Top 5 Climbs in Europe
Due to the evident lightweight features of our products, it is quite clear we love to climb. Following on from our previous article on the Taiwan KOM Challenge, we want to move to Europe to show you 5 of the best climbs you will find throughout the continent. We have chosen from endless climbs to slopes that approach the limits of cycling.
(Col de la Bonette, France, The Highest Hors Categorie Climb to Date)
We will travel through Spain, France, Italy, and Great Britain to discover these wonderful mountains to climb on your lightweight bike.
Let's see what these climbs are in no particular order!
We all know the prestige surrounding the Tour de France for both the Yellow and Polka Dot Jerseys alike with regards to climbing, which is why our first stop takes us to France, more specifically the French Pyrenees. We are of course referring to the world renowned Col du Tourmalet. If you want to climb you will face a legend of the Tour de France as it is the most climbed Col in the history of the Tour. It is a 19 km climb to 7.5% where mythical attacks have been seen. And we can not forget that it is the highest mountain pass of the French Pyrenees. A big challenge for the legs of any seasoned cyclist.
The legendary Hardknott Pass, in Cumbria, is the undisputed king of climbs in the United Kingdom. Its difficulty level is such that we could discuss whether we are facing the toughest climb in the world in terms of ramps because its length is not at all comparable to those of the other mountain passes that we describe in this article. We speak of a very short climb, but with ramps of 25, 30 and up to 33% gradient in its 2.6 kilometers in length. Climbing it may not take more than 15 minutes. Every gram on your bike and body will most definitely count for such steep ramps.
Now we take a leap to Spain, more specifically to Asturias, where the Angliru is located. The new legend of Spanish cycling was first climbed in the Vuelta a España 1999 but it was undoubtedly a discovery that has marked a turning point in the Spanish race. If you climb it you will find 12.6 km at 10%, but without a doubt, the final section with ramps between 20% and 23.5% will make you rethink if you have saved enough energy to reach the peak without placing your foot on the asphalt.
IIt is time to go to the Alps where we will find the last two climbs. If you cross the border into Italy, you will meet another Italian cycling legend (with permission from Mortirolo and Zoncolan), the Passo dello Stelvio.
It is one of the most spectacular roads in the world. Its 48 tornantis (sharp hairpin bends) and its alpine landscape make this colossus a place of pilgrimage for cyclists and road lovers. Its altitude, 2,757 meters, makes this mountain pass the highest in the eastern Alps. Due to its elevation and snow, the road remains closed from October to May every year.
Finally, we have chosen the Alpe d'Huez. This climb is part of the most decisive mountain pass poker in La Grande Bouclé with the Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux, and Col du Galibier. This Alpine colossus is an explosive and hard port that has seen the greatest climbers in history glide from its hard peaks. Its 21 sharp hairpin bends, one every 600 meters, incite from the first kilometer, at 10.6%, to put a dizzying pace at the end of each curve.
As the story is told, the cyclist who comes out wearing the yellow from Alpe d’Huez takes categorically takes it to Paris with honor. So it had happened in its first 10 editions where the climb acquired the name of The Top of the Dutch for the double wins of the eternal second Joop Zoetemelk, Hennie Kuiper and Peter Winnen.
There are of course an extensive amount of climbs dotted across Europe everywhere North to South and East to West however this provides a snippet into just a handful of them to help you on your search for the most epic of them all!