Colle del Ghisallo, a paradise for cyclists
Colle del Ghisallo is a mountain pass at an elevation of 754m (2,473ft) above the sea level, located in Magreglio, close to Lake Como in Italy. Near the summit there’s a sanctuary, called Santuario Del Ghisallo. This tiny church is home to the Patron Saint of Cyclists and includes a small cycling museum.
The road to the summit is totally paved. The pass connects the upper part of Valassina Larian Triangle. The Madonna del Ghisallo is a beautiful and hard climb located near Lake Como. No trip to Lombardia was ever complete without a visit to la Madonna del Ghisallo, but with the creation of the Museo del Ciclismo that visit has become all the more worthwhile. As the story of the Madonna del Ghisallo goes, a local Count named Ghisallo was saved from bandits when he saw, and ran to, an image of the Virgin Mary. This apparition became known as the Madonna del Ghisallo, and she became the patron saint for local travelers. The church, which was built in the 17th century and contains a painting of the Virgin Mary, remains on this spot. Inside the sanctuary it burns an eternal flame for cyclists who have died. One particularly notable artifact is the crumpled bicycle that Fabio Casartelli, a native of the region, rode on the day that he died in a crash in the Tour de France. Other bikes on display include Giuseppe Saronni's 1982 World Championship winning Colnago, an Eddy Merckx from his World Championships of 1974, as well as one from his 1972 Giro di Lombardia victory. An hour record theme is present along one wall, featuring Coppi's 1942 Legnano, Francesco Moser's whacky looking 1984 bike with the enormous rear disc, and Tony Rominger's Colnago from 1994.
The road has been featured in Giro d’Italia race. There are 3 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Bellagio, the ascent is 10.6 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 552 meters. The average percentage is 5.2 % and a maximum of 14%. Starting from Erba, the ascent is 16.7 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 469 meters. The average percentage is 2.8 %. And starting from Onno, the ascent is 16.3 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 548 meters. The average percentage is 3.4 %.