Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Not for the feint hearted

When we watch the riders climb Mont Ventoux tomorrow let us remember that this is not the steepest climb that cyclist face in the Grand Tours. That honour goes to the Alto de l'Angliru which features in the Vuelta a España.

The organisers of the Vuelta a España wanted a mountain to rival Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France and the Mortirolo Pass in the Giro d'Italia.

The top of the climb is 1,573 metres above sea level. The height difference is 1,266 m. The climb is 12.5 kilometres long with an average gradient of 10.13%. It is near 24% at its steepest. The first 5 km are an average of 7.6%— stiff but not over-demanding for world-class cyclists. The sixth kilometre lessens to 2.1% and has a short descent. The last half of the climb is more severe. From six kilometres to the summit, it averages 13.1%. The steepest part, the Cueña les Cabres at 23.6%, is 3 km  from the summit. There are two later ramps at 18% to 21%.

During stage 15 in 2002, riders climbed the Angliru in rain. Team cars stalled on the steepest part, some unable to restart because their tires slipped on messages painted by fans.Riders were caught behind them and others had to ride with flat tires because mechanics could not reach them

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