Selvino, the mother of all BGY Airport Granfondo climbs

Considered the climb of champions, the 19 hairpin bends leading from Nembro towards Selvino also represent the reference climb of the BGY Airport Granfondo, the event scheduled for Sunday 5 May 2024 under the aegis of the Italian Cycling Federation.

Each of the 19 hairpin bends has been dedicated to one of Bergamo’s champions who have made cycling history. Many champions are commemorated in quick succession: number one is dedicated to Felice Gimondi, while the two preceding the summit are dedicated to two other Orobian Giro winners, namely Ivan Gotti and Paolo Savoldelli. The other champions are: Antonio and Guglielmo Pesenti, Pietro and Vittorio Algeri, Gaetano and Gianbattista Baronchelli, Giuseppe Guerini, Flavio Giupponi, Claudio Corti, Valerio Tebaldi, Wladimir Belli, Mirco Gualdi, Marco Pinotti, Giovanni Fidanza, Attilio Rota, Paolo Lanfranchi, Ennio Vanotti, Oliviero Morotti, Diego Magoni.

Cycling on the Selvino climb, therefore, means immersing oneself in the history of cycling and pedalling on roads that almost every year are coverd by the great champions on the occasion of the Classic ‘Il Lombardia’. A climb that has hosted important pages in the history of cycling and that every year, thanks to the BGY Airport Granfondo, can be ridden in complete safety by thousands of cycling enthusiasts.

Although it ends below 1,000 metres, the Selvino climb is among the most scenic in Lombardy, favoured by the presence of a long series of hairpin bends and the scarce presence of tree vegetation in its final part. Its very constant gradient, which is never steep, makes it suitable even for the all rounder and less climber cyclists. In two short passages the gradient becomes more severe: at km 0.7 (9.5%) and km 4.3 (10%). The road surface is in excellent condition, the carriageway wide for the entire route.

A special label, placed inside the official jersey of the BGY Airport Granfondo produced by Santini, enriches the collector’s item with the inscription “Il Selvino” and a description of the climb and the landscapes that surround it. Among other things, this year marks the 110th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of the road from Nembro to Selvino in 1914. Among the first and highest built in the Bergamo area.

Selvino was discovered by the 1968 Giro d’Italia, the first one conquered by Eddy Merckx, and it was “The Cannibal” who won that stage with finish line in Brescia. In 1969, the Zingonia – San Pellegrino Terme stage took place, with Michele Dancelli first in the climb and Marino Basso the stage winner. In 1976 the famous Terme di Comano – Bergamo took place, with Felice Gimondi winning in his hometown, in the year of his third career Giro d’Italia win, but the first to pass through Selvino was Wladimiro Panizza. In 1988, departure from Novara and stage finish in Selvino with the success of American Andrew Hampsten. Another stage finish in 1995 with the ITT that started from Cenate and crowned pink jersey Tony Rominger. Stage passage in the Valdengo – Bergamo of 2017, at the KOM Pierre Rolland passed first, while the stage was won by Bob Jungels; the last passage of the Giro Professionali from Selvino took place this year during the 15th stage from Seregno to Bergamo: first at the top Ben Healy and stage victory for Brandon McNulty.
As mentioned, the Selvino has been one of the iconic climbs on the route of the Classic ‘Il Lombardia’ for some years now. It first appeared in 1999, the edition won by Mirko Celestino. It was also one of the climbs in the following years when Rumsas (2000), Di Luca (2001), and Bartoli (2002 and 2003) won the race. The Selvino returns in 2016 and in recent years has often been a protagonist with Bergamo alternately hosting the start and finish line of the ‘dead leaves’ classic.

The climb from Nembro to Selvino is also the challenge section for the “Eugenio Mercorio Uphill Time Trial”, the challenge within the challenge of the BGY Airport Granfondo that aims to enhance the competition among climbers and remember the memory of a great friend of the event.
The time trial starts from Via Torquato Tasso in Nembro (325 amsl), when the competitors will have already covered 44 km from the start. The conclusion of the time trial is placed in Corso Gabriele Camozzi in Selvino (946 amsl) when 56.2 km will have been covered from the start and there will be 33.3 km remaining for the short course, 72.6 km for the medium course and 105.9 km for the long course.
The best timed performance dates back to the 2022 edition of the event, with former pro rider Manuel Senni stopping the clock at 25.21.8.

Maurizio Remo Acerbis deputy mayor of Selvino, who took over as acting mayor, said: “The road from Nembro to Selvino, although it is very twisty, is the road most used by residents and tourists to reach our locality. Many equate it to the Stelvio Pass and certainly, due to its characteristics, for many years it has become the scene of various sporting events: it has hosted World Championships and other important rallies, the Cronoday, a walking, cycling, sky-roll and hand-bike running event and, of course, the passage of important cycling events such as stages of the Giro d’Italia, Il Lombardia and, since its inception, the BGY Airport Granfondo, an iconic competition, a fixed cycling event in the month of May, with a very high number of participants who often begin their preparation months in advance, trying out and retrying our famous climb. Events like the BGY Airport Granfondo bring prestige and make our territory known around the world, and this can only make us proud”.

Gianfranco Ravasio, mayor of Nembro, added: “The Nembro-Selvino is without doubt the best known and most popular climb in the province of Bergamo. Every weekend, the Nembro area is enlivened by the passage of countless cyclists who tackle the climb. Bergamo is the land of cycling and cyclists; in the imagination of every Nembro child, reaching Selvino by bicycle was a sporting achievement to be framed. The best riders in the world have competed on this road over the decades, and this tradition is renewed thanks to the frequent passage of the Classic Il Lombardia and the Giro d’Italia, as was also the case in 2023. In May, hundreds of roders will take on the Nembro – Selvino during the BGY Airport Granfondo, on behalf of myself and the citizens of Nembro I wish them well and welcome them to Nembro. It is always a pleasure for us to see our roads coloured”.

You can register using the appropriate forms on the official event website, or at the GMS organisational offices in Via G. Da Campione, 24/c – 24124 Bergamo (tel.+39 035.211721).

Closing date for registration: Saturday 13 April 2024.