182KM | 2,650M+ · Friday 8th September
Final day, and while certainly not the hardest, it is a long one at 182km. We begin by retracing our steps of the previous day, back up and over the Passo Fedaia (2,057m). Once again we begin with a climb, straight out of bed, as it were. Tomorrow in Venice is going to feel strange, no need to get up at 6am, no mountains to climb.
If you paid attention to the final descent on the previous day you’ll know what to expect. The climb is much easier from this side, but once again the second half is the toughest, with some 5km at 9%. Once over this, you can start to feel good. Two small hills left and the long ride out to Venice.
Most of the ride is along the valley floor, on a descending false flat, so very fast. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to do this in a group and share the work.
The false flat descent is punctuated by the short climbs to the Forcella Franche (992m) and the Passo San Boldo (706m). The Forcella Franche consists of 5.5km of actual climbing, at 7%, and the San Boldo is a formality from the north. Timing will stop on the summit of the San Boldo: the stage is over, time to relax and enjoy your achievement.
The descent from the San Boldo is a remarkable testament to human ingenuity and to what can be done when the stakes are high enough. This incredible road, consisting of a stack of tight hairpin bends cut into the solid rock, was built in just three months in 1918 by the Austro-Hungarian army and conscripted local women and children.
Next stop Conegliano for lunch, then on to Venice and the party!
Stage description by Alpine Cols
The start city of Venice will host the Haute Route Event Village and for to days the number of bikes might outweigh the number of gondolas! It is the perfect opportunity for riders to enjoy a weekend away with loved ones before setting off on the challenge of a lifetime.
Basking in the glory of its Grand Canal palaces, Venice is an important tourist destination and home to more artistic masterpieces per square kilometre than anywhere else. It also serves as a major centre for art and cultural festivals including the Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival.
Set against an exquisite backdrop of colourful waterway narrow call and ancient palazzo are the local artisans making shoes and cooks whipping up locals delicacies on their tiny stoves in the street. Water laps at the doorsteps of hotels and basilicas in the complex network of canals that connect the 118 small islands, and the traditional gondolas serve a major role in ferrying locals and tourists around the city.