Primiero / San Martino di Castrozza - Pederobba
Mountain Passes: Passo Croce d’Aune, Monte Grappa
Also on day 3, the part of the brain responsible for photographic memory gets a lot to do. At least it is challenged to put completely different landscapes into the right context. From the mountain village at the foot of the 3000-metre-plus skyscrapers of the Pale di San Martino, the route leads in just a few hours to where the grapes for Prosecco grow. These are two worlds, visually, culturally, climatically - this stage is a little Transalp in itself. Pederobba lolls in the sun at only 200 metres above sea level on the southern edge of the Monte Grappa massif. On the way there, however, the Passo Croce d'Aune and the aforementioned Monte Grappa still stand in the way. The Croce d'Aune, last crossed in 2018 during the TOUR Transalp, is an inconspicuous pass in the hinterland of Feltre whose ramp winds its way up through picturesque villages and then offers a brisk descent to the gates of Feltre. Monte Grappa, the second mountain of this stage, is a vast massif with green overgrown flanks, whose summit only cracks the 1700-metre mark - nothing compared to the peaks of the Dolomites. But that doesn't matter at all to the Grappa, which towers proudly 1500 metres above the plain at its feet. It is the last real mountain in the Alps. All the way to the Adriatic, the mountains have nothing more to offer except a few puny cypress hills seen from above. Approached from behind, the Grappa is still not very spectacular. The roads on its southern flank, however, can all be considered the definition of the term "panoramic road". You will be speechless here and this feeling of elation lasts until the end of the stage, when you descend over Monte Tomba, a small shoulder in the southwest of the massif, to Pederobba.