A virtual Sunday in the Valtellina with the arrival at Lago di Cancano

The road that ascends to the Laghi di Cancano is a delight for cycling. And it is because of the monumentality of its landscapes, the demands of its slopes without falling into the impossible and the scenery of its chain of horseshoes, its stretch of tunnels dug into the rock in times of war, its medieval tower at more than 1,900 meters, its stretch of final ground or the lake surface that gives it its name. The end of the stage planned for the Giro d’Italia 2020, the postponement of the Corsa Rosa until the autumn due to the health emergency of the coronavirus has not prevented the bicycles from facing such a unique ascent. At least virtually.

Postponed the Giro d’Italia, the organization has launched a #GiroVirtual together with Garmin through which it intends to cover the final part of seven stages of this year’s planned. Alessandro Fancellu, being part of an Italian team, was in charge of initiating the presence of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team in this initiative last Wednesday, when he took part in the stage with final in Madonna di Campligio. From this Saturday until Tuesday, the fifth event of the Virtual Tour proposes to the participants to go through the final part of the eighteenth stage of the Giro 2020, the main event for the Valtellina and the final in Lago di Cancano. Officially it is 10.7 kilometers, although the climb is concentrated in 8.5. From the iconic Torri di Fraele, at 1,930 metres, the route leaves the asphalt for the sterrato and presents an essentially flat profile.

Given the prominence of the Valtellina in this scale, and of course the intense relationship between the region and the Alberto Contador Foundation, the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team did not want to miss the opportunity to take part virtually in this proposed route: 30 kilometres from Bocca del Braulio to the surroundings of this majestic ascent. In the adventure, as one more, taking part in the GiroLegend, the sport manager and double Corsa Rosa winner Ivan Basso.

The occasion was even more special for Giacomo Garavaglia. The Lombard of the continental team is a lover of this climb. The Lago di Cancano is one of his favourite climbs. That is why for him the experience allowed him to compare like few others the reality with the fiction. “It has been, for sure, a particular experience. Climbing this way is completely different from reality. Technology has advanced a lot, but it is not yet comparable to real life and to being able to do a climb like this in person. The landscapes are unique. These interactive rollers simulate the slope very well – perhaps too well! You can really feel the difference in the slope in the virtual version,” he explains. Garavaglia, for example, spent an hour and two minutes driving along this route, which had 710 meters of positive slope.

The Italian Alessandro Fancellu, whose beginnings in this sport are closely linked to the Valtellina, also knows this climb in situ. “The first time I would say was three years ago, in the context of a concentration with the Italian team in Livigno, before the World Cup. We made a lot of climbs in those days. The one at Lago de Cancano was one of the ones we faced. It’s a very nice climb, with a very attractive route. It has many turnstiles. And this curve allows you to see everything you’re climbing. That’s something very special. And from the top, in the tunnel area, then you see the whole climb and that’s a spectacular view”.

Diego Pablo Sevilla, the veteran of the Alberto Contador Foundation’s continental structure, is also an expert on the final stage of the Giro 2020. “We’ve done it on several occasions, as part of our stage in Bormio. In fact, he is one of the regulars when we come to the Valtellina. When you go to work sometimes some adverse conditions in the Stelvio or in the Gavia also help you. Last year we visited him at the two summer camps. But in September, during the Contador Day, it was the first time that we did the stretch of sterrato that leaves you by the lake, very cyclable and where the end of the stage of the Giro was going to come. It’s a beautiful pass, I think it’s superb. It has everything: a first zone of turns, a second with slightly longer straights and a final part again with more tornanti and spectacular views over the whole valley”.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)