Alta Badia: A CYCLIST’S PARADISE
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF, TOURISMUSBÜRO ALTA BADIA
In the heart of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage, Alta Badia offers the ideal area to experience the emotions that cyclists, from amateurs to professionals, seek and appreciate every time they saddle up.
In recent years, thanks to the numerous activities and initiatives related to cycling, Alta Badia has become a point of reference for demanding cyclists. In August 2022, Alta Badia was awarded the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) certificate, an internationally recognised reference standard for sustainable tourism. The bicycle, in all its forms, is the ideal means to experience tourism in an environmentally sustainable way, and events such as the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel and the Bike Days should therefore be a symbol and an important signal in this direction. For this reason, cycling in Alta Badia is in no way inferior to hiking, where clean air, splendid landscapes and spectacular peaks invite you to treat nature with respect.
Alta Badia has been a point of reference for cycling enthusiasts for years. The strategic location, the possibility of organizing bike tours of all types and levels of difficulty and the dream of following routes that have made cycling history make Alta Badia a sought-after tourist destination. From here you can climb the famous Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Fedaia, Valparola, Falzarego, Giau passes and even reach the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Every cyclist’s dream.
The king’s stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023 also passes through Alta Badia: from Longarone in the province of Belluno, it goes through the Campolongo Pass and through Corvara, La Villa and San Cassiano before passing through the Valparola and Falzarego Passes in Heading towards the Drei Zinnen, where the stage ends on 26 May after 183 kilometres.
Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel
The event, which can be described as the queen of endurance races in Europe, attracts cyclists from all over the world year after year. As always, there is a theme that accompanies and shapes the event. This year the theme is humanity. The logo of the 36th edition is a barcode with the inscription Umanité (humanity in Ladin), because there is a real risk that we will be coded, classified and monitored. Are we just a code or are we becoming human again? A question more urgent than ever, addressed above all to those born and raised before the technological invasion dictated the rhythm of our existence.
This year’s event will again bring together 8,000 cyclists and has over 27,000 registrations from all continents. The highlights of the route again this year are the Dolomite passes of Campolongo, Sella, Pordoi, Gardena, Giau, Falzarego and Valparola. As usual, the participants can choose from three routes, all of which are closed to traffic: the actual marathon route with a length of 138 kilometres and an altitude difference of 4,230 metres, the middle route with a length of 106 kilometres and an altitude difference of 3,130 meters metres and the Sella Ronda circuit with a length of 55 kilometres and a vertical drop of 1,780 metres.
Those who are not yet among the lucky participants have the opportunity to register on March 22, 2023 at www.maratona.it for a higher entry fee, which will benefit a charitable cause (194 charity registrations in total).
Sellaronda Bike Day and Dolomites Bike Day
For those unable to compete in the coveted Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel, the month of June is packed with events that are now part of the cycling calendar. The already traditional Sellaronda Bike Day takes place on 10 June, during which the passes around the Sella Group are closed to traffic. The event will be repeated on Saturday, 16 September. From 08:30 to 16:00, the keen cyclists can take part in the non-competitive event, which runs anti-clockwise, is 53 kilometres long and has a vertical drop of 1,637 metres. The official event merchandise, available in stores in the hosting valleys, was created by designer Manuel Bottazzo and produced by Sportful.
The protagonists of the Dolomites Bike Day on 24 June are the Campolongo, Falzarego and Valparola passes in the Dolomites, scenes of epic exploits that have made cycling history. The route runs along the ring that starts in Alta Badia and leads to Arabba and the Livinallongo Valley via Passo Campolongo. Continue to the Falzarego Pass and then to the Valparola Pass before reaching the villages of La Villa and Corvara to finish the route. The route, which is closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is 51 kilometres long and has a total vertical drop of 1,370 metres. The route must be travelled anti-clockwise.
The biggest common denominator of these events, which have burned themselves into the hearts of all cycling enthusiasts, is that the Dolomite passes are closed to traffic on these occasions. A decision that shows how much Alta Badia cares about sustainability. These are non-competitive cycling events, open to everyone, with no registration required. The respective routes follow the route of the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel and other legendary routes closed to motorised traffic.
Guided cycling routes
The long summer days are ideal for long bike tours that will be remembered for a long time. For this reason, Alta Badia is again offering guided bike tours five times a week in June and July this year. The program includes unforgettable tours through the enchanting landscape of the Dolomites: Monday to Friday, local guides invite you to visit the most symbolic places and passes in the Dolomites, for example B. on the classic Sellaronda tour, to be discovered by bike. Alternatively, participants can experience the Fedaia, Giau or Würzjoch passes up close.
Share an e-bike in the mountains
Cycle effortlessly from one vantage point to the next at 2,000 metres and easily reach the three parks of the Movimënt area – e-bike sharing makes it possible. With the electrically operated mountain bikes, even mountain routes can be mastered with little effort. In this way, even less sporty people can devote themselves to this sport in the great outdoors and enjoy the wonderful views of the Dolomites. The rental stations are located at the mountain stations at Piz Sorega, Piz La Villa and Col Alto. But numerous sports shops in the region also offer e-bike rentals. So that nobody really has to switch to the car, the transport of e-bikes on the mountain railways is free of charge.
Mountainbike enthusiasts – rejoice!
With wide unpaved paths amidst the colourful vegetation, Alta Badia is also worth a visit for die-hard mountain bike fans. Bikers can choose from a variety of tours of different levels of difficulty – whether enduro, freeride or touring.
The Bike Beats Movimënt trails await adventure-seekers who are always on the hunt for the next adrenaline rush. These are country flow routes, for example fast trails with safe parabolic curves and jumps of varying difficulty. The trails are accessible by mountain bike or by e-bike on the Piz Sorega, Pralongiá and in the La Fraina area. The latter is marked with a blue/easy level of difficulty and has a length of 2,000 metres with a vertical drop of 193 metres. Thanks to the opening of the La Fraina and Bamby chairlifts (bicycles and strollers can be taken along), the Piz Sorega and Piz La Villa plateaus are connected. The use of the lifts is intended to promote sustainable mobility by allowing visitors to move more easily both up the mountains and between the villages of La Villa and San Cassiano. The trail that leads from the La Marmotta mountain hut over the Campolongo Pass to the village of Planac is new. The Bike Beats Movimënt at Piz Sorega will again host the Rookies Cup race on 26 and 27 August. Around 200 young people from all over the world will take part in the international event.
Alta Badia is also the ideal starting point for the Sellaronda by mountain bike. Thanks to the fact that you can take your bike with you on the mountain railways, you can reach the peaks without any effort and then experience breathtaking descents on MTB single trails. The circuit can be ridden clockwise and anti-clockwise – preferably in the company of an experienced mountain bike guide.
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