The bustling city of Turin, lies at 210m above sea level, laced with a million tramlines, the escape from the city is a less relax affair as riders need to pay attention to keep their wheels out the tramlines. Once clear, a gentle gradient through small villages hides what lies ahead. The Colle del Colombardo – rising up to 2,000m and summiting just 65km after the start, riders face a steep gravel climb with gradients exceeding 20%. The best laid plans can come to a grinding halt as you realise the hotel you booked could possibly be just that little too far as you under estimated the Colombardo.
Once over, the descent is steep and, depending on how kind the weather treated the roads, the descend could be a little more technical for those not on mountain bikes. A long tarmac section delivers riders to the next climb, the Colle della Finestra. The entrance to the climb is guarded by giant chestnut trees before the view opens to the strada bianche (white dust road) leading the eye to the summit. Dust can easily turn to mud should the heavens open.
The climbing is far from done once you reach the summit. Following the ridge, the gravel road steers riders towards Sestriere over several climbs, none particularly gruesome but the route remains above 2,000m and the gravel roads can add to the load on the riders oxygen consumption.
Excited to reach civilisation, riders will be poor served in Sestriere as much of the town only opens for the winter season.
The landscape offers infinite opportunities to wild camp but with few facilities once the riders start on the Finestra. The wise wild-camper will need to stock up before turning left to start the climb.