Head to Italy’s Aosta Valley this summer to take on some formidable climbs and exhilarating descents among stunning scenery, and you could be following in the pedal strokes of many a Giro d’Italia competitor.

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The Aosta Valley region is hosting two alpine sportives this summer, open to all aspiring mountain goats.

First is the Cervino Cycling Marathon, which takes place on 29th June. The highest granfondo in Europe, this sportive has a long option covering 144km and 3,665m of climbing or a short option of 92km and 2,400m climbing.

In its eight edition this year, the Cervino Cycling Marathon starts and finishes in the resort of Cervinia. Situated at 2.050m, it’s in the shadow of the Matterhorn and has hosted three previous stages of the Giro d’Italia.

Serious training for this event will be called for – the long route goes over three alpine cols and the final climb to Cervinia is 28km long over 1,433m of vertical at an average gradient of 5.1%.

Entry starts from €30, and more details and how to enter can be found at www.cervinocyclingmarathon.it.

The second Italian granfondo is La Mont Blanc on 20th July. Set at the foot of Mont Blanc, it has a beautiful backdrop as it climbs through the foothills of Europe’s highest mountain.

Again, two options are available – the mediofondo at 95km with 2,100m of vertical or the granfondo at 138km and 3,800m of vertical. The courses both start and finish in the charming town of Courmayeur and head down the Aosta Valley to the old Roman town of Aosta before looping back the other side of the valley.

Entry is currently €40 and there are hotel offers available through Courmayeur’s Hotel Association. For more details and to enter, visit www.lamontblanc.it.