Passo Pordoi from Canazei

 Also called:  Jù de Pordù [ladin] | Pordoipass [german]

Vertical climb: 799 m.
Average grade: 6.8 %
Highest grade: 9%
Starting elevation: 1,440 m.
Final elevation: 2,239 m.
Distance: 11.82 km
Total hairpins: 27

Strava segment: -link-
Times Giro d’Italia passed on the Pordoi: 38
Water fountains: 1 = 1 km after the Passo Sella junction

These beautiful mountains have remained a mythological world of fairy tales for centuries because you can only cross them on rough mountain trails and by going through inhospitable valleys, where city folk have never set foot.

~Theodor Christomannos

Behind a road there is always someone with an idea – in this case, a huge idea because Mr. Christomannos’ project was to connect the city of Bolzano to all the Dolomite valleys, creating the “Great Dolomites road”. This project was accepted by local authorities on August 22, 1897 – meaning, the area was still under the Austrian empire. Works started in the same year and the road was officially inaugurated on September 13, 1909.

Passo Pordoi from Canazei - Veloviewer

The Passo Pordoi was part of this project and, like all the passes on the Great Dolomites road, it has a really cool characteristic: a gentle climb gradient that touches 9% in just one place and, if you’re not tired, you won’t even feel where this is! Starting from the town of Canazei, just find a nice climbing pace based on your condition. The first hairpins start straight off from the beginning  and, if you like to countdown to the top, you’ll be riding 27 of them.

The first 5.5 km are the same as for Passo Sella. At the junction, you go left to start the Sella climb that is a bit harder than the Pordoi.  Take the road on the right and continue on a 2 km stretch without any hairpins. This part is perhaps the hardest with a 7 to 8% grade. Halfway up, slightly hidden on the left side of the road, is a fresh water fountain to fill your bidons.

Fausto Coppi monument at the Passo Pordoi
As soon you get to the locality of Pecol (first houses) the hairpins start again until you are 9.5 km into the climb, when you will suddenly find yourself out of the forest with amazing 360° views around you. When you notice that there aren’t any trees anymore, you’ll be just 2.5 km away from the top of the Pordoi. Once you reach it, you’ll see 2 monuments dedicated to cyclists. The first one is the Fausto Coppi monument that is located near the gondola station that goes to Sass Pordoi. On the descent, on the right side of the road, is Gilberto Simoni’s road bike set in Dolomite rock.

Curiosities:

  • Passo Pordoi is part of the Sellaronda loop
  • It is the 2nd climb of the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel
  • Check out the 1990 Giro d’Italia video showing the finishing km of the Passo Pordoi stage, with the victory of Charly Mottet and Gianni Bugno in the pink jersey:

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