The Granfondo Stelvio Santini is one of the most famous amateur cycling events in the world. It began in 2011 and has swiftly reached iconic status, thanks in part to the fact it incorporates two of the world’s most famous climbs: the Stelvio and Mortirolo.
We’ve written this guide to the Granfondo Stelvio 2021 event to help anyone that’s thinking of entering, or has entered and is looking for more information on what the event entails.
We hope you find it useful.
Please let us know in the comments below – or by sharing it on social media!
Note: We try and ensure our guide is accurate and updated with the latest event information but cannot guarantee this. Please check and rely on the event’s official website, the final official 2021 riders pack/event information and the rules/regulations. We are not the organisers of the event (nor are we connected with them) and we have not taken part/are not taking part in this event ourselves.
1. What is the Granfondo Stelvio Santini?
GF Stelvio Santini is an annual closed-road sportive/gran fondo that starts and finishes in Bormio, a beautiful town in the Sondrio province of the Lombardy region of the Alps, northern Italy.
2. When is the Granfondo Stelvio Santini?
The event happens in early June each year. In 2018, it took place on Sunday 3 June, on 2019 it was on Sunday 2 June. In 2020 was due to take place on 7 June but it was cancelled. In 2021, it was postponed to 12 September.
3. Where does the event start?
The event starts and finishes in the picture-postcard of Bormio, a cycling mecca in northern Italy.
Map showing Bormio and the summit of the Stelvio and Mortirolo climbs
4. How much does it cost to enter the Stelvio Santini?
You can either enter directly via the event’s website or sign up with a tour operator. The following information relates to entries available on the event’s official website.
For 2021, early birds could snap up tickets for 70 euros. From January 2021, tickets were 90 euros.
5. What do you get for the price?
Standard entry includes an official jersey, designed and made for the event by Santini Maglificio Sportivo (Santini Cycling Wear). The men’s and women’s jerseys differ in cut and colour. You can choose your size when you register. It’s compulsory to wear the jersey in the event.
Entry also includes
6. What size jersey should I select when I register?
The organisers advise that the jersey fit is tight – they suggest you go for one or two sizes bigger for a looser fit. Remember that you have to wear the jersey for the event, so it’s a good idea to try and get the right size!
There’s more information on the Granfondo jersey sizing here.
7. How difficult is it to get a Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini entry?
In 2019, entries opened on 22 October 2018 at an early bird price and these all sold out in less than two months. However there were still 200 euro spaces available when we checked on 14 May 2019. Registrations close on 15 May or when the maximum number of participants is reached (3,500 in 2019).
The position in 2020 was unclear due to the coronavirus pandemic. Spaces for the 2021 event sold out on 16 August 2021.
8. How many riders do the event?
The event has capacity for 3,500 riders. This compares with the 8,000 riders registered for the 2020 Mallorca 312 (read about that event, in our Mallorca 312 guide).
9. Is the Stelvio Santini a charity ride?
The GF Stelvio Santini is not specifically a charity event.
However, the 2019 event supported young cyclist Ruby Isaac and World Bicycle Relief, a not-for-profit Association that provides bicycles to the world’s poorest people. There is a JustGiving account where people can make donations, here.
Also the 2019 edition donated one euro for every entry in the cycling event to this cause (and the gold entry includes a 30 euro donation to it).
10. What are the different Granfondo Stelvio routes available?
Riders can choose between
Note that riders 15-17 years old can only do the short route. Riders 17-18 years old and 65 and older can only do the short or medium routes. Riders 15-18 years old require a specific release signed by their parent or guardian. Children under 15 are not permitted.
11. Are there GPX files for each route?
There are no official GPX files. You can take a look at the GPX files we used to create the map below, but please note that these are not GPX files based on the official route/routes we’ve ridden and there is a little difference in the routes below and the official number of kilometres for each course.
They give a rough idea of the route but may well not follow the official route (which is, in any event, always subject to change).
12. Can you give me a GF Stelvio Santini review/overview?
The three different routes start and finish in a similar way: they start from Bormio with a spin down the valley (for around 20km for the short route and just under 50km for the medium/long routes) and finish with climbing the Stelvio from Bormio.
The big difference is the middle. The short route doesn’t have a middle section (!), the medium route adds in the Teglio climb and the long route adds in both the Teglio and Mortirolo climbs.
Map showing the approximate course of the three different Granfondo routes.
Short course overview
Enjoy the downhill for the first 20km of the day – after the turn around in Sondalo, you ride back the way you came, so up a draggy uphill that takes you back into Bormio to tackle the infamous Stelvio.
Medium and long course overview
The first 47km are downhill (there’s just one 2km lump at around 33km in).
You hit the Teglio, a ‘hill’ that offers up about 6km of climbing with an average gradient around 8% maxing out at 15% in places. Usually this might be the main climb of the day, but not when you’ve got a ride that ends on the Stelvio!
It’s a slow slog back up the steady gradient you enjoyed at the beginning.
For the mountain goats out there, you can take the right turn to do the long course and tackle the killer Mortirolo climb. If you’re interested in riding the Mortirolo, you can read our guide on it here – however bear in mind that our guide to the Mortirolo focuses on the way we rode it, which is not the same as the route taken up the Mortirolo for the GF Stelvio Santini. (We rode it from the direction usually taken by the Giro, from Mazzo, whereas this Granfondo tackles the route up from Tovo Di Sant’Agata and descends to Vernuga.)
Those that choose to stay on the medium course carry on to Bormio town square before tackling the mountain everyone’s really here for: the Stelvio Pass.
Don’t forget that the finish is on the top of the Stelvio! So you’re going to need to ride down the mountain to your hotel. Remember warm clothes – more info on that here.
Note that the organisers reserve the right to change the route at any time.
13. Beware the weather…
In these high mountains it’s not uncommon for the organisers to have to amend the course at the last minute.
On 29 May 2019, the organisers announced that the Stelvio Pass would not be open on the weekend of the event due to high avalanche risk. Instead of finishing with the climb of the Stelvio, the event finished by climbing the hairpins to Cancano lakes.
The climb to Cancano is significantly easier than the climb of the Stelvio – but it is still incredibly beautiful. Read our guide to cycling Cancano lakes for more information.
14. Do you have any tips for riding the Stelvio?
Yes, lots. Check out our:
15. Can you change the route you do?
It is possible to change the route you’ve registered for
It is not possible to change your route from the short course to medium/long or vice versa during the event.
Before the event
16. Can you transfer your entry?
The regulations state that registration is personal and non-transferable.
You can cancel your entry in writing before 12.00 pm on August 15th 2021. After that date, if you can’t participate you can request (by email) to be sent the race pack. Shipping costs to be covered by the athlete.
The regulations state: “The name change of an already registered participant has an additional cost of 10.00 € and can be made no later than August 15th 2021. The organization does not guarantee the change of size of the race pack jersey. To request the change please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The regulations also state “The race number and chip are strictly personal and not transferable to third parties, under penalty of immediate disqualification.”
17. Can you change your jersey size ahead of the event?
Yes – you can change the size of the jersey you asked for during registration by sending an email with the request to email@example.com before 15 August 2021. They cannot guarantee they will have the new size you want.
18. What’s the best way to get to Bormio?
Most people fly to Milan (either Malpensa or Linate) and drive the three hours to Bormio. However, you could consider adding on a break in the Italian Lakes – Lake Como is (kind of) en route between Milan and Bormio.
19. Can you get bike rental for the event?
Bormio isn’t a huge town and there are only a few places that offer road bike hire. We’ve got details of all of them in our Bormio guide.
With 3,500 cyclists descending on the town, you’ll want to get in early.
Not sure whether to rent or take your own? Read our tips, here.
20. What are the best hotels for GF Stelvio Santini?
The event starts and finishes in Bormio. Our Bormio guide contains details of the hotel we stayed in (and why we loved it), but there are lots of cycling focused hotels in Bormio for you to choose from. While there are lots of hotels, with 3,500 cyclists in town, you’ll want to book as soon as you can.
21. What’s Bormio/Stelvio weather like in June?
Usually the Stelvio Pass doesn’t open until early June (or late May at a push). That’s because the snow tends to linger on these high passes. Given the Granfondo Stelvio Santini is held right at the beginning of June, you’ll realise that you’re right at the start of the cycling season. Pack and plan accordingly.
Once you’re in Bormio: signing up/race pack collection etc
22. What’s the program for the event?
You can find full details for the 2021 event, here.
23. What’s the process for signing in ahead of the event?
For 2021, race pack collection is from the Palazzo Pentagono in Bormio, Via Manzoni. The event is on Sunday 12 September 2021 and packs can be collected as follows:
– Friday, 10 September from 15:00 to 20:00
– Saturday, 11 September from 9:00 to 21:00
– Sunday, 12 September from 5:00 to 6:30
You’ll need to show your registration confirmation when collecting your race pack.
24. Do you need a medical certificate?
Yes you do and it needs to have an expiry date no earlier than the day of the event.
The regulations state that participants of foreign residency must possess a medical certificate according to the E – Health Certificate model. They also said they would check this using the DataHealth service, so all participants had to ensure that the medical certificate was validated, through the DataHealth service (www.datahealth.it), “within August 31st, 2021”.
The organisers also specifically state that “simply own a cycling federation membership card is not sufficient for participating”.
25. Do you need a licence?
Yes, either one from the Italian Cyclist Federation or another cycling licence recognised by the UCI. The regulations state: “Those who are not in possession of a race licence, must purchase a FCI day racing licence that will be valid for the day of the event only and will ensure full insurance to the athlete. The FCI day racing licence can be purchased at race pack collection.”
26. Are there any rules on where to put your race number?
Yes. Your number must be clearly displayed on the front of the handlebars – no cutting it, hiding it, writing on it or wrapping it around your frame!
Also your race number should be on the back of your jersey on the right hand side.
27. What are the official race items you need to remember on the day?
The regulations state that “Failure or incorrect use of the chip will result in the non-inclusion in the classifications of the hill climbs and the non-attribution of the total time achieved”.
28. Do you have to wear a helmet?
29. Is there any other kit you should remember?
Temperatures in the last few kilometers of the climb up the Stelvio will probably be chilly.The 2019 edition couldn’t go up the Stelvio because there was too much of an avalance risk, which gives you a good idea!
Luckily, organisers have arranged to let participants bring along some winter clothing (jacket, tights, gloves, shoe covers). You can store these and a backpack to be used to descend to Bormio, in a bag that you are given at race pack collection. You get a sticker with your bib number that you put on the bag so you can find it.
Bags have to be delivered to the organisers before the start of the Granfondo so they can take it to the top of the Stelvio ahead of your arrival.
While these clothes will be available after the finish, you might also want to stick a pair of arm warmers (and possibly a pair of gloves/gilet/jacket too depending on the forecast) in your back pockets – the top of the Stelvio is at 2,700m and at that kind of altitude, the weather can be really cold even if it’s hot in the valley…
30. Is there a technical briefing?
Yes, on Saturday 11 September at 5:30pm at the Palazzao Pentagono in Bormio. It will include an introduction to the race, an overview of the three routes and useful tips
31. When are the roads closed from?
For the 2018 event, the Stelvio Pass was closed to traffic from 9am to 4pm on the Sunday of the event. (The 2019 edition didn’t go up the Stelvio due to the avalanche risk and the 2020 event was cancelled…).
32. How do spectators get to the finish line on the Stelvio?
In 2018, there was a bus service that allowed friends and family to get to the top of the Stelvio:
Bormio to Stelvio – 8.30 am: from Perego Station. Via Milano, Bormio.
Stelvio to Bormio – 4.00 pm: from Passo dello Stelvio bus parking.
It was necessary to book your bus ticket when you collected your race pack. There was limited availability (40 seats per service). Price per round trip ticket € 8,00.
The bus was not intended for event participants – they were expected to ride back to Bormio!
33. Do riders set out in waves?
There are five grids for the event: red, yellow, blue and white for the medium and long routes and green for the short route.
The assignment of bib numbers and starting grids is in order of registration (with exceptions for VIP guests and all those who have participated in at least 5 of the 7 editions of the Granfondo). The allocation of grids is decided after 15 August 2021 and communicated via the official website.
There are staff at the entrance to each grid to check you’re in the right place with the right kit: remember your official jersey and official kit as otherwise they won’t let you in!
34. What time should I get to the start?
According to the program, the meeting point for the start and entry to the grid is September 12th 2021 from 5:30 am to 6:15 am at Via al Forte in Bormio.
Often people get to the start earlier than the advertised times for events like this. We haven’t done it ourselves, so we don’t know if that’s necessary for this one – if you’ve done the event, let us know in the comments below!
35. Is there a cut off time for the event?
We understand that riders starting their Stelvio ascent after 14:00 will not be considered in the ranking.
36. Is there any medical assistance available on the course?
Along the route there are five roving ambulances. An additional ambulance is stationed at the start/ finish.
37. Where are the feed stations on the course?
There are five food stops on the route: Teglio, Tovo S. Agata, bottom of the Mortirolo descent, Bormio and the third roadman’s house on the Stelvio. There is also one after the finish line.
38. Where can you get mechanical assistance on the course?
There are six mechanical assistance points: Teglio, Tovo, at the end of the Mortirolo descent, Bormio and at the third roadman’s house on the Stelvio.
There is no moving mechanical assistance during the Granfondo.
Mechanical assistance is aimed at quick work to get cyclists back on the road, not repairs or replacements of parts that involve careful work. Expect to pay for the cost of replacement spare parts.
Private mechanical assistance (e.g. private or team cars) and among competitors is forbidden.
39. Is there anything I should remember while riding?
Well, apart from the obvious (like be nice, enjoy, take care and have fun…!) the organisers advise you to:
Observe the Highway Code.
Pay particular attention to descending and passing through towns.
Don’t throw waste along the course – use the green areas or you could get disqualified. The green areas listed in the regulations are below, however the event’s Facebook page refers to twenty green areas – so no excuses!
40. Are there awards?
Other useful info
41. Is this an international event?
Yes. In 2018, 55% came from 45 different nations aside from Italy.
42. I’ve seen reference to Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini and Gran Fondo Stelvio. Are they the same thing?
Yes. People refer to the event in different ways, but Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini and Gran Fondo Stelvio are the same (as are Gran Fondo Santini Stelvio, Gran Fondo Santini). Santini is the main sponsor of the event.
43. Is there any other way to ride the Stelvio on closed roads/any other Stelvio events I should know about?
Yes! From the Stelvio Bike Day to the Haute Route, lots of events take place in this area. Check out the Stelvio bike events section of our ultimate guide.
44. Any suggestions for cycling routes for before/after the GF Santini Stelvio event?
You can find links to all our Stelvio region cycling route guides within our ultimate guide to cycling the Stelvio region.
Or you can click straight through to them here:
Our ultimate Bormio guide that we mentioned above also has tons of information on accommodation, bike hire, the weather in the region, cycling maps and more!
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