Passo Giau (North) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.4 mi
2,356 ft
8.2 %


Page Contributor(s): Luke Hise, AZ


A Top 10 world most scenic bike climb. 

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Difficulty: Extreme



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Apr 25, 2023
difficulty: Extreme
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 4
Apr 25, 2023
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 4
After climbing most mythical Cols in Italy I have found this to be the hardest. Not because of it's gradient, but because you arrive cold after the descent to its' base and in my case both times underdressed. That said everywhere around in the region is magical to climb and we really enjoyed staying in La Villa for our base. Back in 10 weeks time - can't wait!
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Passo Giau from the south (Codalonga)

Ride 9.6 kilometers gaining 898 meters at 9.4% average grade.

 The Dolomites are renowned for their stunning landscapes, with towering peaks, lush valleys, and charming alpine villages. The views you'll encounter while cycling through this region are nothing short of breathtaking.Passo Giau North is one of the many jewels of this area and  a World Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb.

 The Dolomites, also known as the “pale mountains” are a colorful and popular mountain range in northeastern Italy. The passes in the area are fairly close together and permit loop rides without the need for support - this and their unparalleled beauty make them an extremely popular cycling climbing area.    


Each approach to Passo Giau showcases what the Dolomites have to offer, that is, extreme and unparalleled beauty in the form of extraordinary and breathtaking mountain and rock formations.  The Dolomites also offer a wide variety of cycling routes suitable for different skill levels. There are relatively flat valley rides for beginners, but the real allure lies in the famous mountain passes and climbs. Some of the iconic climbs include the Passo Giau, Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, Passo Fedaia, and many more. These climbs can be challenging, but they provide a rewarding sense of achievement once conquered.

The Dolomite region has a well-developed infrastructure for cyclists, including marked cycling paths, bike-friendly accommodations, and bike rental shops.


Passo Giau is at the foot of the Nuvolau Massif, one of the most distinctive Dolomites formations.

Both sides of Passo Giau are fairly short and mild by Italian road bike climb standards - northern approach is 8.8 kilometers gaining 718 meters at 8.2% average grade while the southern approach is 9.6 kilometers, 892 meters at 9.3%.  The steepest sections from the north are  10.9% for 500 meters, and 10.3% for a kilometer and from the south 10.5% for 500 meters and 10.1% for a kilometer.      


Cafe at the summit.

The Giro d’Italia has featured Pass Giau roughly 11  times between 1973 and 2023.

Passo Giau has been the Cima Coppi of the Giro twice since that designation was first introduced in 1965 to honor arguably the Giro’s greatest participant of all time:

“The Cima Coppi is the title given to the highest peak in the yearly running of the Giro d'Italia, one of cycling's Grand Tour races. The mountain that is given this title each year awards more mountains classification points to the first rider than any of the other categorized mountains in the race.

The categorization was first introduced for the 1965 Giro d'Italia in honor of the late Fausto Coppi who won five editions of the Giro d'Italia and three mountain classification titles during his career. It was first announced on 22 April 1965 by then race director Vicenzo Torriani that the highest peak would award two times as many mountains classification points. Torriani thought of possibly awarding time bonuses to the first to summit the mountain; however, after many dissenting opinions, he opted to go award more mountains classification points.

The Cima Coppi changes from year to year, depending on the altitude profile of the Giro d'Italia, but the Cima Coppi par excellence is the Stelvio Pass, which at 2758 m is the highest point ever reached by the Giro. The Stelvio has been used in the 1972, 1975, 1980, 1994, 2005, 2012, 2014 and 2017 editions. It was also scheduled in 1965, 1988, and 2013, but in each case the course was modified due to weather conditions, with various effects on the Cima Coppi designation.”  
Wikipedia - Cima Coppi