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  • Writer's pictureSimone Fagetti


With three legendary passes that regularly feature in the Tour de Suisse program, the Furka-Nufenen-Gothard loop is a great Alpine classic for cycling enthusiasts. It is only 106 kilometers, but it should not be underestimated: with almost 40 kilometers of climb, it's a big chunk. Starting from Andermatt in the canton of Uri, you pass through Zumdorf, the smallest village in Switzerland, before facing the Furka Pass: 11 kilometers ascent to reach the summit at 2,436 m. Along the way, you will have stopped at the famous “James Bond Street” sign which reminds us that Agent 007 performed one of his famous Goldfinger chases there. You then enter the canton of Valais and pass two new symbolic places: a few hundred meters after the start of the descent, a glance to the left reveals one of the most beautiful views for avid cyclists. In front of you, the multiple laces of the descent of the Furka; in the distance, those going up to the Grimsel pass. Enough to feed your Instagram account! And shortly after, you pass the famous Belvédère hotel, far from the Rhône glacier and the source of the eponymous river. After the long descent to Gletsch then Ulrichen in the Goms valley, don't forget to refuel: you then embark on the Nufenen pass, which leads to 2478 m after 13 kilometers of ascent punctuated by long straight lines to more by 10%. The second highest asphalt pass in Switzerland after the Umbrail, the Nufenen is a challenge in itself. The summit marks the entry into a new canton: Ticino. We are greeted in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland with a long and magnificent descent to Airolo, where we begin the third and last ascent of the day to the Gotthard (2091 m). The world's fourth longest tunnel swallows up most of the traffic, and what remains is along the main pass road. Cyclists climb the old road, called the Tremola. Unique in the Alps: it is paved on the 24 laces of its upper part. Enough to make you forget that you will soon have more than 3000 m of vertical drop in your legs! Once you reach the top, Andermatt is just a few kilometers downhill. You can enjoy a well-deserved rest in this typical village in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Alain's advice: Andermatt is the ideal starting point for climbing some of the biggest passes in Switzerland. Not only the Furka, the Nufenen and the Gothard, but also the Susten, the Grimsel, the Lukmanier, the Oberalp and even the Klausen. To organize your stay in this cycling paradise, choose the Sust Lodge in Hospental. Located at the foot of the Gotthard descent, this hotel offers rooms and dormitories for groups; it has a secure bicycle room and all the tools needed for small repairs. The friendly Simone and her team serve delicious meals for hungry cyclists and the beer is excellent. What more?

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