Within sight of the Dolomites, Kaltern am See (Kaltern at the lake) offers perfect conditions for road cyclists from March to October. The South Tyrolean town is an excellent starting point for wonderful tours as well as a perfect base for a training camp.
Surrounded by high mountains, Kaltern am See is located in southern South Tyrol on the shore of the warmest bathing lake in the Alps. Its Mediterranean climate, the lake and the surrounding high mountain massifs such as the Dolomites or the Mendelkamm make this place so unique. Not only for the cultivation of wine and apples, but also for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts such as hikers, mountain bikers and road cyclists. Because already early in the year you can start beautiful tours from the small wine village in the south of South Tyrol under warming sunrays. Already in March and April the temperatures in the South Tyrolean wine and fruit village climb to 15 or even up to 19 degrees. The main Alpine ridge serves as a weather divide and guarantees mild, almost Mediterranean temperatures and little rainfall.
Those who start off in Kaltern am See for road biking can choose from a large selection of routes of every kind. In the east the Dolomites, in the south the Adige Valley, in the north the Eisack Valley, in the west the passes around the Mendelkamm. When it comes to tour planning, the region sets no limits with regard to imagination or capabilities.
Wonderful cycle routes through South Tyrol
If you want to ride flat to build up a base, you can ride in both directions of the Adige Valley, either to Merano or to Trento and even further in the direction of Lake Garda. The tours there take you along on cycle paths or agricultural paths with little traffic. The motorway, which leads from the Brenner through the valley to the south, clears the way for cyclists and tractors.
A pleasant side-effect is that the temperature climbs by a perceived degree every 10 kilometres on tours to the south. A popular 100-kilometre lap, which Team Alpecin always takes under their wheels during their training camp, leads to Trento. During the obligatory coffee break, cappuccino and panino may be enjoyed on the historic market square of the capital of Trentino. Those who ride via Lana to Merano and back via Bolzano and Auer will collect similar “mileages”. The wide network of roads makes it possible that you rarely have to ride twice on the same road.
The passes and climbs of the Giro d'Italia are right on your doorstep
But a stay in South Tyrol without some climbing is a no-go. If you don’t want to go high up and ride into the Dolomites, you’ll find a beautiful ascent in the village itself – to Monte Penegal, Kaltern’s local mountain, i.e. the Mendel Pass. From the village, a 14-kilometre long, well-developed road leads via 14 hairpin bends up to the pass summit. Only in Kaltern itself there are short, high percentage passages, otherwise the 900 metres of altitude difference uphill also can be ridden well with just a few kilometres in the legs. In the upper part, a route meanders along the rock and offers a view into the Etsch valley and of the wine route. Those who want to go even higher, may climb on the steep road to Penegal and enjoy the view there. After a descent, the tour continues over the 14-kilometre long ascent to the Gampenpass (1512 metres), before the road leads down to Lana and back to Kaltern.
A view of a unique panorama with Lake Kaltern and the Dolomites awaits road cyclists as they climb up to the village of Altenburg. In the distance the “white mountains” and below them the lake, which is not blue but emerald green like a jewel.
By the way: Not only hobby cyclists like Team Alpecin, which have set up their training camp there since spring 2014, will find ideal conditions there to get into shape. Even the cycling pros often pass by there. In 2016, a difficult mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia led over the Mendel. And this year Kaltern is the destination of the 5th stage of the Tour of the Alps, which many professional teams use as a final test before the Tour of Italy.