117KM | 3,350M+ · MONDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER
There’s no warm-up on Stage 3, another tough one. We go straight into the 14.5km climb to the Passo Pennes (2,215m).
The total climb is 1,263m at an average of 8.7%, and with the first two kilometres at 11.5% and 12.5%, there’s no chance to continue to doze on your bike. The climb is mostly in the forest before opening out near the top, where the road passes through an impressive cutting in the rock face. It’s a hard climb, one more to endure than enjoy.
Enjoy the next 35km descending through the picturesque Tyrolean scenery. Everywhere you look there are pretty villages, castles, churches and the ever-present mountains. Unfortunately, there is usually a headwind, so get in a group.
Your reverie (if such it is) will be broken when we arrive at the turn to the Renon plateau (1,383m), the first available short-cut up and over the mountains in the direction of Brixen. There’s an initially steep climb with wildly varying gradients up the side of the valley for 8km to where it levels out and descends again like a staircase for another 25km to the valley on the other side. We pass through lots of the attractive little villages for which the Tyrol is famous: it’s a real delight.
Following the main road along the valley floor to Brixen would be much too easy, so we climb back up the valley wall for another 5km or so to Lazfons to enjoy the views one more time before the final descent to a well-earned rest at the arrival village.
Stage description by Alpine Cols
Brixen (Bressanone) will host the Haute Route Dolomites 2017 from the 4th to the 6th of September