The 10 hardest mountains that ever featured in a GT

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Sep 29, 2012
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valentius borealis said:
With regards to French climbs, don't forget that Le Mont du Chat has been used once in Le Tour.
It was in 1974. And it was a mere 2nd category climb. Yep.
At the time, the Hors Catégorie ranking didn't exist and the 1st category was only for the great and high climbs like Galibier, Tourmalet, Izoard... Mont du Chat was "only" 1500 meters high and they didn't had an emphasis on the "climb statistics" like the gradient. Length, altitude and "prestige" were the only way to classify climbs back in the day. If the Mont du Chat made its comeback it would be undoubtedly be rated HC whatever the side (the profile here is the west side with the final 8 km @ 10.9 % - the east side is 13.4 km @ 9.3 %).

Also climbs like Pra Loup (1980) or La Ruchère (1984) were rated HC. By today's standards, Pra Loup would be 2C and La Ruchère 1C.

The col du Granon, climbed in 1986, is also very hard (11.5 km @ 9.05 % - 2404m high), albeit a bit short. But the altitude is what makes this climb hard.
 
Mauna Kea is a beast:

http://www.climbbybike.com/most_difficult_climbs.asp

But I thought it is a discussion mainly about GT climbs. Mont du Chat could be very high but from which site was it climbed? Climbs ranks of longest sections of a given average gradient could be interesting:

When we talk about longest section of 15 per cent it should be Zoncolan (almost 6 km) as well as longest 12 per cent section (almost 10 km). Longest section of 10 per cent would be Angliru, Mortirolo and Grossglockner-Fuschertorl-Hochtor (about 12.5 km). Rettenbachferner (12 km) is also extremely steep (Tour of Germany). However Monte Crostis (14km@10%) would have longest 10% section. BTW the double of Monte Crostis&Zoncolan would be most epic duo in pro-cycling. Longest section of 9 per cent for sure belongs to Finestre (18.5 km) but Fauniera and Grossglockner-Fuschertorl-Hochtor has also long, steep section (about 15 km@9%). Longest section of 8 per cent could be in Stelvio (last 21 kms of this epic road) with Monte Grappa, Ventoux and Madeleine at about 19 km. I have no idea about longest section of 7 per cent but Stelvio (25 km) is for sure high in such a ranking.

Also very interesting could be info on steepest section of a given length. For example steepest 10 km section is Zoncolan (11.9%) ahead of Mortirolo (11.2%). Steepest 15 km section probably belongs to Finestre (9.2%), Grossglockner-Fuschertorl-Hochtor (9.1%) and Fauniera (9%). Ventoux is also in contention (8.8%). Stelvio, despite its gradient often being overlooked, has steep last 15 km@8.5%.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Krzysztof_O said:
But I thought it is a discussion mainly about GT climbs. Mont du Chat could be very high but from which site was it climbed?
Mont du Chat was climbed from west side, the one which has a final 8 km @ 10.9 % section. Merckx was even dropped in this climb by Poulidor, but he managed to catch up in the descent to win the stage.

Fun fact: the Critérium du Dauphiné will be at the foot of the Mont du Chat on stage 6 between Grenoble and Poisy. I really hope ASO could acknowledge there is a beast waiting for a peloton to come here.
 
Ruby United said:
I'm trying to look for answers to these. At the moment I'm not getting anywhere. Best I have so far is 9k at 18 pcent
But how can you be sure at no point in that 9k the gradient falls under 18 % or even 10%? Gradients are calculated as averages over a distance - usually 1k, though increasingly sections like Cueña les Cabres independently, but those are still averages. Doesn't mean there arent' 100m, 50 m even 10 m sections that are gentler, interspersed within those high average km %'s
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Great thread :)

Red Rick said:
Pretty sure it's both Guardiagrele, with 600 @ 22,5 average maxing out at 30%. that dirt stage in last years tirreno also had near 30% grades i think
Is this the steepest? I remember mildly in 08 or 09 there was a TA stage where also riders had to step off their bikes. Was it also the Guardiagrele? Or is there other small but crazy little monsters like this?

BTW, here is the profile for the Guardiagrele:

 
Eshnar said:
This morning I was thinking about it, and decided to ask here. I know there is not a univocal answer (how can we compare two completely different climbs like, for example, Galibier and Angliru?), but I just wanted to know what you all think. I expect each of your lists will be different from the others.
Here is mine (alphabetical order):

Angliru
Fauniera
Finestre
Galibier (+Telegraphe)
Hochtor (aka Grossglockner)
Mortirolo
Plan De Corones
Rombo
Stelvio
Zoncolan

8 of them must (imho) be in this list anyway. The only 2 climbs I could drop are Plan De Corones and Rombo.

What do you think?

PS: Yes, I realize that, being italian, I could be biased... but I really think there aren't many Tour/Vuelta climbs that could challenge these. :p
If Galibier is on the list I think Mont Ventoux needs to be there somewhere? Not the steepest but steep enough and exposed to the winds in most directions. Otherwise its a good list. An argument could also be made for the inclusion of Col du la Bonnette - at 2802 metres the highest sealed pass in Europe and very steep at the top but no MTFs there is no room.
 
I know it wasn't a Grand Tour, but what was that mountain they used in the Tour of Germany that was purportedly the highest the pro peloton had ever climbed? Maybe it was in Austria, the German tour visited there sometimes, I think. Seems like maybe Leipheimer won a stage on the climb I'm thinking of when he was riding for Gerolsteiner.
 
christopherrowe said:
I know it wasn't a Grand Tour, but what was that mountain they used in the Tour of Germany that was purportedly the highest the pro peloton had ever climbed? Maybe it was in Austria, the German tour visited there sometimes, I think. Seems like maybe Leipheimer won a stage on the climb I'm thinking of when he was riding for Gerolsteiner.
Rettenbachferner

The stage you're talking about was in 2005

They finished at 2684m which was the highest MTF in the UCI ProTour back then.
It's 12,6k long at 10,5% (13,9 % max)

It was a great stage btw, it saw Ullrich on the attack (!) dropping everyone but Leipheimer, Totschnig and Evans, then he blew up completely on a left hand bend and dropped out of the group with Leipheimer and Totschnig riding away. He caught up to Evans later though and overtook him again.
 
I wonder now what's the hardest climb that was ever seriously rumoured or considered for a GT. Also how long does it normally take between a race organisers "discovering" a climb and including it in the parcours?
 
Monte Crostis (14km@10.1%) is probably the toughest unclimbed climb. Had it not been cancelled it would be easily one of the hardest climbs ever in GT (16.1 points in my formula - in comparison Finestre has 16.7, Zoncolan has 16.6, Ventoux 14.1 and todays Monte Grappa 13.9).

As for discovering new climbs, I think that in Giro it takes less than a year (they discovered Zoncolan, Finestre, Plan de Corones year after year).
 
It could matter a lot wether the infrastructure is there to host the stage. The Angliru was merely a goat track before somebody for some reason decided they wanted people to cycle up their and threw asfalt on that track
 
kingjr said:
Rettenbachferner

The stage you're talking about was in 2005

They finished at 2684m which was the highest MTF in the UCI ProTour back then.
It's 12,6k long at 10,5% (13,9 % max)

It was a great stage btw, it saw Ullrich on the attack (!) dropping everyone but Leipheimer, Totschnig and Evans, then he blew up completely on a left hand bend and dropped out of the group with Leipheimer and Totschnig riding away. He caught up to Evans later though and overtook him again.
Also featuring an early Robert Gesink showing and a highlight in the sadly brief career of Saul Raisin, if my viewing memory serve me right.
Definitely should be a top 10 GT climb, but for it's location.
 
Mellow Velo said:
Also featuring an early Robert Gesink showing and a highlight in the sadly brief career of Saul Raisin, if my viewing memory serve me right.
Definitely should be a top 10 GT climb, but for it's location.
Gesink must have been in 2007, but you're right about Raisin
 
Aug 9, 2013
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Great thread/Assumptions considered

Like economists and other dismal scientists, parcours and gradients must be compared holding other variables into account; such as level of competitors, number of stages raced, weather and wind factors, how many KM raced before reaching the Mountain, etcetera.
 
Jul 6, 2012
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Personal experience only: if ever faced with doing Hochtor again, kill me.

However, there are cobbled hills in Vienna for neglible gains (400ish m) which are far harder though (Strava says around 17% avg). I have no idea if the Tour of Austria has used them. Please tell me they have?
 
Red Rick said:
I wonder now what's the hardest climb that was ever seriously rumoured or considered for a GT. Also how long does it normally take between a race organisers "discovering" a climb and including it in the parcours?
IIRC Zoncolan from Priola was rumoured last year, no? I think that's harder than the Ovaro side.
 
Krzysztof_O said:
Monte Crostis (14km@10.1%) is probably the toughest unclimbed climb. Had it not been cancelled it would be easily one of the hardest climbs ever in GT (16.1 points in my formula - in comparison Finestre has 16.7, Zoncolan has 16.6, Ventoux 14.1 and todays Monte Grappa 13.9).

As for discovering new climbs, I think that in Giro it takes less than a year (they discovered Zoncolan, Finestre, Plan de Corones year after year).
I respect your formula and he e always been a massive finestre proponent, but I dont think it should be ahead of the zonc.

I do remember a poster -benpounder, formed a ranking as well and had both crostis and finestre ahead of Big Z
 

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