Video: Climbs to ride – Passo Gavia

Mike Cotty scales the 2,621m Passo Gavia in the Italian Alps

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Mike Cotty has ridden more than his fair share of mountains – so when he says the Passo Gavia is “absolutely one of the greatest climbs you’ll ever ride” then it’s time to sit up and take note.

In this stunning episode of The Col Collective, Cotty scales this 2,621m beast of the Italian Alps. The climb rises for 17.3km from Ponte di Legno, with a leg-searing average gradient of 7.9 per cent and regular pitches up to a maximum of 16 per cent.

It’s a breathtaking climb which rises steeply from the first kilometre and an ascent which features often in the Giro d’Italia. One for your bucket list, too?

“I’m not sure what it is that excites me so much about the Passo Gavia,” said Cotty. “Perhaps it’s the iconic snowy images of Andy Hampsten from the 1988 Giro d’Italia that really set my imagination free as a kid.

“Since then I’ve ridden it in the cold, the rain, the wind but also in glorious Italian Alps sunshine, the type that gently warms your soul from within as you put the whole world on pause and simply enjoy the gift of being on you bike and breathing pure mountain air.

“Whatever conditions I’ve faced I always get a special feeling when I’m on the Gavia. While its neighbouring Passo dello Stelvio may enjoy more of the limelight, for me the Gavia has everything that I enjoy most about alpine cycling – tranquility, tiny narrow roads, steep pitches, busted up tarmac and some of the most sensational scenery I’ve ever been blessed to see. Such a hard climb but so rewarding. The Passo Gavia, absolutely one of the greatest climbs you’ll ever ride!”

Vital statistics

Length: 16.6km
Summit: 1,709m
Elevation gain: 1,190m
Average gradient: 7.2 per cent
Max gradient: 13 per cent

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