The Climbs of the Giro d'Italia: Bormio

An alpine ski town has become a cycling mecca. Just a few years ago, Bormio was a sleepy summer hamlet resting between World Cup ski events. Now the Giro d'Italia has made this alpine village a summer destination for cyclists wanting the challenge of the Giro's famed climbs – the Stelvio, Mortirolo, Gavia and Umbrail. The roads are spectacular, and the alpine peaks, glaciers and forests are breathtaking. July and August are cool respites from hotter temperatures lower down. We like to combine the classic eastern ascent of the Stelvio by first climbing the west side from the village of Bormio to the cut-off / Umbrail pass. The descent into Müstair, Switzerland and the valley ride to the east are quintessentially "Swiss". Perfect road surfaces and picture postcard villages woosh past as you descend to Prato, Italy. You've crossed back into Italy's region of the Sudtirol or Alto Adige. Order a macchiato with a German "bitte" instead of a "per favore" and don't forget to say "danke" as you saddle up for the iconic, and yes, gruelling 1,800 meter ascent of the Stilfserjoch / Stevlio pass. After some snapshots (and, why not, another espresso) an exhilerating 18 km descent through tunnels and switchbacks delivers you into town for an afternoon at the spas, saunas and whirlpools of one of the oldest thermal baths in Europe – Bagni Vecchi – a spectacular old world haven perched on a cliff overlooking the upper Valtellina. Enjoy a massage, some local alpine fare in one of the town's many delicious and inviting restaurants and a good night's sleep. Another climb awaits you tomorrow!