You might have seen the Ötztal Glacier Road before. A 15km stretch of privately owned tarmac and the second-highest paved road in Europe. It was the location for the car-vs-plane chase scene in Spectre, the most recent 007 film, and it’s the perfect spot for such a high-octane affair, as our group of Rapha riders discovered when we rode there recently. “It was quite breathtaking,” says amateur racer Will Linton. “The first 5km were so steep it was punishing, but then it opens up to this stunning glacial valley that rises all the way to 2,830m. I’ve never ridden anything like it before.”
For snowsports enthusiasts, the attractions of the high alps of the Austrian Tirol are well known. But this landscape undergoes a transformation in the warmer months, which goes some way to explaining why cycling is set to take off here. With spring in the air and snow rapidly turning to meltwater, it proved an ideal time to explore.