Topbike Tours - European Cycling Holiday Specialists

David Olle and Emma Colson

An Australian company, Topbike has a fully equipped European base and its own fleet of high quality hire bikes and E-bikes.

We specialise in quality cycling tours with small groups and are famous for looking after our clients.

+61 415 866 061 (mobile)
PO Box 1717 Collingwood VIC 3066 AUSTRALIA
- SINCE 1997 -

Classic Italian Climbs
'Feast of Ascension'

July 10-20 2020

With Topbike’s ‘Classic Italian Climbs’ we venture north from Brescia, high into the Dolomites, for 10 days of pointing our bikes up many of the classic climbs of Italy, all of which appear regularly in the Giro d’Italia. 

We move across the passes of Croce Domini and Maniva, Gavia (twice) Stelvio, Mortirolo, Campolongo, Pordoi (twice), Gardena, Sella, Marmolada and Montegrappa.

2020 Tour Dates*

Classic Italian Climbs
- 'Eat-Drink-Ride-Suffer'
| July 10-20 2020

Starting from Brescia we’ll have three days on the shores of Lake Iseo, before moving deep into the Dolomites up at Ponte di Legno, for just two nights. Moving on from Ponte di Legno, our next stop is Arabba, for three nights. Riding out of Arabba, with a long downhill, we’ll leave the Dolomites behind and head for Crocetta del Montello, just clear of the foothills, north of Venice.

2020 Tour Price : $5550 (AUD) (per person)

Rides will average 80-100k per day, along with >1500m vertical, per day.

11 Days/10 Nights
July 10-20 2020+ *
  • Destination

  • Tour Start / Finish

    Brescia - Venice
  • Pick Up

    July 10: 10:00am Brescia Railway Station (or other location if arranged prior)
  • Drop Off

    July 20: 12:00 Noon Venice Marco Polo Airport
  • Cycling Fitness/Experience

    Any + E-Bikes Available

Friday, July 10 2020: Day 1 | Brescia to Lago Iseo, Marone

Pick-Up: 10.00am

Brescia Railway Station (Italian: Stazione di Brescia), Milan-Venice railway line

We'll meet at Brescia Railway Station before transferring in the Topbike air conditioned mini-bus to Lago Iseo (35k, 1h). After assembling bikes, we’ll take in a small ride in our local environs, a lap of the lake. At 65k it’s a perfect warm up, without a lot of vertical metres.


For the next three nights we will stay in a B & B in the centre of town, dining at three different local ristorantes.

Ride: 65km loop, flattish by the lake, < 300m vertical

Terrain: No climbs of significance – unless you want some?


Saturday, July 11 2020: Day 2 | Lake Iseo

A tour through the grape vines and the wineries south of Lake Iseo is the call for today, just 80k with not quite 1,000m of ascent. All the while remembering, on the way home we’ll have a couple of 18% bites to endure, before hitting the banks of our lake and completing the final 10k home at lake level. Coffee at a railway station en route, and maybe even a picnic somewhere too.


Local ristorante

Ride: 80km loop, flattish by the lake, >1000m vertical

Scenic and flattish for 50k, then 2 bastard climbs.


Sunday, July 12 2020: Day 3 | Passo Maniva

Today we’ll be heading north of the lake, starting with the bike track up the shores of Lake Iseo. At the top of the lake we’ll continue up to Breno, turn right, and start going up. Over Croce Domini, and Passo Maniva, climbs used in the 2006 Giro, which includes 6k of ‘bianca strada’ (unmade road). Descending off Maniva is pretty special, as there is a gentle descent of 3-4% average, on sweeping bends for 40k. We’ll return to our valley over the short climb of Polaveno same as yesterday (approx 300m of ascent), then there’s just 10k flat to home.


Local ristorante

Ride: 135km loop, < 3500m vertical asc.

Terrain: Two climbs of significance, including one big one first.


Monday, July 13 2020: Day 4 | Moving to Ponte di Legno + Mortirolo

Today we’ll be moving house. We’ll say goodbye to Lago Iseo, and drive 70k to Aprica, venturing up into the real Dolomites. In Aprica, we’ll start riding at Bar Boomerang (yes, the Italian owner has never been to Australia) and commence with a gentle descent down into the Valtellina valley. Through Tirano we’ll turn right before Mazzo di Valtellina, where we’ll start the murderous climb of Mortirolo (14.8 km, 8.3 %), where many riders have been known to lose their sense of humour.
Coming off Mortirolo, we turn left at Monno and again climb gently towards Ponte di Legno, where we’ll stay for the next two nights. Here we’ll be staying in an Agriturismo, where most of the fare is produced on site. The pasta is hand made fresh every day, by Alda (the boss) in the kitchen. Hot tub available, on demand!


Local ristorante

Ride: 75km, < 2500m vertical

Terrain: Two climbs, the first one being Mortirolo, which peaks at 18%.


Tuesday, July 14 2020: Day 5 | Passo Gavia

Passo Gavia and return, today. It’s a big climb with no really easy parts, it’s just tough and steep the whole way up. It’s narrow too, and when you get to the tunnel, you’ll find that is steep, and dark. Having said that, it’s one of the best climbs in Italy, and Europe. Really special. One not to be missed.
Returning to Ponte di Legno, we can have lunch in town and enjoy a hot tub later, up at our digs. More terrific home made mountain fare at our agriturismo tonight.
Good hot chocolates (and good grappa) to garner recovery, when gasping on top of Gavia, guaranteed.


More terrific home made mountain fare at our agriturismo tonight.

Ride: < 40km, < 1700m vertical.

Terrain: One big climb, up Passo Gavia, very steep in parts. Lights required for the tunnel. Remembering you do have to climb the final couple of K home, also.


Wednesday, July 15 2020 | Day 6 | Stelvio!

Today we’ll have a little choice, as in front of us are two of the biggest passes in Italy, Gavia and Stelvio.
You can choose to ride both or skip Gavia, if you did it yesterday. The total distance is not massive, but the climbing, at 3,700m should not be under estimated.
Post ride we’ll jump in the cars and continue on to another region of the Dolomites, in Arabba. Just one of these climbs, in a day, is enough for most. If you are serious about doing both, you may need to set off early!
Highlights: Stelvio is not only Top Gear’s favourite drive, along with being used by Ferrari as an informal test track, but favoured by pro riders as well. Many a pro-team’s training camp is held in the shadows of Stelvio.


Ride: < 95km, < 3700m vertical.

Terrain: Two huge climbs, tunnels, lots of switchbacks, deteriorating surfaces and often steep in parts. If you’re thinking of riding both climbs, you’ll need to start at 6am.


Thursday, July 16 2020: Day 7 | Sella Ronda

After yesterday’s epic we’ll be looking for an easier day today, so we’ve lined up the Sella Ronda. In winter you can ski this loop, but today we’ll scoot around it, on wheels and sweat. At just 55k, with four passes, travelling clockwise, we’ll track up Pordoi, onto Sella, Gardena and Campolongo.
Highlights: It is the most spectacular 55k loop you will ever complete on a bicycle, guaranteed. While this is not quite a rest day, it’s the next best thing (on an Italian Climbs tour).
The Sella Ronda is the setting where a young Cadel Evans placed himself into the Giro’s leader’s jersey during his first grand tour back in 2002, on a stage finish into Corvara in Badia, at the base of Passo Gardena.


Ride: < 55km, < 1700m vertical.

Terrain: Four big climbs


Friday, July 17 2020: Day 8 | The Marmalada

Just one new climb today, The Marmolada, where Emmanuele Sella won his 2nd consecutive hilltop finish in 2008’s Giro, before going positive and out of the race scene for a couple of years. We’re just positive we’ll make it over, around, and back over the Pordoi (for the 2nd time in as many days) to return to Arabba for our final night of rest on the Sella Ronda.



Ride: < 75km, < 2000m vertical

Terrain: Two huge climbs. The first of which starts in a gorge, and finishes with >15%, the 2nd is the other side of Pordoi


Saturday, July 18 2020: Day 9 | Ride to Crocetta del Montello

Today we’re just going to ride, 130k. We’ll ride out of our hotel in Arabba, and ride into our next Agriturismo in Crocetta del Montello, quite a few hours later, after a mid-ride picnic (Agordo or Torvena). And while not completely ‘downhill all the way’ it’s the next best thing.
There’ll be about 600m of vertical ascent and double that in net loss. We’ll dine in our agriturismo tonight, famous for serving us potatoes cooked five different ways, in the one meal. Not to mention their own Prosecco etc.


Agriturisomo | In-house.

Ride: < 130km, < 800m vertical

More down than up, with some climbing.


Sunday, July 19 2020: Day 10 | Monte Grappa

Last up in the climbing department is one of the 2014 Giro highlights, the GPM of Monte Grappa, the base of which is 25k from home and is a climb many Topbike Tour clients are familiar with, as it is must-do, if ever we are in the region.
Scorching sun, thick fog, varying grades, a ‘grapperia’ halfway up the climb, and a peak of 1775m, are all attributes that add to the experience. We’ll stop for coffee in the historic centre of Asolo, on the way over.
Highlights: Today we’ll ride the climb of the 26k TT course, used in the 2014 Giro, stage 19.


Ride: < 100km, < 2,200 vertical ascent

Terrain: Flattish across to the start of the climb. .


Monday, July 20 2020: Day 11 | Venice - Marco Polo Airport ‘Arrivederci’

Drop-Off: 12.00 Noon

Venice Marco Polo Airport

Pack up day, after breakfast - ‘Arrivederci’

Drop off point will be Venice Marco Polo airport, by 12 noon.
Highlights: If we do everything planned, we'll have climbed nearly 19,000 metres, over 16 different mountain passes, some of them 2 times. Also worth noting is the minimal car time, achieved by riding between some of our locations.
So after enjoying breakfast together, for all of those not staying on, it's pack-up time, and off to further destinations: ‘Arrivederci’..
NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time. Please note all distances are approximate and subject to change.

Classic Italian Climbs

Feast of Ascension - "Eat-Drink-Ride-Suffer"

PassHeightAscent in metresGradient %Max %Distance
Croce Domini1938 m1327 m5.8 %23 km
Passo ManivaNoStats for theway weare going!
Polaveno594 m334 m7 %4.8 km
Stelvio2758 m1808 m7.4 %24.3 km
Gavia – P d Legno2621 m1363 m7.9 %16 %17.3 km
Mortirolo1852 m1222 m8.3 %14.8 km
Gavia – Bormio2621 m1404 m5.5 %25.6 km
Valporola 2178 m750 m6.2 %12 km
Pordoi – Arabba2242 m637 m6.8 %9.4 km
Gardena2121 m250 m4.2 %5.9 km
Sella2214 m399 m7.3 %5.5 km
Campolongo1875 m361 m6.2%5.9 km
Marmolada2057 m1059 m7.5 %14.1 km
Pordoi – Canazei2242 m786 m6 %13 km
Montegrappa 1745 m1530 m8.1 %19 km

If we do everything planned, we'll have climbed nearly 19,000 metres, over 16 different mountain passes, some of them 2 times. Also worth noting is the minimal car time, achieved by riding between some of our locations. Passes include:

  • Croce Domini and Maniva, Gavia (twice) Stelvio, Mortirolo, Campolongo, Pordoi (twice), Gardena, Sella, Marmolada and Montegrappa.
Classic Italian Climbs - Feast of Ascension 'Eat-Drink-Ride-Suffer' July 10 to 20, 2020