09 - 18 May 2017 (Closed - ask us about next departure date)
This tour has something for everybody. A little bit of climbing, loads of flat lake-side riding, thrilling descents, longer options and above all incomparable views across Italy’s northern lakes. We take in Lago d’Orta, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Lugano, Lago Varese and Lago di Como, each beautiful in their own way. We’ll pay homage at the holy shrine to cyclists, the beautiful chapel of Madonna del Ghisallo. Each day we savour some of Italy’s finest wine and cuisine. Bring it on!
- All hotel accommodation in minimum 3 star, usually 4 star hotels (twin share)
- Introductory Lunch
- Dinners (except 1)
- 2 Guides on tour (one fully qualified mechanic)
- Van support throughout tour
- All in-tour transfers
- Snacks and food supplements including electrolytes during tour
- Activities which depend on the region we are visiting. Examples include wine/cheese/olive oil tastings, boat trips
- Garmin 800 loan unit with maps for duration of tour
- 1 PuntoTours cycling kit (cycling jersey, knicks and socks) per guest
- 1 day pack per guest
- Complimentary food supplements including gels and energy bars
- Detailed printed Tour information booklet.
Day One - Orta Warm-up Ride
Main Route: 20km / 12mi; Long Route: 40km / 25mi
Total Ascent: Main 200m / 650ft; Long 680m / 2,200ft
This is a warm-up ride to ease the legs and body into it. Some of you may have only recently stepped off a plane, so this ride offers a great way to “tease” out that tiredness. It will take in some small climbs and offer spectacular views across Lago d’Orta and the surrounding mountains.
Day Two - Tour of Lago d’Orta
Main Route: 60km / 37mi; Long Route: 85km / 53mi
Total Ascent: Main 700m / 2,300ft; Long 1,100m / 3,600ft
This is a beautiful ride around Lago d’Orta. After an initial flat start, the remaining day’s ride is undulating with only one slightly challenging climb towards the Sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso. You’ll be enchanted by the view. There is the optional extra loop out and back along the narrow, picturesque gorge road to Piana di Forno.
Day Three - Orta to Stresa and Verbania
Main Route: 60km / 37mi; Long Route: 85km / 53mi
Total Ascent: Main 910m / 2,900ft; Long 1,525m / 5,000ft
After an initial flat 10kms, we climb towards and over the Alto Vergante ridge that separates Lago d’Orta from Lago Maggiore. For those choosing the longer route, you’ll tackle the difficult Mottarone climb, which is frequently used in the Giro d’Italia. It has a maximum gradient of 14%! This climb however offers the most rewarding views across all lakes and to the alps. Magnificent descent towards Stresa, the city of flowers followed by a final 20km flat parcours along the shores of Lago Maggiore to Verbania.
Day Four - Verbania Loop to Piancavallo
Main Route: 70km / 43mi; Long Route: 100km / 62mi
Total Ascent: Main 1,200m / 3,900ft; Long 1,625m / 5,300ft
We spend the first 20kms circumnavigating Lago Maggiore and enjoy some pleasant descending. The road then rapidly rises to a maximum gradient of 16% for the first few kilometres before easing and providing some magnificent views over the lake. A lovely long descent leads us directly to Verbania taking in some small, short climbs before the end of the journey. Those choosing the long route can enjoy an undulating final stage with a good climb to round the day out.
Day Five - Verbania to Varese (with ferry ride to Laveno)
Main Route: 70km / 43mi; Long Route: 105km / 62mi
Total Ascent: Main 1,000m / 3,300; Long 1,700m / 5,500ft
We cross beautiful Lago Maggiore on a 20 minute ferry ride. Our course goes along the undulating Sponda Lombarda until we reach the intriguing Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso. From there we head towards the Varesine mountains, climbing up to the Passo Cuvignone, Ivan Basso’s favourite training ground, before returning to the lake and the town of Luino. In the final kilometres we’ll find ourselves immersed in the leafy Varesini forests, on the way to Varese. Those seeking some extra km’s can take in the climb to Campo dei Fiori, known as the “balcony of Varese”. On a fine day, you can see the Duomo of Milan.
Day Six - Rest Day
Visit to the city of Milano
Day Seven - Varese Loop to Lavena
Main Route: 80km / 50mi; Long Route: 120km / 74mi
Total Ascent: Main 905m / 2,900ft; Long 1,700m / 5,500ft
Today we ride very close to the Swiss border as we wind our way through the Regional Park of Campo dei Fiori, and over a tidy climb before arriving at Lago Ceresio, also known as Lake Lugano. A lovely flat stage along the lake's shore and views across the lake to Switzerland followed by two more climbs along leafy secluded roads in the Five Peaks park and Ganna valley. If time, we finish the ride with a tasty stop at a cheese factory that makes absolutely the most amazing ricotta!
Day Eight - Varese to Bellagio
Main Route: 90km / 56mi; Long Route: 120km / 74mi
Total Ascent: Main 1,200m / 3,900ft; Long 2,000m / 6,500ft
This is a more challenging day in the saddle, which takes us towards the famous Lago di Como. Pack your passport as we'll cross the Swiss mountains and valleys of Mendrisio, 2009 World Cycling Championship host city. The most difficult climb is that heading towads Lanzo, however it will be very rewarding, offering some spectacular views down upon Lake Como. We then descend to the lake and ride along the shore before taking a ferry to Bellagio.
Day Nine - Loop of Lago di Como, Bellagio and Colle del Ghisallo
Main Route: 80km / 50mi; Long Route: 100km / 62mi
Total Ascent: Main 1,000m / 3,300ft; Long 1,600m / 5,300ft
From Bellagio we tackle the climb of the Madonna del Ghisallo, which features every year in the Giro di Lombardia. It will take us to the chapel and cycling museum at the summit where there is a stunning view over the lake. A detour out and back to include the Monte San Primo, and then we return via a great descent and undulating course through the Brianza region, famous for Italy's furniture design and manufacture. The final parlours is gently rolling with beautiful vistas beside Lake Como all the way back to Bellagio.
Day Ten - Arrivederci
Recommended Arrival Airport: Malpensa Milan
Recommended Departure Airport: Malpensa Milan
(Airport transfers not included)