The Stelvio Pass (or Stilfser Joch in German, 2757 m) in northern Italy is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. Only the Col de l’Iseran (2764 m) is higher in the Alps. Its hairpin turns cover an elevation gain of 1871 meters. The road was opened in 1825 – almost two hundred years ago.
The Passo dello Stelvio is the king of the mountain passes of the Giro d’Italia road cycling race. Its history in the Habsburg Empire conflict and the First World War contributes to the Stelvio’s significance as am Italian icon. The Giro first visited the Stelvio in 1953, and the Italian campionissimo Fausto Coppi won the stage and the Giro for the fifth time in his career.
Also in 2014, the Stelvio was the scene of another battle in the Giro. The inclusion of the Stelvio in the Giro is risky, because of its date in May when there can still be snow on the top. When the cyclists arrived on the pass, a snowstorm awaited them. The 16th stage – and probably the Giro – was decided on the descent. Nairo Quintana won the stage, and the overall Giro.