Pre-registration for the 2020 Maratona dles Dolomites sportive – one of the most popular events on the European gran fondo calendar – is now open.
The 34th edition of the Dolomites sportive, held in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, will take place on Sunday 5 July.
There are three routes available to enter, with the full Maratona course packing 4,230m of climbing into 138km and developing a reputation as one of the toughest sportives in the world.
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Otherwise, the Medium route is 106km with 3,130m of climbing, while the Sellaronda is 55km with 1,780m of climbing. All three routes start in La Villa and end in Corvara, part of the Alpine resort of Alta Badia.
Whatever route you choose, expect fierce gradients and stunning views across the craggy peaks of the Dolomites.
Seven major climbs
Riders on the full Maratona route take on seven major Dolomites climbs in all. First up is the Passo Campolongo – a 5.8km ascent with an average gradient of 6.1 per cent – before the Passo Pordoi summits at 2,239m and the Fausto Coppi memorial at the summit.
The Pordoi is a regular on the Giro d’Italia and has a 6.9 per cent average gradient for 9.2km.
Likewise, the Passo Sella (5.5km at 7.9 per cent) and Passo Gardena (5.8km at 4.3 per cent) have regularly featured on the Giro route.
Riders on the Sellaronda and Medium routes take in those climbs, too, but the full Maratona then tackles the Campolongo again before moving on to the Passo Giau – the sportive’s toughest climb.
The Giau has become an iconic Giro d’Italia ascent thanks to its brutal gradients – the 9.9km ascent has an average incline of 9.3 per cent, with some pitches as steep as 15 per cent.
The Passo Valparola is the final major climb on the full Maratona and Sellaronda courses, with the former tackling the Pocol side of the ascent (11.5km at 5.8 per cent) and the latter taking on the climb from Andraz (11.8km at 6.7 per cent)
A final sting in the tail comes in the form of the Mür dl Giat just a few kilometres from the finish. Translated as “The Cat Wall”, the climb only measures 360m in length but has a maximum slope of 19 per cent and has become a popular vantage point for spectators to watch riders as they gurn and grimace.
The Maratona is officially a race – it’s broadcast live on Italian television – and the winning time in the last three years has hovered around the 4:37 mark. Many riders can expect to take up to double that, however.
How to enter the Maratona dles Dolomites
Pre-registration for the ballot, from which 4,400 of the maximum 9,000 places will be drawn, is open until Tuesday 5 November at www.maratona.it.
Alternatively, you can enter via a tour package or a charity registration. Head to the Maratona dles Dolomites website for more information.