The Road To Innsbruck (Day 1) – The Stelvio Pass (Day 2): by Lajos Kőves

austrian gravel cycling

Ortler Loop, Day One – The Road to Innsbruck

Innsbruck, capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, is a city in the Alps that’s long been a destination for winter sports. Innsbruck is also known for its Imperial and modern architecture. The Nordkette funicular, with futuristic stations designed by architect Zaha Hadid, climbs up to 2,256m from the city center for skiing in winter and hiking or mountaineering in warmer months.

austrian gravel cycling

Gravel tracks and ski access roads were once the domain of ATV’s and 4×4 vehicles, have opened up with the increasing number of cyclists taking gravel and cyclocross bikes to far and distant places. Remember, gravel cycling is not new. Professional European-based racing cyclists were riding and racing on gravel roads long before it was popular, in fact, many of those roads were unpaved. Cycling has come a long way since those times, from clothing to equipment, and more. Two causes of a bad experience nowadays could relate to bad preparation / bad clothing.

austrian gravel cycling

These photos / adventures are by Lajos Kőves (please follow his Instagram @hukovesl), an avid explorer of roads way off the beaten track.

austrian gravel cycling

Click the thumbnail image to expand.

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

austrian gravel cycling

Day Two – The Stelvio Pass

The Stelvio Pass is a mountain pass in northern Italy bordering Switzerland at an elevation of 2,757 m above sea level. It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second-highest in the Alps, 7 m below France’s Col de l’Iseran.

stelvio pass gravel cycling

“The Stelvio Pass remains important for sport when it is open from May through November. Countless cyclists and motorcyclists struggle to get to the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps. It is the highest finish of any Grand Tour. The Giro d’Italia often crosses the Stelvio Pass (it was crossed by the Giro for the first time in 1953 when Fausto Coppi beat Hugo Koblet). As the highest peak, it has been named the Cima Coppi in each edition.” – Wikipedia

stelvio pass gravel cycling
Iconic image from the 1965 Giro – Aldo Moser navigates snow on the Stelvio

stelvio pass gravel cycling

Click the thumbnail image to expand.

Click the thumbnail image to expand.

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

stelvio pass gravel cycling

We’ll be sharing some more contributions soon from Lajos, be sure to watch this space. If you have an interesting contribution you think Gravel Cyclist’s audience may find of interest, please contact us. High-quality photos are a requirement, the more the merrier!

3 comments on “The Road To Innsbruck (Day 1) – The Stelvio Pass (Day 2): by Lajos Kőves

  1. It’s both inspiring and annoying seeing images like this now, given closed borders, etc. I remember riding up Stelvio many years ago, and hope it will be possible for non-Europeans to visit again some day.

    1. I am in the same boat as you Stephen. I was in Girona, Spain, back in March for a whole three days. I had to cut my adventure short else be part of the Spanish lockdown. I plan to visit Europe again…

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