Not satisfied with conquering the Tourmalet, Alfie Earl has just ridden up Mont Ventoux and the Passo dello Stelvio in quick succession
Then eight-year-old Alfie Earl first came to our attention when he rode up the Col du Tourmalet back in the summer.
Getting to the top in a very respectable three and a half hours, it was thought at the time that he could have been the youngest rider ever to summit the famous French col.
Following his ninth birthday in August, the British youngster has continued his endurance exploits with two big rides just days apart.
On Saturday October 22, Alfie started out from Bedoin and reached the summit of Mont Ventoux just over four hours later.
The climb from Bedoin is 21.5kms at an average gradient of 7.5 per cent, and includes some long sections above 10 per cent.
Riding his 24ins Giant TCR Espoir with all standard components and a double compact chainset, the nine-year-old began the climb in warm sunshine but the temperature dropped near to freezing as he gained altitude and had to fight the wind near the summit.
“The forest was the worst bit and it went on for ages,” Alfie told Cycling Weekly. “When I got to the summit I realised I hadn’t actually changed onto my lowest gear but at least it was good training for the Stelvio.”
His chance to put that training into action came just days later when, on Monday October 24, Alfie started out at the foot of the 48 hairpins of the Passo dello Stelvio.
Starting in Prato, the climbing enthusiast took around five hours to conquer the 25.8km climb, which average 7.4 per cent.
Riding in drizzle for the first few kilometres and then on icy roads in low visibility near the summit, Alfie and his dad benefited from a lack of cars on the road and say that they “didn’t see any other cyclists all day.”
The riders had to contend with freezing rain and snow for the final six kilometres to the top of the climb.
The Passo dello Stelvio will feature twice in the same day during the 2017 Giro d’Italia, when it is climbed from two different sides.
“After I did the Tourmalet in the summer, these were the two other legendary mountains I wanted to climb,” the young rider said once off the mountain.
“After I did Mont Ventoux on Saturday I knew I could do the Stelvio, but it would be tough and it was”, he added. “I’m really proud of myself for proving that a nine-year-old can do this. It was my choice – after the Tourmalet I wanted to do both as soon as possible and I did them in under 48 hours.”
Despite the conditions on the Stelvio, the young rider hasn’t lost any of his enthusiasm for cycling.
“Next I’m going to do London to Paris with my sister who’s just turned 12 but I wanted to give my bike a rest for a bit first.”