We departed the true Dolomites via the Passo Campolongo and Passo Pordoi. Here's the group posing at the Coppi monument atop the Pordoi.
Above, Elena rewards herself atop the Passo Pordoi with gelato. We descended through Canazei towards the Passo Costalunga where we saw members of the pro Astana team riding the other way, complete with team car behind them. We recognized and called out to Sicilian Paolo Tiralongo who replied with CIAO. Later on the Passo Costalunga, some members of the Vacansoleil team rode past us in the big ring! That's the difference between pros and enthusiasts! For these riders, training continues during the TdF, some of them getting ready for the upcoming Tour of Poland, which starts in Italy this year.
Passo Mendola was on tap for the next day, a climb that well and truly kicked Larry's a__.
Here you see Heather and Steve on the lower slopes of the Passo Stelvio, the Cima Coppi of this tour. Heather swears she saw Italian Domenico Pozzovivo riding down, possibly doing the "train low, sleep high" (as in the hotel atop the Stelvio?) training routine?
Above you see Mark posing beneath the haunting memorial to Marco Pantani on the Passo Mortirolo. Larry suffered up this one too while Heather took a day off the bike after the Passo Stelvio. We enjoyed a cena Valtellina this evening, starting with schiatt, the little fried cheese bits, then bresaola with rucola and grana followed by pizzoccheri (the buckwheat noodle, cabbage and bitto cheese dish) before a second plate of stewed venison and polenta. We tasted a bit of the famous Valtellina sforzato vino with the last dish, getting ready for our final day's ride.
Tom was usually up for any challenge, on the mountain roads or at the table!
Allan and Barbara pose at the dock for our ferry across the lake to Bellagio and the final climb to the shrine of cycling, Madonna del Ghisallo. Thanks to everyone who joined us...we're looking forward to 2014's tour already!