Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The 2006 Giro d'Italia will include an ascent of Plan de Corones, a steep, dirt-road climb high in the Dolomites. Gilberto Simoni, past winner of the Giro and current leader of the Lampre Saunier Duval team, has already scouted the route.

In the most recent the January issue of Cycle Sport, Simoni discusses the impressive gradients he and his competitors will face. The first section of dirt road will average 11.6 percent, and the final kilometer will top out at 13.3 percent:

"The condition of the road is pretty good, but that didn't make it any easier," he said. "I struggled a bit in 39x25 and for the final kilometer at 13.3 percent we'll need a 29 or 30 sprocket or use a triple or a compact chainset."

This past weekend I staggered up a 15-18 percent climb of almost a mile in length, with only a 39x25 at my disposal, and I made it. When a professional cyclist---known for his climbing proficiency, no less---says he might need a triple chainring just to survive a kilometer at 13.3, maybe in comparison I'm not so pathetic after all.

But yeah, ego trip aside, a 29 sprocket would have been really nice to have...