How fast do the slowest Tour de France riders climb? Could you beat them?
We sent Hank to Alpe d'Huez to try and beat Fabio Jakobsen's time from the 2022 Tour de France
During the mountain stages of the Tour de France, all eyes are fixed on the battles at the pointy end of the race: the competition for the stage win; for the polka dot jersey; and of course for the general classification and with it, the yellow jersey.
All the while, though, at the back of the pack, another battle is being fought: the sprinters versus the time cut. The fast men might be able to lay down eye-watering power numbers in the final few hundred metres of a flat stage, but they also have to lug all that muscle up the mountain roads of the Alps and the Pyrenees. A challenge, especially when they’re facing a time cut that is determined by the finishing time of the lightest, fastest climbing riders in the race.
When we see the sprinters struggling up the climbs on the TV, long after the climbers have danced their way up, it looks like they’re hardly moving. The thought might even flash across your mind: ‘Even I could do that.'
Hank gives it his all on Alpe d'Huez
But could you? To find out, we sent James ‘Hank’ Lowsley Williams to Alpe d’Huez with one goal: beat the slowest rider’s time up this climb from the 2022 Tour. The time in question was set by Fabio Jakobsen, who made it to the top in 57:01. Jakobsen turned himself inside out completing the stage, collapsing into the barriers after making it across the line, narrowly inside the time cut.
All the odds were in Hank’s favour: unlike Jakobsen, he hadn’t ridden 11 gruelling stages prior to this attempt, nor had he ridden the Col de La Croix de Fer and the Galibier. So could he make it? Have a look at the video to see how he got on.