2021 Haute Route Dolomites Stage Descriptions

31 August - 4 September 2021: More legendary climbs and more unforgettable roads.
25/10/2020

Haute Route Dolomites | 31 August - 4 September 2021

The Haute Route Dolomites is back next year, spanning 450km over five days and climbing almost 14,000m+. Explore the best of the Dolomites in 2021.

The 5-day Haute Route Dolomites is a point-to-point course:

Night 1 in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Night 2 in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Night 3 in Trento

Night 4 in Bormio

Night 5 in Bormio

STAGE ONE

95km | 3,400m+

Start in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Heading out of the beautiful mountain-resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, riders have four iconic climbs to conquer for the first stage of the 2021 Haute Route Dolomites. First up is one of the Giro d’Italia greats: Passo Giau. Whilst the route takes the peloton up the ‘easier’ north side with its broad sweeping switchbacks, riders should be careful not to go too hard on this 15.7-kilometre climb as there is still a big day ahead.

After the descent down the south side and through the valley, the peloton face a smaller climb to warm the legs back up for the upcoming Passo Falzarego, where riders will once again climb to over 2,000m+. After the descent, riders will then pass back through Cortina d’Ampezzo and over the Cimabanche pass before heading onto one of the most anticipated climbs of the Haute Route Dolomites.

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo proved to be a showstopper for the Haute Route Dolomites 3-day event in 2019 and will be sure to once again take every rider’s breath away this year – both literally and figuratively. Despite the misleading average gradient of 7.5%, the steepness of the final four kilometres is quick to creep up on you, and riders will battle with sections rising up to 19% to get to the finish line. The reward will be more than worth the hard effort, with the three stunning peaks – one of the most recognisable landforms of the Dolomites – towering above the finish.

On the un-timed transition back to the Event Village, riders should prepare for a short climb to Passo Tre Croci before an easy roll back into town to recover ahead of the next stage.

STAGE TWO

135km | 2,350m+

Start in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Starting again from Cortina d’Ampezzo, the second stage of the Haute Route Dolomites begins with an early climb up Passo Falzarego. Approaching from Pocol, this climb will be a good leg test for riders after yesterday’s hilly stage. Who went out too hard yesterday and who is going to pay for it today?

Cencenighe Agordino marks the start of the Passo Valles climb as the road ramps up to an average gradient of 9% for several kilometres. Sharing the same road as the climb to Passo de San Pellegrino, the gradient drops back down for a short while crossing the village of Falcade. After the village, riders can expect little let-up, with the gradient rising to an average of 9% as the peloton turns off to the left towards the Passo Valle summit.

At the summit, riders will enjoy the beautiful panoramic views before descending down through Paneveggio Natural Park and alongside the stunning Lake Paneveggio to the finish line at Predazzo.

At the finish line, riders can relax and take their time to re-group with other riders before the 70km ride to the Event Village at Trento. This is a great chance to take in the beautiful surroundings, chat with new friends in the peloton and spin out the legs to quickly tick off the transition miles. This is what riding point-to-point is all about!

STAGE THREE

116.2km | 3,600m+

Start in Trento

2021 Haute Route Dolomites - Stage 3

Starting from Trento, the peloton will enjoy ticking off some easier miles for the first section of this stage of Haute Route Dolomites, particularly ahead of the epic finish up Passo Gavia. Riding through the valley and along the River Noce, riders will turn off after the town of Pelizzano and prepare for the first major climb of the day up Passo Tonale.

This climb is steeped in history and known as the road of the White War – a mountain war between the natural border of Italy and Austria during WW1. With an average gradient of 6%, riders can get into a good rhythm up this climb as they work their way to the ski resort of Tonale. Look out for the WW1 fort at the summit, before descending down the other side and continuing on towards Passo Gavia.

The Gavia climb isn’t one that you can ease into, with the gradient ramping up to 9% as you pass Ponte di Legno. This 17.3-kilometre climb is undoubtedly tough, but you will be rewarded for your work with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains at every turn. Seven kilometres into the climb, the road narrows through the forest and with that comes a steeper gradient, including one section at a punchy 16%.

Ticking off a true bucket-list climb, we are sure riders will be including this as one of the highlights of the week. After finishing on a high, riders can then enjoy the transition to the stunning mountain town of Bormio.

STAGE FOUR

83.4km | 3,274m+

Start in Bormio

2021 Haute Route Dolomites - Stage 4

Heading out of the beautiful town centre of Bormio, riders will wind out of the valley and get straight into the first climb of the day. Passo Umbrail shares the same road as Passo Stelvio for the first 18 kilometres, before branching left three kilometres before the summit to finish.

Snaking their way up the climb, riders pass through a series of narrow tunnels. Atop Passo Umbrail at 2,510 metres above sea level, riders can then take time to refuel before making their way down the untimed descent into Switzerland for one of the toughest and most famous climbs there is.

The start of the Stelvio climb from Prato allo Stelvio almost leads you into a false sense of security, with a gentle start for the first eight kilometres as riders start to tick off the 48 ‘tornanti’. Soon after, the climb ramps up to 8% with a final 1.5 kilometres at an average of 9.5%.

This epic 24.3km climb rises over 1,808m to finish at the summit (2,761m). After a big week on the bike, this will be a great test for the mind and body and one of the last big efforts before completing the 2020 edition of the Haute Route Dolomites.

With just the time trial left the following day, riders can enjoy the descent back down into Bormio to prepare for an all-out effort.

STAGE FIVE

15km | 750m+

Start in Bormio

2021 Haute Route Dolomites - Stage 5

Having ticked off some incredible cols for the 2021 edition of Haute Route Dolomites, the time trial stage up Laghi di Cancano will be the perfect way to sign-off an unforgettable week. This climb featured in the 2020 Giro d’Italia course and for good reason. The uphill time trial will see riders wind up the switchbacks, with the Fraele towers rising above them. As riders pass the tower, prepare for an all-out blast to the finish line at spectacular Lago di Cancano.

Traversing across the northern heights of Italy over five incredible days, this expedition will be one for the ages.