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Video: Mike Cotty heads for Passo Pordoi in the Dolomites

Italian climb ridden by some of cycling's greats features 33 hairpins in less than 10 kilometres...

The Col Collective have released their latest video – and it’s one that sees Mike Cotty head to the Dolomites and the spectacular Passo Pordoi, which features no fewer than 33 hairpins in less than 10 kilometres.

Making its debut in the Giro d’Italia exactly 75 years ago when Gino Bartali was the first man over the summit, it featured in the race more than 30 times between 1940 and its last appearance in 2008.

On four occasions, between 1990 and 2001, it hosted a stage finish and 13 times the pass has been the Cima Coppi – the highest point reached by the Giro d’Italia in each year’s race.

Here’s what Cotty, who rode the pass in September, has to say about it.

Nestled between the Gruppo del Sella and the Queen of the Dolomites, the 3,343 metre high Marmolada, the Passo Pordoi links the Val Cordevole in the east with the Val di Fassa to the west.

Although relatively short at just 9.4km dig a little deeper and you’ll quickly realise that the Pordoi has an enviably rich cycling heritage.

First used in the 1940 Giro d’Italia it’s witnessed more race action than many of its peers put together, with monuments at the top dedicated to great Italian champions Fausto Coppi and Gilberto Simoni reminding you of its history.

What’s nice about the Pordoi is that it allows you to enjoy the journey, with a constant gradient hovering from 6-8% and never tipping beyond double figures, a rarity in itself in the Dolomites.

Settle down and find your rhythm as you climb beyond the trees and towards its summit at 2,239m elevation.

But the story doesn’t end there, oh no, with 33 marked hairpins in less than 10km this gives the ascent from Arabba one of the best ‘bend to length’ ratios in the business with a whopping 3.5 turns per kilometre.

Now if that’s not a good excuse to ride it I don’t know what is!

Vital Statistics

Start: Arabba
Length: 9.4km
Summit: 2,239m
Elevation gain: 638m
Average gradient: 6.8%
Max gradient: 9.7%
Climb ridden in September

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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atlaz | 8 years ago

33 hairpins in 10km, amateurs.

A local MTB trail here proudly proclaims that it has 44 in 480 metres. It is, as you'd imagine, truly awful as only a trail created by someone who doesn't ride could be.

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