…now you can see what a 23.5% grade looks like!

By Jennifer Sage On September 5, 2011 Under Outdoor Cycling, Tour de France

Two blog posts ago I wrote about how I taught Stage 15 in my Spinning® class, especially up the Angliru, the steepest climb of the Vuelta (and perhaps of any stage race in the world).

Now you can see the finish right here, up the 23.5% section. Can you say “ouch”? Juan José Cobo, the winner of the stage, seems to fly up it at a fairly consistent cadence (and not a slow one at that). Was it lower gears?

Watch at the 2:15 and 2:43 mark, as Bradley Wiggins and his teammate Froome flounder and waver back and forth, struggling to turn the pedals.

Any of you want to climb this monster?

Click here to see some awesome photos of this climb.


EDIT: If the country you’re in does not allow you to view this video, go to Steephill.tv and scroll down to stage 15, underneath the race standings are a list of videos from around the world, in Spanish, Flemish, Dutch and of course, English. Hopefully you can find one video you can view of the finish!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark T
    September 5, 2011
    10:04 am #comment-1

    Sadly does not seem to be able to watch the video outside the USA – certainly not in the UK


  2. Robert B
    September 5, 2011
    3:57 pm #comment-3

    A lot of riders riding a compact chainset (they are human, after all!) – don’t know what others had but Cobo had a 34×32, more like mountain bike gearing than road racing!

  3. Jennifer Sage
    September 5, 2011
    5:26 pm #comment-4

    wow, a 34X32! No wonder his feet were flying! I think Contador had something similar in the Giro on the steepest climb there (and he won the Giro). Do you think some of the other riders who did not go that low were too proud? See how slowly Wiggins was pedaling when he “cracked”? Methinks a 34X32 would have really helped him out there…

    For those who don’t know gearing, what this means is that the small chain ring in front had 34 teeth and the largest gear in the back had 32 teeth. Like Robert said – that’s more like a mountain bike gearing. I remember reading years ago that some pros used a 26 on some biog mountains in the Tour de France and that was considered big (or small, as it were…the larger the cog, the smaller/lower the gear, the easier it is). Normally their cogset in the rear goes from 11 teeth to 21, maybe to 23. The lower it is, the faster you can go (on flats).

  4. Dane Boyle
    September 27, 2011
    12:23 am #comment-5

    Did my version of this ride for the second time this evening. With the use of a PPT presentation the imagery set the tone. My students not only faced a physical challenge, but a mental one as well. Several students said the ride was “epic”. I couldn’t have asked for more. I was able to modify the class for those that haven’t been with me as long; as for those that had they added load, kept up a challenging cadence and felt like they had reached the summit. Still flying high. Thanks for the opportunity to Educate & Inspire!

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