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.

Alpe d’Huez The Ghisallo
Mont Ventoux Col de la Madone
Col du Soulor Passo Dello Stelvio
Mont Aigoual Col de la République
Croce d’Aune Strade Bianche
Col d’Eze The Poggio
Arenberg Cobbles Col du Tourmalet
Côte de La Redoute Col du Pin Bouchain
Puy de Dôme La Planche des Belles Filles
Col du Lautaret Colle delle Nivolet
Col du Palaquit Champs Elysées
The Col du Galibier The Lacets de Montvernier
Hautacam The Schelde Bike Path
Col de Marie-Blanque Jebel Al Akhdar
Genting Highlands Mont Brouilly and the Beaujolais
Passo delle Erbe The Koppenberg
Sa Calobra Monte Carpegna
Monte Serra The Chartreuse Trilogy

Simon June 22, 2014 at 5:10 am

Would someone please enlighten me as to where the second photo in this article is taken?
Thank you.

The Inner Ring June 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

The top of the Colle delle Nivolet, one of Europe’s highest passes. It’s in Italy but since the Giro has never visited it’s almost secret.

http://inrng.com/2013/11/roads-ride-colle-del-nivolet/

Simon June 23, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Thank you for the reply. A road to dream about as we hit the middle of winter down south in Australia.

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