From Bellagio we climb the hill Ghisallo (754 meters) by bike. Doable with an average gradient of 5.1 percent. There are some twists and turns that run up to 11 percent… Just when we reach the top, the flood gates of heaven open completely. We shelter from the cloudburst in the small church.
An eternal flame burns in the church that watches over all deceased cyclists. But it’s not the flame that impresses. Hanging on the walls and ceiling we notice Eddy Merckx’s winning bicycle and Fabio Casartelli’s twisted bicycle, among other things. You know, the unfortunate Italian rider who died in 1995 after a fall during the Tour de France. Casartelli, by the way, was born in Como. Furthermore, countless cycling jerseys, photos, commemorative plaques and other silent trophies that testify to highs and lows in cycling. Happiness from winning and sadness from losing are close to each other. A place that inspires and demands respect for well-known and lesser-known champions.
A bus of elderly Germans squeezes into the small church like elephants in a porcelain shop. Respektieren? Was ist das? “Just start calling Madonna del Ghisallo because some heads will crack…” we think to ourselves. We don’t let it get that far. In the meantime, the weather has cleared up and we can continue our way.
Next to the Santuario della Madonna del Ghisallo you will find another museum that illustrates the evolution of cycling. The broad view of cycling is appreciated by the thousands of visitors who climb the Ghisallo every year. Funny, you can even borrow crocs so you don’t have to visit the museum on your cycling shoes. As you can see, the Ghisallo focuses on the cyclist!