What is it about climbing? Is it the challenge of pushing yourself, the self achievement you feel when you get to the top, or the strength and endurance you get out of it. There is definitely something we all love about the big hills. After coming back from climbing the Stelvio, Alpe d’huez I have a greater respect for the Pro Riders who takes these hills.
So what makes a Pro Cyclist a climber? Marco Pantani styles as we have seen, attacks and changes tempo constantly. Stronger climbers, like Chris Froome, tend ride a constantly high tempo and use their powermeter to measure their effort. Despite the various riding styles, these riders all tend to be light, with a high power to weight ratio.
Away from the high mountains of the Grand Tours, the climbs tend to be shorter and a more explosive type of rider comes to the fore, although there is some crossover. Cyclists such as Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan specialise in these explosive, shorter climbs but are also able to hold their own on the medium length mountains encountered in week-long stage races. On the climbs of the Ardennes classics, mountain climbers like Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodriguez come into direct competition with the Gilberts of the pro-cycling world.