Alba Penia, Italy
The Passo Pordoi is a col with a length of 11.7 kilometer. This is a category 1 col. It is located in Alba Penia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy. The average grade of this col is 6.6% with a maximum of 8.1%. The Passo Pordoi ascents from 1.463 meter at the start, to 2.239 meter at the top, with a total of 775 ascending meters.
|Elevation gain||775 m|
|Average grade||6.6 %|
|Maximum grade||8.1 %|
|Minimum elevation||1463 m|
|Maximum elevation||2239 m|
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The narrative of the Passo Pordoi is so closely entwined to that of the Giro d’Italia, and so deeply rooted in our collective memory, that it seems nearly impossible to remember when the two first met each other. Yet, obviously, there is a date: June 5, 1940. It was Giro stage 17, from Pieve di Cadore to Ortisei. Coppi was a rookie back then. He had set off from Milan serving as a domestique for Bartali. One stage after another, however, the two switched roles, and that day Fausto was the one in the leader’s jersey, while Gino was there to support him. The two kicked clear together, opening a large gap behind them. Early on the Pordoi, however, the young Coppi appeared to be in trouble. It felt as if he would rather quit, ditch his bike and jump on his team car, than face that final climb. Bartali waited for him, urged him to continue, and threw snow at him to get him back on his feet, which Coppi eventually did. Bartali cleared the climb first, eventually taking the stage, whereas Coppi staked a claim on overall victory, with help from his top-class domestique.
That scene, alone, would be enough to explain how closely tied the Pordoi is to the Corsa Rosa. Fausto’s collapse along those slopes, on the year of his first Giro win, and the birth of a relation that was bound to become the greatest rivalry in the history of cycling and beyond. That, alone, would be enough, but many other episodes further strengthened that bond. June 12, 1947 was one of these. The stage travelled 194 kilometres across the Dolomites from Pieve di Cadore to Trento, taking in climbs up the Falzarego and the Pordoi. Bartali was in the leader’s jersey, and Coppi ranked second overall, 2’40” behind him. That stage was perhaps the last chance to turn the GC. The two kicked clear early on, as they did seven years before. By the time they reached the Falzarego, they were standing alone at the front. Along the climb, however, Ginettaccio dropped his chain. Taking advantage of the situation, his former teammate pulled off one of his most epic and extraordinary achievements. He cleared the Falzarego alone, gained on along the valley, and opened an unbridgeable gap on the Pordoi. He crossed the line in Trento after a 150-km solo break, 4’24” ahead of Magni, the runner‑up, and – most importantly – snatching the leader’s jersey from Bartali.
After that day, the Giro d’Italia tackled the Passo Pordoi 38 more times, including four as stage finish and 13 as Cima Coppi. The pass increasingly became a permanent fixture, a mandatory crossing point for riders and cycling enthusiasts alike, so that it seems almost impossible to recall when its legend was born. But now we know where it all came from – the alliance (and rivalry) between two of the greatest aces of Italian cycling.
- Giro d'Italia 2002 - Stage 16
- Giro d'Italia 2021 - Stage 16 (climb cancelled due to the weather)