Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Vincenzo Nibali and, um, Michael Rasmussen show you how to drop like a stone down a mountain road

Whilst breathtaking downhill mountain bike videos are two a penny, there are actually very few decent films of top road racers descending as the cameras often switch between groups of cyclists on the road – and the TV motorbikes can’t keep up with their pace.

Here we’ve collected together five videos that show some of the top descenders in action, most of whom are plummeting down a mountainside at speeds peaking at 100kmh (62mph) or beyond.

1. Fabian Cancellara, Tour de France 2009, stage seven

Whilst wearing the leader’s yellow jersey, Fabian Cancellara suffered a puncture on stage seven of the Tour de France. He then worked his way back to the bunch through the team cars in what is generally agreed as the best show of road descending skills captured on film.

2. Peter Sagan, Tour de Suisse 2014, stage six

Taking up a position at the front of the bunch, Peter Sagan barely pedals yet pulls away from the rest of the riders with apparent ease. His belly flat against his Cannondale’s top tube, he uses every inch of the road as he apexes the switchbacks perfectly.

Sagan showed off his skills once more on stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France, where he bombed down the Col de Manse in pursuit of stage victor Ruben Plaza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHgeNu5Gq-c

3. Vincenzo Nibali, Giro d’Italia 2011, stage 11

Without doubt, Vincenzo Nibali is unrivalled among his fellow Grand Tour contenders when it comes to descending. His skills are such that his rivals now fear him attacking on the descents, because once he is away there are very few that can catch him. In this clip Nibali is literally tavelling at twice the speed of the riders he is passing.

4. Various riders, Tour de France 2011, stage 19

The wide, treeless landscape of the Col du Galibier provided the perfect backdrop for the Tour de France’s helicopter-mounted cameras to capture a frantic descent during the 2011 race, including a stand-out performance by Samuel Sanchez. The stage was eventually won by Pierre Rolland on Alpe d’Huez.

5. Michael Rasmussen, Tour de France 2005, stage nine

Rasmussen may be better known for being ejected from the 2007 Tour and for his crash-filled time trial performance, but this film of the former mountain bike world champion sweeping through the corners shows he was as good at descending as he was with his EPO-assisted climbing. File under ‘wasted talent’.

Have we missed out a classic descent video? Let us know… 

  • Belgium Bike

    Paolo Savoldelli
    He was hitting speeds far above 100 kmh
    I remember once 114
    Wish i could see that again.

  • Tea_Addict

    Rasmussen was Cross-country World Champion – never Mountainbike World Champ.

  • LukeB

    Taylor Phinney, 2014 Tour of California, Stage 5 into Santa Barbara

  • Smills

    Agreed, motorbike rider who had 20 years experience filming pro tours couldn’t keep up with him!

  • beev

    going back – Roche. ’87 TdF. Col de Joux Plane (into Morzine).
    more recent – Phinney. ’14 ToC. St5 (into Santa Barbara).

  • Isaac

    pretty sure cadel evans at the tour down under 2014 deserves a spot here

  • Cunego, stage 3 of the 2011 Tour de Suisse.

  • Gavin Henson

    Tony Gallopin, Stage 11 – 2014 TdF off the front with 12k to go. Sagan in the chase pack, just beautiful bike handling at speed.

  • John Westwell

    My choice of descent would be from the Tour in 1994, when Indurain and Virenque put time into Pantani on the descent of the Col de la Colombiere, despite Pantani dropping his stomach on to the saddle in an effort to become more aerodynamic. I’d never seen anyone do that before, and the thought of adopting that position at upwards of 80kph still scares me!