Well, unfortunately, we climbed Tre Cime on an overcast and foggy day in early July, 2017 and were denied the exceptional and unique photos that those visiting on a clear day are treated to. Yet, we can say that this is a magnificent climb - extremely steep and with great views, even on a low cloud/foggy day.
We were blocked from personally viewing and photgraphing Tre Cime, but Thank You Google Images for your contributions to all those who love to experience things they have been prevented from viewing for whatever reason - here you go:
Photo from “Fantasy” at wikipedia.org
At only 3.2 miles one could underestimate this brutal climb - its base statistics are 3.2 miles, 1,639’ at 9.05% average grade. However, the approach dilutes the painful final legs of this climb - steepest: ¼ mile 16.2%, ½ mile 15.9%, 1 mile 13.9% and steepest 2.5 miles 11.9%!!
Any climbing cyclists travelling in northeastern Italy (Veneto Region) and certainly Provincia de Belluno (northeastern tip of Italy) would be well served to give Tre Cime a go!
25 Euros for car, no charge bikes.
We did get a distant view of Tre Cime from the approach 3-4 miles away
The Giro has visited Tre Cime 5 times between 1986-2009
Some great switchbacks on the way up
This is really a big tourist attraction at the top - and rightly so!
Near the top
Even on a socked in cloudy day we are overwhelmed with the beauty of Tre Cime
The Giro first included Tres Cime in 1967 (Stage 19), but that stage did not make it to the books. There is disagreement about what exactly happened on Tres Cime June 10, 1967, but there is no doubt that many weaker climbers were aided in some fashion - either by purposefully holding on to cars, or by involuntarily (but gratefully) being pushed by spectators. The excellent historian of Giro data, Bikeraceinfo.com provides this summary:
“Stage nineteen left Udine for a hilltop finish at the top of the difficult Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb. The weather was dreadful that day with rain, snow and fog. At the beginning of the ascent Wladimiro Panizza was three minutes ahead of the field and he looked to be headed for the win. His director, fearing a stiff fine, did all he could to keep the tifosi from pushing the diminutive climber up the hill. Just as he closed in on the summit, Panizza was suddenly passed by a slew of riders, most of whom possessed only a fraction of his climbing skills.
How did this happen? With two kilometers to go, the chasers were struggling in miserable weather on the stiffest part of the climb. The gradient at that point was almost fourteen percent. The riders had, in a moment of collective moral failure, grabbed on to the team cars and were towed up to Panizza. Gimondi was first across the line because, as sportswriter René de Latour noted, “he had the fastest car”. Outraged, a furious Torriani wouldn’t let the fraudulent result stand and annulled the stage. La Gazzetta writer Bruno Raschi called it “le montagne del disonore”.
Bic, Anquetil’s sponsor, decided that they weren’t interested in winning the Giro. Believable reasons don’t seem to be forthcoming; non-believable ones abound. Anquetil says that his domestiques stopped getting their paychecks and understandably, most of them abandoned. Denson says that he was told that the riders were being pulled from the Giro to save them for races later in the season. Since the Tour was to be contested by national teams in 1967, this excuse really makes no sense. Another hypothesis is that this was a move to allow Anquetil to have an excuse for losing. But Anquetil wasn’t giving up, so this seems illogical as well. Nonetheless, Anquetil raced for Bic until the end of his career in 1969 which says to me that there was something terribly complicated going on behind the scenes and Anquetil took the explanation to his grave.” http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/giro/giro1967.html
In all, our research shows that the Giro has included a stage finish on Tre Cime (a dead end) 5 times: 1967, 1968, 1975, 2007, and most recently (as of 2017), 2013. In each appearance, Tre Cime has been the Cima Coppi of the Giro 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
Steepest kilometer starts at km 1.8 (14.5%)