Dumbest ideas in cycling #4: Uphill team time trials

Not sure if this one is dumb or just plain strange….

Stage 19 of the recently-completed Giro was an uphill individual time trial. It was hard, and it was defining, as Vincenzo Nibali rode his rivals’ GC hopes gloriously into the bitumen.

But what about an uphill team time trial?

It has happened on the Pro Tour, in the 2004 Tour of the Mediterranean. In what is still regarded as one of the more unusual stages ever devised, teams set off one at a time – ie. sprinters, climbers and all rounders together – on a 26km climb to the summit of Mont Faron near Toulon in France, with each rider recording their own time unlike a typical TTT.

Reports from the day suggest no one really had much of a clue what was going on – riders, officials or fans – but CSC did best, with Jorg Jaksche taking the honours. The now veteran, Jens Voigt, was right up there too that day.

In a sad irony, the stage occurred just one day after the death of one of world cycling’s most famous (or infamous depending on where you stand) climbers of all-time: Marco Pantani.


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