Alpe d’Huez is the most famous ascent in cycling and has mythical status, even though the 2017 Tour de France won’t be visiting the climb.
There’s some dispute about who has set the record fastest ride up the climb in the Tour de France and when, but Marco Pantani is most cited, with his 1997 ride in 37 minutes 35 seconds the most used figure.
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Ascents by Pantani in 1994 and 1995 also feature in the top five. In 2015, the last time the Tour went up the Alpe, Nairo Quintana was clocked at 39 minutes 22 seconds.
Whatever the truth about Pantani’s alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, he’s still a much-revered rider for his attacking style and panache.
Pantani’s style was to climb in the drops, adding drama to his efforts.
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The Wilier bike which he rode up the Alpe that day in 1997 is still kept at Wilier’s Rossano Venito headquarters and is occasionally lent our for events.
Now it’s coming to the UK for the Rouleur Classic in early November. It’s a bike that is very much of its time, with the frame made of super-light aluminium tubing and a skinny-looking Shimano Dura-Ace chainset and derailleur coupled to chunky Look clipless pedals.
Wilier has a couple of other Pantani bikes on display in Italy too, including an earlier quill stemmed alloy machine and a carbon model dating from 2000.
Both alloy bikes have custom saddles featuring Pantani’s famous Il Pirata logo.