The World’s premier Granfondo is a MUST RIDE event for all cyclists.
If you only ever enter one mass participation cycling event then make it this one. Not as hard as other famous Gran Fondos such as the Marmotte in the Alps but the razzmatazz, the buzz that comes with the Maratona is unrivalled. Lining up in the cool shade of the mountains waiting for the sun to rise, surrounded by thousands of others, ahead of you banks of motorbike outriders ready to lead the riders away and helicopters hovering overhead it sends shivers down the spine.
The route is a perfect test set in exquisite scenery and the carnival at the start follows you all the way round the course as you wind between the mighty Dolomites peaks. With eight mountains to cross including the vicious slopes of the Passo Giau and unparalleled end-of-ride hospitality, it’s a day you’ll never forget and one event that you’ll want to return to over and over.
One of the great things about the Maratona is that there are 3 options. The first lap is common to all three, so you don't even need to decide before the start how many climbs are in the cards for you, you can decide out on the road.
From La Villa, the route for all options begins with a gentle rise into Corvara where those on a mission rush to get past those travelling at a more leisurely pace. Arriving at the Passo Campolongo the excitement of hitting the first hairpins can go to your head so be careful not to ride too hard as you climb amongst the mass of riders. Once over the top the crowded roads begin to clear and up next is the long climb of the Passo Pordoi which further strings out the gigantic peloton. Continuing anticlockwise round the Sellaronda you cross the Passo Sella and then the Passo Gardena before returning to Corvara. If you only wanted to do the shortest option, you can bow out gracefully here having completed the Sella Ronda route (55 km, 1780 m).
If you still have some energy, continue through the finish line and take on the Campolongo for a second time. At the intersection between the Medio and the Granfondo, turn left and take on the Falzarego pass from its South side then rejoin the Granfondo route and follow it to the finish for the Mediofondo route (106 km, 3130 m) .
Alternatively, turn right at the intersection and roll towards the Maratona’s jewel in the crown and by far its hardest obstacle, the Passo Giau. Its 10 kilometres of 10% gradient are a real killer then following this is the amalgamation of the Passo Falzarego and Passo Valparola. Whatever juice you still have will be thoroughly squeezed on the short but murderous ramp of the Mür de Giat before the relatively flat final run in to fill up on pasta and beer. Congratulations, you've just done the Granfondo route (138 km, 4230 m)!
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