Velominati Challenge: Name that Climb

Velominati Challenge: Name that Climb

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As cyclists, our legs bristle with anticipation at the sight of a hairpin turn.  Stitch a series of them together in close succession, and we lose the ability to speak in complete sentences.  Show us a road that resembles a goat path, and we start to wonder aloud in fragmented sentences what it might be like to send a bunch of racers up it.  Combine those things, add a dirt road surface, and we’re sporting serious Climbone.

A few weeks ago, our friend Roadslave queried us as to what climb was featured in some douchenozzle’s photograph at an art show.  Not surprisingly, we were collectively able to nail it down in fairly short order, despite the considerable disadvantage of the photog himself having mislabeled where and when the photo was taken.

Attention to detail is what we do as Velominati, and many of us have gazed upon most of the famous climbs in Europe – if not with our own sweat-drowned eyes, then at least through the lenses of photographers who have (and were hopefully more successful than Roadslave’s pal at naming the time and location of the climbs).

I came across this photograph today and was instantly drawn to it for obvious reasons that don’t need to be restated from above.  But it also gave me an uneasy feeling: I wasn’t sure what climb it was.  A few minutes later, by chance, I came across a more modern and labeled version of the same climb and thought I’d test the collective knowledge of the community with a little challenge, which I have every confidence will be met in short order.

Please identify:

  1. What climb is it?  Name, location.
  2. Is this climb currently paved or unpaved?
  3. When did it last feature in a top-level Professional sporting event?
  4. What was the climb, if any, immediately previous?
  5. What was the climb, if any, immediately after?
  6. Will it feature in the 2011 professional calendar?
  7. Which rider used these slopes to reveal himself as being a contender in an event  no one had considered him for prior?
  8. What jersey was he wearing at the time?
  9. Who was his eye wear sponsor at the time?
  10. What bike was he riding? Brand, model.

Good luck!

// Folklore // Nostalgia // Racing

  1. 1. Finestre, Piedmont, Italy
    2. Unpaved
    3. 2005
    4.
    5.
    6. Giro
    7. Savodelli
    8. Pink
    9. Oakley
    10. Trek Madone 5.9

  2. 1. Colle delle Finistere, Susa, Italy
    2. Top half unpaved
    3. 2005 Giro
    4-5. I think they climbed to Sestriere before and after.
    6. Yes, in the Giro, Merckx bless it.
    7. DiLuca
    8. Liquigas
    9. Briko?
    10. Bianchi, damned if I know what model.

  3. Colle delle Finistere, Piemonte, Italy
    First ten kilometers asphalt last 8 strada bianca
    Stage 19 Giro D’Italia
    Sestrieres
    Sestrieres
    Stage 20 2011 Giro D’Italia
    Danilo Di Luca
    Liquigas
    Briko
    Bianchi FG lite (Evo 4)

    There was an epic photo of The Killer ascending the Finistere in the 2006 Bianchi catalog.

  4. That is a gorgeous photo. Captures the stark beauty of the area and the brutality of the climb. Love it, want to ride it!

  5. Impressive. You guys are pretty close, but @Dan Large still misses out on a perfect score since the Killer was riding for Leekygas but not wearing the team jersey.

    @Cyclops
    Salvodelli had already podiumed and won the Giro, so you missed on the second half of your calls – but good on naming the Finestre.

    @Nate
    So close, but what’s with the question mark on the Brikos?

    That was one of my favorite Giros and a great example of why the Giro is the Velominatus’ Grand Tour. Dirt roads, Loads of Rule #5, Rule #10′ and almost too much Rule #9*.

    Can nit wait for the 2011 Giro. The topography of that country just lends itself so well to an exciting GT. Nibbles is going to be fun to watch progress. Basso, of course. Porte could be back. Cadelephant should prove he can win a GT and that he can still ride hard without the bands. And then figure in the known dopers who want to do well, not to mention the unknown dopers, and you’ve got yourself a bike race.

    So, we still have one question unanswered.

    *Used for dramatic effect. Obviously we all now there is no such thing as too much Rule #9.

  6. I believe the last piece of the puzzle is….

    Jose Rujano riding for Selle Italia

  7. @frank
    Balancing the need to get work done with the desire to submit a well-researched answer.

    Since the jersey issue seems open still, are you thinking he was wearing the points jersey? I am at a loss on that one. Because that’s not correct.

  8. @frank
    Is it the young ‘uns jersey?
    Total spoiler, but since I’ve pissed away an afternoon of study watching this…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oTHLSW1IIc
    Love the bit at approx 3.00 when it zooms to the spectators at the top of the climb.
    Brutal.

  9. @CJ
    Nup, too old.
    Pro-Tour Leader? WTF?

  10. I had no idea, but I had a Climbone a bird could perch on. Christ I need to get over there to ride up mountains. That photo looks like a much more glorious route than this little gem in SoCal:

    You can do a continuous climb here from 240m to 2400m with 27km of the climb paved and closed to cars. A bastard of a climb though. I got heat exhaustion trying to ride up it after the Ventoux stage of the Tour in ’09. It was 110 degrees, and I made it about halfway before running out of water and having an “Oh fuck” moment. I destroyed my knee riding up it with three feet of snow lining the road in January. Just myself and snow plows up there. Twas a glorious day that one.

  11. Hey frank,

    Do you have a link to that shot that you could post?

  12. Not that I’m complaining but I just so happen to be watching the 2000 Giro at home and Di Luca was really tearing it up and Phil and Paul were creaming themselves over him so I did not think him an appropriate fit for question seven.

  13. Whoah, when did we get our very own youtube channel? V-TV.

  14. Since the IT Nazis have blocked YouTube at work I have no idea.

  15. @Collin
    That looks awesome! In fact, it resembles the Finestre a bit, doesn’t it?

  16. @Cyclops

    Not that I’m complaining but I just so happen to be watching the 2000 Giro at home and Di Luca was really tearing it up and Phil and Paul were creaming themselves over him so I did not think him an appropriate fit for question seven.

    Well, Di Luca had always bee a great racer, winning loads of one-days and one-week stage races. He wasn’t considered a real GT threat, though. In 2005, fresh off his Liege win, he rode high in the GC and it wasn’t until he hung with the best on the Finestre that people considered him a threat for the overall at the Giro. Of course, he won in 2007.

    2005 was a great year, though, and Di Luca was the only rider to make the UCI ProTour Leader’s jersey look good. That was the jersey he wore during the Giro, and I believe he won the overall that year.

    Another reason I loved that season was it marked the height of the Bianchi’s third Golden Era. Those EV model bikes were stunning. My VMH still has her EV4 as Bike Number 2, and my old EV2 still serves as my rain bike. The FG Lite did not differ from the EV4 in any material way that I could tell, and sported a flash paint job. Especially Danilo’s white version which he rode during the Giro.

    @Marko
    Ah, old eagle-eye. A few of our readers have beat you to it, though. We did a soft launch of that to store all the XTranormal videos (one more coming) for embedding. The full launch will come when KRX-10 uploads all his old-school video archives, which he is in the process digitizing.

  17. @frank
    V-TV! Outstanding!

  18. OK, I apologize if I come off as a bit daft, but where do you watch all of these races?

    I get the “pleasure” of being a Comcast “customer” here in my city, and the Versus channel only showed the Tour of California and the Tour de France this past year. Everything else is off of their radar I guess.

    Is there a cycling website where you can pay to watch all of these races? I guess you could torrent old races, but I’ve never gotten into that whole mess.

  19. @mcsqueak I’m in the same situation. I wish there was a way to get Eurosport in Seattle.

    Universal Sports sells packages online, such as this year’s Giro for about US$10: Universal Sports Premium

    YouTube has a lot of older races back to the 60’s and 70’s (or at least the last 10 minutes): YouTube

    Cervélo’s recent 2009-10 video podcast is also interesting: Beyond the Peloton

  20. @Geoffrey Grosenbach

    Thanks for the Universal Sports link! I totally forgot about them. I can hook my laptop into the TV, so I’m more than willing to pay to watch a good race, as long as I can do it on my time (say after work or whatever) and not just “live”.

    PS, the photo at the top of the page is beautiful.

  21. @mcsqueak
    Of course there’s always Steephilltv.com. I usually end up watching races on that linked to some Dutch, Flemish, Italian, or Spanish (once even Japanese) site and then watch the ticker from Velo news or Cycling news along with it when I can’t see the riders to well for myself.

  22. @Marko

    Steephilltv looks like a parked domain to me, but I know what you’re saying… I watched a lot of World Cup matches at the office on a site like that, streaming them from all over the ‘net. The quality left a lot to be desired, but it was something, at least.

  23. @frank
    It absolutely does. That’s why it sparked my memory. I used to live 12km from the base of that climb. In fact, I almost chose by grad school based on quality of climbs available, rather than quality of research, but reason(?) prevailed, and now the biggest hill around is a whopping 40m.

  24. @mcsqueak

    Steephilltv looks like a parked domain to me, but I know what you’re saying… I watched a lot of World Cup matches at the office on a site like that, streaming them from all over the ‘net. The quality left a lot to be desired, but it was something, at least.

    That’s because Marko mistyped the URL. It’s http://www.steephill.tv/ but beware; it’s a lottery to see which ones end up working. I’ve had the best luck with Flemish feeds, but many either don’t work or are restricted to geographic areas. You’ll have to work your way through the list to find something that works OK.

  25. Frank. Awesome article, love the challenge… only problem is I’ve been away for two days without internet, and come back and everyone else has solved it. What’s the next challenge? Great article…

  26. roadslave :

    What’s the next challenge?

    How many times did “Chepe” Gonzalez crash in the 2000 Giro?

  27. @Cyclops
    No idea, but I’ll guess 3. (And I bet none of them hurt as much as losing the KOM jersey to a broken transponder.)

  28. Well, I’m only up to stage 22 but so far they say he’s crashed 10 times.

  29. Collin :

    I had no idea, but I had a Climbone a bird could perch on. Christ I need to get over there to ride up mountains. That photo looks like a much more glorious route than this little gem in SoCal:

    Nice picture, lovely colours and nice bracketing, but, and bear with me here for a moment…….

    Where the fuck is it?

  30. @Hitchhiker
    It’s CA39 in SoCal. The climb starts in Azusa, California. Exit north from Exit 40 off the 210. The more fun way to get to the climb is via Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) and come at it from East Fork Rd. It adds an extra 700m of climbing on one of the best roads imaginable.

  31. @Collin
    Thank you, I’m going to give that one a go.

  32. @Frank…. given this article from last year, thought you might enjoy the latest Rapha video:

    http://www.rapha.cc/the-hidden-alps

    I prefer your black and white photo, but either way, it looks like an awesome climb.

    BTW, it has been a year since you ran the ‘where is this climb?’ competition… tiem for another?

  33. @roadslave
    Hear, hear.

    Wasn’t it you who posted the incorrectly titled art photo of the Galibier? That was great fun.

  34. Where the fuck is it?

     2,600 m in a scant 75 km.

    Alternatively, try 3,300 m in 135 km.

  35. Where the fuck is it?

    http://www.strava.com/activities/76531584 “” 2,600 m in a scant 75 km.

    Alternatively, try:  http://www.strava.com/activities/95609284 “” 3,300 m in 135 km.

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