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.
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