Sign up for our newsletter

Introducing the Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs

15 Apr 2020

What makes a great climb? It can’t simply be about size. After all, the Muur van Geraardsbergen in Flanders is barely over 1km long but is surely one of the most celebrated climbs in pro racing.

And it can’t be all about how important a climb has been to the history of pro racing. How many races have featured Sa Calobra in Mallorca? And yet cyclists from around the world swarm to its slopes in their thousands every year.

It certainly helps if a climb has beautiful surroundings and epic views, but no one would say that of the Koppenberg. It’s a scar up a nondescript hillside in Belgium, yet its name is whispered with reverence by pros and amateurs alike.

How do you compare the Col du Galibier in the Alps with the Hardknott Pass in the Lake District? Is the Angliru better than the Zoncolan? And which is the best of them all – the climb to beat all other climbs?

In celebration of the 100th issue of Cyclist (which you can now buy from our online store), this is the task we set ourselves: to identify and, more importantly, rank the 100 greatest road cycling climbs on the planet.

How did we do it?

The selection and ranking process was a highly scientific endeavour that involved a certain amount of statistical analysis and a lot of bickering.

Everyone on the Cyclist editorial team was invited to submit their entries to the list, based on personal experience and general appreciation. These entries would then be initially assessed by peers using phrases such as, ‘Buttertubs? Is that a joke?’

Each member of the team would then be invited to defend their choices, referencing gradient and altitude statistics, great moments in racing history, florid descriptions of ribbons of tarmac carving through verdant landscapes, and the fact that they once did it, and it was really hard.

Having established which 100 climbs would make the cut, they were then ordered into ‘greatness’ using a complex equation involving the number of switchbacks divided by the Strava KoM multiplied by the number of Marco Pantani summit victories.

When that failed, we simply squabbled like children until everyone was too tired to argue any more and the final list was agreed upon by all.

Over 10 days, starting on Monday 20th April, we will be revealing the list, 10 climbs at a time (in reverse order, of course) so that you too can argue, scoff and rage over how right, or wrong, we have been in our selection.

And thanks to our friends at Komoot, we will be providing the ultimate route to tackle each and every one of the 100 classic climbs

You are also hereby invited to suggest which climb you think should be number one, and to propose any climbs that you feel have been unfairly excluded from the Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs list.

In these days of isolation, when you can’t go and ride the world’s great climbs, what better way to fill the time than by arguing over which is best?

Pete Muir, Editor, Cyclist

The Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs

Introducing the Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 100 - 91  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 90 - 81  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 80 - 71  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 70 - 61  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 60 - 51  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 50 - 41  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 40 - 31  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 30 - 21  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 20 - 11  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: 10 - 4  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: Number 3  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: Number 2  
Cyclist 100 Classic Climbs: Number 1