Roads to Ride

Stelvio Trafoi

the landscape, no matter how sumptuous it may be, doesn’t add much to a big race. The race is sufficient in itself, it finds greatness in its own means. It ennobles the scenery more than it borrows from it.”
- Antonine Blondin, L’Equipe 1964

Cycling is one of the few sports to take place in the real world. Roads are sporting arenas, mountains are turned into venues.

Over the years different roads have become famous and even mythologised by the sport. On the way to Roubaix the Arenberg cobbles hold a special place in the sport but on a normal day the road is a muddy trail used by dog walkers where there’s nothing inherently beautiful nor dramatic. Similarly there’s a nice view on the way up but Milan-Sanremo’s decisive Poggio is little more than an access road to some shack-like hothouses where flowers grow, without the race it is ordinary except for its name.

To pedal up some mountains is to follow in the slipstream of history and often the most famous roads present their challenges, they have become famous because they are hard to ride and therefore prove decisive in a race. But others in this list are included because their so scenic they are worth the detour, proof that a race route doesn’t always make a great ride. Mountains often feature and this probably because they are decisive, extreme and breath-taking. But there are few flatter routes with cobbles below and you’ll even find a cycle path that is flat, at sea level yet full of Belgian’s keenest cyclists.

Part I – Alpe d’Huez
Part II – The Ghisallo
Part III – Mont Ventoux
Part IV – Col de la Madone
Part V – Col du Soulor
Part VI – Passo Dello Stelvio
Part VII – Mont Aigoual
Part VIII – Col de la République
Part IX – Croce d’Aune
Part X – Strade Bianche
Part XI – Col d’Eze
Part XII – The Poggio
Part XIII – Arenberg Cobbles
Part XIV – Col du Tourmalet
Part XV – Côte de La Redoute
Part XVI – Col du Pin Bouchain
Part XVII – Puy de Dôme
Part XVIII – La Planche des Belles Filles
Part XIX – Col du Lautaret
Part XX – Col du Palaquit
Part XXI – Champs Elysées
Part XXII: The Col du Galibier
Part XXIII: The Lacets de Montvernier
Part XXIV: Hautacam
Part XXV: The Schelde Bike Path
Part XXVI: Col de Marie-Blanque
Part XXVII: Jebel Al Akhdar
Part XXVIII: Genting Highlands
Part XXIX: Mont Brouilly and the Beaujolais
Part XXX: Passo delle Erbe
Part XXXI: The Koppenberg

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