After showcasing Peter Sagan’s descending skills earlier this week from Stage 16, and the response we received in the comments, we thought we’d bring you some of our favourite descending videos from recent years. In no particular order, here’s 5 of the best.
1. Fresh in our memories from this year’s Criterium du Dauphine is Romain Bardet’s spectacular descent on stage 5. Bardet attacked towards the top of the Col d’Allos before gaining over a minute on the descent, going on to win the stage at the top of the final climb. Watching this descent live was like watching poetry in motion (aside from one minor slip up).
2. In the fight to keep his yellow jersey on stage 7 of the 2009 Tour de France, Cancellara punctured on a descent and had to chase back onto the group, and he did so with effortless style. Unfortunately for Cancellara, he ended up finishing more than nine minutes behind the stage winner that day, after being dropped on the final climb.
3. “Here comes Cadel Evans, the red comet!” If anything, the commentary on this video makes the descent. As the cliche goes, “coming from a mountain bike background, Cadel knows how to go downhill, fast.” On last year’s Tour of Utah, Cadel bridged a gap on the final descent before taking the stage in the final corners.
4. Even though it’s not in a race, we couldn’t go past this. A couple of years ago Cipollini Bikes published an over-the-top “James Bond” style film that only Super Mario himself could pull off. They then released the “behind the scenes” cycling segment of the short film. These are two 14 minute clips of Mario Cipollini descending the Passo del Cipollaio (near Lucca, Italy) from two different angles, and it is quite amazing to watch. His descending skills are extraordinary and the risks he’s taking without a helmet make for “edge of the seat” viewing.
5. In fine form at the 2003 Tour de France (with some help from Dr Ferrari), you can’t argue Lance Armstrong’s natural ability and talent. It wasn’t the drugs that gave him the skills to avoid disaster as he purposefully steered off the road and down a grass embankment after Beloki crashed in front of him. You’ll recognise these as the same roads Peter Sagan descended so well in this year’s Tour.
Honourable mention: only because we don’t have fabulous footage of the descent, but this certainly was a fabulous descent breakaway by the old Liquigas-Cannondale team. With a couple of elite descenders in Nibali and Sagan on the team, they broke away from the peloton on the winding road into Cordoba, allowing Sagan to take the stage victory, while team leader Vincenzo Nibali gained seconds and moved up to third overall on the general classification.