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Sometimes the weather and gradient even forces the professionals to dismount

On yesterday’s sixth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, a 30% climb near the finish of a rain soaked stage produced the unthinkable: photos of professional cyclists dismounted and pushing their bikes.

The photos of the professional riders walking up the climb, dismounted and pushing their bikes, grinding their cleats into the Tarmac, has gone viral since the photos first hit the internet. It was the Strada Cocciari summit on the Sant'Elpidio a Mare climb that caused the damage, a 300m stretch with an 18% average gradient and 30% final 50m ramp.

While the front runners managed to ride the cruel slopes, many of those further back in the peloton clearly found it too much and dismount. These were the riders who had done a lot of work setting the pace and taking the wind earlier in the stage, and they were obviously pretty knackered by the time they hit the climb. And it did come at the end of a 200km stage...

What made the climb especially hard is the slippery surface caused by heavy rainfall. Traction is easy to come by in the dry, even on such a steep slope. Following persistent rain ,however, traction becomes a scarce commodity and stopping the wheels from spinning while applying the necessary power would have been nearly impossible. This is the main reason so many riders resorted to walking. 

It would seem that many of the riders didn’t anticipate the severity of the route's parcours and simply arrived in too big a gear. Chris Froome’s mechanics had reportedly made a change to the gearing of his Pinarello, fitting a 36x28 lowest gear. Even that was too hard, he’s quoted as saying.

Next time we’re at the point of considering dismounting, we can all take comfort in the fact that even the best sometimes have to walk

Below, thanks to Google's Streetview, you can see just how steep it really is.

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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

36 comments

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antigee [513 posts] 5 years ago
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i ride up hills with the aim of getting to the top and sometimes find them hard

pro's and club cyclists race up hills with the aim of getting to the top in a good position and very rarely find them hard

think the difference is immense if wot i writ makes sense  1

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nivagh [59 posts] 5 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Also - isnt Jenkin Road in Sheffield on the 2014 TdF?
http://goo.gl/maps/1doUi
It gets to around 30% in places and i am also led to believe it sometimes rains in northern England.

Yup. It's fine when you're fresh, but after nearly 200km of riding I think it's going to be interesting. There's a steep downhill on the other side as they go back towards the motorway before heading towards the city centre for the finish. A breakaway might stay away if they can get there with a minute on the peloton and TT it to the finish afterwards?

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doc [167 posts] 5 years ago
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The point was that it was one of a succession of difficult climbs. I think that there must be a contest amongst Spanish and Italian organisers to find the most ridiculously hard climbs, which add zero to the spectacle of a BIKE race when people are reduced to walking. Fair enough some 15 -20% sections, but 30% is getting silly. Surely what is needed is a sensible and challenging course, not a weightlifting contest, which is what these mad "monster" steep climbs amount to.
And by the way, Constitution Hill in Swansea is cobbled, about 350 metres only, and has a dip in the middle section. So even after a difficult day it's not quite so extreme, just an attacking opportunity.

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Municipal Waste [255 posts] 5 years ago
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Surely the Sram riders could have used WiFLi? Or they could have ran triples!

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Hansemann [104 posts] 5 years ago
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Anybody with a link to live video from stage 6 of T-A (and especially "the climb")?

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Tour Le Tour [91 posts] 5 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Im sure i saw some get off and pushing on one of the stages at the Vuelta last year.
Was it Alto Hazallanas?

I rode the Vuelta last year - err, that is, I rode most of it, and pushed my bike up some of it. Mind you, my bike was loaded up with all of my touring gear, but it was also running MTB gearing. I felt a bit better though when saw pros pushing on at least two of the climbs (I'm thinking stages 12 and 16, but would have to look it up to be sure...). Was the guys at the back though, and they had already done a solid day's work!

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