It only takes one summer in the European Alps to realise what a fantasy it is to traverse the alps by bike. It is a need that drives thousands of ambitious cyclists onto the trails to cross Europe’s highest mountains. The BIKE Transalp leads mountain bikers through the Alps from July 17th to 23rd; racing for seven days and covering 520 kilometres with 17,750 metres of climbing.
One of the many stops will be in Bormio – a medieval alpine town nestled below the Ortler massif and the Stelvio and Umbrai passes, as well as the Towers of Cancano. Historically, many of the current bike routes were crucial supply roads during World War I and have been made accessible for mountain bikers in recent years. Some of the higher routes were supply lines for Fascist strongholds, and others, like the route past the towers and through the Val Mora, were a route for salt from Salzburg, or wine from the region to be exported.
Now, the region is an adventurous wonderland; on some routes the glaciers are almost within reach. Bormio offers many things for mountain bikers, from technical terrain, altitude, long climbs, and of course the thermal spas and wellness facilities ensure that time out of the saddle is just as enjoyable.
The fourth stage of the Transalp on July 20th leads from Livigno to Bormio and includes sections of the Passo Alpisella and the Umbrail pass, which lead on to the roof of the Transalp, the summit at Bocchetta di Forcola, sitting at an altitude of 2,768 meters. A beautiful location with stunning views to finish a tough stage with hard climbs. On July 21st the fifth stage from Bormio to Mezzana. One of the region’s mountain bike highlights is a picturesque trail starting at the top of Stelvio; parts of this ride will also be included in the BIKE Transalp.
The Alta Valtellina Bike Marathon is a perfect alternative if a 7 day stage race is too demanding. Mark July 30th in your calendar and come to Bormio. The reward will be picturesque views along the two routes starting from Isolaccia Valdidentro and leading through the beautiful Alta Valtellina.