Earlier this year, the then eight-year-old Alfie Earl from Islington climbed the Tourmalet. This week he climbed the Passo dello Stelvio less than 48 hours after climbing Mont Ventoux.
Alfie and his siblings got into cycling when their dad, Steve, did London-to-Paris to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital – Alfie’s brother Ivan having undergone life-saving open heart surgery there when he was 18 months old.
Speaking about his son’s latest feat, Steve said that while an eight-year-old had done Ventoux on a mountain bike, the youngest ascent of the Stelvio he knew of was by Ivan Basso who reportedly did it when he was nine. “Basso was born in late November when the pass would've been closed until the next summer, so Alfie may be the youngest.”
Alfie climbed Mont Ventoux from Bedouin on October 22 and said of the experience: "The forest was the worst bit and it went on for ages. When I got to the summit I realised I hadn't actually changed onto my lowest gear – but at least it was good training for the Stelvio."
A couple of days later, he was tackling the 25.8km Passo dello Stelvio from Prato in drizzle, icy rain, low cloud and then snow near the summit.
"After I did Mont Ventoux on Saturday I knew I could do the Stelvio, but it would be tough – and it was. My mum and dad drove me hundreds of miles to Provence and then over to Italy the next day. I'm really proud of myself for proving that a nine-year-old can do this. It was my choice – after the Tourmalet I wanted to do both as soon as possible and I did them in under 48 hours.
"It was cold and I was really tired but I got a jersey for doing each mountain and my mum got me a big pack of Match Attack cards. Next I'm going to do London to Paris in May with my sister who's just turned 12, but I wanted to give my bike a rest for a bit first."