GAVIA - 2621 m
Start 1. Bormio
Access 1. Milano - Lecco - Sondrio - Tirano
Start 2. Ponte di Legno
Access 2. Milano - Lecco - Sondrio - Tirano - Edolo
One of the most famous ones in Italy, this side isn't usually climbed in the Giro, used to a stage finish in Bormio. It's not the hard side, but their 25km have a lot of everything.
The first km until San Antonio are soft, but after that, we have 3km at 9% as an introduction to the mountain. Then it turns softer before reaching Sta.Caterina Valfurva, having covered the first half of the climb. The best is still to come.
Narrow road to the top
Now, the road is really narrow, with lots of bends, firstly through a forest and after that without vegetation above 2000m. The gradiente, fixed to 7-10% for 9km, drives us to the easy last 4km, softer than before.
Top of the Gavia, second higher in Italy
A 39x23 may be enough if we consider the gradient, but remember this is a very long climb, so a 25 may be helpful in case of a crisis.
Side Ponte di Legno
This side is shorter...but believe me, harder. Less tha 20km, but with an average very close to 8% and sections really steep. In spite of starting soft, along a nice valley, it's when we've done 6km that the road turns into something brutally narrow and a criminal 16% section welcomes us. The real Gavia is starting.
Juanky in a hard 14% section
During 2km, it's horrible, with an average up to 10%,as you can see in the pictures. Then, we keep on getting higher and higher, and the climb becomes marvellous. The worst is still to come when, ssuddenly, a dark tunnel is in front of us. Inside it, the darkness and the magnetic fields are amazing. Leaving the tunnel, we're at 2300m with 4km to go... Sensations are poor, the average still at 8-9%, and only the last 300m are a satisfaction. The feeling is that the mountain is beating us.
Here, I had to put everything. I was ending the TripleX, and maybe a 39x25 would've been enough, but not that day. I put the 39x28 for the last 5km. I insist, my sensations are really influented on the TripleX, which I finished completely exhausted. Maybe this side is not so hard, but that day, I thought it was.