Furka Pass
Bikes Etc|April 2017

Chocolate-box scenery, sweeping hairpins and punishing gradients.

It’s easy to overlook Switzerland as a cycling venue, with only the occasional brief foray across its borders by the Tourde France and Giro d’Italia, but in fact it offers some of the best roads for cycling in the whole of Europe. It is also home to a major stage race of its own, the Tour de Suisse. Held in June every year, this is often seen as a final chance for Tour contenders to test their form, so usually features some very big names in the sport – as well as some very big mountains.

At 2,436m altitude, the Furka Pass is the fourth-highest paved mountain pass in Switzerland (it has 16 passes over 2,000m), connecting Gletsch in the west with Andermatt in the east. Passing under the shadow of the Furkastock, a 2,665m peak in the Uri Alps range, it’s a regular feature of the Tour de Suisse – in 2016, it appeared in stage 5, when Colombian grimpeur Darwin Atapuma was part of a small breakaway group that attacked on the Furka Pass and went on to win the stage.

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