La Madone: Tour contenders' favourite testing ground

We investigate why riders are still drawn to the southern French climb made famous by cycling’s most controversial figure

Photo: Chris Catchpole

A fit amateur can do it in less than 45 minutes. A professional rider is looking for something under 36. Generally the closer they can get to the half-hour mark, the better.

However, there comes a point where riders are reluctant to shout about their best time. There is something taboo, a secret shame, about riding quickly up the Col de la Madone.

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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.