Why is Cycling Unique?
Why is Cycling Unique?
Why is cycling unique? Well the thing about cycling is that we, the general public, get to ride on the very roads that our heroes do. You can’t go for a kick about at Old Trafford, you can’t hit a few balls at Wimbledon and you certainly can’t throw a pass into the end zone at Lambeau Field. But when cycling, the roads you witnessed the biggest battles on, are there for us to attack too. Whether they are the mountains of France and Italy, or the punishing cobbles of northern France and Belgium, they are all open to us and ready to ride.
But just what do the pros think of the roads that we tackle as part of our hobby? Do they fear them, or do they enjoy them? With our recent sponsorship of season two of the Real Talent Podcast hosted by Garmin Pro Phil Gaimon and relationship with The Peloton Brief (a collective built by current pros), we had the perfect opportunity to ask about the pro experience of some of our favourite roads:
Phil Gaimon – Cannondale–Drapac
Paris Roubaix – Phil’s debut in 2016 didn’t exactly go to plan – hear it from the man himself:
“I can’t say that I’ve raced Paris-Roubaix, exactly. I raced the first 70k or so. Then I rode the next 60k in the team car. The cobblestones aren’t that bad as long as you’re going really really fast over them [LeDomTours Note – this is easier said than done]. Watch out for dry, dusty, right corners when you have low tire pressure. I still have a bruise”.
If you want to tackle the cobbles for yourself you can join one of our Spring Classics Weekends (which combine the best of the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix courses), or join us on our official Paris Roubaix Sportive packages.
Alan Marangoni – Cannondale-Drapac
Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix – A veteran of seven grand tours, Alan’s real nemesis are the cobbles of Flanders and Roubaix:
“Paris Roubaix is so big a pain in your bones and muscles that it also touches your soul”.
“Flanders is like a boxing match… every kick is like a lot of punches in your face”.
If you want to tackle the cobbles for yourself you can join one of our Spring Classics Weekends (which combine the best of the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix courses), or join us on our official Paris Roubaix Sportive or Tour of Flanders Sportive packages.
Nathan Haas – Dimension Data
Tour de France 2015 – The most famous race in the world and an epic stage for a talented climber like Nathan, two stages remain with Nathan from his first TdF experience of the Pyrenees:
Stage 11 – Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin – Two classics that our guests know well:
“Climbing is a funny game, if you train on a climb, you expect certain sections to hurt, you note it, you plan out when you can eat, drink, where the wind is, where to make gains, but inevitably when you hit it at race pace, your plans are as useful as a soccer ball on a golf course. I remember having had trained on both of these climbs years before, but when we went up in the tour… It was insane. The speed we took the Tourmalet was just incredible. All the sections I expected to be hard, just weren’t, but everything I thought would be rest we raced. The TDF just never slows down, and before I knew it, I put the “etto” into the “Group”. Once you are with the Groupetto, the Col d’Aspen was just cruise time. Do I remember it? Hardly. Selective memory serves me well”.
Stage 12 – The Col de Portet d’Aspet – The most intimidating climb in the Raid Pyrenean:
“Before the Tour I did a recon of this climb. I know it well. Too well really. The only way to describe this climb, is that it’s a bastard! The start is a wall, it kicks up and just breaks your soul. It does eventually get easier, but by the time your getting to 5kms to go your at an altitude that makes you go faint. In the tour it was raining and 6 degrees. Groupetto made it in with 1 minute spare. It was one of those days you’d rather forget, but a climb for any true fanatic of cycling’s great challenges”.
If you want to experience the challenge of tackling these three climbs for yourself, you have three options available through LeDomTours, with each of the Raid Pyrenean, Pyrenean Coast to Coast and King of the Mountains TdF all featuring these epic climbs.
Giro d’Italia 2014 and 2013 – The climber’s grand tour, with an often crazy collection of mountain stages, Nathan’s experience mirrors that of our own riders:
Stage 16 2014 – Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio – Two of the best climbs in the world:
“There’s few passes in cycling as iconic as either the Gavia or the Stelvio. Why? Well they are beautiful. I don’t think there’s a mountain range in Europe as incredibly dramatic as is there. But what else is it famous for? Does anybody remember stage 16, Giro, 2014? Sadly I do. It was the hardest day in my career and has left a commanding fear within me of these climbs. Snow, total white out snow… and we had to race. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fun, but we did it and in so doing, made history. It’s a day for the ages. The climbs themselves are long, switch backs everywhere and just arduous. In fair weather I’d suggest visiting. But beware!”
Stage 15 2013 – Telegraph and Galibier – A classic twin ascent that has pushed many a would be Marmotte finisher to their limits.
“It seemed weird going into France during the Giro, but racing climbs as iconic as these, why the hell not!?? I love the Galibier. It’s really one of my favourites of all times. From either side, but I prefer the longer steady side from Briançon. The peak is high, over 2500m, but the ride is smooth, flowing and just stunning. The downhill feels like a roller coaster and I’m sure, if anybody’s reading who has been there, there’s a part of you crying to go back. I know I am:).”
If you want to experience the Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio, you can do so by joining our incredible King of the Mountains Giro, or if you have a taste for the Telegraphe and Galibier, you can join us on either the Marmotte Sportive, or our very own King of the Mountains TdF.
Why is Cycling Unique? Share your Experiences!
So why is cycling unique? Well it’s because we can share the same roads as the professionals and engage in our own real life battles on the very same pieces of tarmac!
If you have visited these roads yourself, or have had an incredible experience on a different pro tour road, we’d love you to share your experience by commenting on this post.