’ll encounter on tomorrows ride.
Mortirolo and Gavia
Today’s ride features an iconic loop in the Italian Alps that has featured many times in the Giro d’Italia.
The Mortirolo is considered the “Alpe d’Huez” of the Giro d’Italia- except it’s significantly more challenging than it’s French counterpart! With an average of 10.5% over 11 km this is one of the toughest climbs in Europe.
After conquering the Mortirolo we head up the valley to Ponte di Legno where we start the climb to the Passo Gavia, always remembered for Andy Hampsten’s epic ride through a snowstorm to win the 1988 Giro.
Stelvio x 2!
Another classic loop ride today From Bormio we head up the southern approach to the Passo Stelvio. From the Stelvio we turn around and head down 3km where we take a right turn that leads us over the Passo Umbrail.
At the Passo Umbrail we cross into Switzerland and descend through the beautiful Val Mustair. The road eventually leads back into Italy and along the valley to Prato allo Stelvio where the northern approach to the Passo Stelvio begins.
From the summit of the Stelvio we’ll descend to Prato where we’ll have a short transfer to our hotel in Bolzano.
Our goal today is the town of Feltre which sets us up nicely for the double attack on Monte Grappa the next day.
From Bolzano, no less than 3 categorized climbs lie between us and Feltre. First up is the HC Obergummer climb, 17km at over 6km average. From the Obergummer we have a short but stunning descent before the start of the Passo Lavaze. But the main challenge of the day still lies ahead in the form of the spectacular HC Passo Manghen: 16km at an average of almost 8%!
Monte Grappa x 2!
Today we’ll ‘Fare il Grappa.’ One of the most storied and difficult climbs in Italy, Monte Grappa is in the same category as Stelvio or Ventoux in length and elevation. We will ascend this magnificent mountain, not once, but twice. There are 10 ways up the mountain and we’ve chosen 2 of the most scenic.
Into the Dolomites
From Grappa we head back across the Passo Manghen and into the famous mountains that have been the highlight of so many Giro d’Italia stages - the Dolomites. We enjoyed the north side of the Manghen 2 days ago, today we’ll tackle the even more challenging, but equally spectacular, south side. From the summit of the Manghen we descend to Cavalese then along the valley to Predazzo which signals the start of our second HC climb of the day, the Passo Valles.
Today’s ride takes us up quintessential Dolomiti terrain. Passo Giau, an HC climb that averages 9% over 10km is a stunning ascent. The dramatic rock formations create a spectacular distraction from all the climbing. After Giau, we’ll tackle the slopes of Passo Tre Croci, Passo San Antonio and the long Cima Sappada before the long descent to our hotel at the bottom of the infamous Monte Zoncolan!
The Grand Finale: Monte Zoncolan!
Todays ride features the most challenging climb of all the Grand Tours - the Monte Zoncolan. 10km at an average gradient of 12% - make sure you saved something in your legs!
From our hotel in Ovaro we have a short warm-up before riding below the “Welcome to Hell” sign which signals the start of the Zoncolan. From the Zoncolan we have another short climb to Ravascletto before heading down the valley to Comeglians and the start of the HC climb to Monte Crostis. Enjoy the final climb of this epic trip!
Unfortunately, our Ruta Negra experience must come to an end. We’ll drop you off in Venice.