Sillian – Primiero / San Martino di Castrozza
Mountain Passes: Passo Cimabanche, Passo Giau, Passo Valles, Passo Rolle
If you didn't have to grip the handlebars securely, you would love to hold your mobile phone in your hand all the time on this stage. This is perhaps the stage with the greatest "Instagramability" - at least for those who like to pose in front of famous peaks. The celebrities of the Dolomites, a Unesco World Heritage Site, stand guard along the route: Drei Zinnen, Monte Cristallo, Hohe Gaisl, Antelao, Tofana, Monte Pelmo, Civetta and the Pale di San Martino. If you only had one day to introduce a mountain novice to the magic of the Dolomites, this would be the perfect sight-seeing tour. In sporting terms, the Passo Giau dominates this stage. The pass road leads somewhat remotely through the rock towers of the Cinque Torri from Cortina up to the highest point of the stage. Insiders even consider the "Giau" the most beautiful of all Dolomite passes, perhaps because it is less crowded than other passes in this mountain range, which is very popular with holidaymakers. At the highest point, a long descent begins to Cencenighe, where the legs can rest a bit. But then there are two more passes that make this stage the queen stage of the TOUR Transalp 2023. The long climb over Falcade, which used to be a stage location of the TOUR Transalp a few times, up to Passo Valles now sucks mightily at the granaries. And the encore at the end, the extra 400 metres of altitude up to Passo Rolle, would be nice to spare. But then the extravagant peaks of the Pale di San Martino come into view and things look different again. It's easier to pedal in such a huge setting, because the sensory overload in the tendon nerves overrides the pain receptors in the legs. From Passo Rolle there is a short, sweeping descent in the face of the Pale down to San Martino di Castrozza. Rating: Gigantic!