The Spaniard stormed past his rivals up the Mortirolo on stage 16 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia, but has never beaten 45 minutes on the famous climb, and has a long way to go to beat Simoni, Gotti, Pantani and Tonkov

On the 11 or so kilometres which mark one of the most famous and feared climbs in cycling, 2015 Giro d’Italia champion-elect Alberto Contador yesterday took apart Fabio Aru, his previous closest challenger for GC glory.

But however memorable his ride, the time he took to do it – 45-14 (at 15.52kph) – was not even close to some of the fastest recorded since Marco Pantani scaled the Passo di Mortirolo almost a minute quicker than Miguel Indurain in 1994.

Contador’s power output is difficult to estimate, but by way of comparison, Ivan Basso’s 2006 44-32 saw him rack up 411 watts on average over the distance; yesterday, Giovanni Visconti – according to his Strava file – was at a 321-watt average in hitting a time of 50-51.

As far as times go, different sources, of course, provide slightly different figures from across the years, but common consent stops the clock for ‘Il Pirata’ at a stunning 42-40 in 1994.

>>>Alberto Contador shows why he is leading the Giro d’Italia

That record, though, lasted all of two years before being lowered to 42-07 by Ivan Gotti and Pavel Tonkov the very next time the climb featured in the Giro, before Gotti and Tonkov were part of a three-man group, alongside Wladimir Belli, that posted a decidedly pedestrian 45-13 in 1997.

There is some debate as to whether 1999 saw the record broken again – some reports have Gotti and Roberto Heras scaling the peak with Gilberto Simoni in 41-42, others put the trio’s time behind that of Pantani.

In any event, since then, Simoni has been the clear stand-out man, featuring in three more of the quickest ascents with times varying between 44-32 (2006) and 47-30 (2004).

Contador was part of a 2008 group which posted 46-12 – alongside Simoni again – and took almost a minute off that this year, but it doesn’t look like he is going to be troubling the record books any time soon.

The top ten: Fastest times up the Passo di Mortirolo

41-42 Ivan Gotti / Roberto Heras / Gilberto Simoni, 1999
42-07 Ivan Gotti / Pavel Tonkov, 1996
42-40 Marco Pantani, 1994
42-45 Piotr Ugrumov / Enrico Zaina, 1996
43-03 Niklas Axelsson, 1999
43-33 Miguel Indurain, 1994
43-56 Massimo Codol / Daniele de Paoli, 1999
43-59 Laurent Jalabert, 1999
44-21 Evgeni Berzin, 1994
44-29 Abraham Olano, 1996

  • Zogzog

    What were Lance’s times on the climb? ……for reference purposes, of course?

  • Luke B

    Is there something curious in the fact that each of the top 10 times happened in the 90’s – none since the turn of the century. Why would this be given the improvements in technology, nutrition, training and so on?

  • Tim lewis

    The reason the times of contador and the other gc contenders are slower is because they aren’t on DRUGS anymore.. Why not still compare the times of lance Armstrong if this is the case!!

  • Bob Smith

    is it? did I imply that that all riders all clean in 2015? the bikes in the 90’s were at least 4/5lbs heavier than the current carbon bikes as well…

  • dourscot

    Just looking at those times you can see something was deeply wrong.

  • Ad

    Contador mechanical issue (flat tyre) lost time and had to chase Astana Team that was pushing hard to put a massive gap on him before the ascent. Still caught them easily on the ascent and then cruised up the last half of the accent as saving himself for the final climb to the finish.

    Would be interesting to see how fast Contador and also Landa could have done the climb if they were racing up the ascent rather then pacing. Neither raised a sweat.

  • Adam

    Pantani and Miguel, although great, were doped heavy… not sure its a fair comparison. Alberto RIPPED up that climb and was most likely not doping. Simply AMAZING.

  • Jonathan Rowe

    Yeah because cycling is 100% clean now.

  • ben

    last 5 k : Landa 37,9 km/h, Contador/Kruijswijk 35,1,Trofimov/Amador 34,4 ,Aru 33,9

  • Bob Smith

    The times from the ’90’s must be ignored, all drug fuelled….

  • Patricia Jones

    We’re always told that Grand Tour racing is about pacing, so it doesn’t make much sense to take the Mortirolo out of context – on this occasion Contador had to save something for later.

  • JoshLyons

    Yes that’s true but none of the others had to sprint 20km on the approach to the Mortirolo.

  • Gary Jogela

    Are they the fastest times with or without drugs?

  • I’m more curious about the Wattage of the top-3 riders going up .. Powerrrrr!