Passo Giau – Italian Dolomites

Passo Giau – Italian Dolomites

A regular at the Giro d’Italia, and you can see why. This leg busting 9.7km climb tests the strongest riders.

Key Stats

  • Distance: 9.8 km
  • Elev Gain: 922 m
  • Starting elevation: 1314 m
  • Final elevation: 2236 m
  • Avg Grade: 9.1 %
  • Max Grade: 16.2 %

Difficulty Rating: 10 / 10

The Climb

This was the sixth climb of the day on the 2017, 31st edition of the Maratona dles Dolomites, with five mountain passes and 90km already in the legs, I was still feeling good. Then I hit the Giau.

This beast of a climb takes in 29 hairpins, at a brutal and unrelenting average of 9.1% climbing nearly 1000 metres over 10k.

The unrelenting gradient of the Passo Giau. Image courtesy of Veloviewer

As much as I tried to keep the earlier pace, this hill definitely had other plans for me. Within the first kilometre I’d run out of gears and I knew there was going to be a long hard slog to get to the top. I’ve never felt like a hill was going to beat me before but this one really tested my mental strength and determination to get to the top. All pleasant conversation quickly stopped, and all focus was on counting down the kilomitres one by one.

I’d like to tell you more what it was like but I can’t tell you. I was tunnel vision, ticking off the metres as they went past. This is not a climb for the feint hearted. If I ever get back to the Dolomites I’d love to do this again, but this time without 5 other category climbs in my legs.

1hr 19 minutes later I’d made it to the top!

Time for a quick selfie then the fun 10k descent!

The one bonus of climbing massive hills like this is the descent… 10km of beautiful closed road goodness to take in the views and give the legs just enough time to forget the pain they have just been put through ready for the next climb to Passo Falzarego and Valparola.

I’ve also compiled a short post on some of the logistics of riding the Maratona.

Profile of the day’s cycling.


One of the many exhilarating descents of the Maratona

If you want to see someone who can actually talk as they climb the mountain and give you a feel for what it’s like, check out the Col Collective’s film here: